Lake Okeechobee North Fishing Forecast – August 2012

Mike Lamere with a 9 lb. 8 oz. bass he caught while fishing with Capt. Mike. PHOTO CREDIT: Capt. Mike Shellen, Shellen Guide Service.

We are right in the middle of what the old-timers call the dog days of summer.

Water temperatures in the shallows of Lake Okeechobee have risen into the mid- to-high 80’s. The deeper canals, the Kissimmee River and the moving water sections of the lake are several degrees cooler. In order to continue to catch bass, it is necessary to either fish the current or in the shade.

Bass are like people in that they react to bright sunlight in similar ways like looking for shade. Bass will hold underneath the edges of a steep drop-off or hydrilla wall. A bait presented tight to that wall will often draw a reaction strike from the fish.

Many areas in the Rim Canal have rocky edges and over the years the wave action has eroded the ground underneath the rocks forming an underwater ledge where bass will hold just out of the sunlight.

With the ultra-warm water, the hydrilla fields in the lake have proliferated and are actually growing right to the edges of the depth changes in the lake. Even the deep water canals have hydrilla lines forming along the edges which offer shade for bass. Of course, deep water offers shade too, but our best fishing is still in the shallow water of the main lake.

Our morning fishing trips find us on the water just as the sun starts to rise. Each morning we start with a topwater bait of some sort. A Pop-R, Chug Bug, Tiny Torpedo or a walking style bait have all worked well at different times. Some days we catch as many as 20 to 25 bass on topwater offerings. Other days we may only catch 5 to 10 fish before the sun gets high and they refuse to rise and hit the bait.

In that case it’s necessary to change to a bait that gets deeper in the water column, many times right on the bottom. Skinny Dippers, Swim Senkos, plastic worms and flukes are all part of our arsenal.

Captain’s tip: As a rule, always use the lightest weight possible when fishing with plastics. It won’t inhibit the action built into the bait. As the water temperature has increased over the last month, we have found ourselves using heavier weights to get the bait right on the bottom in the face of the fish. We are also finding better success by using a slower presentation. Inch the bait along to keep it in the strike zone for as long as possible.

The water level has risen just enough that the outside grass lines are fishable. It requires shutting down the boat well offshore of the spot and idling in to fish, but it is well worth the effort.

FORECAST BY: Capt. Mike Shellen
Shellen Guide Service
Phone: (863) 357-0892