As we head into May here on Lake Okeechobee the water level is down to around thirteen and a half feet above sea level and the water is really starting to clean up in most areas. May is a great month to catch bass on artificial lures here on Lake Okeechobee as a lot of the bass have moved out of the spawning areas to the outside grass lines and are feeding on shad. May is also a great weather month here on Okeechobee with the wind slowing down and the temperature starting to get nice but not too hot yet.
This is a great time of the year to start throwing swim jigs and lipless crankbaits on the outside grass line where bass are holding and feeding up before most of them move offshore to spend the summer. Areas like the shoal, East Wall, West Wall, and off the tip of both Kramer and Ritta islands are great places to catch bass during the month of May. Things to look for are eel grass and pepper grass patches where the bass like to hang out but you add some reeds to the mix and you can’t go wrong. I like to throw a lipless crankbait right in open water right next to the eel and pepper grass and then throw a swim jig with a small swimbait trailer like the Gambler Little EZ in these mixed grasses. My next move is to pitch a jig or Gambler Why Not in the reed heads, especially the ones that have pepper grass right up against them. Wild shiners still work well this time of year and I like to target points of grass that reach out closest to open water. The wind will be slowing down a lot as May rolls in and that will let us fish a lot more areas that we have not been able to fish all winter. There should be schools of bass chasing bait this time of year so keep an eye out and a spinnerbait or lipless crankbait tied on and ready to throw if you see bass come up chasing bait. Also keep an eye out for birds diving on bait because just like saltwater fishing when you see birds eating bait the fish aren’t far behind.
This is also a great time to start catching bluegill here on Okeechobee and as the water continues to clean up beds will be easier to spot. Crickets fished under a cork work great as well as a Beetle Spin if you prefer to catch them on artificial lures. Look for areas close to the reeds along the shoal and of course in the rim canal south of Clewiston. One other thing to keep in mind is that the bass love to eat bluegill and fishing a wake bait or topwater lure around bluegill bedding areas can be a lot of fun.
There is still a lot of bass to catch this time of the year on Lake Okeechobee so don’t let a little heat here in South Florida scare you off. We are starting to get our summer afternoon thunderstorms here on the lake so don’t push it if you see lightning or here thunder near-by get off the water, there is no fish worth dying for on this lake. Till next month good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.