Finally the start to some of cooler weather for some much-needed relief for bass and man. It has been another very hot summer here in Florida but we have had a hurricane and TONS of rain and the water level is going to be high enough to get us through the winter and spring. The current lake level is at 17-feet +/-. Several of the bass caught this past week were very fat and their bellies were swollen with roe, whether they went ahead and completed spawning is anyone’s guess. The bass have already started moving toward the grass beds chasing bait so the spawning season will be just around the corner.
Tin House Cove, Buckhead Ridge and Kings Bar are good areas that are relatively near the ramp at Okeetantie park and easily accessible. Jig color selections vary greatly, peanut butter is a popular color, as are the more frequently heard of, chartreuse, white, pink and other combinations of the aforementioned colors. As with all fishing, confidence is in your bait selection is essential; it will help one to be more efficient and exhibit patience if the fish are not responding. These bass will be holding anywhere there are grass lines and reed patches before they move farther back in the grass flats, usually starting in December. Bass in the outside grass can be targeted with a variety of lures including spinnerbaits, swim jigs, Gambler Ace stick baits, and use pitching craw type baits in the isolated reed heads. I like to rig up with a Gambler 10-inch worm and a 1/4-ounce bullet weight and just start fishing any points and reed heads I can find. This is also a great time to get out there with some live bait (a.k.a. wild shiners) and catch good numbers of bass as they feed up and move toward winter and spring spawning areas. When fishing with shiners, I like to target points of grass or the mouth of trails heading back into the grass. Be patient and let the bass come to you when you are fishing with live bait.
By mid-October the snow birds started moving back into South Florida and this means there will be more boats at the ramps and on the water; take your time and be safe both on and off the water. It is shaping up to be another awesome season here on the Big “O” and there should be plenty of water to fish and bass to catch. If you are thinking of making a trip to Lake Okeechobee to fish with a guide, you should start getting dates nailed down and travel plans made, as days are booking up fast for the winter and spring time. As for now, it is still hot here on the lake, so be sure and drink plenty of water and use sunscreen on all exposed skin.
Until the next report, good luck, tight lines, and Bucket Lips. I hope to see everyone on the water!
Special thanks to the D.O.A Lures, Mercury Marine, Bow to Stern, Power Pole, Costa Del Mar sunglasses, and Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters for always being available and providing some high quality lures and equipment.