Lake Okeechobee

Fishing Report


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Lake Okeechobee Fishing Report, brought to you by Mark King, Lake Okeechobee fishing guide.

 

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November 19th, 2014

 

December is almost here on Okeechobee and the bass are on the move toward spawning areas and that means there is bass to be caught. November was an awesome month here on the lake and cooler water temperatures only mean that the fishing will get even better. The lake water level is still up over fifteen and a half feet above sea level and that is letting the bass scatter out almost anywhere the want to.

   I have been catching bass on artificial lures as well as on wild shiners with the wind being the only deterrent as to where I fish on any given day. You can catch the smaller male bass on Gambler Ace’s and Super Studs but if you want to catch bigger ones you will need to pitch craw type baits to isolated reed heads. As more bass move into spawning areas we should be able to catch them on swim baits like the Gambler Big EZ that I like to use. This type of fishing back in the heavy vegetation is full contact fishing and you will need a heavy action rod and braided fishing line, I like to use fifty and sixty five pound test Power Pro line to get the job done. For the live bait fishing you should try and fish as close to open water as the wind will allow you to do, I like to find water that has a little stain to the water color.

  This looks like it is going to be another awesome season here on the lake, we have plenty of water and a lot of areas to fish this year that have had cover that was to heavy last year to fish. December is the start of our spawning months here on Okeechobee and will continue through April with February and March being the prime months to catch the monster female bass. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t catch big bass the rest of the time here and your next cast on Okeechobee could be the fish of a lifetime. As the rest of the country is already cold and lakes are frozen up we are enjoying the warm weather and year round bass fishing here in South Florida.

   Now is the time to get a fishing trip on Okeechobee booked while there are still some good dates open and while you are here fishing let me get a hog hunt set up to finish off your southern vacation. Couple note to those wanting to bring your own boat to the lake to fish, there are lots of trails back in the grass that are boat trails and you want to be careful and look for other boats running them. And please don’t fish in these trails because a lot of times we can’t stop at the last minute when we see you fishing these trails and we all know that boats don’t have brakes. If you do decide you have to fish in these trails don’t get mad when we run by you. Everyone needs to be safe out on the water. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone out on the water soon.  

 

 

July 9th, 2014

July is here already on Lake Okeechobee and we have settled in to our summer pattern of catching bass good early in the day and then it gets real slow as you get around the noon hour. We have been getting a lot of rain and the lake level is up over thirteen feet above sea level and I look for it to continue to rise for at least the next few weeks. With the water up at this level you can fish almost anywhere you want, but the fish are more out toward open water this time of the year.

   I have been fishing out in open water as long as the wind isn’t blowing too hard and normally this time of the year the wind doesn’t blow that hard. Areas like the Cross, spoil islands, and the reefs will hold a lot of bass to catch till the sun gets up high in the sky and then you may need to move into the grass a little to finish out your morning. As of right now if you can find patches of pepper grass you will catch fish and there is a lot more pepper grass patches this year then last year. I have been fishing a swim jig with a Gambler Little EZ as a trailer and catching a good number of bass in and around the pepper grass. You can also throw a Gambler Ace stick bait and fish it slow in these same areas but I like to fish faster and the swim jig has been the ticket. Other areas to try are the West Wall, East Wall, around the lake end of Uncle Joe’s Cut, and the shoal. Wind is your friend in the summer here on Okeechobee and a nice five to ten mile an hour breeze will keep the fish biting and you cool while you are out on the water. The live bait bite on wild shiners has been a little slow but you can still catch a good number of bass if you get in the right spot, remember that in the summer the bass aren’t bunched up like they are in the winter months and you may have to move around quite a bit more to find them.

   Remember with this hot summer sun in South Florida to drink plenty of water, use a good quality sunscreen, and just get out and enjoy time on the water with family and friends. I have a new product that I have been using and they are fingerless sun gloves to keep the sun from eating up your hands. They are all hand sewed and made right here in Florida, are SPF 50, and come in a variety of colors, check them out at www.tailintoads.com  Now is a great time to book a morning trip on Lake Okeechobee and it is also a great time to start planning that winter vacation to South Florida and some of the best fishing in the country. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

 

May 19th, 2014

 

 

Summer is here on Lake Okeechobee with hot days and warm nights. The water level is down to 12.79 feet above sea level and the wind has been blowing non stop for weeks now, but the fishing is still pretty good. I have been pulling duty both here on Lake Okeechobee bass fishing and in the Florida Keys tarpon fishing here in May and will be doing so in June also. It has been a great season so far this year and I think the rest of the year is going to be even better.

   Let’s start with the bass on Okeechobee, I have been catching them on both wild shiners and artificial lures lately and as we get more into summer the artificial bite will actually get better then the live bait bite. I have been starting out in the morning throwing spinnerbaits and chatterbaits catching schooling bass and then moving into the outer grass line and pitching jigs and craws to reed heads and peppergrass patches. You can expect to catch a good number of bass this time of the year but the size will usually be a little smaller then during our winter months. Now is a good time to fish 4 or 6 hours and then when that sun gets up high in the sky it is usually time to get off the water as the fishing really slows down. Try areas like Ritta Island, East Wall, West Wall, and on the shoal.

   Now on to my favorite fish this time of the year the giant tarpon in the Florida Keys. I fish mostly around the Bahia Honda Bridge area using live crabs and mullet on the incoming and outgoing tides. I do morning and evening trips and can accommodate up to three persons. If you have ever wanted to catch a fish that will put your muscles to the test and are one of the most majestic fish I know then you need to give tarpon fishing a try. I still have a few open dates left for May and June. And while in the Florida Keys be sure and spend some time enjoying all the Florida Keys has to offer from diving, snorkeling, fishing, great food, and the most beautiful water I have ever seen.

   Remember it is summer here in South Florida so drink plenty of water, use sunscreen and just enjoy the outdoors. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

March24, 2014

The weather here in South Florida has been good and the bass fishing here on Lake Okeechobee has been great. The lake has been producing a lot of bass and some really nice ones are being caught daily out here on the big lake. The bass are still spawning and as we get into April the bluegill will start spawning and that means even more for the bass to eat. The water level is going down some with it being around thirteen and a half feet above sea level right now.

   The outside edge or grass line seems to be the place to be whether you are fishing with artificial lures or live bait. Now there are days that the wind blows to hard to fish along the outside grass line and you do have to move in to find cleaner water and bass but the closer to open water the better. I have been catching a lot of bass and almost all the bigger ones pitching a Gambler Why Not with a ounce weight along the outside grass line from Kramer Island up to the Turners Cove area. I like to just pitch in into reed heads and scattered grass and let it hit the bottom, bounce it a couple times and if you don’t get a hit then move on. I have also been doing pretty well on Gambler Ace’s back in areas like East Wall, Coots Bay, and Ritta Island. On really windy days I have been still catching some bass back in behind the out side grass line at Long Point and in the Buzzards Roost on swimbaits and frogs. The wild shiner bite has been really good also fishing the outside grass line if the wind will let you. Using six to eight dozen shiners a day is no problem right now and we have been catching some really nice bass.

   April is a great time to come to Lake Okeechobee and catch bluegills on the beds and also a great time to catch bass feeding on the bluegill. Crickets are the choice bait for bluegill but Beetle Spins work equally as well. Now is a great time to book a tarpon trip with me for May or June in the Florida Keys as days are filling up fast. I target the migrating giant tarpon around the bridges in the Florida Keys and if catching one over a hundred pounds is on your bucket list lets get a trip booked. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.   

 

 

 

January 20th, 2014

The fishing the past month has been great even with the cold fronts coming through the area one after another dropping the temperature in to the thirties a couple times, I know that doesn’t sound cold to the rest of the country but here in South Florida it is cold. We have been catching a lot of bass and some really nice ones up to ten pounds.

   The fishing on live bait has been much better then artificial lures but as this weather stabilizes in February and on into March the artificial lure bit will get much better. For now catching up to fifty bass a day has been common as long as the cold fronts leave us alone. I have been fishing a lot of areas from the Monkey Box down to Kramer Island with the wind being the deciding factor as to where I go. The area from Cochran’s Pass to Uncle Joe’s has been pretty good but should get really good soon as more and more bait and bass are moving in from offshore to the grass. We are seeing spawning beds back in a lot of areas and if the water doesn’t go down to quick we should have a good spawn back in areas where the water is clean and you can see the beds to fish. But if the water continues to drop the bass will be spawning on the outside grass line like they did last year. Areas I have been targeting with artificial lures have been the North Shore area in the scattered hydrilla and pepper grass patches, East Wall, and around Uncle Joe’s Cut at the lake end. I have been throwing a variety of lures like Gambler’s new Burner Worm, Big EZ, and Aces. But I have also caught some bass on spinnerbaits and swim jigs along the outside grass line when the wind isn’t blowing to hard.

   The fishing has been improving almost daily and I can hardly wait till the next day to see how good the fishing is going to be. February and March are two of the best months to fish here on Lake Okeechobee for both numbers and big fish. If you have ever wanted to experience Lake Okeechobee at its best then now is the time to get on down here out of the cold and warm your bones and catch some monster bass. The crappie bite has also been pretty good out of the Clewiston area with both jigs and minnows working well. I will be on the lake guiding through April and then I switch gears and head down to the Florida Keys to guide for the monster tarpon in May and June, now is the time to get a trip for either Lake Okeechobee trophy bass or monster tarpon in the Florida Keys booked. Good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon.    

 

 

December 26th, 2013

As December comes to an end so does 2013 and what a great year fishing it has been on Lake Okeechobee. The past month has been pretty good fishing with big numbers of bass being caught mostly on live bait aka wild shiners but the artificial lures bite has also picked up in the past couple weeks. We have had a couple cold fronts pass through and it has cooled the water off a little but it could still stand to cool off a little more.

   I have been fishing the outside grass line from around Cochran’s Pass down to Ritta Island when the wind will let me and then moving back in the grass when the wind really picks up. The high water this summer and the wind has really changed a lot of areas and you will be surprised when you go to some areas and they don’t look anything like they did last year. But some areas look better and are thinned out and more fishable then in past years. The artificial lure bite has been up and down the past month but has finally started improving the past week or so. I have been catching most of my fish on a Gambler Flapp’n Shad and the all new Burner Worm; this new worm can be buzzed across the top of the grass like swimbait or fished like a worm. I have found that if you swim it across the grass till you get to an open hole and then just stop it and let it fall that the spawning bass can’t stand it. I have also been pitching reed heads with a one ounce jig and a Gambler Mega Daddy craw as a trailer next to open water where these bass are staging before moving in to spawn. Areas I have been fishing are the shoal, Uncle Joe’s Cut, West Wall, and the east side of Ritta Island have been good starting points. I have also been up and fished the Monkey Box and the North Shore area and both have been holding some good quality bass that can be caught on both wild shiners and artificial lures.

   The crappie bite is also starting to pick up a little at our end of the lake with the rim canal and around the spoil islands closest to the west wall being all good starting points. I think that 2014 is going to be even better then 2013 was here on the lake catching bass so if you are even thinking about coming down to South Florida and going fishing just give me a call and we can talk fishing Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon. 

 

 

November 30th, 2013

 

December is almost here already on Lake Okeechobee and that means two things, one the bass are moving in off the main lake to spawn and second 2013 is coming to an end and what a great year it has been here on the lake. Now that the water level is less than fifteen feet above sea level and the water is starting to cool off the bass are heading toward traditional spawning areas. We had some fish in to spawn in November but not a lot of numbers with the water still so warm. As we get ready to head into the 2014 season I think it is going to be another awesome season and year here on Lake Okeechobee.

   The bite has been real good on wild shiners and decent on artificial lures and with the cooler water temperatures it will only get better with both. I have been fishing from up around Cochran's Pass all the way down to Pelican Bay with the wind being the deciding factor as to where I fish. With the water level going down the water is really starting to clean up in most areas even when the wind blows hard and we all know that the wind blows here on Okeechobee most of the winter months. While fishing with the wild shiners I try to fish the outside grass line or at least as close to the open lake as possible and still have fairly clean water. The artificial bite has been better back in the grass but still trying to stay as close to the main lake as possible. I have been throwing a Gambler Big EZ in most areas but have also been throwing the all new Burner Worm also made by Gambler. I have also been pitching a craw in the reed heads back in these areas targeting ones that are kind of open in the middle and not real thick. Some areas that will be getting good are Rita Island, Grassy, Long Point, and Pelican Bay.

   I want to let everyone know that we do have enough water to run the back trails but please be careful. We have had a couple bad boat accidents the past month or so and they have all happened on the trails coming into blind corners. With more boats showing up almost daily to fish on Lake Okeechobee we just need to all be careful and slow down a little bit, the fish will still be there when you get to where you want to fish.

   Now is the time to get those bass fishing trips booked and what better Christmas gift then a gift certificate to fish with me either on Lake Okeechobee for bass or in the Florida Keys for tarpon. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water in. 

 

 

November 4th, 2013

 

November is here on Lake Okeechobee with some cool weather that should trigger the bass to start moving off the main lake toward traditional spawning areas. The lake level has been slowly going down and is at 15.15 feet above sea level and should be at a great water level for our winter and spring fishing season. It is always a great feeling here on Lake Okeechobee as fall and cooler temperatures arrive because the bass fishing is about to really bust loose.

   I have been fishing a lot of different areas from Horse Island to Pelican Bay with the wind being the major deciding factor. The artificial lure bite has been much better on the North Shore area of the lake and the live bait “wild shiner” bite has been pretty good down south in the lake. But it is just a matter of time before the south end of the lake is just as good as the north end is, this happens every year here on Okeechobee. I have been fishing Gambler Big EZ swimbaits over the hydrilla and pepper grass patches on the north shore area and also pitching a Gambler Tube along the outside grass line in the Horse Island area. Heavy rods and braided line in the fifty to sixty five pound class is what I use to get these fish out of the grass and in the boat. You can also catch these bass pitching a Gambler Ace or worm around in these areas.

   They have sprayed the rim canal and all the dynamite holes south of Clewiston with weed killer so these areas won’t be good for a little while but they will come back. This will hurt the fall crappie fishing in these areas I think. I am still predicting a great season here on Okeechobee and if you want to get in on the fun then start planning your trip now. It is a great way to get out of the cold north and go bass fishing in the winter months. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water real soon. 

 

 

Oct 2, 2013

 

October is here and there is a little coolness in the air here on Lake Okeechobee. The lake level is still above fifteen and a half feet above sea level but it does seem like more bass are moving in toward the grass from out in open water. Had a pretty good week last week catching bass on both wild shiners and on artificial lures.

   I have been fishing from the North Shore area all the way down to pelican Bay and have been doing pretty good and it seems to be getting better each week. There is a lot of pepper grass on the North Shore and just letting the wind push you along and pitching a Gambler Ace ahead of you worked pretty good last week. There is also some hyacinth patches that had some bigger bass in them and a big jig and a Gambler Megadaddy Craw seemed to do the trick. The Monkey Box and from Harney Pond Canal out to Horse Island area really looks good and I think this area will be holding a lot of bass real soon. I have also been fishing from Cochran’s Pass to Uncle Joe’s and catching some bass but most are smaller. Around Rita Island and the East side of Kramer Island have also been holding some bass.

   As this water does start to go down the fishing should really improve and with fall almost here in South Florida the bass fishing will really start to get cranked up. I still think that is going to be one of our best seasons ever here on the Big ‘O’. The crappie fishing should also start to heat up as I hear they are already catching them pretty good at Lake Trafford, this small local lake just a short ways from Okeechobee is a great crappie lake. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon. 

 

 

September 9th, 2013

September is starting to fly by here on Okeechobee and it won’t be long before we start to get some cool weather here in South Florida, yes I said cool not cold like you folks get up north. The fishing has been really starting to improve here on the lake as the bass seem to be moving back into the grass. The water level is going down slowly and is at 15.49 feet above sea level and allowing us to run almost anywhere on the lake without any worries. We are still in that summer pattern of catching bass for about four hours and then the bite really slowing down but that should change within a few weeks. 

   I have been fishing quite a few areas here on the south end of Okeechobee and doing pretty good on both artificial lures and with live bait. Areas like Ritta Island, Long Point, Grassy, and from Uncle Joe’s cut up to Cochran’s pass have all been producing bass. The bass for the most part are still holding on the outside grass line closest to open water but should start moving back in the grass farther soon. I think with the higher water levels that we have had all summer and the way that most of the areas look that are back in the grass that this fall, winter and spring should be awesome here on Okeechobee. I have been throwing the Gambler Big EZ a lot early in the morning and then going to the Gambler Ace as the sun gets up higher in the sky but that will all change as the water starts to cool and the fishing will be good all day. I am looking forward to the water cooling off and the fishing improving every day; it has been a long hot summer this year on the lake.

   Now is the time to start thinking about that fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee to get out of the cold north and come catch trophy bass in Florida. Dates for the winter and spring 2014 season are starting to fill up and I don’t want anyone to be left out. I will still be guiding here on the lake for bass through April and will be headed to the Florida Keys to guide for tarpon in May and June. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

 

 

August 18th, 2013

 

As we head out of August and get into September here on Lake Okeechobee the fishing still remains pretty good. August and September can be the two tougher month to catch bass here but with the water level up higher then normal we are still catching some really nice bass especially early in the morning. The water level is going down and is less than sixteen feet above sea level now, dumping water to both coasts and down toward the everglades has not been a crowd pleaser. The fresh water coming out of Okeechobee has been wreaking havoc on the saltwater estuaries, but this isn’t the first time this has ever happened and I am sure this won’t be the last time. I do understand the frustration of all this freshwater pouring into the saltwater estuaries but if we don’t get rid of some of this water in the lake the dike that surrounds the lake could fail.

   Now off that subject and on to the fishing, the fishing in the morning for bass has been good on both live bait and artificial lures. And when I say morning the earlier you can get out the better because by noon the fishing is real tough. But the good news is that October is just around the corner and cooler weather and better bass fishing is just a few weeks away. I have been fishing back in the grass in a few different areas and it looks awesome and even though we have been catching some bass back in the grass these areas will be awesome when the water starts to cool and the bass start really moving back into the grass. For now the better bite has been on the outside grass line from Clewiston to the Belle Glade area depending on how hard and which way the wind is blowing. For artificial lures I have been throwing the Gambler Big EZ in the thicker grass areas and a swim jig with the all new Gambler Little EZ as a trailer, it is the perfect sized trailer on a swim jig and should also work great on an Alabama rig. Don’t be afraid to try different areas from the grass line to back in as far as you want, the bass will be going back in the grass real soon. A few good areas to try now are around Ritta Island, East Wall, and around Uncle Joe’s Cut. I haven’t caught many bass lately out on the reefs but I know that they are still there. 

   Now is the time to start planning a fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee for the 2013 fall and 2014 season, we are starting to fill up the calendar and looking forward to an even better season then last year. Book a trip to Lake Okeechobee for some awesome fishing, you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

august 5th, 2013

 

August is starting out with lots of water here on Lake Okeechobee with the lake level hovering at around sixteen feet above sea level. Yes this means we have a lot of water everywhere on the lake and the locks at Clewiston are not wide open any more, you have to lock through if you use the public boat ramps. It is strange to be able to run almost anywhere on the lake in the middle of the summer when we usual don’t have much water in the lake this time of the year. The fishing has been pretty good so far this summer even with the high water levels and high water temperatures. As of right now the live bait fishing has been better then the artificial lure bite but as more fish move back in the grass from open water I think the lure bite should really pick up. The wild shiner or live bait bite has remained good all summer and I see no reason that it will slow down.

   I have been fishing a lot of different areas trying to find the best but most of the areas I have been fishing all seem to be about the same. From Kramer Island to the Blue Hole area is where I have been fishing and the only reason I am moving around is that the fish are not really concentrated in any one area right now. It is typical summer fishing, get out as early as you can and fish for about four hours or when the fish quit biting and then get off the water. It has been really hot out on the lake fishing and on most days by ten o’clock the fish are done biting. I have been catching a few bass real early out on the reef with lipless crankbaits and then the bite stops move in to the outside grass line in areas like Long Point, Ritta Island, and around the lake end of Uncle Joe’s cut.

   It is summer time here on Okeechobee so be sure to drink lots of water and use that sunscreen that you brought with you on the boat. Now is the time to start booking those fishing trips for the prime season here on Okeechobee that starts in November and goes through the month of May.  I think that it is going to be an awesome season here on the Big ‘O’ and I am starting to fill my calendar up. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

 

June 17th, 2013

 

Summer is here on Lake Okeechobee for sure with some pretty warm temperatures and a good amount of rain almost daily. But the good thing is that the bass fishing has been really good on the lake with both numbers and big bass being caught. A tournament winning bag of five bass has been weighing in over thirty pounds and some really big bass are being caught. Yes the best bite of the day has been early in the morning and it tapers off as the day goes on but catching twenty to thirty bass in a morning has been pretty easy to do.

   I have been fishing more open water this time of the year as the bass move off the grass line chasing bait. The bass on Okeechobee are a little tough to find in the summer when they move offshore since there isn’t much structure in the lake to hold these bass in any one area to long. I like to throw lipless crankbaits and topwater to start the morning and may move on to throwing a Carolina rig if you no longer see the bass chasing bait. I throw the Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbait a lot in the summer months and gold with a black back is my color of choice. Topwater I really like to throw a Zara Super Spook that I modify by removing the center hook and replacing the other two hooks with stronger 2X Gamakatsu hooks and saltwater split rings including one on the nose for the line tie. When you do find these bass eating bait you just need to stay with them and you can catch them for hours sometimes. You will want to get out as early as possible to catch these bass and by noon the bite will really slow down. I have still been catching some bass in the grass throwing a Gambler Southern Swim jig with a twin tail trailer around the isolated pepper grass patches and reed heads, this works best when there is a little wind on the water. When it is still out without any wind I like to throw a Gambler Ace rigged texas style with a 1/8 ounce bullet weight and fish slowly.

   There is still plenty of bluegill to be caught and just outside the grass line has been a pretty good area from Clewiston toward Ritta Island, crickets and Bettle Spins would be my two baits of choice. Remember during the summer months to be aware of the sun and use plenty of sunscreen and cover up exposed skin including your face with a Buff to keep that nose and ears from getting sun burnt. Drink plenty of water and keep a sharp eye out for summer storms, lightning on Okeechobee is a killer. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

April 21, 2013

May is here already and the bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been really good as we start to head into the summer months. As most know I head to the Florida Keys during the months of May and June to guide for tarpon, but I still spend a few days guiding on Okeechobee as well. As the water starts too really warm up the bass will start to move out from the shallow water areas toward the main lake stopping on points and outside grass lines to feed on bedding bluegill and shad. The lake level is at 13.55 feet above sea level which is quite a bit higher than it has been the past few years for this time of the year.

   I have been targeting bass in the grass as close as I can get to open water and still have clean enough water to fish. The water doesn’t have to be clear but it does need to have a little visibility, a great place is where the clear and dirty water mix. I have been catching a lot of bass on Gambler Buzz’n Cane Toads early in the morning and then going to a Gambler Ace pitching it into the pepper grass beds. On windy days when the water is still not to dirty on the outside of the grass to fish I have been throwing a spinnerbait, my favorite is a Strike Back spinnerbait made by Mega Strike in white with silver blades. Don’t be afraid to throw the spinnerbait up in the heavier grass and swim it out to open water varying the speed of retrieve. I have been fishing the East and West Walls, around Ritta Island, and the shoal area. The wind dictates where I fish but as we head into summer the wind should not be a factor, actually we will be wishing for some wind. As the bass move farther out away from the grass lipless crankbaits will start to be my bait of choice along with swimbaits like the Gambler Big EZ coupled with the all new EZ Duz It hook with a spinner blade, this should be a deadly combo this summer out on the main lake. The live bait bite with wild shiners should remain good for another couple months, target the outside grass and reed clumps out from the grass.

   If catching a giant tarpon is something you have always wanted to try give me a call and set up a trip of a lifetime in the Florida Keys. I fish the Bahia Honda area and we get to see tarpon everyday in the months of May and June moving through the bridges. Fishing in the Keys is one of the most beautiful areas in the world to fish with crystal clear water and giant tarpon to catch. I offer half day morning and evening trips with everything included, all you need to bring is sunglasses and a smile. Until next month good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

Captain Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of the world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and also in the Florida Keys out of Marathon area. Mark is an IGFA Certified Captain, active member of the Florida Guide Association and the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. Captain Mark is sponsored by Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards, Roland Martin's Marine Center, Power-Pole, Minn Kota trolling motors, Gambler Lures, Mojo Sportsfishing, Smartshield Sun Protection Products, Mega Strike Lures, Fuel Medic Ethanol Treatment, and Yeti coolers.

Mark can be contacted to book a guide trip, seminars, personal appearances, test rides in his Evinrude powered Ranger or to fish a tournament with him at 863-677-0983 or at www.markkingfishing.com and www.tarponinthekeys.com

 

 

April 1st, 2013

 

March has been a great month here on Okeechobee to catch bass and April should be even better as more bass move in to spawn and all of the cold fronts should be gone. The water level is slowly going down and the water is really clearing up in most areas. April is the month that the artificial lure bite should get as good as the wild shiner bite, the live bait choice of Okeechobee. We have been catching a lot of bass almost every day and we are starting to catch some really big ones on a more consistent basis. Another great thing about April is that the bluegill start to spawn which means there will be a lot of bass eating bluegill and there will be bluegill to catch.

   I have been fishing from the North Shore area to Pelican Bay and the wind is the only deciding factor as to where I fish. There will still be a lot of spawning bass in April and the weather will finally start to get warmer and it will be a lot more fun to fish in shorts and flip flops then what it has been in stocking caps and gloves. Now is a great time to fish topwater lures like a Gambler Buzz’n Cane Toad in the grass or a Zara Super Spook in open water and have some explosive topwater strikes. This will also be a great time of the year to start fishing big 10” worms along the outside grass line closest to open water. I like to fish a Gambler 10” junebug colored worm Texas rigged with a 1/16 ounce weight. We have had some schooling bass around all winter and this action should continue, look for the birds diving on bait and throw a lipless crankbait or spinnerbait for some fast paced action. As I mentioned earlier the bluegill will be spawning in April and bluegill pattern crankbaits will work great, especially around the bluegill beds.

   The bluegill bite should be on this month and live crickets fished under a cork float should do the trick to catch a limit, Bettle Spins will also work if live bait isn’t your thing. I am still booking for the 2013 tarpon season in the Florida Keys for the months of May and June. If catching a fish of a lifetime in some of the most beautiful water in the world sounds like fun give me a call.

 

 

February 20th, 201`3

The fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been great the past few weeks and only seems to be getting better as we head into March. I have been fishing everyday since before Christmas and can only say that Lake Okeechobee is fishing better then ever. The lake level is at 14.42 feet above sea level and still going down slowly, this is still a great level to get anywhere on the lake and not worry about hurting your boat. The fishing with wild shiners has been crazy, catching twenty to over fifty bass per day is not uncommon and we have been catching some toads from seven to nine pounds.

   I have been fishing the southwest end of the lake almost every day with areas like the West and East walls, and the shoal being some of the best areas to catch bass. If you want to catch a lot of bass and have your best chance to catch one over seven pounds then at this time I suggest using wild shiners. I have been using from five to ten dozen shiners a day and on some days running out with plenty of time to throw artificial lures. The artificial bite has been a little slow but when you do find some bass the fishing has been pretty good. There are still a good number of schooling bass around and I am not really sure why this time of the year but if you see birds diving on bait then get close and start throwing a lipless crankbait, a spinnerbait, or what I have been throwing the all new EZ-Duz IT by Gambler Lures. It is a swimbait hook for the Big EZ swimbait with a spinner blade and it is adjustable to make it swim more toward the surface or deeper down in the water, it works great for schooling fish in stained water. The bass have been schooling out in open water from Cochran’s Pass down to the Long Point area. There have also been some nice bass being caught flippin heavy mats with Gambler Why Not’s or BB Crickets on sunny days. If fishing areas that you can see beds try throwing a Gambler Ace or the all new Fat Ace on the bed and hold on. Be sure and use a good quality braided line when fishing back in the grass or you will get your line and heart broke.

   The crappie bite has been pretty good with the Clewiston channel, the rim canal, and the Kissimmee River being all good areas to catch some. If you are thinking about a guided trip on Lake Okeechobee for the 2013 season then you will want to book soon as dates are almost all full. I am also booking now for the 2013 tarpon season in the Florida Keys, May and June are the prime months to catch a trophy tarpon over a hundred pounds. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon. 

 

 

 

Feb. 3rd, 2013

Are you tired of the snow and cold weather up north then now is a great time to head south to Lake Okeechobee and do some bass fishing. You have been sitting around the house in the easy chair since deer season and the walls are starting to close in, how does catching bass all day in shorts and flip flops sound. From now through April will be the best times to be here on Okeechobee to catch some trophy Florida bass. The fishing the past few weeks has been great with big numbers of bass being caught and for sure some big ones in the mix. The lake level is still up at 14.58 feet above sea level so getting around the lake is no problem and you would really have to look for something to hit with your boat at this level.

   The live bait fishing with wild shiners has been the best way to go the past few weeks and using from five to ten dozen a day is no problem. The artificial bite has been slow on most days but when the wind gives us a break and we can fish the outside grass line you can have a great day catching bass on lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and Chatterbaits. Gambler Ace’s have been my go to bait to catch bass back in the grass and the new Fat Ace really does the trick. The wind has really been blowing the last month and has been the deciding factor as to where you fish from day to day. If it doesn’t blow to hard fishing closer to the main lake is the place to be but when the wind really kicks you will need to move back in the grass and find clean water to fish.

   I have been fishing from Cochran’s Pass to Kramer Island and catching bass when the conditions are right and the wind is the only real factor. Areas like the West Wall, East Wall, Long Point, Buzzards Roost, and the shoal have all been great areas to catch bass the past few weeks. As we get into February the weather should start to get better and the cold fronts and windy days should become less.

   The crappie fishing has been pretty good and the rim canal, out along the Clewiston channel, and up around Bird Island are all good spots. Jigs and minnows are both working to catch some really big slab crappies. Be sure and stop by Roland Martin’s Marine Center for all your fishing tackle needs including live bait and while you are there be sure and check out all the new Ranger Boats. I have been running a Ranger for six years now and I can honestly say that no other boat could stand up to the day to day punishment that a fishing guide puts them through and still look as good and perform as good as a Ranger. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon. Don’t forget to get that tarpon trip of a lifetime booked to fish with me in the Florida Keys in May and June, dates are filling up fast

 

 

January 7th, 2013

The fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been really good for this time of the year and will be getting better by the day as we head toward February and March. The lake level is just less than fifteen feet at 14.95 feet above sea level so running anywhere on the lake is no problem. The live bait bite on the wild shiners has been awesome but the artificial lure bite has been really unpredictable from day to day. We have two FLW tournaments coming to the lake the within the next month and once again Lake Okeechobee will be showing what she has.

   I have been fishing from Cochran’s Pass to South Bay the past few weeks and the only deciding factor as to where I go is the wind, the fish seem to be everywhere but don’t want to bite when the water is dirty from the wind. If fishing with live bait aka wild shiners is what you like to do then you will need from five to ten dozen to fish all day on the lake right now. We are catching a lot of fish and some really nice five to nine pound bass get caught almost every day. The key has been to fish in just enough wind to keep your bait moving but not where the wind has the water so dirty that the fish won’t bite. The artificial bite has been a little tougher but has been getting better and will be really good as the main spawning periods in February and March approach. For now the fish have been really bunched up and when you find them there will be a small area that you can catch them. I have been throwing a Gambler Big EZ in the grass fields and pitching Gambler Ace stick baits in any open water holes. If you cover a lot of water you will find some fish but you will most likely have to spend some time finding them. I have been pitching a jig some and also fishing some mats but the fish that I am catching are really scattered out. Some good areas right now are West Wall, East Wall, Bay Bottom, Long Point, and on certain days from Uncle Joe’s to Cochran’s Pass.

   The crappie fishing has been pretty good and the fish that I am seeing are big slabs, not heard too much on where they are catching them other then the rim canal. I still have some open dates left from now till the end of April and then I will be in the Florida Keys guiding for tarpon during the months of May and June. It is going to be a great year here fishing South Florida and as always the weather is great. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

 

December 17th, 2012

 

 

I hope everyone is ready to enjoy a great Christmas and New Years with family and friends. It is now time to get down to some serious fishing here on Lake Okeechobee as the bass move in to spawn. The fishing the last month has been great and I can’t imagine it getting better but it will as more bass move in to shallow spawning areas from the main lake. The water level is at just over fifteen feet and that means there is water everywhere on the lake and giving both the bass and the fisherman access to almost anywhere on the lake. The lake has been producing a huge number of bass the past month especially when fishing with live bait, using eight to ten dozen wild shiners is not a problem on most fishing trips. The artificial lure bite has also picked up the past few weeks and will be awesome as the bass move to the outside grass line staging to move in to spawning areas.

   I have been fishing from the North Shore area to Kramer Island with the wind being the deciding factor as to where I fish. When the wind is not blowing to hard the bass are on that outside grass line closest to the main lake but when the wind really blows and dirties the water up on the outside I move back in the grass till the water starts to clear up. The live bait bite has been crazy the past month and a half, ten dozen wild shiners will not even get you through a day of fishing. The bass have been averaging from two to eight pounds with a good number of the three to five pound fish being caught, my clients have also caught some really good ones in the nine and ten pound range lately. The artificial lure bite has just really started getting good and the Gambler Big EZ has been my bait of choice but I have also done well on swim jigs and Gambler Ace’s. You just need to go back in these big grassy areas and cover water throwing the Big EZ and you will find some fish; lily pads have been a key ingredient in most areas. Areas like the West Wall, East Wall, the shoal, and North Shore have been better areas to fish.

   The crappie bite has been pretty good is the word that I am getting but no one is really saying where they are catching them at but areas like the rim canal and around Bird Island would be a great place to start. Now is the time to get a fishing trip booked on Lake Okeechobee because I have not seen the fishing as good as it is right now. Don’t forget that I guide for giant tarpon in the Florida Keys from May through July and dates will fill up quick for these magnificent fish. If you have ever wanted to catch something that pulls back so hard that sometimes you don’t know who is going to win the fish or you then you need to experience tarpon fishing in the beautiful Florida Keys. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon. 

 

 

 

November 21, 2012

Click on images of some of this weeks clients to view full size.

 

The bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been great and seems to be getting better almost every day. As we head into December the water temperature is cooling off and the bass are really starting to move toward spawning areas. The lake level is still up pretty high at around 15.35 feet above sea level there is plenty of water back in the shallower traditional spawning areas. The only down fall to the water being high is that the wind blows here during the winter months almost every day and dirty muddy water from the main lake gets pushed back into the grass. We have already had a spawn last full moon and there are a few bass moving in this full moon to spawn, but are main spawn will take place in February and March here on Okeechobee.

   I have been fishing a lot of different areas trying to play the wind and it can be a bit challenging at times. The North Shore has a good concentration of bass as well as the East Wall, West Wall, and Bay Bottom area. If you are throwing artificial lures look for the clear water or right where it mixes with the dirty water. The wild shiner bite has been awesome if you like to fish with live bait but if not there are plenty of bass to catch on artificial lures but they can be a little hard to find at times. My pick for artificial lures has been Gambler Big EZ swimbaits in the thicker grass and a one ounce jig with a Gambler Mega Daddy Craw for a trailer to pitch to reed heads. There has also been a good flippin bite in the mats especially on the bright bluebird days when the water temperature has been a little cool. I flip with two different lures the first is a Gambler Why Not and the other is the BB Cricket, both in darker colors. I use at least sixty five pound test braided line, heavy action rods, and a straight shanked Gambler KO hook that I snell on the line. When you snell a hook directly to your line the angle of the hook helps to get a better hook set.

   If you have wanted to plan a fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee then now is the time to make it happen. This year is shaping up to be one of the best ones in history, my clients have already been catching bass from five to ten and a half pounds and this only November I can only imagine how much better the fishing is going to get. Now is also a great time to book a duck hunting trip on Lake Okeechobee and I can get you set up to shoot some ducks in the morning and fish with me in the afternoon. Don’t forget I head to the Florida Keys for giant tarpon season the months of May and June and now is the time to get a trip booked for the 2013 season. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

 

 

November 5th, 2012

The cool weather has hit south Florida and the bass on Okeechobee have really made a push off the main open water of the lake toward the grass shallow spawning areas of the lake. With the lake level still over fifteen and a half feet above sea level there is plenty of areas to fish from the north end of the lake to the south end. This past full moon we did see a few bass move in and spawn and there is always a few early spawning bass on Okeechobee but the main spawning period won’t be till the months of January, February, and March. This season is shaping up to be one of the best bass fishing seasons on the lake in many years.

   I have been fishing mostly south of the Clewiston area and have been catching a lot of bass almost every day and we have been on some really nice bass over seven pounds the past week. The live bait bite on wild shiners has been really good with five dozen being a good number to start with everyday. The artificial bite has been great one day and then a little slow the next but the consistency has been really picking up as the water cools off. I have been throwing Gambler Big EZ swimbaits in areas of thick grass and pitching jigs to reed heads after the sun gets up high in the sky. The bass seem to be bunched up, when you catch one you will catch more in that same area and then you may go a mile before you start catching them again.

   As fall and winter approaches Florida our bass fishing will really start to get crazy here on Okeechobee thousands of bass moving into spawning areas to spend the next five months. With the water level being up you will be able to get back in some areas that no one has been to for many years and it will give us so much area to fish that we won’t all be fishing in the same areas. A couple precautions I have is to watch out for duck hunting boats back in the thick grassy areas especially if the grass is higher then your line of sight, and the boat trails that we have back in the grassy areas are just that boat trails and not a safe place to fish or you could get run over by a boat.

   It is time to get that fishing trip of a lifetime to Lake Okeechobee booked, the fishing is great and the weather will for sure be better then that cold snowy stuff they have up north. I am also booking duck hunting trips here on Okeechobee for the 2012-2013 season with one of my duck hunting partners. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water real soon.  

 

 

October 21, 2012

 

Coolness is in the air and the bass are on the move here on Lake Okeechobee toward the grass and spawning areas. With the amount of rain that we have received here in south Florida the past few months Okeechobee water level is really up high and fishing back in the grass won’t be a problem this year. The lake level is at 15.90 feet above sea level and still rising with the rain that we are still getting almost every day, about a foot and a half higher than it needs to be right now. You can go almost anywhere on the lake right now and not worry about hitting anything except grass. The fishing has been really good for this time of year with twenty to thirty fish days being the norm and some really nice bass in the seven to nine pound range starting to show up.

   I have been fishing with a lot of clients that want to use artificial lures and swimbaits like the Gambler Big EZ and EZ Swimmer have been my choice to fish back in the massive grass fields that we have this year to fish. I like to make long casts and just buzz them across the top of the grass. Extra heavy action and long rods over seven feet are the key to making long casts and then having enough rod to set the hook and reel these bass in through this heavy vegetation. Braided line will be the only line on my boat till next summer and fifty pound test will be the lightest I will use, the kinds of fishing that we do here on Okeechobee dictates heavy braided line is all you need. I have also been catching a good number of bass pitching the all new Gambler one ounce JigZilla jig that was designed to fish in the heavy cover that we have here on Okeechobee. I like to use a black and blue jig with a big Gambler Flappy Daddy trailer, the bass here on Okeechobee like a big profile bait and this combo has been the trick. I have been fishing from up above Cochran’s Pass down to the Long Point area but the bass are almost anywhere that the water is clean, I do try to avoid the tannic looking water coming in the river and other tributaries. The live bait fishing has been pretty good but as the water cools off and more bass move toward the grass the wild shiner fishing will really get good. My prediction is that we should have another season like last year where we used between five and ten dozen wild shiners a day.

   If you are thinking about coming to World Famous Lake Okeechobee to do some fishing then now is the time to start planning a trip. With the amount of water we have in the lake and the quality and amount of bass that we caught last season this year is going to be awesome to sum it up in one word. I am working almost every day right now and know what the bass are doing from day to day and the fishing has just plain been fun. I am booking trips for Okeechobee for the fall, winter, and spring season and dates are filling up fast. My Evinrude powered Ranger bass boat is available for up to three people and my bay boat is good for up to five people to get out on the lake and get some fishing done. I am also booking for the tarpon season in the Florida Keys that runs from mid April to mid July, if catching a world class giant tarpon is on your to do list give me a call. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

Sept 13th, 2012

 

Lake Okeechobee is back with plenty of water and bass moving into the grass where catching them is a lot easier then fishing out on the main lake for roaming bass. The rains from hurricane Isaac has filled the lake up to 14.78 feet above sea level and water is still flowing in the lake. We are at a great level right now and we really don't want much more water in the lake, to much water in the lake will kill all the grass and if we did have a hurricane come through our area with the water level above fifteen foot above sea level it would devastate the lake like hurricane Wilma did in 2005. If we could keep the water at the level it is now we would go into our winter season with just the right amount of water to allow us to fish almost anywhere on the lake. Another great thing about the lake right now is that the water has been very clear in most areas and that just makes the fishing even better. 

   There has been a lot of bass being caught and some really nice ones two, just the last couple days I know of one over nine pounds and one over ten pounds being caught and those bass would be giants during the spawn. I look for this fall, winter, and spring to be one of the best years on Okeechobee in many years with huge numbers of bass and some big hawgs caught both during tournaments and by guide clients. I can't wait to get busy guiding everyday because I know it is going to be a great year catching bass and making folks really happy putting some monster bass in the boat. I have been catching bass from up on the shoal above Turners Cove down to Kramer Island fishing mostly the outside grass line but on some occasions moving back in the grass quite a ways. I have been throwing the Gambler Big EZ swimbait and also pitching a Gambler Flappy Daddy and Fat Ace to the isolated reed heads. As we are moving back in the grass now is the time to get those heavy action rods and braided line back out if you want to catch and put bass in the boat here on Okeechobee. I use at least fifty pound test braided line and will move all the way up to eighty pound test when fishing tournaments. For rods a heavy to extra heady action rod at least seven feet long works best, I like to use a 7'6" or 7'11" rod and my new Halo Twilite series rods (www.halofishing.com) are just the ticket for getting monster Okeechobee bass out of the grass.

   I would like to let all my past clients know that now is the time to make plans to come back to Lake Okeechobee and for anyone thinking about making a trip to our lake this will be the year to catch numbers and big bass. I have now added a bay boat to my guide service and will be able to accommodate families and groups of up to five persons, and of course I will be using my Ranger bass boat for parties of up to three persons. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone out on the water soon.

   

 

 

August 17th, 2012

 

  It has been a hot summer here in south Florida as it has been over a lot of the US but the fishing here on Lake Okeechobee remains steady. Most of the bass are offshore chasing bait and the fishing action can be awesome in the morning but as the sun gets up high in the sky it pushes the bait down and the bass are much harder to find. Our water level has remained around twelve feet above sea level all summer long which is a good thing to not have to worry about a drought.

  I have been fishing mostly artificial lures but have fished the wild shiners a little the past few weeks. There is a lot of gar in the areas that we fish the shiners and you end up with the gar eating more of the shiners than you do the bass. For artificial lures I have been mostly throwing lipless crankbaits like the Spro Aruka Shad in both the 5/8 and 1 ounce size, gold and chrome are my color choices. After the bite slows down a little in the morning I will start fishing a Carolina rig and a shakey head rig, on my Carolina rig I like to use a Gambler Ace and on my shakey head jig a Gambler Sweebo worm works great in junebug color for both. I am still catching a few and I mean very few bass in the grass on jigs, but if you do catch one they are usually a good sized bass. Still using a or 1 ounce jig with a Gambler Mega Daddy for a trailer.

  As for areas that I have been fishing it has been out on the main lake from off the Clewiston channel, the reef both inside and outside, Uncle Joe’s Cut out at the lake end, and also the rim canal has been holding some bass. You will need a good GPS with maps to find the good areas of the reef but the Clewiston channel and other areas I mentioned are pretty easy to find. The water level is at a good safe level to run carefully but don’t run to close to the grass yet as we need another foot of water to make this safe to run.

  As the kids head back to school and fall is just around the corner the fishing on Okeechobee will start to get better with every passing day, the bass will get ready to start heading back into the grass where we all love to catch them. Now is the time to start booking those winter trips here on the lake as this winter promises to be even better than last year and it was crazy catching big bass here last season. Be sure to drink lots of water out on the lake this time of year and keep plenty of sunscreen on all exposed skin. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

July29th, 2012

What a great summer we are having here in South Florida with some really nice weather and some great fishing. The fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been really good in spite of the eighty degree water temperatures and very little wind. We have been getting some good rains so the water level has remained around the twelve foot above sea level mark so far this summer, that is about two foot higher then what it was last year. For those of you who read my reports you may not realize that Lake Okeechobee is a very shallow lake and two foot of water can make a big difference on the fishing, to put it in perspective it is only about eight foot deep in the middle of the lake and we fish in about two to three foot of water everyday. The water has been very clear this summer so the early morning bite seem to be the best before the sun gets to high in the sky.

I have been fishing a variety of areas from up around Indian Prairie canal area all the way down to Ritta Island. I have been fishing both shallow water weed lines and open water. I have been starting the morning throwing a Gambler Lures Buzz’n Cane Toad in watermelon color in the grass along the outside grass line, you need to retrieve this bait fast and it will produce a reaction strike from the bass in the outside grass closest to open water. I like to use a fast retrieve reel like a 7 to 1 ratio Okuma Komodo for the Buzz’n Toad and also for lipless crank baits, spool it with fifty pound braided line and you will be set to catch the big ones on Okeechobee. Throwing a worm along this outside grass has also been working but once that sun gets up high in the sky this bite really slows down. That is when I will move out to open water and start fishing a Zara Super Spook, lipless crank bait, and a Carolina rig. I fish out on the reef, holes in the reef, and other open water structures that you will need a good GPS with maps to find on Okeechobee.

During the summer months I try to start my charters early in the morning and as the sun gets up high in the sky and the fishing really slows down it is usually time to call it a day. There are windy and sometimes overcast days that you can catch bass all day long on the lake and I will stay out and fish till they quit biting but a typical summertime charter it is good to start by six am and end around noon. You will want to use plenty of sunscreen to avoid a nasty sunburn and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You will also want to keep an eye on the weather as storms can roll in pretty quick in South Florida whether you are fishing on the coast or fishing on Okeechobee, I keep an eye on the weather and the radar through an app on my IPhone. Now is also the time to do some shark fishing and if anyone is interested I do charters in the Florida Keys for sharks this time of the year.

I am looking forward to an awesome year on Okeechobee with the water level staying up through the summer we should be able to access some great spawning areas this winter. I am already booking trips for 2013 for bass on Okeechobee and tarpon during May and June in the Florida Keys.

Capt. Mark King
863-677-0983

 

 

June 25th, 2012

 

We are well into June and the fishing on Lake Okeechobee is still pretty good with bass being caught on artificial lures as well as a few on wild shiners. The lake level has gone up to 11.77 feet above sea level which is over two feet higher then it was this time last year and with the rain that we have been receiving it should go up even higher. The water temperature has been pretty high and the air temperature isn’t much better so the early morning bite seems to be the best but you can still catch a few bass in the heat of the day but most are smaller. During the hot summer months here in south Florida I prefer to get out early and don’t really recommend using live bait, I have much better success using artificial lures.

   I have still been fishing a large portion of the lake from King’s Bar to Pelican Bay with the deciding factor being the wind and just wanting to go to different places to fish. Areas like King’s Bar, the outside of Indian Prairie, Horse Island, and Bird Island have all been good up north and down south the airport hole, Norman’s channel, the spoil island out the Clewiston channel, and the spoil island out Uncle Joe’s have all been good places to fish. It is summer time in south Florida and the bass fishing is slower than what it is during the winter months but there are still plenty of bass to catch.

   I have been using mostly soft plastic worms to catch bass this time of the year with the Gambler Ace being my go to bait in the summer, I Carolina rig it, fish it texas rigged, and also use it wacky style to catch bass from deep water to very shallow. I have also been catching bass on a lipless crankbaits and the Gambler 5” Paddle tail worm. As you can see summer fishing on Okeechobee doesn’t require a lot of different tackle.

   I have also been guiding for tarpon in the Florida Keys with good success this past couple months and as this will start to slow down and only a few resident tarpon will be in the area I will be offering shark fishing trips as well as some snapper fishing. There are still some nice tarpon to be caught all summer long in the Keys but the numbers of fish will be less.

   I want everyone to get out on the water this summer but a couple things to keep in mind is drink plenty of water and use sunscreen throughout the day during this time of the year, and be sure and keep an eye on the weather as storms can move in very quickly. Until next time tight lines, good luck, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

May 20th, 2012

 

What a spring it has been here in south Florida with the bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee being awesome and the tarpon fishing in the Keys being just as good I have been pretty busy wearing both hats. I know that I haven't sent out a fishing report for a few weeks and wanted to let everyone know that the bass and tarpon are really biting here in Florida. First thing I want to talk about is Lake Okeechobee and the water level starting to get low, it is at 11.56 feet above sea level and dropping more each day. But the good thing is that the bass are still biting and the artificial bite has been as good as the live bait bite has been using wild shiners. My guide clients are catching some really nice bass up to nine pounds and the numbers of bass being caught are still great for the water getting low and the summer time heat starting to get pretty warm.

   I have been fishing mostly the shoal but have wondered down south toward Kramer Island and have also done pretty well. The bass are moving out toward the main lake with the water level going down and this means that most all of the points have bass stacked up on them. The bass have also moved out into the eel grass on the shoal and catching them on topwater early in the morning and then Charlie's Worms Zipper Dipper swimbaits the rest on the day has been my best methods for catching some nice bass. I have also been still doing pretty well on a big jig and craw trailer. For fishing in this eel grass a heavy action rod and at least fifty pound braided line is a must and for fishing the jig in the reeds and bulrush I have been using an extra heavy 7' 11" Okuma rod. I have been catching a few bass on a bluegill colored wake bait by swimming it around the bluegill beds but you need to make long casts so as not to scare these bass in this shallow clear water. Speaking of bluegill, I have never seen so many beds as I have seen the past couple weeks in areas like the shoal, West Wall, East Wall, and both sides of Ritta Island. If you want to catch some monster bluegill then Lake Okeechobee is the place to be right now.

   Now on to one of my favorite fish the giant tarpon and the Florida Keys is the place to be if you want to do battle with one of these magnificent fish. I have been doing a good number of charters here the past month in the Keys and the fishing has been great with a good number of hook ups and quite a few fish making it to the boat for pictures and measuring. I have been fishing from Grassy Key area to the Bahia Honda Bridge and seeing a lot of tarpon everywhere. I have been using mostly crabs and pinfish for bait but if you can get them mullet work great. I use a pretty heavy action rod and reel spooled with fifty pound test braided line, an eighty pound test fluorocarbon leader and usually a 7/0 circle hook. Drifting the live bait with the current works best and the more the tide is flushing bait through the bridges the better the fishing is. If you have never been to the Florida Keys to fish for tarpon or to just enjoy the tropical atmosphere then let me recommend it to anyone who needs a stress relief.

  Until next report good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

March 29th, 2012

The fishing for bass on Lake Okeechobee continues to be awesome and it doesn’t seem like it is going to slow down anytime soon. I have been catching bass on both artificial lures and on wild shiners, and the wild shiner bite has been off the hook with eight dozen shiners only lasting until noon. The water level is at 12.59 feet above sea level and going down but still a foot higher then it was last year at this time. The bass have spawned and are still spawning on the outside reed line closest to the lake this year; the water has finally cleared up enough to start seeing the beds.

   I am still fishing from Pelican Bay to Cochran’s Pass just depending on which direction the wind is blowing. But the main thing to keep in mind is that most of the bass are either in the reeds closest to the lake or out in open water up to one hundred yards out from the reed line. I have been catching some schooling bass out in open water in the morning on spinnerbaits, look for the birds diving on bait and that is where you need to be fishing. As far as fishing in the grass or reeds I have been using a ounce black and blue jig to catch most all of my fish but I have also caught a few texas rigging a Charlie’s Worms Large Crawfish in a dark color. You need to fish slow to get the bites and don’t expect a lot of bites but the ones you get will be good ones. The spinnerbait bite has also really picked up the past couple weeks fishing main lake points is your best bet. The fishing here on Okeechobee hasn’t been better and if you are thinking about coming here and going fishing then now is the time to make it happen. The bluegill will be going on the beds soon and the bass will be hanging around eating them like candy. I love to throw a wake bait in a bluegill pattern over the beds to catch bass during this time of the year. All of the guides here on the south end of the lake out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort have been having a great year catching lots of bass and making clients happy, while the tournaments have been setting record catches with lots of big bass making it to the scales. The weather is great along with the fishing here in Florida, plan a family fishing vacation soon.

   I still have a few open days in April for here on Lake Okeechobee and then some tarpon fishing opening for in the Florida Keys in May and June. Until next time good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon

 

 

March 6th, 2012

Have you been bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee lately? If not than now is the time to get to the lake and catch some bass and have a great time on the water. We have been catching a lot of bass and some really big bass up to nine pounds around the Clewiston area. My guide parties have been enjoying some awesome bass fishing the past couple months and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The artificial lure bite has been a little tougher than what it has been in the past but when you do find some bass they seem to be good ones. The live bait fishing with wild shiners has been crazy and has not slowed down; eight dozen shiners will not get you through an eight hour guide trip. I have been starting out with wild shiners and than finishing up with artificial lures as the bite on artificial lures seem to be better in the afternoon.

   I am still fishing a lot of areas from Cochran’s Pass to Pelican Bay with the wind being the deciding factor of the day. Most all of the bass that I have been catching are holding on the grass line closest to the main lake with the exception being when the water dirties up from the wind you need to move back in the grass until you get to the color break where the clean water meets the dirty water. My artificial lures of choice the past week has been Charlie’s Worms Zipper Dipper fished like a worm with a 1/8 ounce bullet sinker along the outside grass line especially in the bigger bullrush patches. I have also been pitching the one ounce Medlock jig in these same areas. I have also been catching some schooling bass out in open water but you have to be there when the come up schooling and that is a right time right place deal. For these schooling bass have a lipless crankbait or a spinnerbait ready on the deck of your boat for when you see these bass coming up chasing bait. There are still a few beds around but most only have small male bass on them. I think that since most of the areas that the bass usually spawn grew up so thick with vegetation last summer when the water was low that the majority of the bass spawned along the outside grass line in deeper water that was stained to much to see the beds, this is only my opinion but if not I can’t find a lot of beds this year like in years past.

   The crappie fishing is still a little slow and I’m not sure it will get any better now as the water is really warming up quick. There has been some bluegills being caught and with the water being so warm I think that we may get an earlier spawn this year. I still have a few dates in April left if you are interested in fishing Lake Okeechobee and May and June I will be in the Florida Keys guiding for tarpon. If you have ever wanted to catch giant tarpon than the Florida Keys is the place I can make that happen for you. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

 

Feb 22nd, 2012

As the month of February flies by here on Okeechobee the bass fishing has been best described as awesome. Catching thirty to forty bass a day on wild shiners is no problem and the artificial bite has been almost as good. Most of the bass seem to be still on the outside grass close to the main lake, with a few bass in different areas moving in to spawn and than moving right back out to the outside. My clients have been having the time of there life catching bass and I can’t even begin to tell you how many have caught the largest bass they have ever caught in their life right here on the lake in our back yard.

   I have been targeting the outside grass line from Cochran’s Pass to Pelican Bay with the deciding factor being the wind. Areas like the East Wall, Ritta Island, and Long Point have been really good places to fish. When fishing with the shiners try to pick a point out on the main lake and anchor up, be sure to take a lot of bait because you will use up at least a dozen an hour if not more. The artificial bite has been a little slow some days and really good others. I have been using the Charlie’s Worms Zipper Dipper and fishing it slow like a worm along the outside grass line and back in, about a good pitch into the grass. I have also caught bass really well on a one ounce Medlock jig fished in most of the same areas that I’m fishing wild shiners. This jig has a double weed guard that resists getting caught up in the weeds and the one ounce size has just the right fall. You will need to fish a trailer on this jig to make it work right, the bigger the better. When the wind is blowing a spinnerbait has been working just outside the grass on the main lake but if the wind blows too hard the water dirties up to much to fish a spinnerbait. I just can’t tell you in words how great Lake Okeechobee is fishing right now, if you have ever had the desire to come to South Florida bass fishing then now would be the time to make it happen.

   The crappie fishing is still hit and miss with limits being pretty hard to catch right now. I have heard of a few bluegills being caught but it will be another month or so before it really kicks in. As most folks know I guide in the Florida Keys for tarpon during the season from mid April through June so if anyone is looking to catch a giant tarpon get a hold of me soon as dates are filling up quick. I will also be heading to the Venice Louisiana area this fall for redfish season and will also start booking trips for big redfish on fly and conventional tackle. Fishing is my life and if you would like a trip of a lifetime just give me a call and I can make it happen. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

February, 6th, 2012

When I hear the words world famous the first thing that comes to mind is this awesome lake that is in my back yard called Lake Okeechobee. Do you want to catch a lot of bass or if you are looking for that trophy bass for bragging rights then Lake Okeechobee is the place to come fishing now. Catching fifty bass a day is not uncommon and most of them are from three to seven pounds. While live bait fishing the past few weeks with wild shiners we have been using up over six dozen shiners in as little as four hours. And if catching bass on artificial lures is your thing, then what it has been taking to win a one day tournament should catch your attention, thirty five pounds in just five fish to get a first place finish. If catching bass is a passion of your then now is the time to plan a trip to Lake Okeechobee where the weather is hot and so is the fishing.

   As I mentioned above the live bait fishing has been crazy and the lake is fishing so big right now, meaning you can catch bass almost anywhere. I have been fishing areas like Long Point, Bay Bottom, East Wall, West Wall, and up around Turner Cove area. If the wind will let you fish on the outside grass closest to the main lake then that is where I would be fishing. When fishing windy days just move in off the main lake far enough to be able to fish and where the water is clean. With the full moon almost upon us the bass are making a push toward spawning areas. We have been catching a lot of buck bass and the big females should be close behind moving in to spawning areas. I’m not sure how far back in off the main lake these bass will move but as of now they are not back in to far off the main lake. The FLW tournament this week should be awesome with hopes of breaking last year’s record of over 106 pound of bass with a limit each day of five bass for four days. Charlie’s Worms Zipper Dipper has been my bait of choice for my artificial trips with a Charlie’s Flippin’ Bug being my next choice.  Make sure you are using braided line and a good heavy action rod to get these fish out of the heavy cover.

   The crappie fishing is still about the same with most just catching a few a day. I have started to fill up my calendar for tarpon fishing in the Keys during May and June, if you are looking to catch a giant tarpon give me a call and we can get a trip of a lifetime set up. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

January 24th, 2012

 

Lake Okeechobee just keeps producing bass in numbers that are crazy and it seem to improve almost daily. Bass from three to ten pound are being caught on both wild shiners and artificial lures, almost anywhere from Clewiston to the Kissimmee River has been good. On top of the size of the bass being great numbers of bass caught has been off the wall. A couple days last week it was no problem to use up to eight dozen wild shiners by noon. If you have ever thought about fishing Lake Okeechobee now would be the time to plan a trip. The Everstart tournament was held on Lake Okeechobee last week and it took a three day total of fifteen bass that weighed 68.02 pounds to win. Brandon Medlock from Lake Placid Florida put $35,000.00 for his winning bag of bass caught on a jig that he and his dad make.

   The lake is fishing big right now meaning you can catch bass in a lot of areas of the lake. I have been fishing from Pelican Bay up the Cochran’s Pass with great success. The artificial bite has been a little slow but there are still bass to catch it just takes a little more time to find them and get the bass to bite. The live bait bite on wild shiners has been crazy with fifty fish days being common and some really nice five pound plus bass being caught every day. For artificial lures I have been pitching a Charlie’s Worms Flippin’ Bug along the outside grass, jigs have also been working pretty well. The idea on both baits is to pitch it in the isolated reed heads and than fish it real slow to get a bite. I have also heard that some bass are being caught on spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits but I have not been using either one yet. The bass have had a number cold front push through the past couple weeks and have made them act a little different as it always does but I have never seen the live bait bite like it is right now, taking out three dozen might only get you and hour of fishing in the morning. The lake water temperature is in the mid to upper seventies and as we move toward the full moon in February be ready to catch bass like we have never seen here on the lake at least not the past ten years or so.

   The crappie fishing has been pretty good with areas from Clewiston to Bird Island being good at the southern end of the lake. Fish back in the reeds with jigs or minnows. There have been a lot of boats on the lake and even more on the weekends, a little courtesy for your fellow fisherman can go a long ways. This also includes a little courtesy at the boat ramp, don’t block up the ramp while you get your boat ready there is plenty of room in the parking lot to get ready to go fishing. Many of you may not know that I guide for tarpon in the Florida Keys from mid April through June and now is the time to book one of these trips of a lifetime, dates are filling up fast. Good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

 

January 10th, 2012

After the cold front that we had move through South Florida last week the fishing is finally getting back to normal. The full moon should have had a few bass moving in to spawn but the cold water has put a hold on most of that. I did find a few beds but not very many in any one area. The water level is at 13.52 feet above sea level which is about a foot higher than what it was last year at this time. This water level is great to allow us to get almost anywhere that we want to go on the lake. The bass have really been eating the wild shiners and using up five dozen doesn’t take long at all, and the size of the bass we have been catching has also been good.

   Fishing since the cold front last week has been improving daily but the artificial bite is still off a little. Most of the fish that my clients have been catching are by flipping back in the heavy mats and cover. You don’t hook a lot of the bass in this heavy cover but the ones you do are some pretty good ones from five to eight pounds. I can catch smaller bass on 10 inch worms and on swim baits like the Charlie’s Worms Zipper Dipper but all of the bigger bass come flipping heavy cover. I have been flipping the “Flippin’ Bug” by Charlie’s Worms with a one ounce tungsten bullet weight. You will want to use a heavy action rod at least seven foot long and sixty five pound test braided line to have a chance at getting these bass in the boat. I pitch or flip this rig into a heavy mat and let the bait hit the bottom and than pull it up against the bottom of the mat and just hold it there for at least thirty second, if you don’t get a hit move on to the next spot. You will not catch a lot of bass doing this but most will be quality size bass. Areas that I have been fishing are the East Wall, Ritta Island, Bay Bottom, Grassy, and Long Point. But there are a lot of other areas on the lake that are producing fish. Hopefully as the water warms back up the bass will continue to move toward spawning areas and we can start catching a lot more bass including more big ones.

   The crappie fishing has been a little slow the last week and I think it also has something to do with the cold water temperature; a few are being caught in the reed heads on the outside grass line. Try using minnows and also jigs in a green and black color to catch some good eating size crappies. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water this week.

 

 

Jan 3rd, 2012

The New Year is here and the fishing here on Lake Okeechobee just keeps getting better by the day. The lake level is at 13.65 feet above sea level and is at a great level to allow us to fish almost anywhere on the lake including some places we have not had access to in a number of years. A cold front is moving through south Florida and after it warms up next week there should be a lot of bass moving in toward spawning areas. When the water cools off and than warms back up it triggers the bass to move in off the main lake toward spawning areas. I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and a happy New Year. I do have some bad news to report, local FLW pro Jimmy McMillan was gunned down in his store during a robbery. Jimmy was loved by the fishing community around Okeechobee and will be missed by all, our thoughts and prayers go out to the McMillan family.

   The live bait bite on wild shiners has been off the hook the past week with five dozen shiners only lasting a few hours. The artificial bite has been off a little the past week but was really good up until than. Next week the full moon should push a lot of bass in to spawn and the artificial bite should be back in full force. The bass that I have been catching on artificial lures has been flipping in heavy cover, using a Charlie’s Worms Flippin’ Bug and a heavy one ounce tungsten weight. You will need a good heavy action rod to get these bass out of this heavy cover and braided line of at least fifty pound test is a must. The bites doing this are not one after another but the bites you do get are big bass. The only other way I was able to catch some bass last week was on a Charlie’s Worms Zipper Dipper fished slow. If the weather cooperates this next week we should be able to catch bass off the beds in a lot of areas around the lake. Areas like the East Wall, Long Point, Pelican Bay, and along the shoal should all be good. We are still in January and with that cold fronts move through the area and can really slow the fishing down, starting with wild shiners and than going to artificial lures work great on these colder mornings here on Okeechobee.

   I haven’t had a lot of reports of crappie being caught but I know there are some being caught out off the main channel from Clewiston, in the rim canal, a few around Bird Island, and in the Kissimmee River. Jigs and minnows are both working well to catch them. If catching a trophy largemouth bass is something that you have always wanted to do then Okeechobee will be the place you will want to come fishing this year. We have already seen some really nice bass being caught and as we move toward the next few months the fishing will only get better. If you think the bass last year were big wait till you see what is caught this year. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

 

Wow only two weeks till Christmas, does everyone have the tree up and the shopping done? I still have a lot to do including the shopping and putting up the tree, but the bass fishing has been to good to stay home. The water level on the lake has remained pretty steady at around 13.75 feet above sea level and the rain we received over the weekend should even bring it up a little. We have had a few fronts move through the area the last couple weeks but it really hasn’t effected the fishing much, bass are being caught from the north end of the lake all the way to the south and everywhere in between. This year should be a record setting year again as was last year; average tournament weighing bags to win are over thirty pounds in five fish.

   I have been fishing from the North Shore area down to Kramer Island and have had a hard time patterning fish but if you just keep fishing you will find them. The bass seem to be moving around a lot right now and it can make it a little tough to find a concentration of fish but I have just been putting the trolling motor down and covering a lot of water and you will find the fish. Some areas that have been really good are the East Wall, Grassy, Long Point, around Observation Island, Turners Cove, and Cochran’s Pass but out on the outside grass line. The bass a really scattered out as you get back in the grass and not really concentrated like they should be but as we head into January there should be a big push of bass moving in to spawn. I have been catching bass on wild shiners, artificial lures, and even been catching bass fly fishing. For artificial lures I have been using the Charlie’s Worms Zipper Dipper and the new Big Dipper most of the time but on the cold front days I have been throwing a Salt Stick O also made by Charlie’s Worms and fishing it real slow. With all the grass that we are fishing in I recommend at least fifty pound braided line and heavy action rods to get the bass out of the heavy cover and to the boat. I have also been trying the new craze in the fishing industry called an Alabama rig, it looks like an umbrella rig that the offshore guys use but a smaller version for bass fishing. I have been using the Zipper Dippers on it and have caught some bass but no really big fish yet, it works great on the outside of the grass or where the grass is really scattered and thin. I will have more to report on this rig as the season progresses here on Okeechobee.

   The have had reports of the crappie fishing being pretty good with the area around Bird Island, the rim canal south of Clewiston, and the Kissimmee River great places to start. Jigs and minnows are both working. I have gift certificates available for that hard to shop for person, a fishing trip on Lake Okeechobee or the Florida Keys always fits. Good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

November 20th, 2011

 

Lake Okeechobee is one of the hottest lakes in the country right now and looking toward our season it will only get better. Just a month and a half ago we were looking at drought conditions and even though the fishing was good I sure wasn’t looking forward to fishing this winter and spring with the lake water level so low I wouldn’t be able to get to where I like to fish, than came the rains in the Kissimmee basin. Now we have water and the level is at 13.80 feet above sea level which should sustain us with plenty of water till next rainy season. The fishing has been awesome and seems to be getting better each day we go out on the lake. And the size of the bass has improved over last year and I can hardly wait till the big spawning females move in after the first of the year, not that were not catching some really nice bass now up to nine pounds. I think that Lake Okeechobee will set new tournament records this year and if you just want to come and catch bass you won’t be disappointed.

   You can catch bass on live bait or on artificial lures the choice is up to you, I prefer artificial lures but some of the bass we have been catching on wild shiners will keep you busy all day catching fish from three to nine pounds and the numbers have been awesome. December will be a great month as the water finally starts to cool off and the bass move toward traditional spawning areas stopping on the outside grass line on there way in. I have been fishing from the Monkey Box to Pelican Bay and the fishing has been good all over the west side of the lake. I have been doing better when the wind blows but it makes fishing harder for sure and it would be nearly impossible in some areas without my two Power-Poles keeping me anchored to the bottom.

   For artificial lures right now I have been keeping it simple with Charlie’s Worms Zipper Dippers soft plastic swimbaits and the Salt Stick O’s. The Zipper Dippers I fish Texas rigged with a 6/0 Trokar wide gap hook attached to sixty five pound test Diamond brand braided line. I have been also experimenting with the new Alabama rig and have been having fun catching schooling bass and working it just outside the grass line. For those of you who have never heard of an Alabama rig it is just like an umbrella rig used for saltwater trolling only a little smaller, I fish it with Zipper Dippers and no weight. This rig looks like a whole school of bait fish coming through the water and when we start to really see a more concentration of bass we should be able to catch them at least a couple bass at a time. For those of you who like to fish with wild shiners the bite has been great with plenty of action, bring at a minimum of three dozen to get the day started.

   For those of you who like to crappie fish the action has been good in places like the Kissimmee River, around Bird Island, and out Uncle Joe’s Cut. I know that jigs have been working great but minnows should also be good. I have gift certificates available if you are looking for that special gift for the fisherman or woman in your life. Trips are available on Lake Okeechobee for some trophy bass fishing or tarpon fishing in the Keys for the upcoming season in April, May, and June 2012. Good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

 

Oct 26th, 2011

We have water in Lake Okeechobee once again and we are getting even more. The lake water level is up to around thirteen feet above sea level and the water is still coming in strong from the Kissimmee basin, I think that we should at least have as much water as we did last year at this time if not more when it all finally drains into the lake. Our prayers have been answered with a lot of water at the end of the rainy season and the beginning of our busy fishing season here on the lake. The other great thing is that the water is really clean and clear here at the south end of the lake and even when the wind blows really hard the water cleans right up in a day or two.

   Bass are being caught almost everywhere here on the south end of the lake from up around Cochran’s Pass all the way down to the Pahokee area. Places like Rita Island, Coots Bay, East Wall, West Wall, and up on the shoal have all been producing fish and it will only get better. I was really surprised at how fast the bass moved into these areas off of the main lake but the bass are in the grass and not just little but some really nice bass in the five pound plus range. I was also really surprised at how far back in the grass they have moved, I would have though the bass would have stayed closer to the outside grass line but they have really moved back in a long ways.

  It is time to get braided line back on your reels and get a good heavy action rod out to catch these bass that are back in this grass. I spool my reels up with fifty and sixty five pound test Diamond Braid and use a heavy action rod that has a little tip so that you can make long casts. The reason for long cast right now is that with these bass just moving into the grass they are a little spooky yet and you start grinding around in this thick grass and you will spook these bass. My bait choice in the thick grass is a soft plastic swimbait; I throw the Charlie’s Worm Zipper Dipper and the all new Big Dipper with a big 6/0 or 7/0 Trokar hook. I use a couple different colors but junebug is my go to color. I will also pitch a Charlie’s Worms Flippin’ Bug to the reed heads and into some of the heavy mats we have for now until the spray boats find them and kill them. With the bass moving so fast toward and into the grass an area that didn’t have fish today might have fish in it tomorrow, you will just have to keep trying your favorite areas until the bass get there and they will get there.

   I’m really excited about the season this year on Lake Okeechobee after the awesome year we had last year it should only be better this season. The lake is very healthy looking and so are all the bass we are catching. Now is the time to book a trip of a lifetime on world famous Lake Okeechobee. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

Oct 4th, 2011

Fall has arrived here in South Florida if only for a few days but the water temperature has dropped a few degrees and so has the night time temperatures. Lake Okeechobee water level is up to 11.13 feet above sea level which is better than last month but we could sure use about another two feet of water in the lake but unless we get a late season tropical storm I think that we have all the water we are going to get for the year. The fishing has been improving by the week and the cooler water temperatures should really help get these fish fired up and looking for bait. I have been seeing a lot of schooling bass and that is a sure sign that fall is in the air here on the big lake.

   This time of the year I like to keep a topwater lure like a Zara Super Spook and a lipless crankbait rigged and ready to throw to schooling fish when I’m running anywhere on the lake. It is an awesome sight to see a school of five pound bass come up feeding on a ball of shad and if you do not have a bait ready to cast to these fish it will be to late by the time you get rigged up and ready to cast to catch them. The other thing that fall brings to the lake is wind and it is out of the north or east this time of the year and can really get the water muddied up and make fishing out on the main lake tough. With the water level where it is at right now the bass can get back in the grass some but it is going to make it tough this winter to get back in the grass far enough to get to clean water and not spook the bass.

   The bass we have been catching lately have been in the two to seven pound range but the bigger ones are harder to come by, but as this water cools fishing will definitely improve. I have been using a couple different techniques and baits to catch most of the bass we are catching. One is texas rigging a 10” Charlie’s Worm in watermelon-red color and fishing it real slow around rocks and some vegetation. Some areas to try are around the spoil islands out the Clewiston channel, around the lake end of Uncle Joe’s cut, and on the pipeline. The other rig I have been using is a Carolina rigged Charlie’s Worms Salt Stick O in junebug color. I have been fishing the Carolina rig in the deeper holes out on the main lake; I also fish a crankbait in firetiger color through these deeper holes. And when I say deeper holes I may only mean that they are a foot or two deeper than the surrounding water but that is deep enough here on Okeechobee to hold the bass.

   The fishing will continue to improve as we move toward the winter season here on Lake Okeechobee and I think that this should be another great year here on the big lake. Now is the time to start booking a trip on world famous Lake Okeechobee for this season as the good dates will fill up fast. Good luck, tight lines and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

 

 

September 13th, 2011

 

September is here and as the water starts to cool a little the bass fishing has started to get pretty good in some areas. The water is still a little low at 10.88 feet above sea level but it is coming up every day and that is very encouraging since all the major storms seem to be going to the northeastern states. It has been a pretty hot summer here in south Florida but the fishing both here on Lake Okeechobee and in the Keys has been good.

   Catching bass this summer has been a little challenging with the water level being low but when you do find the fish there seems to be a lot of them and some pretty good sized ones in the mix. One of my clients last week had a bass over seven pounds and I caught one right at eight and a half pounds the same day so there are some really nice bass to be caught out on Okeechobee right now. The bite on artificial lures has been better than using the wild shiners but that can change almost anytime as we head into fall here on the lake. Topwater lures like a RipRoller made by HighRoller in firetiger color has been working great as well as a Zara Super Spook, and don’t be afraid to throw topwater lures all day long. This past couple weeks the best bite didn’t happen till after ten o’clock in the morning and most of my topwater bites were in the afternoon. Some of the other lures that have been working are ten inch worms and soft plastic fluke baits in either junebug or watermelon-red color. I have been fishing my soft plastics on a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce weight and fishing them really slow, the lighter weight doesn’t allow the sinker and worm to get caught up in the shrimp grass on the bottom of the areas I’m fishing.

   I have been fishing areas out on the lake from Uncle Joe’s cut to Pelican Bay with pretty good success, but when the bite is really tough out on the main lake or the wind is really blowing there are still bass to be caught in the rim canal and dynamite holes. When fishing the dynamite holes and rim canal try throwing a crankbait or a shakey head worm to catch these bass in deeper water. There are still a few bluegills hanging around out on the main lake and these areas are great places to catch bigger bass that are hanging around feeing on them.

   The winter should be a great season for us again this year here on Lake Okeechobee and if fishing trip to catch some big bass sound good than now is the time to start planning a trip to the Big “O”.  After catching all the big bass that we did last year the bass should only be bigger this year. I am also starting to book for tarpon season next May and June and it won’t take long to fill up these two months, if catching a monster tarpon is something you have always wanted to do please give me a call and we can set you up a trip to the beautiful Florida Keys and get you hooked up on a fish of a lifetime.  Until next week good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water real soon.

 

 

August 22nd, 2011

 

As hurricane Irene heads our way all we can do is pray that we get a lot of rain north of Lake Okeechobee and the winds leave us alone. The lake level is at 10.53 above sea level and has come up a little with the rains that we have been receiving but we really need a tropical depression to get this lake back to a water level we need. The fishing has been good all summer and I look for it to remain good on through the rest of the summer. I have been catching bass out on the main lake as well as in the dynamite holes and even a few in the rim canal. With the lake level at 10.53 feet above sea level running the lake is still tricky and if you are not sure where you are going don’t go unless you are idling or using your trolling motor.

   I have been fishing the main Clewiston channel, the outside of Uncle Joe’s Cut, and some holes in the reef for the past few weeks and my success has been pretty good. The topwater bite has been great throughout the day and if it does slow down a shakey head or Carolina rig will keep you catching some really nice bass. For topwater a Zara Super Spook is hard to beat but there are days a small popper or prop bait works great also. While I’m talking about the topwater bite this is a great time to catch some bass on a fly rod and a larger popper like the ones I use in saltwater seem to work best. When the bite slows down on topwater get out a Carolina rig with either a Gambler Ace in junebug color or a Super Fluke in watermelon-red color and you will continue catching these bass. I like to get out a Gambler Giggy head jig in ounce with a junebug Sweebo worm on it and slow drag it along the bottom especially in the rocks out on the reef. A lot of people like to hop there shakey head up off the bottom but I have found that with the shallow water if you just drag it slowly across the bottom you will get a lot more bites. A lot of the areas out on the main lake are covered with shrimp grass now and the Carolina rig works much better than a texas rigged worm, with the Carolina rig the worm floats up on top of the shrimp grass and doesn’t get buried up like a texas rigged worm does. If you are fishing the dynamite holes I would stick with a Shakey Head and a lipless crankbait to catch bass, and don’t be afraid to fish in the middle of these dynamite holes as most people only fish around the outside edge and leave the middle untouched. As far as the rim canal fishing I would concentrate on the openings to the lake and dynamite holes, these cuts will hold fish year round and a lipless crankbait and soft plastics worms work best. Fishing with wild shiners has been ok but as it usually is in the summer you can catch just as many bass on artificial lures and I think it is more rewarding to catch them on artificial lures that you cast and work yourself than wild shiners that do all the work for you.

   I’m still doing some guide trips in the Keys for bonefish, permit, and shark if anyone is interested and the night time bully netting for lobster has also been pretty good. I also want to mention that I attended a meeting for the Friends of Okeechobee, new group to unite people with interest in Lake Okeechobee together to stop the horrible mismanagement of the lake, including water levels, dredging, spraying. The meeting went very well with about fifty persons attending from guides, farmers, business owners, and just concerned residents of the lake area. We need to get more people together if we are going to fight this cause; I will let you all know when the meeting next month will be and where. The main focus is the water level that the Corp of Engineers in Jacksonville control and could care less about the folks around the lake trying to make a living, all the lake is to them is a big holding pond. We have to get everyone on board if we are going to win this fight. Good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone out on the water soon.

 

 

 

Julian with first bass picture of six year old Julian Warden with his first bass.  

 

 

 

August is here and it has been pretty hot on Lake Okeechobee but not as hot as it has been in some of our northern states. The fishing has also been pretty hot on the lake catching bass up to seven pounds on artificial lures all day long in the heat. The water level hasn’t went up or down much the past couple weeks, I think the small amount of rain we have been receiving is keeping the level pretty steady. There are a lot of small bass to catch with numbers up to fifty a day not a problem but you will have to weed through the smaller bass to catch a few bigger ones. When the bluegills are in on the beds it has been a lot easier to find the bigger bass on the lake.

 

  I have been targeting both the dynamite holes and the open water for bass the past few weeks and the fishing has been good. The bite has been much better on artificial lures then what it has been on the wild shiners, that’s not to say you can’t catch bass on the wild shiners but during the hot summer months the fishing is almost always better on artificial lures. Out on the open lake I have been targeting holes in the reef that you can find on a map and then the next key ingredient is bluegill beds, with both of these you will catch bass. These holes in the reef are scattered from off Kramer Island to off of Observation Island you just have to look for them. One other bit of advice I can give you is to stay off the trolling motor once you start catching some bass in this shallow water, I have a pair of Power-Pole shallow water anchors to hold me in place but an anchor will do the same thing. If you are using an anchor slide it in the water gently, I see everyone throw it and make a big splash and I’m not sure why but if you just slide it in the water slowly it will hold the boat and you won’t spook the fish.

 

  Most of the bass I have been catching lately have been on a shakey head jig, my favorite is the Gambler ounce Giggy Head with a Gambler Sweebo worm in either junebug or black color. I have also been using a Carolina rigged Gambler Ace and a Zara Super Spook to catch some of these bass out in the open water but the most and biggest bass my clients and I have caught are on the shakey heads. I have had reports of bass being caught on Zoom Super Flukes, Senkos wacky rigged, and crankbaits from other guides.

  

 

The water is still low on the lake so don’t just go running around anywhere or you will find yourself in some really shallow water with rocks on the bottom. My suggestion run only where you know it is safe and than idle or use the trolling motor to explore new areas. Be safe on the water, drinks lots of water, use plenty of sunscreen, and enjoy what’s left of the summer. I am still booking trips in the Keys out of Marathon for night time bully netting lobsters and for bonefish, permit, and shark fishing. Good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon. 

 

 

 

 

 

July 6th, 2011

Summer is here in South Florida and as the temperature heats up the fishing on Lake Okeechobee remains pretty good. The water level is back up to 9.83 feet above sea level as water is pumped in to the lake from the surrounding fields. We desperately need water in the lake right now and the dirty nasty water coming in the canals to the lake right now is better than no water at all. This water coming in has made it a little tough fishing in the rim canal but the dynamite holes and fishing out on the lake is still good.

   In the summer here on Lake Okeechobee I like to get an early start in the morning because it gets pretty hot out on the lake but the good thing is that the bass here on Okeechobee seem to bite all day if you can find them. Some great places to find them now is out in the holes and cuts in the reefs on the main lake, and now that we are receiving some water back in the lake it isn’t so hard to get to them. As most everyone who knows me my favorite lure to throw when the water is low is a shakey head jig with either a worm or soft plastic jerk bait attached. I can take a ounce Gambler Giggy Head jig and a Gambler Sweebo worm or Super Stud and catch bass here on Lake Okeechobee on every trip out. Yes there is days when a topwater lure like a Zara Super Spook or one of the topwater lures made by Sam Griffin will catch more and bigger bass but as far as consistency a shakey head jig will catch you bass every time you go out as long as you are fishing in the right areas. Another lure that has been working well for me lately is a 10” worm rigged texas style with a 1/8 ounce weight and fished slow, a Gambler junebug colored worm is my choice. The wild shiner bite is a little slow as it always is during the summer months, that’s not to say that you won’t catch bass on shiners because I do it at least once a week, but for the most part artificial lures will catch you more and bigger fish during the summer months. Don’t be afraid to try other lures and tactics when the bite slows down in the summer, try a swimbait, Carolina rig, drop shot, or crankbaits. You might just find the next best lure to be using here on the big lake and you won’t have to share it with anyone.

   There are still quite a few bluegills to catch out on the lake right now and the size has been really big. Fishing guide Joe Payne reported catching some really nice bluegill with clients and his grandsons in the Caloosahatchee River on crickets. I will still be guiding here on the lake as well as guiding for sharks down in the Florida Keys. And as August approaches I will be offering lobstering trips in the Keys both snorkeling and night time bully netting. Lobstering is a lot of fun and what better catch to eat while here in Florida. Good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone out on the water soon.  


 

 

May 31st, 2011

The lake level here on Lake Okeechobee is nearing ten feet above sea level and not much rain in sight. The fishing has still been pretty good with mostly numbers being caught but we have had a few nice bass this past week. The rim canal, Clewiston channel, and dynamite holes are where I would suggest fishing with the water level where it is at to avoid tearing up your motor or boat.

   I have been fishing the Clewiston channel out to the water tank the past few weeks and have been catching a lot of bass in the two to four pound range. I usually start the morning out with topwater plugs or jerkbaits and than as the sun and wind get up I switch to lipless crankbaits and soft plastic worms. For lipless crankbaits I like to throw a Spro Aruka Shad in either a chrome or gold color and for topwater lure choices a Zara Super Spook is hard to beat. When I switch to soft plastics a shakey head is my weapon of choice, I like a ounce Gambler Giggy Head jig with a Sweebo worm also made by Gambler in either junebug or black color. A Carolina rig fished in the Clewiston channel will also work really well and I like to use a Gambler Ace in junebug color to trick these bass. A couple other lures that I have caught a few bass on the past couple weeks is a Spro Little John crankbait and a Strike King “King Shad” swimbait. Since I am no longer fishing in the thick vegetation at this water level I have switched to monofilament and fluorocarbon line. The lake water is getting very clear as the water level goes down and the bass will become line shy with so many people fishing in such a small areas.

   Some other areas to try at this water level is the Airport hole over by Pahokee, the rim canal from Moorehaven to Belle Glade, and for sure the dynamite holes. At this water level you can not get out to the main lake from Harney pond Canal but Sam Griffin and some of his friends have marked the channel with markers from sportsman’s channel out to the main lake. My best suggestion is if you have not been on the lake for a while don’t try to go somewhere that you are not sure of because I think that the lake is lower than what the reading are that we are getting.

   The bluegill fishing remains really good with the rim canal being one of the better areas. Crickets would still be my bait of choice but a Beetle Spin will also catch them. I still have a couple days open days in June for tarpon season in the Keys and the tarpon fishing has been off the hook with a good number of hook ups on ever trip. Give me a call if you would like to get one of the few open days left in June before the main tarpon season is done for the year. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water real soon. 

 

 

May17th, 2011

 

 

As the water level on Lake Okeechobee continues to fall the lake is starting to fish really small for a lake that is the second largest lake within the United States. The lake level is at 10.64 feet above sea level and has been dropping pretty fast making a lot of areas inaccessible to boats, areas like the shoal, Cochran’s Pass, East and West Walls, and many other areas are tough to fish with very little water in them. The good news is that with the lower water level the bass will soon be concentrated in smaller areas like the Clewiston channel, rim canal, and dynamite holes. There are some really good fish still being caught but the tactics have changed from fishing in the heavier vegetation to fishing open water with swim baits, crank baits, Carolina rigs and my favorite shakey head jigs. We have been getting some needed rain but it is going to take some major rain storms to fill the big lake back up.

The Clewiston channel has been a popular spot to fish the past couple weeks fishing from the locks going into Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina out to the water tank has been holding some really nice bass. The channel can be fished with crank baits, lipless crank baits and of course soft plastic worms. I like to fish a shakey head jig with a straight tailed Gambler Sweebo worm along the channel drop from the shallow water into the deeper channel. This is also a good place to throw a Spro Little John crank bait and a swim bait like a King Shad made by Strike King. You can also throw a soft plastic swim bait like a Gambler EZ Swimmer or Big EZ. Some of the other areas that have been holding bass are the dynamite holes like the Football Field and some of the other ones east of Clewiston. The rim canal and Uncle Joes Cut have also been holding some bass but they are a little hard to find right now but if we lose another six inches of water or more the rim canal will be the place to fish. Other areas to try are the airport hole over by Pahokee, the cuts to the lake like Boy Scout cut and Houseboat cut where the rim canal meets the cut should hold fish around the drop off. You will want to be very careful motoring around the main lake with your boat at the current water level, if you don’t know how much water is in an area then idle or use your trolling motor to get there.

The bluegill fishing has been really good with a lot of fish being caught in the rim canal fishing a cricket under a cork float or you can also try a Beetle Spin. I have also been guiding in the Florida Keys in the Marathon area for tarpon and the bite is on. Live crabs and pinfish are working great on the Bahia Hondo Bridge and live mullet and pinfish have been best at the long key bridge. For fly fishing try a Tarpon Tapas fly that is a much smaller fly than most folks are use to using but are working really well this year. These flies and other fly fishing tackle can be purchased at the Florida Keys Outfitters in Islamorada, tell Sandy that I sent you. 

 

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide out of world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida. Give him a call at 863-677-0983 or go to www.markkingfishing.com


 

 

May 2nd, 2011

The fishing is still pretty good here on Lake Okeechobee even though the water level has dipped below eleven feet above sea level and seems to be dropping more rapidly every day. Some of the bass are still holding tight on the outside grass line in spite of the low water but a lot of the bass have already moved out toward the main lake stopping on the spoil islands and any other channels and drop offs on the way. We need to slow down the water that is going out of this lake and soon, the farmers and coastal folks that keep taking the water out of Okeechobee need to realize that it is not an endless supply of water for their use. You need to start being very careful where you run a boat on Okeechobee as the water level is now at that level where you will start to hit underwater objects and could run aground real easy. You should start to exercise caution in most areas of the lake.

   The fishing the past couple weeks has been great with some really nice bass being caught in a lot of different areas of the lake. There are still bass on the outside grass line from Cochran’s Pass to Pelican Bay but if the water keeps going down like it is they won’t be there long. As the bass move away from this grass they will be located in areas like around the spoil islands, the main ship channel, rim canal, and dynamite holes. For now the bass are trying to stay in areas where the bluegill beds are but as soon as the bluegills move out so will the bass. I have been catching bass on wild shiners and artificial baits both the past couple weeks in a lot of different areas. Before the little cold front last week pushed through the area my clients caught bass from two to eight pounds on wild shiners in the morning and artificial lures in the afternoon. I am still using the Gambler EZ Swimmer in the grass but have been using lipless crankbaits, shakey head jigs, and worms out in the open water. If you can find active bluegill beds you should be able to catch bass in the same areas. Fishing the main ship channel from Clewiston out has been producing some nice bass and should continue to do so as the water level continues to drop. I like to stay in the channel and parallel the drop off into the channel with lipless crankbaits and shakey head jigs. I like to throw a Gambler ounce Giggy Head jig with a dark colored Gambler Sweebo worm. These areas can also be great in the morning with a topwater lure like a Zara Super Spook.

   The bluegill fishing has been pretty good the past couple weeks mostly out of the flats areas like the East and West Walls, and many other large flats areas in the lake as well as the rim canal. I will start fishing in the Keys for Tarpon as well as here on the lake for the next few months so if fishing either place is a dream for you now is the time to book a trip. Until next time good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone out on the water soon.

 

 

April 19th, 2011

All I can say is that it was another awesome week here on Okeechobee and I know that it sounds like a broken record but this lake is on fire. The lake level has been holding at around eleven and a half feet above sea level and the water has really cleaned up on the lake in most areas. It is nothing to idle out a couple miles from the grass line and be able to see the bottom like you are looking through a water glass. The bass seem to be almost everywhere here on the south end of the lake, areas from Cochran’s Pass to Pelican Bay have all been producing tournament winning bags of bass. Bass from five to eight pounds have been real common and to win a tournament this past month on the lake you had better have a five bass limit weighing over thirty pounds or you won’t even get in the money. With the lake level being low and the lake being in such great shape the fishing here on Lake Okeechobee will only get better. We had such a great spawn with bass this year starting in September and still going on strong that the future looks so bright here on the lake that everyone will want to come fish Lake Okeechobee for big bass.

   I have still been fishing most of the same areas from Cochran’s Pass to Pelican Bay mostly dependant on which direction the wind is blowing. As the bass move out of the spawning areas this month I will follow them out to offshore areas like the spoil islands, Cross Island, Clewiston channel, and deeper areas in the reef. For the past couple months I been using the Gambler EZ Swimmer to catch almost all of the bass I have been catching but as the bass move offshore I will be switching to a shakey head jig and crankbaits. My shakey head rig consist of a Gambler Giggy Head jig in ounce and a Gambler Sweebo worm in black or junebug color, for a rod I use my signature series Deep South Rods “Mark King Shakey Head” rod with fifteen to twenty pound test Bass Pro Shops fluorocarbon line. For crankbaits I like to have two tied on a lipless Spro Aruka Shad and the Spro Little John crankbait that dives down to three feet. The other lures that work great during the summer is a Zara Super Spook topwater lure, a Strike King “King Shad” hard swimbait, and a Carolina rigged Gambler Ace worm. Live bait fishing this past month for bass was for lack of words awesome, you could use five dozen wild shiners in three hours and have some trophy class bass in the seven to nine pound range. I also offer fly fishing trip here on Lake Okeechobee for bass and bluegill and in the Keys for tarpon, bonefish, and permit. During the summer months fly fishing on Lake Okeechobee can be a lot of fun as the wind doesn’t typically blow very much and makes for easier casting and some great topwater action.

   It was also a great season for shell crackers and bluegill here on the lake as the water was so clear you could see beds almost everywhere here at the south end of the lake. I would suggest that if you ever wanted to fish Lake Okeechobee then now would be the time to come fishing the lake as it has not been this good in many years. I will be guiding in the Keys (Marathon) for tarpon starting in May as well as doing trips here on Lake Okeechobee so if catching fish and having fun sounds like your kind of fishing trip just give me a call and we can get you a trip scheduled either here on Okeechobee or in the Florida Keys.    

 

 

 

April 12th, 2011

Lake Okeechobee is one of if not the best lake in the country for big bass and a lot of them right now and if catching a trophy largemouth bass is your passion then you need to get out on the lake soon. You might not catch a ten pound bass everyday but a seven pound bass or two a day has been pretty common on both artificial lures and wild shiners it’s your choice. The water level is at 11.57 feet above sea level so navigating the lake just takes some caution in shallow areas but most of the lake is very fishable. The bass were on the spawning beds in a lot of areas last week and are now on the outside grass line feeding up before moving out to the main lake. There are also a lot of bluegill beds around and the bass are eating the bluegill in all of the areas that I have been fishing.

   Areas that I have been fishing include the outside of Cochran’s Pass, the shoal, West Wall, around Ritta Island, Long Point, and Pelican Bay. The bass seem to be on the outside of the grass in the morning with the low light but as the sun gets up high in the sky the bass move back tighter to cover and are a little harder to catch. I’m using a couple different lures now including the Gambler EZ Swimmer most of the time but a jig with a Gambler Mega Daddy trailer has also been working great. I did catch a few bass on a 10” worm but the EZ Swimmer out fished it in numbers and size of bass. Another lure that I know that they are catching bass on is a swimming jig but I have not tried one yet. With the bluegill on the beds in most areas I will have a bluegill pattern wake bait and a topwater lure like a Zara Super Spook ready to throw around these spawning beds when I see bass chasing bluegill. Some other areas that I did fish last week when I had the IWFA tournament anglers with me was some of the dynamite holes and the Bare Beach channel. This woman’s only fishing tournament only allows eight pound test line and fishing back in the heavy grass like I have been would not have worked but the women did end up catching a big number of smaller bass.

   While fishing this past week I noticed a lot of out of state bluegill fishermen and a lot of local bluegill fishermen out on the airboats and there wasn’t too much courtesy going on. If someone is fishing an area it does not give you the right to go right in on them or running an airboat over top of an area that someone is fishing is just not cool. It seems like everything is good here on Lake Okeechobee until bluegill season comes around and than everyone forgets how to be nice to each other. There is plenty of bluegill out there for everyone, but with being said there is also a limit and we all need to adhere to it. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone out on the lake.    

 

Picture of guide client and friend Jess Sandbulte from Sioux Center Ia.  

 

 

 

March 28th, 2011

Just when I thought that the bass fishing here on Lake Okeechobee was going to slow down it just seems to be getting better. My clients enjoyed another great week catching some really nice bass on both artificial lures and wild shiners. The lake level is at 11.49 feet above sea level and seems to be dropping a lot slower now and with the rain we are suppose to get this week it might not go down to much more for a little while. The great thing about fishing on Okeechobee now is that the bass are in a lot of different areas and we are not all fishing in the same places. I did still catch a few bass off of spawning beds this week but most were moving out to the outside grass line and holding there. I still think that the fishing will be great through the April full moon and that we will have a good number of bass move in to spawn.

   I only used wild shiners once this past week but the bass ate them as soon as they hit the water and the size ranged from two to eight pounds. But the artificial lure fishing was awesome and that is what most of my clients want to do and it is also my favorite way to fish for bass. Again this past week the Gambler EZ Swimmer was by far the best producing lure for me and my clients with some really nice seven and eight pound bass put in the boat. I did catch a few bass on a bluegill colored wake bait and a 10” worm but for the most bites and the biggest fish I have been sticking with the EZ Swimmer. I have been seeing a fair amount of bluegill so this is why I did try the wake bait; I have had great success on this type of bait in past years.

   I am still fishing a big area from outside Cochran’s Pass to Pelican Bay with the wind speed and direction being the deciding factor. Areas like the West Wall, East Wall, Ritta Island, Long Point, and Pelican Bay have been on fire the past few weeks. Any outside grass lines, clumps, or just random peppergrass patches have been great places to start. With the water being so shallow and clear in most of the areas that I have been fishing it only takes a couple boats making noise and grinding around with the trolling motors to shut these bass off but after they leave the bass will start hitting again. I have even been using a push pole in some areas to be quiet and if you stop your trolling motor and sit in one place for a couple minutes you will start catching fish. There have also been a few bass being caught on lipless crankbaits out in the open water off the West and East Walls.

   The shell cracker fishing has been pretty good but will be slowing down soon; the bluegill fishing will only get better as we head toward a full moon. Try Beetle Spins and crickets fished under a cork to get a limit for the deep fryer. While I’m on this subject a limit of bluegill is twenty five per person, this does not mean you get your limit and bring them in and head back out on the lake for another limit. There are laws here on Lake Okeechobee and they are meant to be followed. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone out on the lake. 


 

 

March 21st, 2011

The full moon is over here on Okeechobee and we had an awesome amount of bass move in to spawn this past week here on the south end of the lake. There were a lot of big bass caught over the past week including a 10.17 pound bass caught by Juan Ruiz and Jake Witman during the Bass Busters tournament out of Clewiston, Juan and Jake also took first place with a total weight of 32.58 pounds for a five fish limit. My clients had a blast catching bass all week long on artificial lures in spawning areas. This week the bass should be moving out of the spawning areas and staging on the outside grass line eating bait before they move out toward the main lake. The water level is still dropping and is at 11.68 feet above sea level and the lake is starting to take a toll on props and gear cases. Please be very carefully running your boat in areas that you are not familiar with, just spend a little extra time idling in and out of areas that you want to fish.

   I am still fishing areas like the shoal, West Wall, East Wall, Long Point, and Pelican Bay depending on which direction and how hard the wind is blowing. As far as lure selection it has been Gambler EZ Swimmers and Aces this week for me except for a few bass I caught on a Gambler Flapp’n Daddy. I’m sure other lures will work but why quit using what is working to try something else. The bass we caught off the beds this past week couldn’t resist the EZ Swimmer pitched in the bed with a 1/8 ounce weight. The areas that I was catching bass in also had a lot of bluegill and I think the swimbait looks like a bluegill. The water temperature was right, the wind was right, and the bass were definitely on the beds on this moon. As we head toward April the bluegill will be moving in to bed and the bass will have a feeding frenzy in most of the areas that I have been fishing. And if bluegill fishing is your thing then break out the Beetle Spins, crickets, and fly rods because this is going to be a great year for catching bluegill on Lake Okeechobee. Catching bluegill on a fly rod is a lot of fun and you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment, just a rod, reel, line, leader, and a few small poppers. April and May should be good bass fishing months as well as so great fishing for bluegill.

   By the middle of next month I will be guiding for tarpon in the Florida Keys as well as here on Lake Okeechobee for bass and bluegill so now is the time to book a fishing trip of a lifetime in the beautiful Florida Keys. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon


 

 

March 14th, 2011

What a week it has been here on the Big “O” from hot sunny weather to storms and than a cold front and than we wonder why the fish are a little hard to catch from day to day. I had a couple great days this week catching some really nice bass and than as the cold front came through South Florida the fishing did get a little tough but this week everything should be back to normal. The lake level is still dropping and is at 11.91 feet above sea level which is starting to get a little scary in some areas running a boat. If you are not sure about running your boat in a certain area of the lake than don’t, just idle around and you will still get where you are going and still have a prop and gear case on your boat at the end of the day. Great weather is in store for this week and it should be that way right in to the summer now and with the full moon coming this week the bass will be on the move toward spawning areas. It seems like the north end of the lake has already gone through the bass spawning in most areas and now it is our turn at the southern end of the lake to enjoy catching some of these bass moving in to spawn.

   Areas like Pelican Bay, Long Point, outside Ritta Island, and the East Wall will be some of the good areas this week if the wind doesn’t blow to hard and mess them up. The bass should be on any outside grass the first of the week but should move on in to shallower areas as the week progresses and we get toward the full moon. I did catch most of the bass I caught this week on the outside grass and reed heads in some of the above mentioned areas. Number one bait again this past week was the Gambler EZ Swimmer rigged texas style with either a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce bullet weight depending on how hard the wind was blowing. Swimming it slow like slow rolling a spinnerbait seem to be the trick this past week but as these bass move in to bedding areas I think that swimming it fast on the surface will work really well. The bass will be on the beds and protecting them so the swimming action of the EZ Swimmer will get you a lot of bites. Most of the areas that I have been fishing are pretty shallow and you will not be able to get close to the beds running your trolling motor so either a push pole or long casts will be the trick to get these bass. There are also still plenty of bass to be caught on the shoal north of Uncle Joe’s Cut and a swimbait, or Gambler Ace will get you plenty of bites, topwater plugs have also been working great on certain days. >From Cochran’s Pass to Pelican Bay should all be great to fish this week if the wind will not blow to hard.

   Crappie are still biting in the rim canal and at the lake end of Uncle Joe’s Cut, try minnows under a cork and jigs. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water this week. And remember to take a kid fishing during spring break, getting them interested in the outdoors will get them out of the indoors.  

 

 

March 7th, 2011

Lake Okeechobee water level is at 12.01 feet above sea level and dropping more each day but the bass fishing couldn’t be better. Yes you will need to do a lot more idling in your boat to get to the bass and to get back to deeper water but it has been well worth it the past week. Lots of bass are being caught almost anywhere here in the Clewiston area and that’s even with the twenty plus mile per hour wind we had at the end of the week and through the weekend. The good thing about the water level being low is that no matter how hard the wind blows most areas have clear water and that is where you will find the bass. With eel grass and pepper grass in a lot of the areas that I’m fishing the bass are able to stay in the clear water no matter how hard the wind blows.

   I have been fishing areas from Cochran’s Pass to the east side of Ritta Island this past week it just depended on which direction the wind was blowing. And what a great week it has been with a lot of bass over six pound being caught on both artificial lures and wild shiners. I had clients catch several bass over seven pounds this week and all of the bigger bass were caught on artificial lures. And it seem like I only needed to take one lure this past week and that lure is the Gambler EZ Swimmer, this swimbait works great for doing a lot of different presentations. I used the EZ Swimmer this week as a swimbait, as a lure to pitch in the reeds and even as a topwater lure buzzing it across the top of the heavy grass, this lure is just the right size for Okeechobee bass. I fish the EZ Swimmer on a heavy action Deep South rod and a U.S. Reel SuperCaster 1000 Pro model spooled with sixty five pound test Diamond Braided line. This combo will be all you need to get those big Okeechobee bass out of the grass but will also be sensitive enough to feel a light bite. I can’t really tell you what else they are biting on this week because the EZ Swimmer is all I used this past week. But I’m sure that a lipless crankbait in the scattered eel grass will work well and a spinnerbait when the wind blows hard always works well. I caught fish this past week around Cochran’s Pass, the shoal, the lake end of Uncle Joe’s Cut, West Wall, Coots Bay, East Wall, and around Ritta Island.

   Be sure and get a piece of a broom stick and put marks every foot so you can stick it in the water and see how deep it is and if the bottom is rock or mud, this little item we call a “get up stick” could save you a prop or gear case on your boat. There are still a few crappies being caught in Uncle Joe’s Cut and in the rim canal on minnows and jigs. The Inaugural Charlie’s Worms tournament will be held in Clewiston on March 12th and 13th. This is a 100% payback tournament and the first place money will also include a fishing trip to Costa Rica, entry fee is $100.00 and you can call 863-983-2128 for more information. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see you on the water.

 

 

 

March 1, 2011

Bass, bass everywhere is the best way to describe Lake Okeechobee this week. There seems to be a lot of bass almost everywhere on the lake and some really nice fish are being caught including a good number of nine and ten pound bass. I have been catching all of my bass on artificial lures but the wild shiners are also working great. Fish are being caught from the Monkey Box area to Ritta Island and just about everywhere in between. If ever thee was a time to come to Lake Okeechobee and catch bass, now would be the time to get here and start catching. The weather is great, the water temperature is great, and the bass are in and around traditional spawning areas.

   With the lake level at 12.16 feet above sea level most areas are really shallow and the water is clear even on windy days. When fishing most areas make sure that you idle in and out of to avoid damage to your boat and motor. Most of the areas that we are fishing now have a hard rock bottom that the bass like to spawn on but can be really hard on props. I know I keep going on about the shallow water but the lake is at a very dangerous level right now, you think it is deep enough to go places that you know you shouldn’t be running the boat.

   The lure of the week has been the new Gambler EZ; it is the smaller version of the Big EZ and seems to be just the size that the bass here on Okeechobee are wanting. Heavy action rods and heavy braided line like the sixty five pound test Diamond braid that I use is what is needed to get the big Okeechobee bass to the boat in the areas that I’m fishing now. Some other lures that are working now are the Gambler Ace, lipless crankbaits, and even a spinnerbait. But by far the number one lure on my boat the past couple weeks has been the Gambler EZ in copperfield and junebug colors.  The other tool that has been essential on my boat has been my Power-Poles to keep me anchored in an area so that I can fish it thoroughly before I move on to the next spot to fish. With out my Power-Poles my boat would be blown through and area before I would have time to fish it thoroughly and not miss any fish in the area.

   As far as places I have been fishing this past week, Cochran’s Pass area, the shoal, West Wall, East Wall, Ritta Island area, and around Uncle Joe’s Cut. For some crappies try Uncle Joe’s Cut at the lake end and around Bird Island with jigs and minnows. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and hope to see you all out on the water.

 

 

February 20th, 2011

 

If bass fishing is your passion than Lake Okeechobee should be your next fishing destination. Catching bass and a lot of them is defiantly not a problem and if catching a trophy largemouth bass is a dream of yours than you need to check out the Big “O”. Warm weather has finally arrived back in sunny South Florida and the warming water has the bass going crazy. Some of the bass are moving in off the main lake to spawn and others are moving from spawning areas heading back out to the main lake. What does all of this mean? It means that there are a lot of bass to be caught all day long almost anywhere in the lake. I have been fishing my clients from the Monkey Box all the way to Kramer Island, it all depends on how hard and which way the wind is blowing.

   My clients have caught bass in open water, spawning areas, and almost anywhere I can get my boat this week. Yes some of these bass were caught in water so shallow this week that I’m not so sure that the bass weren’t sunburn on there backs. And when the bass are hard to catch in the shallow water you just keep moving out until you find where they are at, usually where the dirty water is mixing with the clear water. Areas like the shoal north of Uncle Joe’s Cut, West Wall, East Wall, Monkey Box, North Shore, and around Ritta Island have all been good areas for me this week. When the wind blows hard out of the north than North Shore is a great place to fish and when it blows too hard out of the east than try moving inside the grass and fishing where the water is much cleaner.

   Lure selection this week has been all over the place with Gambler Flapp’n Shad, and the new smaller version of the Big EZ being my go to lures this week but I also caught them on lipless crankbaits, Snag-Proof Frogs, Gambler Cane Toads and Aces, Zoom Vibra Craws, Reaction Innovation Skinny Dippers, and yes even 10” worms. Charlie Worms is back and for those of you who are not familiar with this local worm the 10” worm is the bomb for here at Lake Okeechobee, it has a bigger profile than other 10” worms. Soft plastics colors this week haven’t seem to matter all that much but I start out in the morning with darker colors like junebug and black-blue and than go to lighter colors as the sun gets up overhead like copperfield and watermelon-red.

   The lake level is down to 12.30 feet above sea level and has been going down daily. This level is starting to be dangerous in some areas to run your boats and if you are not sure than slow down and idle around it will save you money in the long run. Word is that they are going to continue to let water out of the lake down the rivers as well as for the farmers, not sure who is managing the water in Okeechobee these days but they sure aren’t doing a very good job. Everyone seems to blame someone else for the water problems here on Lake Okeechobee but no one will just stand up take the blame and fix the water issues here on one of the greatest fisheries in the world.

   The crappie fishing remains good with fish being caught in Uncle Joe’s Cut, Bird Island, and the rim canal here at the south end of the lake. I will be at the Bass Pro Shops in Fort Myers this coming weekend Feb. 25th and 26th doing seminars on fishing South Florida for bass, stop by learn some of the hottest ways to catch bass in Lake Okeechobee and surrounding waters. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and hope to see you on the lake soon.

 

 

February 14th, 2011

It has been another great week fishing here on the Big “O” for bass. When I say it has been good how does over fifty bass in one day on artificial lures sound? And with the water temperature warming back up and the full moon coming this week there should be a lot of bass to catch from the north end of the lake to the south end. The full moon should trigger the big female bass to move in to traditional spawning areas and the fishing should be great this week. I have been seeing a lot of smaller buck bass on the beds the past couple days and a few larger females around the beds so this week will be a great week to fish for bedding bass. The shiner fishing last week was pretty good and we did catch a lot of bass on them but the bigger bass hit artificial lures much better. When the bass move in to spawn eating is the last thing on their mind so this is why artificial lures work much better if you are fishing in spawning areas.

   My clients and I caught bass this past week from the Monkey Box to Ritta Island and almost everywhere in between. I went to a lot of different areas to try and it seemed like there were bass in every one of them. The Monkey Box, Cochran’s Pass area, the shoal, West Wall, and even the East Wall have some bass and this week will be even better with the full moon triggering the spawn. There are plenty of spawning bass out in areas that have a lot of eel grass but the are also in some very shallow water spawning also, when I say shallow I mean that you will need to pole around and not use a trolling motor or you will spook the bass off the beds. It is a lot more work to push pole around but you will see twice as many bass as you would if you ground around with the trolling motor.

   For baits to use in the spawning areas I have been using Gambler Flapp’n Shads, the Big EZ, and some hand poured swim baits I make as locator baits and when I find a bass on the bed I use either a Gambler Flapp ‘n Daddy or a D.O.A. shrimp in the bed to get the bass to hit. But most of the bass we caught this past week were caught on the moving baits; long casts are needed to stay far enough away from these bass in the shallow water. I like to use a heavy action Deep South rod with a U.S. Reel spooled with Diamond sixty five pound braided line to make these extra long casts and to be able to set the hook so far away from the boat.

   The crappie bite still remains pretty good throughout the lake with areas like Uncle Joe’s Cut, Bird Island, and the rim canal all being good areas. Lake Okeechobee is fishing better than it has in years and if you ever planned on a fishing trip on the Big “O” now would be a great time to go fishing. Most of the cold fronts should be through here in South Florida for the year and the fishing should be great almost every day. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone out on the lake.

 

 

 

February 8th, 2011

Awesome doesn’t even begin to describe the bass that were caught last week both by clients and at the FLW Open on Lake Okeechobee. Local pro Brandon McMillan from Belle Glade caught a four day limit that added up to a record breaking total of 106 pounds and 10 ounces for a paycheck of $125,000.00, congratulations Brandon. Everything was right this past week the water temperature moved up, the wind didn’t blow to hard, and the bass were ready to spawn.

   Bass have been almost everywhere on the lake from Eagle Bay up north to Kramer Island down south. The key this past week was finding areas that the bass were spawning in and than just move around in these areas and catch these bass on the beds. You might not be sight fishing for the bass on the beds but if you are throwing a Gambler Big EZ across the grass you are catching bass off the beds that the are protecting. My clients this past week enjoyed catching some nice bass from Uncle Joe’s Cut up to the North Shore area. I focused on areas that there were not a lot of tournament boats simply because I did not want to be in their way, the FLW guys are only here once a year and there is no reason to be in their way as they try to make a living. The lures that work best for me and my clients this week were the Gambler Big EZ in copperfield color and a Gambler Ace in both junebug and copperfield color. There was also a great wild shiner bite going on also on the south end of the lake.

   I have tried to concentrate on the scattered eel grass on shoal to catch some really nice bass and than as the sun comes up and really warms the water I start to move back in the thicker vegetation looking for spawning beds and bigger bass. With the water being so shallow the bass that are back in the shallower water on beds are real spooky so what I have been doing is using my push pole to move around in these areas instead of my trolling motor. When I find a bed I put my Power-poles down and than give the bass a minute to get use to the boat and then I can start pitching a lure in the bed. I like to use a white colored lure to fish in the beds so that I can see the bass take the lure in its mouth completely before I set the hook. Remember when bed fishing to release the bass back into the water immediately so the bass can get back to business and help restock our beautiful lake.

   The crappie bite has been ok in some areas but a little slow in others. Try areas like Uncle Joe’s Cut, the rim canal, dynamite holes, and the Bird Island area. Minnows and jigs are both working well. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see you all out on the lake.

 

 

 

January 31, 2011

Picture is of Travis Massey from Richmond VA with a nine pound Okeechobee monster.

 

Just when I think Lake Okeechobee can’t get any better the really big bass start showing up, like the nine pound monster my client caught this week. That was not the only big fish caught this week out on the Big “O” on both wild shiners and artificial lures. With the water level holding steady at 12.49 and the water temperature warming up in to the mid sixties during the day time hours the bigger female bass have been on the move to spawning areas. My clients this past week caught eight bass over seven pounds and I can’t even begin to count how many three to five pound bass we caught. The FLW Open tournament is this week on Lake Okeechobee out of Clewiston and there will be a good number of big fish weighed in for sure.

   I have caught bass from the Monkey Box to Ritta Island and everywhere in between on both wild shiners and artificial lures. The Gambler Ace in junebug color has been the number one bait for me this week, I have fished it texas rigged with a small 1/16 ounce screw in bullet sinker and also wacky rigged with no weight. It all depended on where I was fishing and how thick the cover was as to which way I fished this lure. I did also have one really good day throwing a Gambler Big EZ and a Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper back in the real heavy cover, but the key here was to wait till afternoon when the water warmed up. In both situations you need to use heavy braided line, I like to use Diamond braided line in sixty five pound test. This line is round unlike most braided line that is flat and will not pull down in the spool on your reel. Some of the other lures that I have used this week include Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbaits, Omega swim jig in white color, and even a Zara Super Spook one day.

   I have been fishing a variety of areas and types of vegetation including reeds, peppergrass, and eel grass beds. The bass seem to be staging out in the scattered eel grass and then move in to the thicker areas to spawn and some of these areas take a push pole to get to but this is where the bigger bass have been caught this week. Some of the better areas have been the Monkey Box, North Shore, the shoal off of Observation Island, and both sides of Ritta Island. Which of these areas I fished depended on the wind and how hard it was blowing. In most areas I star out pretty far and move in to where the dirty water and clear water start to mix.

   The crappie bite is still holding it’s own in areas like Uncle Joe’s Cut, the rim canal, Bird Island, and Harney Pond canal. Be sure and stop by Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort for the FLW weigh in this Thursday and Friday at 3:00 and than at Wal-Mart Saturday and Sunday at 4:00. I will be doing seminars on fishing Lake Okeechobee at the Florida Sportsman Show February 5th and 6th at the Lee Civic Center in Fort Myers, stop by my booth and we can talk bass fishing. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and get out on the water the big ones are biting.

 

 

 

 

January 24th, 2011

What a great week it has been here on Lake Okeechobee with warm temperatures and lots of bass to catch almost anywhere on the lake. My clients enjoyed catching over fifty bass a day on two different days this week and plenty of bass on the other days this week. Even when the cold front pushed through our area of South Florida over the weekend we were still able to catch a fair number of bass including a couple nice bass over six pounds. We caught bass on wild shiners, top water, and soft plastic worms in quite a few different areas this week, including bass that we caught off the beds. The full brought a lot of bass in to spawning areas but this was not a really big push like it should be next full moon.

As the water temperature moved into the upper sixties and lower seventies the bass seemed to be everywhere and they were ready to eat almost anything that you threw at them. I had two great days catching bass on Gambler Flapp’N Shads from daybreak until sunset, everything was just right and it was just one of those days when everything was right. I also caught a good number of bass on Gambler Ace’s rigged with a 1/16 ounce screw in weight fished in the scattered eel grass on the shoal. Other areas that were good this week include the East and West Walls, Ritta Island, the Monkey Box, North Shore, and the outside of Cochran’s Pass. As you can see there were bass to be caught in a lot of different areas this past week. The bass were out on the outside grass line and also back in the shallow water so far that it almost seemed like they would have to swim sideways to get into some of the place I caught fish this week. With this water level down from last year the bass seem to be really spooky around their beds and won’t stay on them when you run the trolling motor near them, a push pole will get you a lot closer. There were not a lot of big fish caught this week so this is why that I think that the next full moon will really push a lot of bigger bass in to spawn. Not to say that there wasn’t some big bass caught this week just not a lot of them. Some of the other lures that worked well this week included lipless crank baits like the Spro Aruku Shad in green shiner color, Gambler Big EZ swim bait in copperfield color, and shakey head jigs with Gambler Sweebo worms when the water got cold after the cold front.

The crappie bite has also been pretty good for some with some bigger crappies being brought in to the cleaning table. Some areas to try is Uncle Joe’s cut, the rim canal, dynamite holes, and around Bird Island. Try both jigs and minnows for the best results. The FLW Open will be out of Clewiston on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th of February so that means that there will be a lot of boats out during this time and I just ask everyone to show lots of courtesy to these anglers who are out on our lake only a few days a year trying to make a living and helping to support our town and it’s businesses. Until next week good luck, tight lines and I hope to see each of you out on the water.

 

 

 

 

January 16th, 2011

It has been another crazy week here on Lake Okeechobee with cold fronts and than seventy degree temperatures to finish off the week. The bass fishing has been good even through the cold water temperatures but as we move toward the end of the month and we should have less cold fronts here in South Florida the fishing will get better by the day. This week with the cold water the deeper dynamite holes and hydrilla mats seem to be the place to be to catch bass consistently. There were still a lot of bass along the outside grass line but most were smaller in size, two to three pound fish were the norm.

   I used artificial lures all week but I know from other guides at Roland Martin’s that the bass fishing on the wild shiners was also very good. The lake has been pretty good from the north end down to the Clewiston area and as we head into February the south end should start to really produce some nice bass. Okeechobee is just like any other lake in that one end or area is always going to be better. I concentrated on the areas from Cochran’s Pass to the East Wall this past week and did catch some really nice fishing including a couple six pound fish, but with this water warming back up to the mid sixties this week should be awesome. Fishing the eel grass on the outside near Observation Island has been a good area as well as around the lakeside of Uncle Joe’s cut and the East Wall. These bass will move in and out with the stained water, days when there is just a nice breeze are great days to fish the open water on the lake but when the wind gets up to high to fish these areas just head to the rim canal and dynamite holes to catch some nice bass. I have been catching bass in the dynamite holes on a shakey head jig and a straight tailed worm, this also works well in the rim canal and Uncle Joe’s cut. For out on the main lake I have been using a variety of lures including Gambler Ace’s in junebug color, lipless crankbaits, and spinnerbaits with gold blades and white skirts, swimbaits like the Gambler Big EZ, and small craws and heavy flipping weights for the hydrilla mats. As you can see the bass can be caught in a lot of ways right now on the lake. For flipping find hydrilla mats that have a couple feet of water under them and than try flipping a Gambler BB Cricket on a one ounce weight into these mats. Smaller baits work best flipping when the water is cold and bigger baits when the water is warm. I have seen a lot of beds this week but only the smaller buck bass were on them, the beds are places that you wouldn’t normally look for them with the water level down from what it should be this time of the year.

   The crappie fishing continues to be pretty good in places like the rim canal, dynamite holes, Uncle Joe’s Cut, Sportsman’s cut, and the Kissimmee River. Both minnows under a cork and jigs are working well to catch crappies in these areas. Until next week good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone out on the lake.

 

 

 

January 10th, 2011

 

Wow what another great week we had here on Lake Okeechobee. We had a little bit of everything as far as weather, including a cold front, hard rain, wind, and even some nice warm temperatures. The bass have moved up to spawn and as the water temperature was right they did move into the bedding areas at the north end of the lake but not so here on the south end. The FLW Everstart tournament last week out of Okeechobee City saw some really nice bass brought to the scales including the winning weight of 63.08 pounds by Lake Placid angler Brandon Medlock. Local angler Brandon McMillan finished second and Frank Jenkins from Fort Myers was fourth. The tournament saw a lot of different weather conditions in the three days and anglers had to adapt everyday.

   While the tournament was going on my clients also had a great week catching a lot of bass on both wild shiners and on artificial lures around the Clewiston area.. One morning we used up three dozen wild shiners in less than an hour and then went on to catch bass the rest of the day on Gambler Aces rigged texas style with a 1/16 ounce screw in weight. Some of the other lures that I was able to catch bass on this week were lipless crankbaits, Zoom Speed worms, and Gambler Big EZ swimbaits. And on one of the cold front days a shakey head jig accounted for a number of bass. When it gets cold here on Lake Okeechobee I like to fish two different baits one a lipless crankbait like the Sebile Flatt Shad and the other is a shakey head jig. I like to use a ounce Gambler Giggy Head jig rigged with a Gambler Sweebo worm, for a rod I use the Deep South “Mark King Shakey Head” rod with a U.S. Reel SuperCaster reel spooled with Bass Pro Shops fluorocarbon line. On the cold front days I head to the rim canal and dynamite holes to catch most of my fish. The anglers in the Everstart tournament used a variety of lures including small crawfish imitation lures pitched and flipped in the mats and reed clumps, but the winning lure was a heavy one ounce jig pitched to reed head. The jig is a lure here on Lake Okeechobee that is often overlooked because of the vegetation but I have done well pitching an Omega jig to outside scattered reed heads and in the dynamite holes off of ledges.

   The areas that have been good this past week here on the south end of the lake have been the East and West Walls, around Ritta Island, Monkey Box, and the North Shore. If the wind will let you fish the outside grass this is the place to be but if not than the rim canal and dynamite holes have plenty of bass. The crappie fishing has been pretty good this week also on both minnows and jigs. Try areas in the rim canal, Uncle Joe’s Cut, Sportsman’s canal, and Harney Pond Canal. Good luck and tight lines this week, hope to see everyone out on the water.

 

 

January 3rd, 2011

It is finally warming up here on Lake Okeechobee and the fishing is improving daily. The water temperature is in the mid sixties and the bass are on the move again toward traditional spawning areas. The water level is at 12.45 feet above sea level which means that they have finally slowed down the release of water out of the lake, now if the farmers don’t take to much water out of the lake we might just make it to rainy season. The FLW Everstart tournament will be on the lake this week so it should be pretty busy. The tournament will be launching out of C. Scott Driver ramp in Okeechobee City on the sixth through the eighth with weigh in at the ramp the sixth and seventh and at Wal-Mart in Okeechobee City on the eighth. This event has a full field of one hundred and fifty boats and we should see some big bags of fish weighed in.

   After the cold fronts finally passed through the areas the fishing has really improved with bass being caught from the North Shore to Pelican Bay and everywhere in between. The bass are still staged on the outside grass line waiting for the water temperature to be right to move in to spawn. Fish can be caught in the rim canal and dynamite holes but most are smaller bass, but on days when the fishing is tough it can sure save the day. I have been catching bass in the rim canal and dynamite holes on a shakey head rig consisting of a Gambler ounce Giggy Head with a Gambler junebug colored Sweebo worm attached. But for fishing out on the main lake grass a Gambler Big EZ swimbait and a lipless crankbait will do the trick. The eel grass has been the place to be for good numbers of bass. I have not seen many bass beds lately and with the water level where it is we might have a hard time getting to a lot of the bedding areas this year. This is why we need to find and catch them on the way into and out of these spawning areas this year. For fishing back in the grass and for pitching to reed heads a Gambler Ace rigged with a screw in bullet weight works great, try a junebug or copperfield colored one. One of the neat things going on now is that if you catch one fish out of a spot there are sure to be more fish there. When a customer catches a bass I just put down both of my Power-Poles and I’m anchored to that spot for as long as I want to stay, my Power-Poles are one item on my Ranger boat that I couldn’t do without for both guiding and tournament fishing. Anyone interested in a Power-Pole can visit Roland Martin’s Marine Center in Clewiston where they are always in stock either by themselves or attached to a new Ranger Boat.

   The crappie fishing was pretty good most of the week when the weather was bad but now that we have this warming trend they have been a little hard to find. The rim canal, Uncle Joe’s Cut, Harney Pond canal, and Sportsman’s Cut are all good places to look for crappies. Try minnows under a cork and jigs for legal sized crappies here on Okeechobee. I also want to let you know that the duck hunting on the lake has been awesome this year so far and if you are interested in a duck hunting trip I can arrange that for you. Until next week good luck, tight lines and I hope to see everyone out on the lake.

 

 

 

December 27th, 2010.

 

Hope everyone had a great Christmas with family and friends, I know I did. The cold weather is still affecting Lake Okeechobee and South Florida with slower fishing days than I would like. That’s not to say that we are not catching bass it just means that we have to work a little harder for the fish we are catching. The water temperatures start out in the low to mid fifty degree range in the morning and than get up to the sixty degree range by late afternoon, but we could sure stand for it to stay in the mid sixties to get the bass really fired up. The water level has remained around 12.54 feet above sea level all week so just maybe they won’t let a lot more out of the lake for a few months.

   The bass that we did catch this past week were on wild shiners for live bait and on jerkbaits and shakey head worm rigs for artificial lures. We actually caught more on artificial lures in the cold water than we did on the wild shiners. When the water gets cold the bass here on Lake Okeechobee are not really in the eating mood but if you fish a bait by them like a jerkbait or lipless crankbait you will often get a reaction strike. On sunny days I like to use chrome colored jerkbait or lipless crankbait but on cloudy days gold or white colored bait works best. The other lure that worked good for me this week was a shakey head jig rigged with a straight tailed worm. I like to use ounce Gambler Giggy Head jigs with the 5/0 hook size with a Gambler Sweebo worm, the 5/0 hook is just right here on Okeechobee to get a good hook set on bigger fish. . The bite was barely detectable and a very sensitive rod like the Deep South “Mark King” Shakey Head rod did the trick, I also like to fish fluorocarbon line with this rod.  

   With the wind blowing so hard this week it has been almost impossible to fish the outside grass line so the rim canal and dynamite holes produced most of the fish that my clients caught. The key this week was to fish slow and thorough in an area before I moved on to another. The water in most of the dynamite holes and some of the rim canal was very clean and that seemed to be another key to locating bass this past week.

   The crappie bite seems to be picking up with the colder water temperatures we have been experiencing the past couple weeks. Places like Uncle Joe’s canal, rim canal, and Harney Pond canal have been the better areas to fish. Jigs and minnows seem to both be working well; the choice is up to you. Happy New year to everyone and I hope to see you on the water soon.

 

 

December 20th, 2010

It has been a pretty cool if not cold week here on Lake Okeechobee with rain and temperatures as low as the thirties. I know that doesn’t seem cold to our northern friends but out on the lake with the wind blowing it is just down right cold. The water temperature has only been in the upper fifty degree range which has the bass fishing a little slow. We did manage to catch a few bass this past week but you did have to be patient and move around and try quite a few different areas. The dynamite holes seemed to be the best places for me to catch some bass this past week since the water is deeper and that is where the bass move to when the water cools off. The water level is still holding steady at around 12.56 feet above sea level and South Florida Water Management seem to have slowed down letting water out of the lake, now if the farmers don’t take too much water the lake level should be ok for the winter.

   As I mentioned earlier the dynamite holes were the better places to be this week as the water is deeper in these areas. Wild shiners and lipless crankbaits accounted for most of the fish my clients caught this week. When fishing with the shiners find an area that has some mats or drift and throw a shiner right up against it and be patient and you will catch some bass. The mats will warm up quicker than the surrounding water as the sun shining on these mats it warms the water underneath them and that is where the bass will be laying. As for the artificial bite this week a lipless crankbait like the Spro Aruka Shad that I use has been the lure of the week. With the water being cold the bass were not in an eating mood this week but the lipless crankbait will get a reaction strike from the bass and that has worked for me this week. I did also catch a few bass on a shakey head jig this week but most were small; I like to use a Gambler ounce Giggy Head jig and a Gambler Sweebo worm for my shakey head rig. With the water being so cold when we had the full moon I don’t think that we had many bass spawning so what this means is as soon as the water temperature gets to the mid sixties or better these bass move in on the beds quickly, so be ready. From what I have heard this past week the crappie bite was very slow, but areas like Harney Pond canal, the rim canal, and the Kissimmee Rive would be the best areas to try.

   I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and I hope that everyone gets to spend time with family and friends. If you are still looking for that last minute gift I have gift certificates for fishing trips both here on Lake Okeechobee and for the Florida Keys in the late spring and summer months. Roland Martin’s Marine Center also has some great gifts from fishing lures, rods, and reels to new Ranger boats for that special someone. Until next week tight lines, good luck, and hope to see everyone out on the water soon.

 

 

December 13th, 2010

 

Looks like it is going to be another cool week here on Lake Okeechobee with temperatures dropping at night to near freezing, that’s cold for South Florida! The bass fishing has been a little tough for some but the winners in the Toys for Kids tournament on Saturday had a five bass limit that weighed twenty pounds and with over one hundred and sixty boats in the Gambler Baits tournament on Sunday it took over twenty two pounds to win. The Toys for Kids tournament was a great success with lots of new toys to be given to the Clewiston Police Department for local kids to enjoy on Christmas. It was great to see a lot of old friends and to meet a lot of new ones this weekend at the tournaments.

   The first thing I want to talk about this week is the water level on Lake Okeechobee which is at 12.68 feet above sea level and dropping everyday. The lake is now at that level where you think that it is still safe to run in a lot of areas but it might not be. The back trail across the West Wall and that runs up the shoal do not have enough water in them to run safely. These areas are all rock and can destroy a gear case, prop, or boat and are not worth taking the chance. I just hope that South Florida Water Management will slow down the outflow of water on the lake; we don’t need to go into draught conditions on the lake to save the estuaries on the coasts.

   The fishing this past week were a hit and miss deal with the worst weather days being my best fishing days. With the lake level dropping the water on the outside grass line has remained fairly clean and this seems to be where the bass are staging in anticipation of moving back in to the spawning areas. The spawning bass may be a little hard to get to this year with this water level dropping and making it tough to get back into the spawning flats. My clients this week caught most of their bass on lip less crankbaits like the Spro Aruka Shad in gold color that I throw and fishing a shakey head in the rim canal and dynamite holes. When we could fish the outside grass line a Gambler 10” worm did the trick around isolated reed heads. The wild shiners also worked great along this outside grass line in Coots Bay, East Wall, and around Ritta Island. The bass seem to be moving around a lot and when you catch one you will catch quite a few in the same area. One other way to catch Okeechobee bass when the water cools off is to find a heavy grass matt and flip a craw type soft plastic bait under the matt, this will sometimes take a heavy weight to get through these mats like a one or one and a quarter ounce weight. Usually the bass you catch under these mats are pretty good size.

   The crappie fishing wasn’t too good this past week but a few were caught in the rim canal, Uncle Joe’s Cut and Harney Pond Canal. Both jigs and minnows are working well. I have gift certificates available for fishing both here on Lake Okeechobee and for in the Florida Keys during the spring and summer months, what better Christmas gift to give someone than a relaxing day on the water. Until next week good luck, tight lines, stay warm, and hope to see everyone on the water.   

 

 Capt. Mark King is a full time guide out of world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida. Give him a call at 863-677-0983 or go to www.markkingfishing.com to book a trip of a lifetime.

 

 

 

December 6th, 2010

The cool northern weather has finally made it to South Florida, not sure if it followed the snowbirds or what but it is here. One good thing though it hasn’t effected the bass fishing here on Okeechobee. I was gone most of last week to pro staff meetings at Ranger Boats in Flippin Arkansas and when I got back and went out on the lake on a guide trip my clients caught some really nice bass including an eight pound hog. Lake Okeechobee is one awesome lake and there are bass to be caught somewhere on the lake at all times. The lake level is at 12.84 feet above sea level and seems to be going down a little almost every day. We are at a great lake level now but we don’t need to let any more out of the lake for this time of the year. I just don’t understand why it is so hard for South Florida Water Management to manage the water here in Lake Okeechobee; it seems like every year it is a problem either too much water or not enough.

   The bigger bass seem to be still staged on the outside grass line in most areas and if the water isn’t to dirty from the wind blowing than this is where I would fish. If the water seems to dirty than move back in the grass till the water starts to clear up some. Some of the good areas this week have been Coots Bay, East Wall, the Shoal up around Observation Island area, Long Point, and the Horse Island area. If the wind is blowing too hard than the dynamite holes and the rim canal have plenty of bass and some really nice ones are still being caught. Wild shiners have been working great on the outside grass lines and the bigger the shiner the better, the small shiners and domesticated shiners are not working very well. This is one case where bigger is definitely better. For artificial lures I have been using Gambler Big EZ swimbaits and Reaction Innovation Skinny Dippers. Just buzz these baits over the grass and be ready for a violent strike, also be rigged up with heavy braided line and extra strong hooks like the ones I use from TroKar. The only other lure that I have been using is a Gambler Ace rigged weightless or with a 1/16 screw in weight when the wind blows, junebug seems to be the best color.

   I was privileged to spend a few days last week at the Ranger Boats factory in Flippin Arkansas where I spent some time in pro staff meetings and also got to see a couple new model boats for this year. There is a new eighteen foot boat the Z518 that is a tournament rigged bass boat that is affordable for everyone and a new twenty two foot bay boat the 220 Bahia that is rated for a one hundred and fifty horse motor that will fit anyone’s budget. Stop by Roland Martin’s Marine Center in Clewiston for more information on these boats or the whole Ranger boat line. There is no finer built boat on the market for both freshwater and saltwater.

   The crappie fishing has still been pretty good with the rim canal, Harney Pond Canal, Point of the Reef, and Kissimmee rive all good places to try. There are a couple great tournaments this weekend out of Clewiston, on Saturday the Toys for Kids tournament and on Sunday the no entry fee Gambler Baits tournament. Stop by Roland Martin’s Marine Center for more information on these tournaments. Until next week good luck, tight lines and hope to see everyone out on the lake.

 

 

 

November4 29th, 2010

 

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. I spent a couple days with the family relaxing and eating seafood at our place in the Keys. But I’m back on Lake Okeechobee and the fishing continues to be great with bass moving into more areas everyday from out on the main lake. The weather has been great with warm days and cool nights that are bringing the water temperature down a little more everyday. I have had reports of bass being caught from the north end of the lake all the way to the south end of the lake. I’m still catching some really nice bass on both wild shiners and on artificial lures here out of the Clewiston area.

   Areas like the shoal from Uncle Joe’s Cut up to Turners Cove have been good both on the outside of the eel grass and in between the reed line and eel grass. Try throwing a worm or soft plastic swim bait like the Gambler Big EZ or Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper. I throw both of these swim baits on sixty five pound test Diamond Braid for two reasons, first to get a hook set on long casts and second so that I can get these bass out of the thick vegetation. The worm that I have been throwing and pitching into open areas in the grass and around the reeds is a Gambler Ace rigged either weightless or with a 1/16 ounce screw in bullet weight. Again with this bait I’m also using the Diamond Braid to detect bites and to get the bass out of the thick cover. For hooks I have been using Trokar Hooks and have miss far fewer fish and when you set the hook that bass is caught and does not come of that hook. These are an awesome new hook that you owe it to yourself to try, you won’t be disappointed.

   Some of the other areas that have been producing some really nice bass are the outside grass line in Coots Bay, East Wall, and at Long Point. Pelican Bay has started to produce some bass and around Ritta Island has also been good these past few weeks. And as always when the wind blows too hard to fish out on the main lake the rim canal and dynamite hole have a fair number of bass to be caught. As the water level continues to drop there will be more bass to be caught in the rim canal and dynamite holes this winter.

   I’m still getting reports of crappie being caught in the rim canal, Harney Pond Canal, Uncle Joe’s Cut at the lake end, and at the point of the reef. Both minnows fished under a cork and jigs have been working well. Now is the time to start planning that fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee because we all know that it will soon be to cold to fish most anywhere else in the country and this is the time that Big “O” shines the most. Until next week good luck, tight lines and I hope to see you out on the lake.

 

 

November 22, 2010

Wow what another great week fishing here on Lake Okeechobee! The bass have really moved in from the main lake to spawn on this full moon and some really nice bass are being caught all over the lake. Does catching a seven or eight pound bass excite you? Well it sure does me and when you add a good number of two to five pound bass with it all I can say is that Lake Okeechobee is one awesome fishery. The weather has been good with cool nights and warm days, we could use a little less wind but than that’s fishing here in South Florida through the winter months. The lake level continues to drop and is at 13.13 feet above sea level, I sure hope that we can keep some of the water in the lake that we have but I’m sure the sugar farmers will be taking a lot of water in the future months. You will need to start being careful with your boat out on the lake with this water level continuing to drop and making shallow rocky areas hard on boats and motors, if in doubt about running your boat just idle toward the main lake it only takes a few extra minutes to get to deeper safer water.

   The bass fishing with wild shiners has been off the hook this week with the outside grass line closest to the main lake being the place to be. Areas like the East Wall, Coots Bay, Long Point, and the shoal up around Observation Island all being good areas. Most of the guides out of Roland Martin’s Marina have been using between five and seven dozen shiners for a full day of fishing and there are days we have been coming back in and getting more. If throwing artificial lures is what you like to do than be prepared to catch bass and lots of them. For artificial lure selection this week a Zara Spook or Spro Frog worked great for that topwater bite along with a Gambler Big EZ for retrieving across the heavier grass. But most of the bass my clients caught this week came on a Gambler Ace pitched around the reed heads on the outside grass line or in the eel grass on the shoal around Turners Cove. I have been fishing all of my lures on braided line so that you can get the bass out of the heavy cover. I like using Diamond Braid line in fifty or sixty pound test, this line is round and will not frustrate you like other lines that are flat and pulling down in the spool and with it being round you can really make some long casts to get into those spots that the fish are in.

   The crappie bite has picked up some and the rim canal, Harney Pond canal, point of the reef, and the lake end of Uncle Joe’s cut are all good areas to try. The snow birds are back and we will all want to be more careful and courteous out on the lake, we all want to have a safe and fun time out on the water. Until next week good luck and tight lines out on our great lake.

 

 

 

 

November 7th, 2010

It has been a pretty cold and windy week on Lake Okeechobee but the bass are still biting and the cooler water should get the bass and crappies on the move from the main lake toward traditional spawning areas. It was tough to find areas to fish this week with the wind blowing twenty miles and hour but when you did find an area that you could fish the bass were stacked up. Not a lot of big bass were caught this week but it was a good numbers week on both wild shiners and artificial lures, bass from two to four pounds were plentiful.

   Some of the better areas this week were the dynamite holes, Harney Pond canal, South Bay, and Long Point. I also had some great reports on the north end of the lake that the bass were really stacked up and easy to catch on wild shiners. I fished a Gambler Big EZ in Florida Five O color and caught a good number of bass before the cold front moved in to South Florida. I fish the Gambler Big EZ on a heavy action Deep South rod and a U.S. Reels 1000 Pro reel spooled with fifty pound test Diamond Braid line, with this combo I have a fast retrieve reel (7.1:1 gear ratio) and heavy enough line and rod to get bass out of thick cover. For fishing in more open areas, around reed heads, and along the grass lines a Gambler Ace in junebug or copperfield color rigged with a 1/16 ounce screw in sinker will catch plenty of bass both big and small. I did have a few bass this week on a spinnerbait and a Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbait but most of my bass this week were caught on the Gambler Ace and Big EZ.

   The bass fishing this week with wild shiners was great even after the wind and colder weather settled into South Florida. It was just a matter of anchoring the boat in the wind and my Power-Pole shallow water anchor did a great job of holding my boat in place even in the twenty mile an hour winds that we had this week, and float some wild shiners under a cork float along the reeds or grass line. You had to give the bass plenty of time to take the shiner with the cooler water but we went through plenty of shiners and caught a lot of bass this week. If you need wild shiners Roland Martin’s Marina always has a good supply and they are always health and just the right size for catching a trophy Lake Okeechobee bass.

   The crappie bite has started to pick up and should get better as the water cools down. Places like the rim canal, Harney pond canal, Uncle Joe’s canal, and the Kissimmee River are all good places to try. Minnows fished under a bobber and jigs are the baits of choice on Okeechobee. Until next week tight lines and hope to see you on the water.

 

Captain Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of the world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida. Mark is an IGFA Certified Captain, active member of the Florida Guide Association and the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. Captain Mark is sponsored by Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards, U. S. Reels, Roland Martin's Marine Center, Deep South Rods, Sebile Lures, Power-Pole, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Minn Kota trolling motors, Gambler Lures, AFTCO clothing, Smartshield Sun Protection Products, RMR Industries, Fuel Medic Ethanol Treatment, and Frigid Rigid coolers.

Mark can be contacted to book a guide trip, seminars, personal appearances, test rides in his Evinrude powered Ranger or to fish a tournament with him at 863-677-0983 or at www.markkingfishing.com 

 

 

Nov 1st, 2010

What a great week last week was fishing here on Lake Okeechobee and this week should be even better. The lake level is at 13.47 above sea level and dropping pretty fast for this time of the year, but we are suppose to get some rain this week that might help. The bass have really started to move in off the main lake and staging outside the traditional spawning areas like the East and West Walls, Long Point, Monkey Box, and the North Shore just to name a few places. Some really nice bass were caught by the guides and clients this week out of Roland Martin’s Marina.

   The bite on artificial lures as well as on the wild shiners continues to be good for bass and did I mention that for those that like to fly fish we have plenty of bass to catch here on Lake Okeechobee. Throw out a wild shiner under a cork along the outside grass line and get ready to get your arm broke. For shiner fishing for bass I like to use a heavy action rod at least seven foot long and line no lighter than twenty pound test as you will be fishing close to thick grass and reeds. For artificial lure fishing a Gambler Ace rigged texas style in junebug color pitched along the outside grass line has been producing some nice bass. And for those of you who like to flip try a Gambler Craw in any of the mats of grass from the North Shore to Pelican Bay and I think you will be pleasantly surprised as to what is under them. I have also caught a few bass throwing a Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbait and a spinnerbait on the shoal when the wind blows bait into the grass, fish the open water about a cast away from the grass. If the wind blows to hard to fish out on the main lake grass line than there are still a good number of bass to be caught in the rim canal and dynamite holes. I like to fish these areas with a shakey head rig that consists of a jig head like the Gambler Giggy Head that I use with a straight tailed worm attached. I like to use a sensitive rod like the one I helped Deep South Fishing Rods develop that is available in both spinning and baitcasting versions, these rods will help you fish a shakey head jig and feel more bite but still has plenty of backbone to get the big Okeechobee bass in the boat. Fish the deeper dynamite holes and the opening from the rim canal to the lake and the dynamite holes, this works well when the wind is blowing and there is a ripple on the water. The fly fishing also has been good this week with good numbers being caught, fly of the week has been a gurgler tied up out of foam.

   The lake is in great shape with eel grass and pepper grass growing everywhere along with clean water in most areas I think that this year will be one awesome season for bass here on Okeechobee. I know that there are a few crappies being caught but everyone has been pretty tight lipped about where they are at. Until next week good luck and tight lines.  

 

 

October 25th, 2010

 

The lake has been producing some really nice bass the past couple weeks and with the full moon on us there is a good number of bass spawning in the shallows even this early in the fall. My clients and I have been catching bass from Long Point all the way up to the Monkey Box with areas like the East Wall, West Wall, and the Shoal all producing some really nice bass. There have been bass in the rim canal and dynamite holes when the wind is blowing too hard to fish out on the main lake, but they are a little smaller in size compared to the bass that are moving in to the spawning areas close to the main lake. I try to fish the outside grass line closest to the main lake as long as the wind will allow me to do this.

Artificial lures have been working really well the past week or two and of course if you like to live bait fish the wild shiners just can’t be beat. For artificial lures I have been using the Gambler Big EZ swim bait and Gambler Cane Toads in the grass and for fishing in the dynamite holes and rim canal a straight tailed worm rigged on a shakey head jig has been producing a good number of bass for my clients. If live bait is what you like to fish with than a wild shiner fished under a cork bobber along the outside grass line will produce some really nice bass. The fishing will only get better as we head into the winter months and the water continues to cool off. The bass spawn on Lake Okeechobee during the winter months and this is the best time to catch a trophy largemouth bass, especially around the full moon phase.

I just returned from the Florida Fly Fishing Expo in Orlando and generated a lot of interest in fly fishing for bass on Lake Okeechobee, the word is out and I will be guiding a lot more fly fishermen and women for bass and bluegill. Lake Okeechobee is a hidden treasure that we have in our back yard that people come from all over the world to fish, we need to take care of and quit polluting this magnificent lake. Take some time and get out on the lake, take the kids fishing and enjoy the wildlife we have around Lake Okeechobee. Until next week take time to take someone fishing,

good luck and tight lines.

 

 

 

September 27th, 2010

 

Cilck on photo to view full size

 

This has been the best September I have ever had here on Lake Okeechobee with both numbers of bass and big bass. We had a substantial amount of bass move in to spawn on the full moon and there were plenty of bass to catch on the outside grass line in a lot of areas. The lake level is at 14.02 feet above sea level where it has been most of the summer, a little high for hurricane season but really good to allow access to most areas. We have done most of our fishing out on the main lake grass but there are fishing moving in the grass and this will continue through the winter here on Lake Okeechobee.

   I have been catching bass on artificial lures, wild shiners, and on flies and it has been a blast catching numbers of bass and some nice seven and eight pound ones too. For artificial lures junebug colored Gambler Ace’s and 10” worms have done the trick along with a few Skinny Dipper and Rat-L-Trap fish. The fishing really has depended on the wind and on most days it has been blowing pretty hard. The wild shiner fishing has been crazy with five dozen or more shiners needed for a full day trip; those are winter numbers on a good day. The neat thing has been that if the wind blows to hard there are plenty of smaller bass to be caught in the dynamite holes and the rim canal. I have been fishing from Uncle Joe’s Cut to Kramer Island with the wind being the deciding factor as to where I go. The water has been staying pretty clean even when the wind really blows so you can fish on the outside grass line even when the wind blows hard; it’s just a matter of whether you can feel the fish bite your lure to catch them. I have had some success on spinnerbaits when the wind is really ripping; try one in white with gold blades.  

   As I mentioned earlier the fishing is only going to get better as we head in fall and winter here on Lake Okeechobee when the bass move in off the main lake to spawn. Everyone knows that I love to fish for spawning fish and what I’m see right now on the lake really has me excited about our season here this year. If fishing for trophy bass is something that stirs you like it does me then now is the time to get ready and book trips to Okeechobee as this year is going to be one of the best years yet.

 

 

August 5th, 2010

If you are looking to catch big numbers of bass than Lake Okeechobee is the place to be this summer with good numbers on two to five pound bass being caught almost everywhere on the lake. The lake level has been staying at around fourteen feet plus or minus a few inches above sea level all summer depending on the rain fall and the lake has been in great shape with just a little algae bloom showing up. We have had a little more wind than usual and it has made it a little tough to fish out on the main lake but we are still catching fish even on those windy days.

   I have been fishing from Cochran’s Pass to Kramer Island with good success and depending on the wind if I can fish out on the outside grass line or if I fish the rim canal and dynamite holes. Yes you heard me right there are fish in the rim canal and the dynamite holes and in pretty good numbers. But if you can fish out on the main lake than the size of the fish does improve. The water out on the main lake has been surprising clear even with the water level up and the wind blowing almost everyday. I have been catching bass with a variety of lures including a Carolina rigged Gambler Super Stud, Sebile Magic Swimmer, lipless crankbaits, and Gambler 10” worms. Oh and yes they are still eating wild shiners by the dozens. When the wind is blowing too hard to get out on the lake try throwing a Carolina rig or a shakey head at the cuts that go out to the lake south of Clewiston. There has also been a good number of bass in the dynamite holes and a weightless rigged Gambler Ace has been working great. If you can get out on the main lake to fish than try areas like the shoal, outside the East and West Walls, and Long Point. There has also been a good number of bass being caught on the north end of the lake around King’s Bar, and the outside grass down to Indian Prairie. So as you can see there are bass being caught almost everywhere on Lake Okeechobee right now. I have also been fly fishing the outside grass line and clients have been having a blast catching schooling bass on a fly rod. The fly fishing is something new that I will now be offering year round here on the lake as well as my saltwater trips so if fly fishing is your passion give me a call.

 

 

July 5th, 2010

Here we are into July already and the fishing here on Lake Okeechobee continues to be awesome. On most days it is no problem to go out and catch thirty bass and fifty a day is not uncommon now. The bass have been smaller in the two to four pound range but there are still a few big ones being caught, last week a nine pound bass was caught in a tournament out of Clewiston. And fun thing about fishing this time of the year is that the bass bite all day long as long as you can stand the sun and heat. T he water level is down to 14.23 feet above sea level which is still a little high for this time of the year. They are letting water out of the lake at a pretty good rate but the rains that we have been getting are putting the water right back in the lake as fast as it goes out. The lake is in great shape now with just a little algae bloom and fish almost everywhere.

   I have been catching most of the bass on the outside grass line from Pelican Bay to Bird Island as long as the wind will allow me to fish it. The wind does really play a big part this time of the year as it will blow bait in toward the grass line and that is where the bass are waiting to ambush it. But that doesn’t mean if the wind don’t blow that you can’t catch fish because right now the bass are pretty easy to catch. The shoal islands out the Clewiston channel and out Uncle Joe’s have been holding bass in good numbers just not any really good ones. Some of the baits that have been working great are a Carolina rigged Gambler Super Stud and a Spro Aruka Shad lipless crank bait. The Carolina rig works best when the wind isn’t blowing hard and the Aruka Shad on a fast retrieve reel like my U.S. Reel’s Pro 1000 SuperCast will keep the bait moving fast enough to stay on top of the eel grass on your retrieve. And these reels will allow you to make extra long casts to those schooling bass when they come up just out of reach with traditional bait casting reels with a standard levelwind, try one of these new state of the art reels and I think you will like them as well as I do. There is one other lure that has been working for bigger bass and that is a Gambler 10” worm, you won’t catch as many bass but most of the bass caught on the 10” worm will be better quality bass.

   The fishing this time of the year on Lake Okeechobee is great and will keep you busy catching fish all day long but remember by afternoon the storms will start moving in so keep an eye to the sky and check the weather report before you go out fishing. Drink plenty of water, use a good quality sunscreen and enjoy the summer on the world famous Lake Okeechobee. Tight lines and hope to see you on the water soon.

 

 

 

 

June 15th, 2010

Cilck on photo to view full size

 

Wow has June been a good month bass fishing here on Lake Okeechobee. How does catching from thirty to fifty bass a day sound and on artificial lures if you want? Yes it has been pretty hot out on the water but the bass have been biting all day long if you can stand the heat of the sun. The water level has remained pretty steady at around 14.45 feet above sea level even with the water that they have been letting out the rains just put it back in the lake. You can safely go almost anywhere on the lake to fish but the bass are positioned out toward open water. The bass have moved out of the shallow water with heavy cover and moved out to the outside grass line almost anywhere on the lake. They are out looking for bait and if you are lucky and catch them schooling you can sit in one spot and catch dozens of bass. I have been catching bass from Pelican Bay to Cochran’s Pass and it has been a lot of fun catching big numbers of bass. Yes there are a lot of two to four pound bass out there but who doesn’t enjoy getting their line stretched. I have had my clients catching a few five and six pound bass the past couple weeks but they are a little harder to find.

  

I have been using a lipless crankbait like a Spro Aruka Shad or a Sebile Flatt Shad on the outside of the eel grass especially when we have a little wind on the lake. My new U.S. Reel SuperCaster 1000 Pro reel works perfect for this as it does not have a conventional level wind so I can make really long casts and the fast retrieve allows me to keep the bait moving and not get caught in the eel grass. And when the lipless crankbait isn’t working grab a Carolina rigged Gambler Super Stud or Ace and you won’t have any trouble catching all the bass you want. I have also had a lot of success on 10” worms in a darker color like junebug, black, or black grape, fish it with a light sinker and throw it around the reeds closest to the lake. The shiner fishing has also been really good especially first thing in the morning, but with the artificial fishing so good I think spending money on shiners now is a waste of money. And I think everyone enjoys catching bass on artificial lures, it seems more satisfying. The bass fishing has been really fun this summer and the great fishing should last for another couple months for sure. Be sure and use lots of sunscreen and drink water all day long, it is hot out on the water for sure. I would like for everyone to say a prayer for this mess in the Gulf, we have a lot of folks that make a living either on the water or near the water. I have been guiding on Lake Okeechobee for bass and bluegill and also out of Marathon in the Florida Keys for tarpon, so if bass or tarpon is your pleasure give me a call and we can get a trip set up to catch a fish of a lifetime.

 

 

 

May 18th, 2010

The fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been great as the bass move toward the main lake from the spawning areas. The lake level is still high but the Army Corp of Engineers is letting it out at a pretty good rate and of course our coastal neighbors aren’t very happy about that. The lake is at14.65 feet above sea level and was at over 15 feet last week so they are really letting the water out fast, around 12.50 is the target going into rainy season. The bass have had a lot of freedom to go almost anywhere this past winter with the water level up high and we did have an awesome spawn which Lake Okeechobee really needed.

   I am now doing most of my fishing on the outside grass line targeting the bass that are moving out of the grass toward the main lake. The bass will hold in this area for a while feeding on shad before moving offshore. This is the perfect time of the year to catch big numbers of bass and to really catch some big ones that are schooled up. The only down fall to this fishing is the wind, it can be really miserable fishing the open water with the wind blowing hard. There are a number of lures that work good to catch these feeding bass but a lipless crankbait seems to be the best. I throw a Spro Aruka Shad in a gold color most of the time but other lipless crankbaits will also work. I throw the Aruka Shad on Diamond Braid line because I am still fishing in sparse vegetation and with the braided line you can rip the lure out of the grass. I use a high speed reel to retrieve the lure fast because you are looking for a reaction strike from the bass; my favorite reel for this situation is my U.S. Reel’s SuperCaster Pro 1000 reel with a fast 7.1 to 1 gear ratio. This reel allows me to make super long casts with braided line since it does not have a conventional level wind and with the fast gear ratio the retrieve is super fast. When the wind dies down a Gambler Ace rigged with a 1/16 ounce screw in weight thrown into the scattered reeds on the outside toward the lake will keep you plenty busy catching bass.

   Most areas from Pelican Bay to the Monkey Box have been producing bass as long as the wind will allow you to fish an area. The water is stained in most areas that I am fishing but that does not seem to matter as the bass are still there, another thing to look for is birds in an area because they are there to eat bait and if the area has bait the bass will be there. The bluegill fishing has been really good this spring with a lot of big bluegill being caught; a cricket fished under a cork is working best.

   I would like to send out a prayer to everyone in the fishing industry that will be affected by the BP oil spill, this should have never happened but worse yet it should have been fixed by now, our government needs to get their head out of their butts and get this fixed and now!

 

 

 

April 6th, 2010

What a great month March turned out to be here on the Big “O” with cold weather and the bass biting. Yes the cold weather was hard to deal with but since the bass fishing was on fire it took the sting of freezing away. April is starting with a bang and looks to me like the fishing will only improve including the bluegill fishing. With the rain that South Florida has been getting the lake level is up to 14.71 feet above sea level. This lake level is a little high for this time of the year but it will allow you to go almost anywhere with your boat and not have to worry about hitting anything.

   Fishing areas from the Monkey Box to Pelican Bay has bee producing good numbers of bass and some really nice ones have been caught using both artificial lures and wild shiners. Even though I prefer to fish with artificial lures I have had a great month on wild shiners with an outstanding day where we caught fifteen bass over five pounds with the biggest one weighing in at just over nine pounds. The artificial lure bite has been good but on some days you have to find the bass as they are really moving around with the water level coming up. I have been using Gambler 10 inch worms and Aces to catch the bass on the cooler days and when the water temperature gets to around sixty eight degrees I have been using the new Gambler “The Big EZ” swim bait. This new swim bait is awesome for swimming through the heavy grass and the action of the bait really gets the attention of any bass in the area. It is so cool to see a wake from a fish coming after this bait and you just know it is a big bass getting ready to eat it. I throw this bait on a heavy action rod at least seven foot long and a new U.S. Reel’s SuperCast 1000 Pro reel spooled with sixty five pound test Diamond Braid. For those of you who have not seen this reel yet it does not have the conventional level wind so you can cast it a country mile which works great in the crystal clear water we are fishing. This reel and line combo can’t be beat for fishing here at Lake Okeechobee or anywhere for that matter and both are available at Bass Pro Shop.

   Some of the areas that I have been catching bass in are the Monkey Box, East Wall, around Ritta Island, and in Bay Bottom. With the water level coming up over a foot in two weeks the bass have really scattered out and are a little harder to find but when you do find them there will be a bunch of them in that area.. One of the keys this time of the year is the bass are moving from their spawning areas and heading back out toward the main lake and they are hungry, but the will stop in the areas that have the dirty water and clean water mixing together and this is where they will stay for quite a while. Another key thing to remember is that the bluegill will start bedding this month and the bass love to eat bluegill.

   Speaking of bluegill, April is the month to fish Lake Okeechobee for some monster bluegill. I will start bluegill charters this month for anyone interested in catching some nice bluegill for the dinner table. Crickets, worms, and Beetle Spins will be the bait of choice for catching bluegill this month, look for beds in the clear water and you should have no trouble catching a limit. Good luck, tight lines, and hope to see you on the water. 

 

 

 

March 10, 2010

Will it ever get warm here in South Florida? That has been the question for the past few months and we all keep hoping a warming trend is on the way. The fishing has been up and down as the cold fronts move through the area, but for the most part there are plenty of bass to catch even on the cold nasty days. The weather man says that warm weather is on the way and that will surely put the bass back on the beds here on Lake Okeechobee. One thing that has remained the same all winter has been the water level with thirteen and a half feet above sea level being the norm for the past few months. I have had some really good days catching some bass up to nine pounds the last couple weeks on both wild shiners and artificial lures. The wild shiners seem to work best when the wind really blows and it is cold but when we get a warm day we can catch bass almost anywhere on artificial lures. I have been fishing from the Turners Cove to South Bay depending on how hard the wind is blowing and from which direction. Areas like the East Wall, West Wall, and South Bay have been good for both shiner fishing and artificial lure fishing. Some of the artificial lures that I have been having success on are the Reaction Innovation Trixie Shark and Gambler Aces. The Trixie Shark works great in the real heavy grass as you just buzz it across the top of the grass; I use an all new U.S. Reels SuperCaster 1000 Pro model reel that has a fast 7.1 to 1 gear ratio to keep this bait moving across the grass. If you are looking for a new state of the art reel than you need to try one of these new reels, if you see me at the ramp, marina, or out on the water let me show one to you and I think you will be amazed with the technology. In the areas that have some open holes the Gambler Ace rigged with a 1/16 ounce screw in sinker has been really catching them, try the new junebug/green pumpkin color. You will need a good strong braided line to get these fish to the boat in this heavy grass and the new Diamond Braid is my choice, it is stronger than other braids and with the line being round not flat like other braided lines it does not pull down in the spool like other braided lines. I have been using the sixty five pound test Diamond Braid on my reels and have yet to have a fish break off, the line pull down in the spool, or my reel backlash like they do with other lines. The bass have been moving in and out trying to spawn and if we can just get some warm weather the fishing will be awesome. After these bass spawn they will be moving back toward open water and if the wind will allow us to fish the eel grass on the outside of the heavy reed these bass will stay here for a good month or two, but we do need the wind to slow up a bit so that the water will stay clean in this eel grass. Some of the lures that work great when this happens is Gambler Aces in the open holes in the eel grass and Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbaits and Lake Fork “Live” Magic shad swim baits in the scattered eel grass.  Another alternative to fishing the lake when the conditions just aren’t right is to go to the Sawgrass Recreational area in the Everglade and catch all the one to three pound that you want to catch. Just take a big bag of Gambler Aces in watermelon/red and rig them wacky style and be prepared to catch a lot of bass.

 

 

 

 

 

February 12, 2010

February has started out great here on Lake Okeechobee with bass being caught on both wild shiners and artificial lures fished in the grass and out in open water. Sounds like you can catch bass almost anywhere on the lake right, well it can be done on certain days but it does take the right wind and conditions. The cold fronts that we have been getting here in South Florida have been some really bad ones and have slowed the fishing down for a day or two until the water temperature warms back up. The lake water level has been steady at thirteen and a half feet above sea level. This water level allows us to get almost anywhere that the bass are this time of the year which includes shallow water spawning areas. The bass are in various areas of the lake moving in to spawn, spawning, and moving back out toward the main lake which gives us a lot of different areas to fish. Areas like the West Wall, East Wall, Ritta Island, and the Monkey Box to name a few have been great areas to catch spawning bass. And on days when the wind pushes clean water from these areas out toward the open lake you can catch schooling bass chasing bait out in open water. I have been throwing a Gambler Flapp’n Shad and a Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper back in the grass on the spawning flats with a Deep South heavy action rod and sixty five pound test Diamond Braid line. My new U.S. Reel’s Supercast 1000 reel allows me to make super long casts on these grass flats thanks to the fact that this reel has no levelwind eyelet so there is no obstacle to slow down the line when making a cast, and with the 7.1 to 1 gear ratio you can pick up a lot of line fast. This reel is the best new piece of equipment to come across the deck of my boat in a lot of years, if you see me on the water or at the ramp ask me to show you this new innovative reel of the future. The other way that I have been catching bass is on a Gambler Super Stud rigged with a 1/16 ounce screw in weight, pitched in the holes in the grass. This is a slow way of fishing but it will produce some nice bass. The crappie bite has picked up a little with crappie being caught in the rim canal around Clewiston and in the Kissimmee River at the north end of the lake. I have also been fishing in the Everglades at Sawgrass Recreational Park and the bass fishing is awesome with catches at over a hundred bass a day normal. Take lots of Gambler Ace’s and rig them wacky style with the hook in the middle of the worm and be prepared to catch a lot of bass. The FLW American Fishing Series (formally called the Stren Series) will be out of Clewiston the 25th, 26th, and the 27th of February so stop by the weigh in and see some quality Okeechobee bass on the scales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bob Klobnak from Illinois with an 8 1/2 pound Okeechobee bass caught off a bed.

 

 

January 31, 2010.

 

If you want to catch bass then Lake Okeechobee is the place to be now. The lake level is at a good level the weather is finally stabilizing and the bass are moving in to spawn, everything is right. The past couple weeks has been awesome here on Okeechobee catching bass on the beds, in areas that the bass are getting ready to spawn, and even some schooling fish. Most of the areas that the bass spawn in are going to be from two to four feet deep and clear water so this will eliminate a lot of the lake. The beds for those that have never seen them will be a clean shiny area on the bottom, you will be able to see shell on the bottom of most beds and most will be well hidden.

   I have been fishing from the Monkey Box to Kramer Island with great success on most days; yes the cold fronts have slowed it down for a day or two but than the bass get right back to what they were doing. I have been able to catch bass doing a lot of different things from actually fishing the beds on sunny days to just fishing around the beds on windy days and catching a good number of bass and a few really nice ones. Some of the baits that I have been using to catch bass off the beds when the wind is blowing and you can’t really see the beds has been a Gambler 5” Flapp’n Worm rigged texas style with a 1/16 ounce Gambler screw in weight. The other lure that works great in this same situation is a Gambler Flapp’n Shad buzzed across the top of the grass. I have been fishing both of these lures on a heavy action Deep South Rod and a new braided line made by Diamond Fishing Products. This new braided line is round not flat like other braided fishing lines which allow it to cast farther and it never pulls down in the spool like other braided lines, I have been using this for about a month now and this line is the best new product to come across my boat in years. The other way we have been catching bass is when we get a south or southwest wind is to go out to the grass line where the clean water is being blown out toward the lake and look for schooling bass, just like saltwater fishing look for the birds because they are on the bait. For these schooling bass I have been throwing a Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbait, Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad swim bait, and a gold spinnerbait with a white skirt. These schooling bass can be a lot of fun to catch but it takes the right wind to make it happen.

   The crappie bite has been slow here at the south end of the lake but the Kissimmee River and Harney Pond Canal has been producing a few from I’m told. Jigs and minnows are both working to catch these Lake Okeechobee crappies. Remember we have a limit on the crappies here on the lake but don’t take more than you are going to eat, save some for someone else to catch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 4th, 2010

I know that you keep hearing me say that Lake Okeechobee just keeps getting better every day but it really is. I have been guiding almost every day and my clients have been catching good quality bass on shiners, topwater lures, and bed fishing for spawning bass. It has been an absolute pleasure fishing on the lake these past few months and if the cold fronts would leave us alone it couldn’t get any better. I have been catching bass from the North Shore area all the way down to Kramer Island and everywhere in between. Some of the better areas right now have been the Monkey Box, West Wall, and East Wall areas but if you spend the time in some of the other areas you will be pleasantly surprised at what you will find.

   If wild shiner fishing is your game then get a few dozen wild shiners and head out on to the lake looking for good clean edges against cattails or hyacinth patches. If you can fish out on the outside of the grass toward the lake when the wind isn’t blowing than that is the place to be but if not look for areas back in the grass that are more protected. When we get these cold fronts push through South Florida the bass become pretty hard to catch but wild shiners will produce even on the worst of days. For artificial lures tie on a Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper or a Gambler Flapp’n Shad to a heavy action rod with braided line. I have been using a new braided line made by Diamond Fishing and it is awesome, it is round not flat so it won’t pull down in the spool like other braided lines and from the testing I have been doing the past week or so this new line will soon be spooled on all of my reels soon, it is awesome. I will report more on this line later. Most of the areas that I have been fishing are very thick vegetation so throwing a topwater soft plastic lure is about the only option other than throwing a worm in the few open holes and pockets. This is where the new Diamond braided line comes into play because you are not going to get fish out of this thick cover very consistently on any other line than braid. As these cold fronts keep moving through the areas I think that these bass will get use to moving up under these hyacinth mats to get to some warmer water and than it will be time to get that flippin stick out and get busy with a heavy weight and a small craw.

   The crappie and bluegill bite has been pretty slow for most even though there is a handful of fisherman that has been catching them. Hopefully this cold weather will move them in off the main lake. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and Happy New Year and I hope to see everyone here on Okeechobee catching bass. Now is a great time to get out of the cold north and head to South Florida for some great fishing.

 

 

 

 

The fishing just keeps getting better every day here on Lake Okeechobee. I just came off a great week guiding here on the lake and we caught some really nice bass on both wild shiners and artificial lures. If you have ever thought about coming to the Big “O” to fish for bass than this year would be a great year to make it happen. The lake is in great shape with good clean water almost everywhere and eel grass and pepper grass scattered from the one end of the lake to the other. The water level has been holding steady at 13.69 feet above sea level and this has been a good water level to allow us to get back in areas as well as fish on the outside grass line and still enjoy clean water to fish in. Lake Okeechobee is back to looking like it did many years ago and the fishing has just been off the hook.

   The bass are already moving into traditional spawning areas like the Monkey Box, the shoal and the East Wall here on the south end of the lake. We have been fishing the outside grass line with shiners when the wind will allow us to and than moving back in the heavier grass and throwing artificial lures and catching some real nice bass from two to seven pounds. My customers have been catching bass on Gambler Flapp’n Shad baits in this thicker vegetation and Lake Fork Hyper worms rigged with a 1/16 ounce screw in sinker in the grass that is not so thick. The Lake Fork worm has a lot of action and rigged on a 1/16 ounce screw in sinker the lure does not seem to get hung up to much. You will want to fish both of these lures on braided line and use a heavy action rod like the ones I use from Deep South Rods. I like to use a heavy action rod in the 7’2” length range for everyday fishing and Deep South offers just what I need, as we get toward tournament season I will step it up to a 7’11” extra heavy rod so that I can make extra long casts and can still get the bass to the boat in the heavy cover. Some of the things that you will need to try and target while fishing back in some of these areas is pepper grass patches, pencil reeds, and bullrush heads.

   The crappie fishing has really been hit and miss with the Kissimmee River and the area around Bird Island being the areas that I have been hearing the best reports from. I have gift certificates and my signature series Deep South “Shakey Head” rod available for Christmas presents if you haven’t found that perfect Christmas present yet. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and remember to keep Christ in Christmas this year.

 

Picture of Jake Towle from Michigan with a nice 6 1/2 pound bass

 

 

 

 

November 24th, 2009

Fall fishing here on Lake Okeechobee has turned out to be great with lots of bass being caught from the north to the south end of the lake. We are catching bass on wild shiners and artificial lure alike and we are catching some good solid fish. The lake level is at 13.59 feet above sea level which is about a foot lower than it was last year at this time. The water temperature has finally dropped and we have been getting some nice wind on the lake to move and transfer some of the water from back in the shallow spawning areas. This winter should be the best year for fishing in quite a few years; the lake is in the best shape water level, vegetation, and water quality wise than it has been in a long time.

 

I have been fishing from the Monkey Box to long Point and everything in between. When the wind will allow I have been fishing on the outside grass line and when it blows too hard I just move back in the grass. I have been catching bass from two to seven pound bass with a lot of three and four pound fish finding there way to the end of customer rods. Some of the lures that have been working for me and my clients are a Sebile Bonga Minnow and a Magic Swimmer where the vegetation isn’t to thick. When you get back in the thick stuff a Gambler Ace rigged with a 1/16 ounce screw in weight or a Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper will get the job done. You will want to use heavy braided line back in the heavy cover or you will have a hard time getting these bass to the boat. Look for areas that have pepper grass and eel grass as these have been the key to me catching bass. Another technique that has been working is to pitch small craw type bait like a Gambler BB Cricket to isolated reed patches, darker colored lures seem to work best.

 

With Christmas just around the corner I have a couple items to offer for the fishing fanatic in your family. The first is my signature series Deep South “Mark King” Shakey Head rod and the other item is gift certificates for guide trips for bass or inshore and backcountry fishing. You can contact me for either of these items. Also keep an eye out for my new Low Key Custom Baits “Flat Tail worm” that will be the ultimate worm for bass fishing.

 

 

Captain Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of the world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida. Mark is an IGFA Certified Captain, active member of the Florida Guide Association and the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. Captain Mark is sponsored by Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards, Deep South Rods, Sebile Lures, Power-Pole, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Minn Kota trolling motors, Gambler Lures, AFTCO clothing, Smartshield Sun Protection Products, Roland Martin’s Marine Center, RMR Industries and Frigid Rigid coolers.

Mark can be contacted to book a guide trip, seminars, personal appearances, test rides in his Evinrude powered Ranger or to fish a tournament with him at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

Oct 27th, 2009

The fishing here on Lake Okeechobee continues to improve every day and if the water temperature would cool off just a little more the lake will be awesome. We have been catching bass that are on the move toward shallower water and traditional spawning areas throughout the lake. After the cold front that we had a week ago the fishing did improve dramatically but with the ninety degree air temperatures everyday since has the water warmed back up and slowed the fishing down just a little. The water level is at 14.14 feet above sea level and still dropping slowly, this is about a foot lower than it was last year at this time. This all means that we will not get to fish back in the shallow water as long as we did last year but the outside eel grass in a lot of areas will clean up a lot quicker this year and that is where I think we will find a lot of the bass as we move into the spring.

   I have been fishing clients everywhere from the Monkey Box to Ritta Island and catching some great bass from two to seven pounds. Wild shiners have started to work great and Roland Martin’s Marina has some really good ones that are the right size and they are still priced at $20.00 a dozen, at least some things in life haven’t went up in price for years. The bass fishing on artificial lures has been really good and Gambler Flappin Shad and Reaction Innovation Skinny Dippers are the bait of choice right now. Yes you can catch some bass on 10” worms and Gambler Ace’s but if you want to catch quality bass than you need to be throwing a Flappin Shad or Skinny Dipper. To fish either one of these baits all you need is a heavy action rod like the one I use from Deep South Rods, some sixty five pound test PowerPro line, a 5/0 Gamakatsu Super Line hook, and either a Screwed Up Weight made by Reaction Innovation or a small 1/32 ounce screw in bullet weight. The screw in bullet weight or Screwed Up Weight will keep the bait from sliding down the hook while fishing in the heavy cover where the bass are. The key areas that you should look for to fish are areas that have pepper grass patches, the bass may move into the hydrilla and eel grass soon but for now they are in the pepper grass patches. Look for waves of bass to start moving in as the water cools and we head into the major spawning season here on Lake Okeechobee.

   Now is a great time to start planning a trip to World famous Lake Okeechobee as my outlook for this year is great. We have all the elements for this year to be one of the best years here on the lake and with hurricane season all but over we are ready to once again make Lake Okeechobee one of the most famous bass fishing destinations in the world. No word yet on the crappie fishing outlook for the year but we are still catching a lot of good sized bluegill. Please practice catch and release and help Lake Okeechobee be the place that your grandkid and their grandkids will want to come and fish for many years.

 

 

October 1st, 2009

 

Lake Okeechobee is looking better almost everyday as October has finally arrived bringing some cooler evening for now. The lake is in the best shape it has been in years and we are seeing bass almost everywhere that there is clean water. The lake level is up to 14.52 feet above sea level but the rain has slowed down around the lake and the water level is not rising as fast as it was. I don’t think that there will be a better time than this fall and winter to visit Lake Okeechobee and experience some of the best fishing and lake condition that we have seen in many years.

   As I mentioned earlier there are bass almost everywhere on the lake from up around Cochran’s Pass to Kramer Island. And there is heavy grass to throw a frog or open areas to fish a worm or my favorite heavy mats to flip. For now there is a little bit of something for everyone. With the spray boats out everyday killing vegetation I’m not sure how all of these good areas will hold up, but for now all we can do is pray that they can’t get to everything. I know that spraying is necessary to keep things from getting out of hand here on Okeechobee but I have seen the damage that they do when they just go through and spray everything that is living. We have such great things going on here on Lake Okeechobee and I would sure hate to see it ruined and be back to the mud hole we had a few years ago.

   It’s time to get a frog rod out and move back in the grass and start throwing a Gambler Cane Toad or a Snag-Proof Frog. On some days the bass want a moving frog like the Gambler Cane Toad but on other days they seem to want something slower moving like the Snag-Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog. I have been catching a few bass on Reaction Innovation Skinny Dippers but the frog seems to be the ticket for now. For fishing more open areas where the grass isn’t so thick a 10” Gambler worm or a Gambler Ace rigged weightless has been working well for my clients. The bass are still scattered out and when you do catch one you can stay in that area and catch about six and than move on. But as the water starts to cool and the full moon approaches there should be a lot more bass moving in off the main lake. October should be a great month to catch some good bass here on the Big “O” and it will only get better.

   I’m running an October special here on Lake Okeechobee, a half day guide trip for two persons and a room at Roland Martin Marina and Resort for $249.00. That is over a seventy dollar savings but only good on dates in October. Give me a call at 863-983-9950 to reserve a day of fishing on World Famous Lake Okeechobee. You can also check out my websites at www.markkingfishing.com or www.mybassclass.com .

 

 

September 10th, 2009

The lake level here on Lake Okeechobee continues to rise and the fish are on the move looking for bait. With the lake water level up over fourteen and a quarter feet above sea level the bass now have a lot of area to roam around looking for food. We have been in a typical September pattern where one day can be really great and than the next can be tough as these bass are continually roaming around looking for bait to eat. And don’t forget that the water temperature is up over eighty degrees and feels like bath water. But the good news is that the water is clean and the vegetation is grow and looking better than ever. We have eel grass, pepper grass, and hydrilla grow almost everywhere you look and the bass are taking advantage of these great conditions on Lake Okeechobee. The rains have slowed down some so we do not have as much of the dirty tannic water coming in from the fields around the lake. As you get back in the grass away from the open water the lake is teaming with aquatic life from small fry to bluegills to bass roam around looking for an easy meal.

   Some of the areas that have been producing some bass are the East and West Walls, Ritta Island, Bluehole, and around the Monkey Box. I have heard that the fishing at the north end of the lake around King’s Bar has been awesome and that is because there is a lot of bait right now at the north end of the lake. The bass we have been catching around the Clewiston area have back in the grass and Gambler 10” worms and Aces seem to be the best baits for the job. I have been rigging the 10” worms on a screw in 1/8 ounce bullet sinker and the Ace I have been fishing weightless. They will also hit a Fluke but the Ace and 10” worm have worked best for me. With the water temperature so hot the morning and late evening are the best times to catch fish unless we have a storm move across the lake and than it can be good all day. Don’t get caught in a storm that has lightning and thunder in it as you will be the highest thing out on the lake and the chances of getting struck by lightning definitely increases. With October just around the corner the fishing will get a lot better and it should cool off a little and make fishing a lot more fun.

 

 

Capt. Mark King
863-983-9950
www.markkingfishing.com
www.mybassclass.com

 

 

August 8th, 2009

Lake Okeechobee has slipped into the summer time pattern where you can catch bass early in the morning and than it can get a little tough. But if you can find the bait (shad) you should have no trouble finding bass. The Lake level is up to 13.82 feet above sea level and still rising despite the pulse water releases to both the Caloosahatchee and the Saint Lucie rivers. We have been receiving a pretty good rain almost daily and the ground is well saturated so all the run off is going into the lake. The lake is in pretty good shape in most areas with vegetation growing and the water pretty clear. The one exception is an alga bloom offshore at the north end of the lake. As long as we do not have a hurricane this year I think the lake will be awesome going into this winter and the spawn will be even better than last year.

   I have been fishing with clients all over the lake from King’s Bar at the north end of the lake to Pelican Bay at the south end of the lake and the fishing is good in the morning but slows down after the sun gets high in the sky. Up at King’s Bar a spinnerbait thrown in the grass has been catching some nice bass, but I have been using a swimming jig made by Omega Custom Tackle (www.omegacustomtackle.com ) with a Zoom Fat Albert grub for a trailer and catching bigger bass than the spinnerbait. The swimming jig allows me to fish slower and in thicker grass than the spinnerbait and that is where the bigger bass seem to be, the 3/8 ounce Omega jig in threadfin color with a white grub on it for a trailer is just the bait to fish these areas. King’s Bar is a long run from Clewiston to catch bass but with the fuel economy that my Evinrude E-Tec gets the run has been well worth it for that early morning bite. As the sun starts to get high in the sky and the fishing slows down in the shallow water areas I have been moving offshore to deeper water and fishing a shakey head worm and catching some good fish to finish the day off with. My shakey head set up consists of a Deep South “Mark King” Shakey Head rod, Gamma 100% fluorocarbon line, a ounce jig and a new shakey head worm I designed. This new worm will be available by the fall and will one of the best shakey head worms you have ever fished I promise. I have also been catching some bass on 10” Gambler worms in junebug color and on a Gambler Ace in Xmas color rigged weightless both fished along the outside grass line from the West Wall to Ritta Island.

   With the summer temperatures so hot your best bet is to get out early and when the fishing slows down and you get to hot just get off the water. We have really had a good summer here in South Florida, the weather has been great, the fishing has been good, and the economy is slowly starting to turn around. Now is the time to take a fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee a destination that is not to far away and won’t break the bank to get here.

 

 Captain Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of the world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida. Mark is an IGFA Certified Captain, active member of the Florida Guide Association and the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. Captain Mark is sponsored by Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards, Deep South Rods, Azuma Baits, Power-Pole, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Minn Kota trolling motors, Gambler Lures, AFTCO clothing, Van Staal pliers, Smartshield Sun Protection Products, Northlake Marine, RMR Industries, Omega Custom Tackle, and Frigid Rigid coolers.

Mark can be contacted to book a guide trip both freshwater and saltwater, seminars, personal appearances, test rides in his Evinrude powered Ranger or to fish a tournament with him at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com and be sure and check out www.mybassclass.com

 

 

July 8th, 2009

With the water level at around thirteen feet above sea level the Lake Okeechobee bass fishing has been on fire. Fifty fish days are not uncommon right now and there are some real nice bass from six to ten pounds being caught almost every day. As the water continues to pour into the lake from the rains that we have been receiving the water level has been rising inches daily and I don’t see it slowing down for awhile. The bass have positioned themselves at the edge of the grass line throughout most of the lake but as the water continues to rise they will start moving back into the grass and than the fishing will get a little tougher. It would be nice if the water level would stay between twelve and a half and thirteen and a half feet especially going into the hurricane season here in south Florida.

   As I mentioned above the outside grass line and scattered reed patches are where the bass seem to be hanging out looking for their next meal. I have seen a few schooling bass but you just have to be at the right place at the right time to catch them. From Pelican Bay to the Monkey Box there are bass but certain areas seem to be holding the bigger bass. I have been fishing from Clewiston to Pelican Bay and catching good numbers of bass and a fair amount of big bass. All of this water is crystal clear and you will need to make long casts so that you do not spook the fish with your boat. There is a lot of bluegill beds around and in the small reed patches and in the grass, this is where the bass seem to be hanging out and where they are easily caught. Try to fish an area slow and you will find bass ready and willing to bite.

   For my bait selection lately it has been pretty simple, a Zara Super Spook first thing in the morning and than a 10” worm, Senko, and shakey head worm the rest of the day. I know some guys have been catching bass on frogs and Skinny Dippers but for me the Spook and worms have worked best. I have been throwing a Gambler 10” worm with a 3/16 ounce bullet weight on a Deep South 7’2” heavy rod and Gamma Edge fluorocarbon in 14 pound test. The Senko type bait that I throw is a Gambler Ace that is also rigged on a Deep South Rod; the “Mark King” Shakey Head rod is my choice for this type fishing. I have been using fluorocarbon for all my worm fishing but you will want to use Co-Polymer like the Gamma High Performance line for your topwater because fluorocarbon sinks and takes away from the action of your lure.

   This is also a great time of the year to go fly fishing on Lake Okeechobee as the wind doesn’t really blow that hard during the summer months. You can catch bluegill as well as bass on a fly and the fight is awesome. Yes the bluegill fishing remains good and a limit of big bruisers are not too hard to come by using Beetle Spins and live crickets fished under a cork. Summer is a great time to fish Lake Okeechobee since the snow birds all head north to get out of the heat we pretty much have the lake to ourselves. Just make sure you drink plenty of water and use lots of sunscreen and you will have a great day fishing on Lake Okeechobee. Be sure and check out my guide test fishing gear for sale on my website www.markkingfishing.com and keep an eye out for a new worm I designed to be out soon, it is a fish catching worm that you won’t want to be without.

 

Captain Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of the world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida. Mark is an IGFA Certified Captain, active member of the Florida Guide Association and the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. Captain Mark is sponsored by Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards, Deep South Rods, Azuma Baits, Power-Pole, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Minn Kota trolling motors, Gambler Lures, AFTCO clothing, Van Staal pliers, Smartshield Sun Protection Products, Northlake Marine, RMR Industries and Frigid Rigid coolers.

Mark can be contacted to book a guide trip, seminars, personal appearances, test rides in his Evinrude powered Ranger or to fish a tournament with him at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com and be sure and check out www.mybassclass.com

 

 

June 11th, 2009

As the water level rises on Lake Okeechobee the fishing continues to be great. The water level is up to 11.78 feet above sea level and still rising everyday as the rains continue to bring water to our lake. With the water rising the bass have moved back in toward shallow water instead of heading for deep water as is the norm for summer time bass here on Lake Okeechobee. Most of the lake has very clear water even with the inflow of the dirty water coming in from the farms surrounding the lake.

   The bass have been hitting a variety of lures from lipless crankbaits to worms; it all depends on the area that you are fishing and the cover in that area. I have been catching bass on Zara Spooks, Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad swim baits, Gambler Super Studs, Azuma Wake-Z wake baits, and the Shaker-Z lipless crankbait made by Azuma. The bass have been hanging around the bluegill beds and moving baits especially in a bluegill pattern has been the ticket to catch these bass. A Senko rigged weightless has also been good when the wind just does not seem to want to blow. The Azuma Wake-Z in the bluegill pattern has been accounting for a good number of the bass my clients and I have been catching, this bait swims on the surface to one foot deep depending on the retrieve and will not roll over like most wake baits. The Azuma line of baits are new and have all had a lot of research put into the baits before ever being introduced to the public and did I mention the finish is second to none and with every color and pattern you could want, check them out at www.fishazuma.com  

   Bass are being caught in a lot of areas right now from up on the North Shore, the shoal above Uncle Joes Cut, Coots Bay, around Ritta and Kramer Islands, and even in some of the dynamite holes. With the water rising daily the bass seem to be moving almost as fast, but the one thing to key on this time of the year are active bluegill beds. The areas I have list above all have bluegill beds you just have to find ones with bluegill on them. As far as the water level being safe to run your boat it seems to be good in most areas, but if you do not feel safe to run into these areas DON’T idle in until you know how much water depth there is. In some areas the bass are in the eel grass and some areas they are around pencil reeds but one thing for sure they are all looking for something to eat. Soft plastics like the Gambler Super Stud in watermelon-red and 10” worms seem to work best on days when the wind is calm and there doesn’t seem to be much activity.

   The bluegill fishing has been awesome here on the lake and catching a limit of nice sized bluegill on either a Beetle Spin or crickets doesn’t seem to be a problem. I have also been doing a few saltwater trips and the tarpon, trout, redfish, and snook are ready to eat that’s for sure. Anyone wanting to book a trip for bass, bluegill or some saltwater action can contact me at 863-983-9950 or through my website at www.markkingfishing.com

 

Captain Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of the world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida. Mark is an IGFA Certified Captain, active member of the Florida Guide Association and the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. Captain Mark is sponsored by Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards, Deep South Rods, Azuma Baits, Power-Pole, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Minn Kota trolling motors, Gambler Lures, AFTCO clothing, Van Staal pliers, Smartshield Sun Protection Products, Northlake Marine, RMR Industries and Frigid Rigid coolers.

Mark can be contacted to book a guide trip, seminars, personal appearances, test rides in his Evinrude powered Ranger or to fish a tournament with him at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com and be sure and check out www.mybassclass.com

 

 

 

May 11th, 2009

 

Lake Okeechobee is getting shallower by the day but the bass are still biting as good as ever. The lake level is at 10.72 feet above sea level and getting shallower every day, as we keep letting water out to both coasts and for the farmers. If they keep letting water out at the rate they are now we will be back in a drought on the lake before the end of the month and that is a shame that the government can’t do a better job of managing this lake. The lake is at a dangerous level to be running your boat and a lot of props and gear cases are starting to get destroyed so please be careful.

   The bass fishing has been great the past few weeks and you can catch them on wild shiners or on artificial lures it really doesn’t matter. Most of the bass that my clients have been catching have been bass in the two to five pound range with a few bigger ones also being caught. As I mentioned above you can go out and use up three to four dozen wild shiners in a morning or if artificial lures are what you prefer than topwater, worms, swim baits, and crankbaits have all been working. I had a couple great mornings last week catching bass on Zara Spooks and even had two four pound bass at the same time. I have also been catching a lot of bass on a Gambler Super Stud in watermelon red color rigged with a 1/16 ounce screw in sinker and a 4/0 Gamakatsu hook. One other bait that has been really working great is an Azuma Wake-Z; it is amazing new wake bait that you can get in almost any finish but the bluegill pattern is my favorite. If you have not checked out the new line of Azuma hard baits you need to do so because in my opinion there is no finer line of crankbaits and topwater lures being offered by anyone and the finishes and colors are top of the line. And of course don’t forget to match up any of the lures that I talk about with an all new Deep South rod, they are the next generation of fishing rods including the signature series shakey head rod with my name on it and the all new lineup of inshore rods.

   The areas that I’m going to talk about to fish are extremely shallow and you should use caution getting in and out of these areas. The shoal from Uncle Joe’s Cut to Turners Cove has been a hot spot with most fishing at least two hundred yards out from the reed line. I just zigzag in and out till I locate the bass and than just move up and down the shoal and catch bass till my clients are tired of catching them. Yes we do have a few tough days but it has been really good for the most part and if you just keep fishing an area you will find the bass. Some other areas that have been producing bass are around the tip of Ritta and Kramer Islands.

   The bluegill fishing has been great from one end of the lake to the other. I have been catching them on Bettle Spins but a cricket fished under a cork will work just fine. Now is a great time to fish Lake Okeechobee, give me a call and set up a fishing trip of a lifetime. I’m fishing for both bass and bluegill on the lake and inshore saltwater fish in South Florida at this time.

 

 

April 21st, 2009

 

Great things have been happening on Lake Okeechobee in spite of our water managers pulling a lot of water out of the lake. The bass have been on fire and the bluegill fishing that has been good all winter long is really getting fired up. The lake level is at 11.52 feet above sea level and this is only one foot higher than it was last year at this time. If the water managers do not slow down the water that is being released out of this lake to irrigate fields and down the rivers to the coast we will be back in a drought condition before summer. We have such a great natural resource with Lake Okeechobee why can’t it be managed right?

   The bass have moved to the eel grass beds and outside grass line with the falling water and they are thick in most areas. My clients have been catching twenty to thirty bass a day on artificial lures from two to seven pounds. It is a lot of fun to catch four and five pound bass all day on top water lures. The shoal and north shore have been great areas to catch some good quality fish, another area is the west side of Kramer Island where a few local tournaments have been won. The key the last couple weeks has been to find areas that you can fish with the wind blowing hard, my Power-Pole shallow water anchor has made it possible to fish in the wind and catch fish. Most of the places that I have been fishing are staying pretty clean even with the wind blowing and this is due to the fact that the water level is getting lower. With this said you will want to be very careful where you run your boat because it is getting very shallow and trick to run in some areas of the lake. Some of the best fishing areas from Uncle Joe’s Cut up to Turners are very shallow with lots of rocks, I see boats run through this area and not even realize what is under the boat.

   The artificial bait selection has been very broad with Gambler Flappin Shad and Zoom Flukes being my favorites to spinnerbaits, Senkos, and topwater lures. On a day with a little ripple on the water tie on a Zara Super Spook and hold on, or on days when the wind is hardly blowing a weightless Senko will get the job done. A new bait that I have been using is a wake bait made by Azuma called a Wake-Z, the bluegill colored one is awesome and can be fished just over top of most of the eel grass beds. White spinnerbaits have been working great as well as Rattle-Traps, and Chatterbaits. As you can see a lot of different baits have been working on any given day. Sometimes the bass are in the thicker eel grass patches and than other times they are out in the scattered eel grass patches, but as you can see the common denominator is the eel grass.

   There are bluegills almost everywhere in the lake from out on the lake to dynamite holes and even the rim canal. A Bettle Spin or a cricket fished under a cork should get you a limit of good sized bluegill. The other fish that I have been going south in Florida to catch is peacock bass and what a blast they are to catch. This is a good time of the year to catch peacock bass off the beds and it is a lot of fun and they fight like no other freshwater fish their size. You can catch them on shiners, bucktail jigs, topwater, and jerkbaits like the one I use made by Azuma called the Minnow-Z in olive oil color. The fishing forecast for the summer looks to be awesome on the lake so gather up the family and come to Lake Okeechobee for some affordable fun. I’m booking bluegill trips and inshore and backcountry trips for snook, trout, redfish, and tarpon just give me a call. 

 

 

 

March 13th, 2009

 

The water keeps dropping here on Lake Okeechobee and the fishing continues to be good in most areas. A lot of the areas that I was fishing last month are now to shallow to get a boat into and with the level at 12.47 feet above sea level and dropping pretty fast. As the water level drops the fish will be moving in the grass toward the main lake but only as far as they have to go since the open water part of the lake is still really muddy. In a lot of areas there is an eel grass line between the heavy grass that the bass have been in and the open water that is so dirty, this is where the bass will move to next as the water gets shallower. Some really nice bass are being caught on both wild shiners and artificial lures; bass from two to eight pounds are being caught.

   I have been fishing at Turner’s Cove, the East Wall, the Monkey Box, and in Bay Bottom and all of these areas have great potential on any given day. But you may have to try different areas as the fishing seems to change daily. The eel grass outside Turner’s Cove and in the Monkey Box has a lot of potential this next month and I think that this is where you will catch a lot of bass. The eel grass will be a little tough to fish for most but on days when the wind is blowing you can get upwind on an eel grass patch and than let the boat drift through it. You can drag wild shiners under a cork over this grass or pitch an artificial lure in the holes in the grass as you drift by them. For now what seem to be working best to catch bass is artificial lures in the heavy cover, like Gambler Flappin Shad, Reaction Innovation Skinny Dippers, and top water frogs.

   The pattern for now seems to be to get in the heavy cover throw something on top of the grass and keep the boat moving. You will be wore out after a day fish artificial lures in my boat for sure, you will make hundreds of casts but this is what it takes to catch these bass that are roaming around and on beds in this cover. I have been throwing a Gambler Flappin Shad and Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper on heavy PowerPro braided line and a heavy action rod. The new line of Deep South Rods (www.deepsouthfishingrods.com) has heavy action rods in any length that you might be looking for from 6’6” to the 7’11” model that I use. For all your fishing rod needs you need to check out the all new Deep South Rods, they are light in weight, sensitive, and tough enough for me to use on guide trips. They also have the new line of Inshore Rods that will be a big hit for the flats and inshore anglers targeting snook, redfish, trout, and other inshore species. The colors of the baits that I am throwing does not seem to matter much it is the action of the lure that gets the reaction bite. I do try to stick with darker colors on cloudy days and lighter colors on sunny days. As we start to fish the eel grass beds you will want to pitch something like a Lake Fork Hyper Freak or a craw type lure into the open holes in the grass. I really like the action of the Lake Fork Hyper Freak as it falls it does not just go straight down it darts off to the side and has great action.

   The fishing at the everglades has been awesome even though most of the bass you catch are small, but who wouldn’t like catching over fifty bass a day. Don’t get me wrong there are some nice bass in the everglades but there are a whole lot more smaller bass. The crappie fishing has been slow all winter here on Lake Okeechobee and most are only catching just a few a day. But the bluegill fishing still remains great and will only get better as we start in to summer here on the Big “O”.

   I do guide for bass and bluegill on Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades and will be offering flats and inshore fishing for trout, snook, redfish, and tarpon through the summer. I will also be the new South Florida Rep for Deep South Rods especial the new inshore rods. If interested in this new line of rods please contact me at 863-983-9950 or at mark@markkingfishing.com . Until next month take a day to get out fishing and be sure and take someone with you and introduce them to fishing and they will be hooked for life.

 

 

February 3rd, 2009

 

For all of those who have heard the rumor about how Lake Okeechobee has no bass in it, well after what the FLW Series anglers caught last week we can put that rumor to rest. Bass were caught from the north end of the lake to the south end and everywhere in between. The key to finding the fish was to find clean water and for the first three days that was no problem and than a cold front and the fourth day collided and the fishing was back to being tough again. Big bass of the tournament was caught by a good friend of mine Scott Lunsford that weighed in at 10.3 pounds, it also help him to have the largest five bass limit of the tournament that was 25.15 pounds. Jimmy McMillan from Belle Glade Florida was the winner of the $100,000.00 check with a four day total of 74.04 pounds. There was no fish kill on the lake, maybe in some of the canals around the lake thanks to the farmers but not on the lake!!!!

  

 Bass are being caught from Monkey Box to Bay Bottom and everywhere in between with areas like Turners Cove, the West Wall, the East Wall, and Bay bottom all being well as long as the cold fronts slow down. A couple different techniques that have been working really well to catch bass are to throw a Gambler Flappin Shad or a Cane Toad across the grass and just working them over as much water as possible and you will catch fish. The other way is to pitch a worm or craw in the holes in the grass, I like a 10” Lake Fork worm or a Hyper Freak also made by Lake Fork Tackle. I have been using a 3/16 ounce bullet sinker with the 10” worm and Hyper Freak and not getting caught up much in the thick vegetation. My rod selection has been Deep South Rods in a heavy action and long lengths to get the bass up and out of the vegetation as quick as possible, Deep South makes an awesome rod that is sensitive but yet is very strong to get these big Lake Okeechobee bass out of the thick stuff.  My line selection has been PowerPro braided line in fifty pound test and I may even move up to heavier line in the future. One of the other baits that has been catching a few bass is a Senko thrown weightless in the more open water like up in Monkey Box.

  

The crappie fish is still slow with small numbers being caught on the lake. A couple areas to try are around Moonshine Bay and the West Wall. The bluegill fishing does still remain pretty good with Uncle Joe’s Cut and the East Wall both good areas to try. Minnows and jigs for crappies and crickets fished under a cork for bluegill would be the best baits to catch some pan fish for supper.

  

I have been fishing Deep South Rods for over a year now and I’m blown away by the quality and attention to detail of these rods. They are very sensitive yet are built strong enough to get bass out of the thickest cover. Only top quality components go into the building of these rods. The shakey head rod that I helped design is a bait casting rod designed to fish a shakey head worm or a drop shot rig, it has a fast tip and heavy enough butt section to get the fish in the boat like the 10.6 pound bass that I caught on Lake Okeechobee last summer. I have most all of the different actions and lengths if you are interested in seeing one and I also have the “Mark King” signature series shakey head for sale if anyone is interested in one. Be sure and check out my new bass fishing social web site at www.mybassclass.com      

 

 

 

January18th, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Picture of Bob Enck from Newmanstown, PA with a nice Lake Okeechobee bass

picture by Mark King

Click image to view full size

 

 

The fishing has improved some here the last few weeks on Lake Okeechobee but the bass are still a little hard to find from day to day. With the cold fronts moving through every few days and the water level still dropping I’m not sure if the bass really know what to do. We did have a good number of bass in to spawn the last full moon and anticipate an even better spawn this next full moon. The water level is at 13.64 feet above sea level and the farmers are still pulling water out of the lake to irrigate the fields, I sure wish that we could stop them from taking to much more. A lot of the areas that I saw beds the last full moon will be to shallow to use this next full moon and some of the trails that we have been running our boats in are starting to get at that dangerous level again. Areas like the Blue Hole and the West Wall are full of big rocks and are not a good area to run through as this water level continues to drop. Areas that I have been fishing for the past few weeks are now getting almost to shallow to even run the trolling motor. As we head into February we should not get as many cold fronts moving through South Florida and the fishing should really start to improve almost daily.

   I have been fishing from Bay Bottom to the Monkey Box and catching bass in the two to six pound range. But the key is to locate the bass, and than really fish the area thoroughly to catch more fish. When I say there are bass from Bay Bottom to the Monkey Box I don’t mean you will catch bass in this whole area what I mean is that you will have to find them on any given day and they seem to move almost daily. The other challenge is that the bass are in the thickest vegetation on the lake and very hard places to fish and even harder to get these bass to the boat. Since we are all fishing the thick vegetation fishing with wild shiners has not really been an option. I have been able to catch a few on shiners but for the most part artificial lures are the way to go. Some of the best lures to use right now are a Bass Pro Shops “Swim Stik-O”, a Gambler Flappin Shad, and a Snag-Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog. All of these lures can be fished on top of the heavy vegetation and seem to be producing the best for me and my clients. You will need to use heavy braided line like the PowerPro fifty pound test that I use and a heavy action rod. I have found that the Deep South Frog Rod that is a heavy action 7’2” rod is perfect for making long casts and heavy enough to get the bass out of the thick stuff. The color of bait doesn’t seem to matter that much but keeping your bait in the water and covering as much water as possible seems to be the key to catching these bass that are always on the move.

   Crappie fishing is still real slow here on the lake but hopefully this next cold snap will move these fish in off of the lake. Yes the commercial catfish guys are catching crappies and bass in their nets, to answer the question about if there are still good numbers of fish on the lake. The bluegill fishing remains good with fish being caught in Uncle Joe’s Cut and almost all of the cuts south of Clewiston. A cricket fished under a cork float should work great to catch a nice mess of bluegill. I have also been to the Everglades fishing lately and the bass fishing has been great but as usual most of the bass are small but who doesn’t enjoy catching a lot of bass.

 

Captain Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of the world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida. Mark is an IGFA Certified Captain, active member of the Florida Guide Association and the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. Captain Mark is sponsored by Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards, Deep South Rods, Power-Pole, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Minn Kota trolling motors, Gambler Lures, AFTCO clothing, Van Staal pliers, Smartshield Sun Protection Products, Northlake Marine, RMR Industries and Frigid Rigid coolers.

Mark can be contacted to book a guide trip, seminars, personal appearances, test rides in his Evinrude powered Ranger or to fish a tournament with him at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com and be sure and check out www.mybassclass.com

 

 

 

 

 

January 7th, 2009

 

The fishing on Lake “O” has improved some over the past week and I have been catching a fair number of bass on most guide trips. The grass is making it a little tough to fish in most areas but the fish are there you just have to talk them into biting and then get them out of the heavy cover. There have been bass from the Monkey Box to Pelican Bay but you will have to look for them. The water level is at 13.97 above sea level and still dropping slowly which has started to make some areas a little to shallow to run your boat in, just be careful when shutting down or getting on plane in some areas. The main lake still remains muddy at best but you don’t have to go to far back into the grass to get to clean water. I have seen beds from Moonshine to Bay Bottom, some are from last month but some are new and I have seen fry and fingerlings in a number of areas. This lake will be the most awesome fishing lake in the future.

   Most of the bass my clients and I have been catching have come from the thick grass and clean water. This is some of the hardest fishing since the vegetation is so thick that we are limited to what lures that you can fish in it. I have had the best success on a Gambler Flappin Shad, Zoom Super Fluke, and a Lake Fork Hyper Freak. The Flappin Shad has been the best lure to get these bass to come up out of the thick weeds and eat. I rig it on a 5/0 wide gap super line hook and attach it to fifty pound test PowerPro braided line. I like to throw it on a Deep South 7’ 2” Frog Rod that has a lot of backbone to get the fish out of the weeds, I use a high speed Abu-Garcia Revo STX reel to finish out this combo. The Lake Fork Hyper Freak is a new bait by Lake Fork and has really good action as a flipping and pitching bait, the flat tail really moves when it drops in the water. I fish the Hyper Freak on a Deep South Flipping Rod that is 7’11” and extra heavy action with fifty pound test PowerPro braided line. I’m sure other lures will work but this is what has been working for my clients and me.

   Bay Bottom, around Ritta Island, the West Wall, and from Uncle Joe’s Cut to Moonshine are all areas that I have caught fish in the past couple weeks. No the fish are not everywhere but if you cover some water throwing the Flappin Shad you will catch some fish and usually there are more than one fish in the area. Some days I go out and catch a good number of bass and than some times I don’t catch as many, but the look on a clients face when a bass comes up and grabs the Flappin Shad and leaves a hole in the water is worth all the time you spend locating these bass.

   The crappie fishing is improving a little but it is still slow at best. Try up around Bird Island as this is where the best chance to catch them now. The bluegills are still biting and a cricket fished under a float in Uncle Joe’s Cut is a good place to start. I would like to let everyone know that the FLW Series tournament will be held on Lake Okeechobee out of Clewiston on 28th to the 31st of January. Bring the kids over for the daily weigh in at Roland Martin’s Marina on the first three days with the final weigh in being held at Wal-Mart on the 31st.

 

 

Product of the Month

 

 

 

I would like to let you know about a new product called BTS (Bow to Stern). BTS is an all surface protectant that you can use from one end of your boat to the other. It works great on the outside to keep water stains, scum lines and road grime from sticking to your boat. It works equally as well on the seats and dash to keep mold and mildew from starting. Spray it in your storage lockers to keep them from getting mildew. It has the highest UV protection that you can get and it does not leave you boat oily feeling like some other products. Another use is to use it on your vehicle and bugs and road grime just hose right off. I’m not usually impressed with many products but I am with this one. Check this product out at www.btsproducts.com or contact me if you want to try a bottle of this amazing protectant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 22nd, 2008

 

Wow the bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee has improved almost overnight and seems to be getting better every day. We are still getting some cold fronts moving through the area and it does affect the fishing but it only seems to make it tough for a day. The bass are moving in off the main lake toward the shallow clean water to spawn and we have been catching some bass off the beds. The water level is at 14.12 feet above sea level and still slowly dropping from the farms pulling water out of the lake for irrigation. As slow as this fall started out I was a bit worried about the bass fishing this year but if the past couple weeks is an indication as to what the winter will bring the fishing should be great.

   Fishing with artificial lures has been as good as if not better than fishing with wild shiners, I have been suggesting both for my clients and we end up throwing artificial lures more than we shiner fish. I have been catching bass on a variety of different lures but something that you can fish overtop of the vegetation has been the key to more bites. I have been using a Gambler Flappin Shad and a Gary Yamamoto Swimming Senko to get the most bites, but you can also flip a Lake Fork Hyper Freak or throw a weightless Senko and get bites. The next hardest thing to do is to get the bass out of this thick vegetation and into the boat, I try to go to the fish once we have it hooked and usually we get them in the boat before we lose the bass. I have been covering a lot of water and fishing kind of fast until I locate a bass and than I will fish this area very thoroughly because I will usually catch a few more bass in the same general area. I have been catching more fish on the Flappin Shad and Swimming Senko but I have had bigger fish on the Lake Fork Hyper Freak. You will want to use heavy line like the PowerPro braid that I use or the new fluorocarbon line that Lake Fork is now selling that you can get in heavy thirty three and thirty nine pound test.

   The areas that I have been fishing are scattered from the Monkey Box to South Bay with clean water being the only thing that I really have had to have. Bay Bottom has been producing tournament winning sacks of bass the past couple weeks but fish are being caught up on the shoal and the East and West Walls. The key is to look for clean water and to fish areas that have been traditional spawning areas in the past. Even though we are off the full moon I have been seeing and catching bass off the beds. This is very encouraging to see that the lake is healthy enough that we are seeing lots of bass beds this early in the year. The crappies are still a little tough to catch here at the south end of the lake but we are catching good numbers of bluegills.

   I would like to thanks everyone who has followed my column for the past couple years. I really appreciate the e-mails and kind words at the marina, boat ramps, and out on the water. I hope everyone has happy and prosperous New Year.

 

Bite of the Week

I would look for clear to slightly stained water at the south end of Okeechobee and cover a lot of water until I located some fish. I would throw a Gambler Flappin Shad or Swimming Senko until I found the bass and than work the area good with a Lake Fork Hyper Freak. For bluegill try crickets in Uncle Joe’s Cut.

 

 

 

December 9th, 2008

 

The bass fishing has been a little tough the past couple weeks here on the Big “O” as cold front after cold front moves through South Florida. The lake level has been slowly dropping and has the lake level at 14.18 feet above sea level. I know we all wanted to see water back in Lake Okeechobee but the fishing has been tough since the water has filled the lake back up and no one seems to know why it has been so tough to catch bass. But that is why we call it fishing, it seems like we were so use to catching big numbers of bass the past couple years with the water being so low that now when we do catch a few bass it isn’t enough.

   Some of the bass that we have been catching have been in areas that have very clean water but the main lake and the outside grass line has very dirty water and the wind has kept it that way. Some of the areas that do have clean water are around Ritta Island, the East Wall, West Wall, and from Cochran’s Pass to the Blue Hole. Most of these areas have clean water back in from the outside grass line. Look for areas that look healthy with some green on the vegetation and any signs of bait fish moving around. You will not be able to go into any of these areas at any given time and catch bass, you will have to cover lots of water and look for them.

   My bait selection has been pretty small the last couple weeks with a swimming Senko, Zoom U-Vibe Speed Worm, and a Zoom Horny Toad being my main baits. I have been fishing the Swimming Senko and the Zoom U-Vibe Speed Worm with a one sixteenth ounce screw in sinker, 4/0 hook, and on twenty pound test fluorocarbon line. I fish the Zoom Horny Toad on a Deep South heavy action frog rod rigged with fifty pound test PowerPro braided line. The key the last couple weeks seem to be to cover as much water as possible and keep your bait in the water. Another lure that my clients have caught a few bass on is a Gambler Flappin’ Shad fished over top of the grass. Most all of the areas that I have been fishing have pretty thick vegetation and it limits you to the type of lure that you can use. Be sure to use a good heavy action rod like the Deep South Rods that I use or you will have a hard time getting the bass out of the heavy grass.

   I have also been fishing at the Sawgrass Recreational area and have been catching bass but most of them are small. It is a little different scenery than fishing the lake and is a little easier to catch bass which is great for the kids. Try fishing a Senko wacky style and Zoom Flukes in green pumpkin and watermelon colors and you should be able to catch a good number of bass in the canals. A few crappies are being caught on the lake at Bird Island and around Uncle Joe’s Cut. The numbers of crappies have not come in off the lake yet but if you just want a few to eat it shouldn’t be any trouble to catch enough on some minnows. If you are still looking for that perfect Christmas gift I do have some of the Deep South “Mark King” Shakey Head Rods and gift certificates available, just contact me at www.markkingfishing.com. I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and try not to forget what the true meaning of Christmas really is about.

 

Bite of the Week

With the bite being slow I would start fishing around Ritta Island and work my way toward Cochran’s Pass fishing any water that looks good and also covering as much water as possible. I would rig a frog, swimming Senko and Zoom U-Vibe Speed Worm and just go fishing. For a few crappies to eat try Uncle Joe’s Cut with minnows.

 

 

 

November 25th, 2008

 

The cold fronts just keep rolling through South Florida and it is not helping the fishing here on Lake Okeechobee for sure. The fishing is still hit and miss and no one really seem to know why. You can go out one day and have a fair day and catch a few bass and than have a slow day the next. But the water is really cooling off and this should bring the bass in from out on the main lake. The mornings have been chilly here on the lake but by afternoon it has been warming up as long as the wind isn’t blowing too hard. The lake level is at 14.34 feet above sea level and still dropping slowly. As we are coming up on the dark of the moon the buck (male) bass should start to move toward the grass and hopefully the big females will follow.

   The areas that I have been concentrating on are Ritta Island, Coots Bay, and the East Wall. All of these areas have some bass in them roaming around but they are not bunched up for sure and it seems like you will need to find clean water but not crystal clear water. The best water color for me has just a small amount of stain or tint to the water. Another area that has had some fish is Bay Bottom, this area has a lot of dying vegetation but the water is fairly clean and my clients have been catching a few bass here. All of the areas that I mentioned above have been staying fairly clean even with the wind blowing everyday. I have also heard that the Monkey Box area has been producing a few bass when the wind isn’t blowing too hard. This area has been looking better every time that I go up there but I can’t seem to locate the bass but the reports are coming from a reliable source. The key is to cover lots of water and fish as slow as you can.

   I have been using a Swimming Senko and a Lake Fork Hyper worm to catch ninety percent of the bass that my clients and I have been catching. I have been fishing both weightless and just throwing them out and slowly reeling them in across the grass and when you come to a hole just stop reeling and let the bait drop slowly to the bottom. I have been using both green pumpkin and junebug colors but the color doesn’t seem to matter as much as the presentation. On windy days when it is hard to fish the soft plastics across the grass I switch to a black Cavitron buzzbait and have been doing pretty well with a slow retrieve across the grass. The Cavitron is the only buzzbait to fish when you want to fish real slow. I have also been pitching a craw in the holes in the grass but have only caught a few bass, this method should be a great way to catch these bass that are back in the grass but it just isn’t so right now.

   The crappie and brim fishermen are catching a good number of fish on almost every outing. The crappie are moving in off the lake with this water temperature dropping and can be found in places like Uncle Joe’s Cut and the Barge Canal. Minnows are bait of choice for crappies and if you want to catch a few brim take some crickets along. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving as I know that my family will as we head to the Florida Keys for the holidays. Everyone needs to check out my new web site at www.mybassclass.com and become a member of the fastest growing bass fishing social web site.

 

Bite of the Week

I would star in Bay Bottom throwing Swimming Senkos or Lake Fork Hyper worms rigged weightless in the grass and than move on toward Clewiston stopping at Ritta Island and Coots Bay. For some crappies I would start looking at the lake side of Uncle Joe’s Cut fishing with minnows.

 

 

November 10th, 2008

 

Lake Okeechobee is a mysterious lake these days; the bass are here one day and darn hard to find the next. The water level is right, the water color is right, the water temperature is getting right, yet the bass seem to be a little hard to locate on a consistent basis. I had a couple good days last week where we caught some nice fish but we had to work for them. But with the full moon just around the corner we should have bass in on the beds like we did last month. The water level is at 14.66 feet above sea level and that is just about right going into winter here on Lake Okeechobee. We have some great grass growing almost everywhere on the lake, from pepper grass, eel grass, to hydrilla and it is keeping the water clean in most areas.

   Some areas that have been producing the bass that my clients and I have been catching are the East Wall, West Wall, Ritta Island, Long Point, and Coots Bay. The wind has been blowing a lot here so fishing out on the lake side of these areas is almost impossible. The water color back in the grass has been really good with it being clear in most areas. Out on the lake the water looks muddy from the wind blowing almost everyday, but it is fishable in some areas. With the bass being so unpredictable from day to day I’m not sure that the majority of the bass have moved in from out in the lake yet. There is some larger shad moving around out in open water and these bass may be chasing them around and not moving into the grass yet. The only problem is that with the wind blowing so much the lake is muddy and it will be hard to locate these bass that are off the grass in open water. You might be able to find some fishable water out in the open water if the wind slows down some and a Spro Aruka Shad would be the perfect bait to locate these bass. This outside grass will also be a great place to catch bass on wild shiners as they move toward the inside grass from out on the lake.

   For most of the areas back in the grass I have been using a Lake Fork Hyper Worm rigged weightless, I just throw it out and slowly swim it across the grass. I have also been pitching a Lake Fork Hyper Freak rigged with a half ounce weight in to the holes in the grass. Junebug and green pumpkin have been the best colors for me the past few weeks. I have been throwing both of these baits on Gamma Edge 100% Fluorocarbon line in 20 pound test. The grass that I have been fishing is pretty thick and I have been going to the fish when you catch them not even trying to pull them through the grass, it is just too thick. The new line of “Hyper” soft plastic lures by Lake Fork are awesome baits to add to your bass fishing arsenal, they have a wide tail that has great action in the water and are loaded with garlic and salt to make the bass want to hold on. And of course I have been throwing all my lures on the new line of Deep South Rods (www.deepsouthfishingrods.com) that were designed by fishermen for fishermen. They are the most sensitive rods I have ever used and are assembled with quality Fuji components. Try one of my signature series shakey head rods that I helped design to fish a shakey head rig with a baitcasting reel not a spinning reel.

   The  brim are still biting good and most reports that I have been receiving are that you can go out almost any day and catch all you want. Be sure to check out my new site at www.mybassclass.com for all the newest bass fishing information.

 

Bite of the Week

I would start fishing the open water off Long Point or Ritta Island and move into the grass looking for bass. Throw a Spro Aruka Shad as a search bait to locate the bass in the open water and than switch to a Lake Fork Hyper worm in green pumpkin color fished weightless over top the grass and let it sink into the holes in the grass.

 

 

 

 

Oct 27th, 2006

 

Click image to view full size

 

The fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been for a lack of a better word “strange”. You can go out one day and catch them pretty good and than the next day it is hard to find even a few fish. I think that the bass are still out roaming around and haven’t settled into any type of fall pattern yet. But with the cool temperatures that we are getting this week it should trigger the bass into wanting to eat and move into traditional fall areas. The lake level has remained at around fifteen feet above sea level and looks like that is what it will be going into the winter, this is good news and will enable the bass to spawn in areas that the fry should have plenty of cover to survive. For the past few years when the water level was low the bass had to spawn out in open water and the fry had no cover to hide in so the survival rate was low. I’m starting to see some hydrilla, lots of eel grass, and some pepper grass in a lot of areas around the lake.

   Some of the areas that are producing bass are the East Wall, West Wall, Coots Bay, Long Point, and around Ritta Island. These areas all have certain or small areas that the bass seem to be holding in and can sometimes be hard to find. Some of these areas have very clear water and others have stained water in them it just all depends on which way and how hard the wind is blowing. When you do find bass in an area you should spend more time dissecting that area as most of the fish seem to be in small areas. There have been reports of bass being caught in the Monkey Box area but I can’t seem to locate any bass in this area. Some other great looking water is the shoal from the Blue Hole up to Cochran’s Pass but this is also an area that I can’t seem to locate any fish.

   The bait selection the past couple weeks has been pretty small but does include the Swimming Senko, Snag-Proof Frog, and a buzzbait. As all the bass that my clients and I have been catching have been back in the thick grass a frog or weightless Swimming Senko have been the go to baits. The Snag-Proof Bobby’s Perfect frog I’m fishing is on a Deep South Frog rod with fifty pound test PowerPro line and an Abu-Garcia Revo STX reel. For the Swimming Senko I have been using a 7’2” Deep South medium heavy action rod with Gamma Edge 100% fluorocarbon line in sixteen and twenty pound test spooled on an Abu-Garcia Revo STX reel. When fishing the Swimming Senko I reel it slowly across the grass and than let it fall in any holes in the grass I can find. The buzzbait seems to work good when the wind is blowing hard and everything else is hard to fish. I like to throw a Cavatron buzzbait in 3/8 ounce size and use both a black and white colored ones. I have also been doing pretty good on wild shiners; the key is to find a hole back in the grass big enough to fish and than be patient and you will catch a few bass.

   The bluegill bite has slowed down but I do know of a few guys that are still catching them on a regular basis. Fish a live cricket under a cork in the rim canal and on the inside of the dyke on the East Wall and down toward Bear Beach channel. As I write this South Florida has just had its first cold front of the year pass through and it should cool the water down even more which should get the bass move looking for bait. Good luck and hope to see you on the water and don’t forget to take time to take a kid fishing, you might just be the one to get them hooked on fishing not on drugs.

 

Bite of the Week

Fishing in the grass seems to be the hot spot to fish and the West Wall, East Wall, Coots Bay, and Ritta Island are great places to start. Use a Snag-Proof frog in black color or a weightless Swimming Senko to entice these bass into biting. I would also keep a buzzbait and a spinnerbait rigged for windy days. For fishing with wild shiners get back in the grass and look for holes big enough to fish in, they only need to be as big as your boat in size. Anchor your boat in the grass and fish in the open hole.

 

 

 

 

 

Sept. 30th, 2008

 

September has proven to be somewhat a tough month fishing here on the Big “O”. For most to go out and catch a couple fish a day has been good. The bass have been really scattered out, you may catch one or two fish in an area and than you have to find another area to catch them in, this is true even with wild shiners for bait. The water has slowed down flowing into Lake Okeechobee and has even gone down some in the past couple weeks to 14.95 feet above sea level. I believe that the water just needs to cool down a little and the water needs to clean up in some areas from the dead and dieing vegetation. As long as the wind isn’t blowing too hard to dirty up the water I have had good success on the outside grass line but when the wind blows and dirties up the water on the outside you need to move back in the grass. And this is where the trouble locating fish starts, I have found a few open water holes back in the grass and you can sometimes catch a bass or two out of them but for the most part you will put some time in to catch a few bass back in the grass.

   The bass that my clients and I have been catching have been on worms and craws fished along the grass. A ten inch worm like the ones I use from Lake Fork Trophy Lures in junebug color fished with a 3/16 ounce weight on twenty pound test fluorocarbon line has been one of my best producing lures. A Swimming Senko would be my next choice for lures, fished weightless on a 4/0 Gamakatsu wide gap hook also attached to the twenty pound test fluorocarbon line. I swim the Senko through the grass till I get to an open hole in the grass and then just stop it and let it fall in the hole, if no bites just continue swimming it. The frog bite has slowed down but I’m still catching a few and most of them are really good fish. The Snag-Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog in black has been the best color and frog for me to use back in the real thick grass like almost all of the grass is. The fishing has been slow so you will want to really slow down and fish real slow to get the bites.

   Some of the areas that have been good are Long Point, Ritta Island, Coots Bay, West Wall, and around Observation Island. It depends on the wind as to which areas will be the better ones. Try to fish the outside grass line first and move in grass farther as you try to locate the fish. I have heard of a few bass being caught back in the grass all the way against the hard line but the water quality is not very good back in with the dieing vegetation. There does seem to be a lot of bait back in the grass moving around so it is just a matter of time before the bass will be there also. By mid October the bass should really be moving in to the grass and feeding for the fall migration into the spawning areas.

   In tournament news the Wal-Mart BFL was held last weekend out of Okeechobee with Alex Picos from Davie Florida winning with a two day total of 38.14 pounds, second place was Brandon McMillan from Belle Glade Florida with 38.08 pound for two day. The bass are out there as the tournament results show but they are a little bit hard to find for now.

   The bluegill fishing has still been great with most of the bluegill being caught in the rim canal and dynamite holes. My neighbor and fishing guide Joe Payne has been catching a limit of bluegill on almost every trip out. A cricket fished under a cork is the best bet to catch some nice bluegill but a Bettle Spin will also work.

 

Bite of the Week

I would start fishing the outside grass line at Observation Island, Ritta Island, or Long Point and than slowly work my way back in the grass. Throw ten inch worm, swimming Senkos, or frogs and really fish areas thoroughly. Look for water that is not to dirty and does have a little wind blowing on it. For bluegill try some of the dynamite holes south of Clewiston with crickets.

 

 

 

Picture of Tim Hegarty of West Palm Beach FL and his dad Tom with a nice Okeechobee bass caught on a wild shiner. Picture by Mark King

 

Click photo for full size

 

 

September 15th, 2008

 

September is flying by here on Lake Okeechobee and the fishing has been really good as the water level continues to rise. For some though the fishing has been a little tough as they learn to fish in the grass of Okeechobee all over again. The bass are not everywhere and you will not catch a lot in one area but when you do find them you will be able to catch a fair number in the general area. With the water level at 15.15 feet above sea level it is no problem to go almost anywhere as long as you can get through the grass. I have been catching bass from above Cochran’s Pass to Kramer Island. The wind seems to have a lot of affect on where the bass are positioning themselves. If the wind blows pretty hard the bass are back in the grass more but when the wind lays down or just blows a little the bass are more toward the outside grass line. Most of this depends on if the wind is pushing the bait back into the grass or if they are hanging out on the edge of the grass.

   Some areas that have been good the past couple weeks are both sides of Ritta Island, Long Point, Coots Bay, and around Observation Island area. Where I go depends on the direction of the wind, I like it to blow straight in against the grass if possible. Another thing to watch for is the dirty water, the harder the wind blows from out on the lake the dirtier the water on the outside of the grass is going to be but as you move farther back into the grass the water will clean up and almost get to clear. I know everyone hates to fish in the wind but this is where the bass will be waiting to ambush bait that the wind pushes in to them. I use my Power-Pole to hold the boat on the outside of the grass and cast back into the grass a couple feet and work my bait out toward open water. Without a Power-Pole you could use an anchor but it would be a long day fishing a grass line for a couple miles if you have to pull the anchor all day, with the Power-Pole all I have to do is use the trolling motor to move me down the grass line and hit the remote to deploy the Power-Pole and I’m fishing. They are expensive but it is one piece of equipment that is on my boat that I couldn’t do without.

   I have been catching bass on both artificial lures and wild shiners. The wild shiner fishing has been really good and all you need to do is find an area that the wind is blowing straight into the grass and anchor out a casting distance away and throw the shiners just of the grass line and give it some time and you will catch some nice bass. As for artificial lures I have been using topwater frogs and 10” worms for the most part. The Bobby’s Perfect Frog made by Snag-Proof has been producing better than any other top water baits I have been using and black seems to be the color to use. The other lure that has been working best is a 10” worm made by Lake Fork Trophy Lures in junebug color. Remember we are now fishing in the grass again and you will need to use braided line like PowerPro, I use thirty pound test for worms and fifty pound test for frogs. Some other lures that have been working are a Johnson Silver Minnow spoon, Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad, and Heddon Zara Super Spook. Most of the bass that we have been catching are from two to six pounds but I have heard about some bass over eight pounds being caught this past week. Don’t be afraid to keep trying different areas till you find the one that is holding fish that you can catch.

 

Bite of the Week

I would start at Long Point throwing a 10” worm on the outside of the grass and than work my way back in the grass throwing a Snag-Proof frog. I would than move to Ritta Island or Coots Bay and do the same thing till I found some bass. If you want to throw wild shiners fish the outside of Coots or Long Point depending on which way the wind is blowing. Move back in the grass only if the wind is blowing to hard to fish the outside edge of the grass line.

 

 

 

 

 

September 3rd, 2008

We wanted water on the Big “O” and now we have it, water level is at 14.60 feet above sea level and going up every day. The fishing has been really good, which is more than I expected with this water coming up so fast. Most of the bass that my clients and I have been catching are holding on the outside of the grass for the time being. The non aquatic grass that has been growing back in the areas that did not have any water in them for two years is now covered with water and dying off. This plant life that is dying off has made this water smell bad and lacks oxygen for fish and bait fish to live in for now. But as soon as this grass does die off the bass will be moving back into these areas and Lake Okeechobee will once again be the famous lake that people come from afar to catch trophy largemouth bass. For now you can catch bass on the outside of the grass from Kramer Island to the mouth of Cochran’s Pass.

   Some of the better areas this past week have been outside Coots Bay, East Wall, West Wall, and around Observation Island. I was really surprised at the number of bass that have moved in toward this grass so fast. You have to cover some water to catch the bass holding on this grass, you may catch two or three and than go a quarter of a mile down the grass line and catch four or five more. There is some areas along this grass line that have some eel grass growing in with the other grass and these spots seem to be the best. There is plenty of water to get around almost anywhere on the lake without fear of hitting the bottom with your motor or boat. If you haven’t been out on the lake for awhile you will be in for a big surprise as there is water everywhere and nothing looks familiar any more. 

   A ten inch Lake Fork worm and a Snag-Proof Frog have been the best lures for the past couple weeks. For worm fishing along the outside grass thirty pound test PowerPro line would be my choice but if you prefer twenty pound test fluorocarbon will also work. I prefer braided line once we start fishing in the grass like we are now and PowerPro is my choice for braided line. For fishing the Snag-Proof Frog I would suggest fifty pound test PowerPro line, the best colors in the frog seem to be black. The worms that I use from Lake Fork Tackle are a ten inch ribbon tailed worm and I use the junebug and blue bruiser color most of the time. I also did catch a few bass on a shakey head rig on the outside of the grass line. I was using the new worm from Lake Fork Tackle called a Hyper Finesse worm on my shakey head and I’m really impressed with the action of this worm. The Snag-Proof Frog that I have been using is the Bobby’s Perfect Frog in black color, fished on a Deep South 7’2” heavy frog rod. This rod has a heavy backbone for getting bass out of the heavy cover and is 7’2” long for making long casts back into the grass. The new line of Deep South Rods are a great rod for beginners to seasoned pros and everyone in between, and are offer in spinning, baitcasting, and specific technique rods. If you have any questions about the line of Deep South Rods give me a call and I can let you know all about them.

 

Bite of the Week

I would fish the outside grass for now as the bass have not moved back in to the grass yet. Fish the East Wall, Coots Bay, West Wall, and around Observation Island with ten inch worms and Snag-Proof frogs. If there is some wind pushing bait into the grass line try a spinnerbait or buzzbait along the edge of the grass.

 

 

 

August 19th, 2008

I’m writing this as tropical storm Fay is approaching the Lake Okeechobee region and everyone has their fingers crossed for lots of rain. The lake level has already come up to 11.34 feet above sea level before this storm so with Gods grace we will get a good amount of rain from this storm. The fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been improving the last couple weeks as some eel and pepper grass has stated to pop up in some areas. The grass is just in patches but for now that is great and it should spread quickly with the clear water that is in most areas that I write about on the south end of the lake. The bass are relating to the small patches of eel grass and my clients have been able to catch a couple bass out of each patch before you need to move on to the next patch of grass. Also with the water level getting up high enough to once again get back into the main grass line in most areas the bass seem to be also heading to these areas.

   Most of the areas from Kramer Island to above Observation Island have some type of grass starting to grow and a few fish to be caught in most of these areas. A shakey head rig and Carolina rigged worm have been the most productive techniques as of lately. But I have been getting my frog rod and heavy flippin rod ready as these bass will be in the grass real soon. I have been fishing a shakey head rig in the eel grass patches with great success, my shakey head rig consist of a Giggy Head jig made by Gambler Lures and a new worm made by Lake Fork Tackle called a Hyper Worm that has great action. On the Carolina rig I have been using a Gambler Ace and a Lake Fork Ring Fry. Darker colored worms like junebug, black-blue, blue bruiser seem to be the best colors to use. I’m still catching a few fish on a swim bait and they are usually bigger bass but you may throw a swim bait all day for just a few bites.

    I really excited about the amount of rain that we are receiving from tropical storm Fay and can’t wait to get out on the lake and see how far back in the grass that we will be able to get. I will be getting a frog rod ready to use along with a heavy flippin stick to fish back in the grass. My rig for fishing frogs consists of a Deep South 7’2” heavy rod, an Abu-Garcia Revo reel spooled with fifty pound test Power-Pro line. The Abu-Garcia Revo reel that I use for fishing a frog has a high 7.1 gear ratio so that I can get a Gambler Cane Toad up on top of the water and can keep it there. I use two types of frogs a soft plastic Cane Toad made by Gambler baits and my favorite type of frog made by Snag Proof that will not sink and can be worked very slow over vegetation. I like to use the Bobby’s Perfect Frog made by Snag Proof Lures when I want a frog that will not sink and that I can add a rattle when I fish over heavy cover, when you stop this frog the legs will pulsate. But if you want to fish a frog fast over top vegetation than a Gambler Cane Toad is the bait I turn to.

 

Bite of the Week

There will be a lot more area accessible after tropical storm Fay passes by and you should be able to fish areas like the East Wall, West Wall, and around Observation Island. There has been a good deal of eel grass popping up in various areas, you just have to get out and look for it. I would fish a shakey head rig, Carolina rig, frog, and a texas rigged worm to search out these bass. Look for areas that have clean water that does not have too much of the tea colored water in it.

 

 

 

August 3, 2008

 

Click photo to view full size

Picture of Stacey Stout with a nice bluegill, picture by Mark King

 

The fishing has slowed down as water continues to pour into Lake Okeechobee. With the water level at 10.72 feet above sea level Lake Okeechobee is filling up with water at a pretty fast rate, just hope it continues. The bass fishing has slowed down the past couple weeks here on the south end of the lake. Most of the bass being caught are out on the main lake roaming around chasing bait. The rim canal and most of the channels and canals have the red or tea stain water in them and the bass have moved out of this water that has little oxygen. It is great that we are still getting a lot of water into the lake but it is just a shame that it is such bad water from the agricultural community. Maybe some day someone will figure out what to do with this run off water from the fields and farms before they dump it into Lake Okeechobee. Because if they don’t the most famous lake in the world will be nothing more than a sediment pit with no fish or wildlife for our kids to enjoy.

   The bass that we have been catching are looking for bait so this is also what you need to be looking for. I have seen some very large schools of shad this past week and the bass were in the middle feeding on them like they hadn’t ate for months. The shad that I have been seeing are big shad so in matching the hatch you will want to be fishing larger baits for these bass out looking for shad. Large swim baits and big 10” worms would be my choice. You will probably not get many bites but the ones that you do get will be nice bass. I have also been catching a few bass on a shakey head rig but it has slowed down some. For worm colors for both the 10” worm and the shakey head worm I would stick with darker colors like junebug, black-blue, or black grape. For what color swim bait to use try to get something that looks like a shad color or white. The swim baits I use “Live” Magic Shad made by Lake Fork Tackle have a color called albino shad that I like to use a lot, but any of the colors that look like a shad or wild shiner will work.

   The areas that I have been fishing mostly are out on the lake even though it is shallow in most of these areas. Norman’s channel still has a few fish in and around it, the shoal north of Uncle Joe’s cut has a few bass roaming around chasing shad and bluegill, and the area out from Bear Beach channel has been holding bass most consistently. I have not been able to catch very many bass in the rim canal since they started running the dirty tea stained water in from out in the fields and canals surrounding Lake Okeechobee. There are still bass to be caught on the pipe line that runs from the water tank to the area between Coots Bay and the East Wall. This water out in this area does have a small amount of stain to it but depending on the wind direction it can also be very clear. The pipe line is pretty easy to find as it is covered with rock and is in a pretty straight line. With this water being shallow and clear you will want to stay out a casting distance away from the pipe line and make long casts to keep from spooking these bass. Another tip is to put your trolling motor on a low speed and let it run constant, try not to run it on high or turn it on and off as this will spook these bass in this shallow water.

   The bass have been a little hard to find for most even in the tournaments we have here almost every weekend. The winner may come in with over twenty pound in five bass but than second place may only have a little over ten pounds, but than that’s summer fishing on almost any lake in the United States. My suggestion for this time of the year is to get out early as possible to get the best chance of catching these summer bass and to fish slow and be patient and you will catch some bass. The bluegills are still biting good, as long as you find active beds with fish on them. Crickets under a cork or sometimes without a cork will be your best bet. A Beatle Spin will also work good but for me the crickets have been working best. Yes you heard me right I have been doing some bluegill fishing and having a good time at it. Remember during the hot summer months to drink lots of water and use plenty of good sunscreen like the one I use made by SmartShield (www.smartshield.com) that is eco-friendly and oil free so it will not harm fishing line or any of your outdoor gear. SmartShield also makes a great insect repellent that is Deet-Free and I can tell you from experience this stuff really works even in the Everglades National Park where the mosquitoes are as big as a birds.

 

 

Bite of the Week

I would start bass fishing on the pipe line just off the Clewiston channel and then move over toward the Bear Beach area, fishing 10” worms and swim baits. From there I would try Norman’s channel fishing the holes and drop-offs in the channel with a shakey head rig. Use dark colored worms and look for the bait and you will find the fish. Bass fishing is almost like dolphin fishing, if you see birds diving on bait the bass won’t be to far behind. For bluegill look for beds up on the shoal north of Uncle Joe’s cut and out from Ritta Island.

 

 

 

 

 

July 22nd, 2008

As the dirty water continues to flow into Lake Okeechobee from the farms surrounding the lake the fishing has gotten a little tough if you can’t find clean water. Yes we needed water in the lake but this red or tea stained water that is flowing and being pumped into the lake does not have much oxygen in it and has the bass scrambling for good water. The lake level is at 10.34 feet above sea level and still rising everyday. It seems to be one of those deals where do you want dirty water or no water! The key to finding bass the past couple weeks is to find clean water and bait, the clean water is a little easier to find than the bait fish.

   Some of the areas that the water still seams to be ok are the shoal north of Uncle Joe’s cut, Norman’s channel, and the pipeline area. The shoal does have more water on it than it did a couple weeks ago but it is still very shall to fishing it in a bass boat. Norman’s channel and the pipe line that runs from the water tank that is out the Clewiston channel to an area between Coots Bay and the East Wall. The water in the pipe line area is clear and you just need to look for the rocks that cover the pipe. On a weekend it is easy to find the pipe line because there is a string of boats on it, but even then they are still catching bass. At Norman’s channel you want to fish the edge of the channel and up in the shallower water also, you should find the fish if you keep looking around in this area.

   My bait selection has changed some from past months to where I’m throwing a swim bait a lot more especially if I see bait jumping or bass trying to eat them. For soft plastic swim baits try a Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad in both the 4.5 and 5.5 sizes. For hard plastic swim baits I have been using the King Shad made by Strike King. As for what color to use I have been using shad colored soft and hard plastic swim baits. The other thing about fishing swim baits is the fact that the strike is viscous and braided line and a rod with a lot of back bone is needed. I have been using thirty to fifty pound test Power Pro braided line and a 7’11” Deep South Flipping rod.  My next lure of choice would be an shakey head jig, I use a Gambler Lures ounce Giggy Head jig but there is a great variety of different jig head on the market now. Just try different ones until you find the one that works best for you, the one made by Gambler Lures has been a great jig for my clients and I to use. One the best feature is the fact you can get it with a 5/0 hook so that you can use large soft plastics with it and still get a good hook set without the worm being in the way and the fact that the hook is bigger and stronger it won’t bend when you get one of these trophy Lake Okeechobee bass hooked up. I have been using a variety of different soft plastics the past few weeks from 10” worms to 4” tube baits, but the straight tailed 6” worm is still the best producer by far. The bite on wild shiners has been very slow with it being tough to use up a couple dozen. My suggestion to clients is to use artificial lures and save the money that they would spend on the wild shiners.

   The bluegill bite has been good as we come off the full moon and the bluegills are on the beds. The key here is the same as the bass fishing, find fish and you will catch them. The shoal has a good number of active bluegill beds on it and would be my choice, just remember that the water is still very shallow and this area is dangerous. Crickets are still producing best but a Bettle Spin will work almost as well. Good luck and hope to see you on the water this week. Now is a great time to pick up some of that trash we all see on the water, lets all help clean up Lake Okeechobee.

 

Bite of the Week

For bass I would concentrate on areas that are safe to get to and have clean water, Norman’s channel and the pipe line would be my choice. I would take three lure a swim bait, a shakey head rig, and a top water lure. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different soft plastic worms on a shakey head jig, the bass will let you know what they want by the way they bite. For bluegill just drift the shoal area till you find some active beds and then throw a cricket under a cork over the bed. If you prefer not to use crickets throw a Bettle Spin with a black trailer. Please don’t keep more bluegill then you plan on eating, save some for others and for next year.

 

 

 

July 7th, 2008

Picture of Capt. Mark King with 10.6 pound bass caught on a shakey head  picture by Diane King.

Click image to view full size.

 

The water level is rising fast on Lake Okeechobee and the bass that were headed out to the deeper water are just hanging out in the shallower water. The lake level is at 9.99 feet above sea level and rising more every day with the rain we have been receiving around the lake and especially north of the lake. The bass fishing can be great one day and so so the next. I had a rare opportunity last week to go fishing with my wife Diane and I was able to catch and land a monster bass that weighed in at 10.6 pounds. And yes it was on a shakey head rig with light line. The bluegill fishing has slowed down a little but if you can find some active beds then you should be able to catch all you want.

 

   With the water coming up the fish seem to be holding in some of the flats areas that they were starting to leave when the water was going down two weeks ago. Most of the bass that my clients and I are catching are in two feet of water or less and the presents of bait seems to be the key. During the summer months here on the Big “O” the bass will follow the bait around the lake, this is why you can catch bass in one area and then fish the same area the next couple days and not catch a thing. Some of the areas that I have been fishing is the Norman’s channel area, Bear Beach area and out both ways from the Clewiston channel. These fish are sometimes hard to locate in these areas but once you do you should be able to catch a good number of them. Even though the lake has come up over a foot in the last couple weeks it is still not safe to run in a lot of areas that I have mentioned above. You will notice that they are close to a channel and you can start fishing in the channel and move out on to the flats areas on the trolling motor and not have any problems.

   The shakey head rig and swim baits have been the most productive lures the past week. My shakey head rig is still the same as it has been with a Gambler Lures ounce Giggy Head jig with a dark colored straight tailed worm like a Zoom Trick worm or a Gambler Sweebo worm. One thing that has changed is the rod that I’m now using; it is made by Deep South Rods (www.deepsouthfishingrods.com) and is made especially to fish shakey head jigs. I helped design this rod and it has a fast tip to let you feel everything on the bottom and detect subtle bites, it also features lots of backbone to get bass to the boat. Look for this rod in your local tackle shops, it is a top of the line rod blank with Fuji components and best of all it has my name on it. The swim baits that I have had success on are the Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad and the new 5.5 BFL (big fish lure) made by D.O.A. Lures. The wild shiner fishing has been really good one day and pretty poor the next. It’s best if you want to fish with wild shiners to just get a couple dozen and see if the bass want them on the day you are fishing. I’m still fishing shiners under a cork and letting them swim around, I’m not using a sinker that keeps them in one place.

   As I mentioned above the bluegill fishing has been good as long as you can find active beds. Some areas to look are the pipeline area off the Clewiston channel, Bear Beach area and off the outside of Uncle Joe’s cut. Crickets are still the best bet but a Beetle Spin will also catch a limit of these tasty pan fish. Remember to use plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water during the hot months of summer. Also keep an eye out for the afternoon storms you don’t want to get caught in them. And one more thing if you see a piece of trash in the water pick it up, I know no one throws it in the water but than no one ever seems to pick them up either.

 

Bite of the Week

For bass I would be fishing a shakey head jig with a junebug colored straight tailed worm. I would try out Bear Beach channel and out on the flat surround it or Norman’s channel area. For bluegill try the pipeline area with crickets or Beetle Spins with a black tube jig.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Okeechobee Fishing Report

 

June 24th, 2008

 

Picture of Mike Billet from State College, PA. with a 7.8 pound Lake Okeechobee bass caught on a shakey head worm. Picture by Mark King .  Click image to view full size.

 

 

 

The fishing has been a little tougher as the water continues to drop on Lake Okeechobee. The fish we were catching two to three weeks ago would need shoes to walk around with in these areas. So the bass are on the move looking for deeper water and bait fish to eat, but this is making it tough to find them from day to day. You might go out one day and really catch them and you go back to the same area the next day and can’t even catch a bass. The wild shiner bite has been about as good as the artificial bite, so it is entirely up to you whether you want to watch shiners swimming under corks or move around and throw artificial lures.

   Deeper clean water seems to be the key to catching bass on the Big “O” at the present time. By deeper I mean just a little deeper than the surrounding water, six inches can make a big difference. The best areas to look for deeper water are the channels like the Clewiston channel, Norman’s channel or some of the other deeper channels in the lake. Some other great places to look for are deeper holes out on the lake that you can get to safely with your boat. Buy a good quality map and it will show a lot of the deeper holes out on the lake, just remember the water needs to be clean in the area that you are fishing. The rim canal has really slowed down as far as the bass fishing is concerned; I’m not really sure why because this is deeper water but I haven’t seen much bait in the rim canal for a few weeks now. The only other areas that my clients have caught a few bass are up on the flat areas before the sun gets up high in the sky. But once the sun gets up these bass just disappear.

   The top water bite has been good in the morning and if it is overcast. I have been throwing a Zara Super Spook if the wind is blowing and a small Pop-R if it is calm out. I will also try these throughout the day because there are some days when the bass will eat top water all day long. The other lures that I have been using are soft plastic worms. The shakey head rig is still my favorite technique to catch bass on Lake Okeechobee with the water levels being low like they are now. I have been using a new line of rod the past couple months made by Deep South Rods (www.deepsouthfishingrods.com) and just love the feel of these rods, they are light weight for using all day and are very durable to take the everyday punishment that my clients and I give them. The new signature series shakey head rod with my name on it is just the rod to throw a shakey head and catch bass from under docks or fishing out on the flats where we just drag a Giggy Head on the bottom. These rods can handle anything you throw at them including monster Okeechobee bass. The only other soft plastic lure that has been working with any consistency has been a Lake Fork Lures 10” worm in junebug color. While fishing these channels like the Clewiston channel and Norman’s channel I will have one client throw a shakey head worm and the other throw a crank bait like a Bomber 6A in a shad pattern. When we find that one lure works better than the other than we all switch to that.

The bluegill bite has been pretty good if you can find some beds that still have some fish on them that someone hasn’t come in and caught them all. A Beetle Spin has been working as good as live crickets; try one with a black and yellow tail. I am now doing  bluegill trips and inshore/backcountry fishing. 

 

Bite of the Week

The Clewiston channel would be my pick to catch bass either on wild shiners or artificial lures. Start out in the morning with top water and as the sun gets up use a shakey head jig with a darker colored worm or crank bait in a natural shad pattern. To catch some bluegills look for beds out on the flats around the Clewiston area and throw a Beetle Spin.

 

 

 

June 9th, 2008

The water level is dropping fast on Lake Okeechobee with the level at 9.44 feet above sea level and the fish are starting to move out of the shallow water areas just as fast. Fishing this past week has been a hit and miss deal, one day you catch the fire out of them and the next you struggle to catch just a few. As the water drops the bass will move to deeper water areas and then they will be easier to pinpoint but for now they are roaming around between the shallow water and the deeper water. If you get out early in the morning the bass are up on the shallow flats till the sun gets up and then they disappear. After the sun gets up the rim canal and channels have been holding enough fish to keep your interest. I was even able to catch a few good bass this week on wild shiners in the dynamite holes.

   Some of the areas that are producing well for bass are the Clewiston channel, Norman’s channel, the pipeline from Coots Bay out to the water tank, the rim canal, and the dynamite holes. As this water continues to drop the bass will move to deep water areas like the channels. A great area to fish is the shallow water next to the deeper water as long as the water is not too dirty. As I mentioned earlier the bass have been eating wild shiners in the dynamite holes and out on the lake, try sitting in the shallow water and throwing the shiners in the deeper water. I have been using both shiners fished with a cork float and free runners without a cork. For now the smaller shiners seem to be working better than the big ones. As for artificial lures topwater and soft plastic worms are the way to go. A Lil’ Zip made by local lure maker Sam Griffin or a Bomber Torpedo in a small size are working great for topwater, and like I have said before they work just as good all day as they do in the early morning hours. As for soft plastics the shakey head rig with a straight tailed worm and a Zoom Super Fluke fished with a 1/16 ounce screw in sinker will both catch some nice bass. I have been using a 3/16 ounce Gambler Giggy Head jig instead of the 1/4 ounce now that the wind has slowed down and as to what color worm, try any dark colors. Some of my favorite colored worms are black, junebug, black-grape, and black-blue. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different worms like a 10’ worm or a Senko, both will work at certain times. When I fish a Zoom Super Fluke I like to fish it on a 4/0 wide gap hook and a 1/16 ounce screw in bullet weight. My favorite colors for Flukes are watermelon-red, baby bass and green pumpkin. Another thing to consider is the water color where you are fishing, if it is clear and the wind isn’t putting much of a ripple on the water than you may want to move out toward deeper water and on windy or cloudy days the bass will be up on the clear shallow flats. Also consider your fishing line and use fluorocarbon line in the clear water as these bass can get line shy in the shallow water. If you like to use braided line then just tie a fluorocarbon leader about 24” in length to the braided line and you shouldn’t have any trouble.

   I have been seeing a good number of bluegill beds out on the lake in the shallow water areas I mentioned above. There are bluegills on some and others seem to not have any bluegill even around them, you just have to look for the active beds. Crickets under a cork would be my bait choice but a Beetle Spin with a black and yellow trailer will also get the job done.

   With summer here you want to remember to take lots of water out on the lake and drink it throughout the day not just when you are thirsty. Sunscreen should be applied before you even leave the dock in the morning and reapplied throughout the day, even on cloudy days you will get burnt without sunscreen. I like to use a sunscreen made by Smartshield that is oil free and eco-friendly so I don’t worry about getting it on my fishing line or in the water. One other item is sunglasses; wear them all the while you are out on the water. I have wore cheap glasses in the past and my eyes would hurt like a tooth ache all night but since I started wearing a good quality pair of sunglasses like Costa Del Mar glasses my eyes feel as good after a day on the water as they did in the morning.

 

Bite of the Week

I would start out fishing the pipeline in the morning with topwater and a shakey head rig and move toward the Clewiston channel as the sun got up overhead. If you want to throw some wild shiners than I would head to one of the deeper dynamite holes and sit in the shallow water and throw the shiners to deeper water. For bluegill try the pipeline area and also out Bear Beach channel. There are still a few bass in the rim canal but they seem to be scattered out so don’t expect to sit in one spot and catch a lot of bass.

 

 

 

 

 

May 27th, 2008

 

You want to catch up to 30 plus bass a day?  Then Lake Okeechobee is the place to be now if you like catching bass on artificial lures. The main lake is clearing up daily as the wind has finally giving us a break and the bass are almost everywhere in the shallow water flats looking for something to eat. My clients have enjoyed a great couple weeks fishing out on the lake from the pipeline area to the shoal. Most of the bass are in the two to four pound range but we have had a fair number of fish over seven pounds. I’m fishing in water that is two feet deep or less and these bass are fighting like they are monster bass, this is what makes this so much fun to see the rod bent double and these bass out of the water like they are tarpon. The lake level is at 9.78 feet above sea level and has stayed pretty steady this week with the rain we received. It hasn’t been enough rain to fill the lake but enough to keep the farmers fields wet so they don’t take our water.

   If you’re going to be out on these flats areas fishing for bass you will not need too many different kinds of lures. Most all the fish that we have caught the past week or two have been on a shakey head rig or a lipless crankbait. Everyone gets tired me talking about a shakey head rig but when you take out two clients for six hours and they catch over fifty bass with a 7.12 pound bass to anchor the catch why would I want to use anything else. On windy days a lipless crankbait does work pretty well, I have been throwing a Spro Aruka Shad in both the 75 and junior size. The blue and green shiner colors seem to be the better colors, but any color with a shiny chrome finish should work. Spro has gone the extra mile on the finishes they are putting on the Aruka Shad, they are comparable with the high dollar Japanese lures at a fraction of the cost. My shakey head rig hasn’t changed much for the past six months, a Gambler ounce Giggy Head jig and a dark colored straight tailed worm like a Gambler Sweebo or a Zoom Trick worm. On days when the wind doesn’t blow at all then a 3/16 ounce Giggy Head may work better. A few other lures that work from day to day for me are a 10” worm and swimbaits both hard and soft plastic.

   The areas out on the lake that I have talked about are very shallow water areas and for the most part you can not run your boat into these areas on plane. You should plan on doing a lot of idling and running your trolling motor most of the day while you fish these areas. The pipe line that runs from the water tank to an area off Coots Bay, the outside of Bare Beach channel, the area from the outside of Uncle Joe’s cut up to where the mouth of Cochran’s all have fish but are also very shallow and dangerous areas to be right now. There are lots of bluegill beds in these areas and the bass are roaming around eating till they look like little footballs, some are as big around as they are long. There are still fish in the rim canal and a few in the Clewiston channel from the locks at Clewiston out to the water tank.

   The bluegill bite has been good for some and not so good for others. There are lots of beds in all the shallow water areas that I talked about bass fishing above. Crickets would be my bait choice with Beetle Spins being my second choice. A lot of the airboat folks are getting out and wading around in the shallow water catching good numbers of bluegill.

 

Bite of the Week

My first choice for bass would be the pipeline area and I would throw a Gambler Giggy Head jig in ounce size and a dark colored Gambler Sweebo worm attached. My next choice would be the shoal as long as the wind isn’t blowing too hard. But if you want to be safe with your boat that stick to the rim canal and you should be able to catch a good number of bass. For bluegill try the flat in front of Coots Bay or the rim canal and dynamite holes with a cricket under a cork float.

 

Picture of Mike Squillace from the Ft. Lauderdale Florida area with a bass that weighed 7.12 pounds caught on a shakey head. Picture by Mark King

 

 

 

May 13th, 2008

Picture of the smoke from the fire on the lake. Picture by Mark King

 

 

The water level continues to drop on Lake Okeechobee as fires burn on the lake from Moorehaven to Clewiston. The lake level is at 10.03 above sea level and dropping pretty fast, but we are still higher than we were last year at this time when the lake level was at 9.33 feet above sea level. The fishing continues to be awesome from the rim canal out to areas on the lake and everywhere in between. Bass have been hitting artificial lures better than they have been eating wild shiners, but that’s not to say they won’t eat up a couple dozen shiners pretty quick.

   The shakey head rig is still my number one choice to catch size and numbers of bass. In my opinion a ounce Gambler Giggy Head jig with a straight tailed worm like a Zoom Trick worm or a Gambler Sweebo can’t be beat. For color choices anything from junebug to black will work great, junebug when the sun is bright and black when it is overcast skies. Some of the other lures that have also been working are a 10” texas rigged worm, lipless crankbait like a Spro Aruka Shad in golden shiner color, or a topwater popper. The 10” worm is something that has just started to work good, I like to throw a Lake Fork Trophy Lures 10” worm in a darker color with as small as bullet weight that the wind will allow me to throw and still have contact with the bottom. The trick to using any worm at this time is to fish it as slow as you can and then fish it even slower. I have also been catching some bass on a weightless Senko on days when the wind isn’t blowing; again darker colors are my choice.

   The rim canal is still producing some nice fish and good numbers but if you are like me I’m tired of looking at the same areas day in day out. I have started fishing out on the lake in a couple different spots. One is the pipeline that runs from the water tank to the point between Coots Bay and the East Wall. And the other area is up on the shoal which is a very shallow and dangerous area right now. If you do not have a good knowledge of this area you might not want to fish there unless you have an endless supply of boats and gearcases. The pipeline area is not bad to get to as you can idle from the Clewiston channel to it and then start fishing in this whole area. There are also a lot of bluegill beds in this area, which is why the bass are roaming around out here. The shoal also has some bass on it but this area is very shallow and much harder to get to and if the wind blows it becomes even worse. Bass should start showing up on the Clewiston channel any day as this is where everyone was fishing this time last year, from Clewiston out to the water tank is the best area. The bass in the rim canal are still on the humps and ridges from Clewiston to Belle Glade.

The bluegill beds are almost everywhere from the rim canal to the lake and the males are on them now waiting for the full moon and the females to start moving in. The males can be caught now off the bed using crickets or Beetle Spins.

 

Bite of the Week

The pipeline would be my choice area as long as the wind isn’t blowing too hard and if it is than go to the rim canal and you should be able to catch all the bass you want. For bluegill try out in front of Coots Bay and the East Wall, both areas have a good number of beds. Baits of choice would be a Shakey Head rig or weightless Senko for bass and crickets for bluegill.

 

 

 

April 28th, 2008

The wild shiner bite for bass slows down a bit on Lake Okeechobee but the artificial bite is still on. And by on I mean that you can catch bass on topwater to shakey heads and anything in between. The bass have not really wanted to eat wild shiners since the record setting cold front came through two weeks ago, but they will still eat an artificial lure like it’s their last meal. The lake level has drop slightly to 10.35 feet above sea level but that is still over six inches more than it was last year at this time. The rim canal and dynamite holes are still getting a lot of attention but the main lake has started producing bass and bluegills in good numbers. As long as the wind doesn’t blow to hard the main lake should continue to clean up more everyday.

   Some of the areas that are starting to see clean water out on the main lake is out from Coots Bay, East Wall, West Wall and up on the shoal. I’m not telling you can run into these areas with your boat I’m just saying that the water is clean and very fishable if you want to idle in on the big motor or use your trolling motor. As you are in these areas you will notice vegetation growing on the bottom, please treat this as if you were fishing a saltwater flat and don’t tear it up with your props. We need all the vegetation to grow on the bottom of Lake Okeechobee as we can get, as this is what will keep our waters clean and filter out the dirty water. The rim canal and dynamite holes are also getting clearer by the day and should continue to do so as we head into summer. My clients and I have been mostly concentrating on the humps and ridges in the middle part of the rim canal.

   The shakey head rig is still my number one choice to catch both numbers and big bass. That’s not to say that we are not catching our fair share on topwater and crankbaits also. As the wind slows down I have started to use a 3/16 ounce Gambler Giggy Head jig in place of the 1/4 ounce size, the key is to maintain contact with the bottom and the 3/16 works great when the wind isn’t blowing to hard. My worm colors for the shakey head have not changed with darker colors like junebug, black, black-blue being my favorites. As far as crankbaits are concerned a lipless crankbait like the Spro Aruka Shad in blue shiner or wild shiner would be my choice. The blue shiner color on sunny days and the wild shiner color on cloudy overcast days. For topwater I’m using a small pop-r type lure and either a Lil’ Zip or Lil’ Richard both are a prop type bait made by local lure maker Sam Griffin. The topwater lures and Spro Aruka Shad will work great out on the flats areas like out from Coots Bay and the East Wall. I have also had some success on these flats with swimbaits both hard plastic and soft plastic.

   The bluegill bite has also been picking up since the cold front came through and good sized ones are being caught both in the rim canal and out on the lake if you can find clean water. If you like to use live bait than crickets will work best and if artificial lures are your choice than Beetle Spins and Rooster Tails would be my choice. There have bluegill beds out in front of Coots Bay and in the rim canal that I have seen but I’m sure there are a lot of other places to find them also.

 

Bite of the Week

I know I keep telling you rim canal every week but that is the place to be and my clients keep catching big fish and good numbers of bass. Artificial lures would be my choice this week as they seem to be working better than wild shiners. Target the humps and ridges in the middle of the rim canal with a Gambler Giggy Head jig and a straight tailed junebug worm. For bluegills try out in front of Coots Bay if the wind isn’t blowing and if it is than head to the edges of the rim canal.

 

 

April 15th, 2008

 

Picture of Jake Bension with a 9.7# bass caught on a wild shiner. Picture by Mark King

 

 

 

The water level in big Lake Okeechobee continues to rise and the fishing also keeps getting better. The lake level is 10.50 above sea level and that is six inches higher then it was last year at this time. Everyone keeps talking and reporting about how bad Lake Okeechobee is well I’m here to tell you that the fishing is great and the Good Lord has provided us with enough water to maintain a good lake level for the vegetation to grow back and for the fishing to continue to be great. All anyone wants to report about is the bad news, how about coming over and reporting about some of the good things. I know enough about the press we know that all they are going to report about are the negative things.

   My clients have been catching around twenty five bass on most outings and some real nice ones over seven pounds are also being caught. Oh did I mention that the artificial lure bite is as good if not better than the wild shiner fishing. I’m still catching most of my bass on a shakey head rig but topwater and crankbaits have also been accounting for a good number of fish. My shakey head rig has not changed for the last four months it consists of a Gambler Giggy Head jig fished on twelve pound Berkley fluorocarbon line with a straight tailed worm like a Gambler Sweebo worm, darker colors have been working best. For topwater I prefer to use small Poppers and small prop type baits like the ones I use that are made by local lure make Sam Griffin. Sam’s baits are all wooden plugs that sit in the water just right and have great action. Sam also does a great job of custom painting his lures. As far as what crankbaits that I have been using the past few weeks both are made by Spro lures. The Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbait has been bait that I have been using to crank the humps and ridges in the rim canal. And the Spro Little John crankbait has been what I have been using to work along the rip rap on the levy side of the rim canal. The only other bait that has been working for my clients and I is a Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad fished real slowly over the humps and ridges in the rim canal, this swimbait has great action that can really get the bass fired up. Try some of the 4.5” or 5.5” size in golden shiner color and you will see why I like these baits. They have also been working great for inshore saltwater fishing; Bass Pro Shops can’t keep them in stock.

   The areas that I have been fishing have not changed much in the past few months. The humps, ridges, and rip rap in the rim canal has been the better places to be, but don’t count out the dynamite holes or out on the shoal north of Uncle Joe’s if the wind allows you to get there. Remember the lake is still low and you will want to be very careful running around anywhere out on the lake itself. The bluegill bite has real turned on the past couple weeks and some real nice ones are being caught. The rim canal seems to be the place to be and crickets are the bait of choice.

I fished my first IFA Redfish tournament last weekend in Jacksonville and just wanted to say that the IFA is a class act. I have fished a lot of bass tournaments around the country and they don’t even compare to how the IFA runs a tournament. Everyone is friendly from the tournament officials to the anglers and the meeting, boat launching and weigh in just runs real smooth. Now if I could just figure out how to catch some redfish!

 

Bite of the Week

For bass the rim canal is where you should be fishing, anywhere for Moorehaven to Belle Glade you should be able to catch fish. Look for humps and ridges in the rim canal and if that doesn’t work for you try fishing along the levy side with both soft plastics and crankbaits. If bluegills are your fish of choice get some crickets and fish them under a cork in the rim canal and you should be able to get a limit.

 

 

 

 

April 1st, 2008

 

A happy April Cates from Rockport Texas with a bass she caught on a shakey head worm rig. Picture by Mark king

 

We have all heard the words “should have been here last week the fish were really biting”, but this is not the case on Lake Okeechobee as the bass just keep biting week after week. The water level has come up a little to 10.25 feet above sea level and the wind has slowed down some the past few days. Most of the water in the rim canal, dynamite holes and out on the shoal has really cleaned up to the point you can almost call it clear. All these conditions have added up to lots of bass being caught from Moorehaven to Pahokee. Most of my clients the past couple weeks have really caught a lot of bass on artificial lures from sunrise to mid afternoon. It is great to see almost everyone catching bass from guides to weekend warriors and since the bass are scattered out no one is fishing on top of each other.

   Most of the bass are still being caught in the rim canal but they are not on just the humps and ridges now, they are along both the lake and levy sides as well as the points. They can also be caught on crankbaits, topwater, or soft plastics. Of course the shakey head has been my top producer in both numbers and big fish. Tie on a ounce Gambler Giggy Head jig with a Gambler Sweebo worm or Ace and you can’t go wrong. Remember that with the water clearing up that you should use fluorocarbon line; it is almost invisible in the water and has great strength. I have been using the new Trilene 100 % Fluorocarbon professional grade and I’m really impressed with all of its qualities especially the low memory feature that makes it great for use on spinning reels. The crankbaits that I have been using with great success the past couple weeks are the Spro “Little John” and the Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbait. Spro makes a great quality crankbait with a finish that is as good as Japanese lures costing twice as much. The topwater bite has been spotty but we have been catching a few everyday either on a Pop-R or a buzzbait, both are great on overcast days. A lot of the bass that we have been catching are in the two to four pound range which is a lot of fun to catch especially when you can catch over thirty a day. And yes we are also catching some bigger ones up to eight or nine pounds but were just not catching them like we were on every trip. But who wouldn’t enjoy catching twenty bass over three pounds in one day. Want even more of a challenge bring your fly rod and hook into some of the bass that fight like fish twice their size.

   The crappie bite has slowed down to almost nothing but the bluegill bite is starting to heat up. Try getting some crickets and fishing in the rim canal toward Belle Glade and you should be able to find a good number bluegill. Remember to not take more bluegill out of the lake than what you are going to eat or everyone will be complaining that they can’t catch any fish next year. And if you see someone keeping too many fish or bass that are not the right size that don’t hesitate to call the FWC, the number is on your fishing license. The future of our fishery might just be in your hands Think About It!!! 

 

Bite of the Week

I would start in the rim canal with topwater lures early in the morning and than go to soft plastics on a shakey head jig as the sun gets up overhead. Fish the levy side of the canal or the humps and ridges in the middle. For bluegill try fishing a cricket under a cork along the lake side of the rim canal.

 

 

 

 

 

March 17th, 2008

 

Picture of Randy Cameron from Creede, Colorado with a nice bass caught on a fly rod. Picture taken by Mark King

 

Lake Okeechobee is hot, once again this past weekend it took a five bass limit over twenty five pound to win a tournament. Most all of the guides here at Roland Martins Marina and Resort have been catching good numbers of bass and some big ones on both wild shiners and artificial lures. Bass Busters silver division held on March 15th was won by Brandon McMillan and Ron Veale with 28.56 pounds and the Gold division held on Sunday the 16th was won by Jimmy and Brandon McMillan with 26.51 pounds. It took over twenty pounds to get in the money both days. Big bass on Saturday was an 8.07 pound bass caught by Skip and Beth Simmonds and big bass on Sunday was caught by Val Osinski weighing in at 8.72 pounds.

   The lake level has been coming up just a little with all the rain that we have been getting around the lake for the last couple weeks. The lake level is at 10.19 feet above sea level which is not a lot below what it was last year at this time which it was 10.88 feet above sea level. If we can continue to get the rains that we have been getting to hold us over till rainy season here on the Big “O” the fishing should be great all summer long. We need a tropical storm to fill the lake back up to normal level this summer and to let the natural healing process continue here on our great lake.

   The rim canal was the hot spot for this past month and I don’t look for much to change for next month. Most of the bass have gone to a post spawn mood but sometime throughout the day they will eat and when they do be ready to catch some fish. The bass in the rim canal have been moving from the humps and ridges in the middle to both the levy and lake sides of the canal. The artificial lures that have been working best for my clients and I are still the shakey head rig using Gambler lures Giggy head jig and a straight tailed worm like a Gambler Sweebo worm and if the wind is really blowing I have been using a Lake Fork Trophy lures 8” worm in a darker color. I have also had a good topwater bite that has been lasts all day long. Try throwing a pop-r type lure and work it slow along the edges of the rim canal. If the wind is blowing hard down the rim canal a crankbait will catch some nice bass along the levy side. I have been throwing a Bomber 7A or Bandit 300 series crankbait in firetiger or rootbeer color. Randy Cameron a fly fishing guide and client of mine from Colorado had a great day catching bass on a fly rod using a saltwater popper this in spite of the wind blowing twenty to thirty miles an hour.  

   The crappie bite has been slowing down quite a bit the last couple weeks. The crappies that most have been catching are being caught in the rim canal and out the Clewiston channel toward the lake. Minnows under a bobber and jigs are working about the same. A few bluegills are also starting to be caught.

 

Bite of the Week

The rim canal would be my choice along with the dynamite holes if bass are what you want to catch. You should only need three baits a shakey head rig, consisting of a Gambler ounce Giggy Head jig and a dark colored worm attached, a white Pop-R, and a Bomber 7A crankbait in firetiger color. For crappies try out the Clewiston channel before you get to the main part of the lake with jigs.

 

 

 

 

March5th, 2008

 

Picture of Owen Sizemore from Richmond Virginia with a 7.7 pound bass his first bass ever on soft plastic baits.

 

The fishing continues to be great here on the Big “O” with bass being caught by everyone. Yes I said that almost everyone has been catching bass both on artificial lures and on wild shiners. Last week my clients were still using from eight to ten dozen shiners a day and it wasn’t taking a day to use them up, more like four hours. Most of the bass that we have been catching are in the two to five pound range, but don’t count out the bigger ones. Most of the guides have been reporting of catching some nice bass Capt. Jim Taylor had one over ten pounds this week and Capt. Mike Balon had a couple nice ones over eight, both Jim and Mike guide out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort. The cold front that moved through the area the end of last week did have a small affect on the bass but they were back to normal this week. The fishing here on the south end of the lake seems to be much better than it is at the north end as some of the guides from the Okeechobee area are making the trip to Clewiston every day.

   The rim canal and dynamite holes are the place to be with wild shiners and artificial lures. Fish are being caught both ways in the rim canal from Clewiston, but most are fishing around Uncle Joe’s to Moorehaven. You can anchor up on almost any point or cut into the lake and catch bass on shiners. If artificial lures are your choice than any humps, ridges, or steep banks can be fished with a shaky head rig or a Carolina rig and should yield a good number of bass. I use a ounce jig head for my shaky rig with a Gambler Sweebo worm attached in junebug or watermelon red color. The darker colors seem to work best on most days especially if it is cloudy or the wind is blowing, on calm sunny days try the watermelon red color. Other lures that have been working good are crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, and swimbaits. I like to throw the Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad swimbait in golden shiner color most of the time, the 4.5 size seems to work the best for me. If you have never fished a swimbait before get some and give a try, they are a big fish lure that will catch the ones that almost rip the rod right out of your hand. It’s best to fish this or any other swimbait on braided line so that when a bass hits the lure it almost sets the hook itself.

   The lake level is at 10.08 feet above sea level and still holing its own. The rains that we have been receiving are not normal for this time of the year on the lake, but the Good Lord is watching out for the Big “O” and is keeping the fields wet so that the sugar farmers don’t need as much water from the lake. Lake Okeechobee is an awesome fishery right now and has been all through this pull down of the water. Yes I know everyone wants to go out on the lake and fish but we have all learned to fish different than in the past and look at all the bass that most everyone has been catching. When this lake does get filled back up to normal level it will again be called the most awesome lake in the United States. But in the mean time learn to fish the structure in the rim canal and you will become a better more versatile fisherman.

   The crappie fishing has slowed down as the water continues to get warmer. Some are still catching specks in the rim canal and out the channel from Clewiston on jigs as well as minnows.

 

 

Bite of the Week

The rim canal continues to produce better than anywhere on the lake. Try fishing both directions from Clewiston looking for structure like drop-offs, ridges, humps especially those with rock on the top of them. There has also been some bass along the rip rap on the levy side of the rim canal, look for steeper banks. I would fish with a shaky head rig 75% of the time and throw a crankbait the rest of the time. Try to use darker colored worms and shad colored crankbaits. For crappies try fishing out the main channel from Clewiston with jigs.

 

 

  

 

 

Feb 19th, 2008

The fishing here on the Big “O” couldn’t be better, with big bags of bass being caught in tournaments and even more being caught by guide clients on wild shiners. When I say we’re catching a lot on guide trips I mean I have been using up to ten dozen shiners in less than a half day. The artificial lure bite has been awesome too with a good number of two to five pound bass being caught all day long. Bass Busters tournament held February 17th out of Clewiston saw big limits of bass come to the scales. Winners Dave King and Joe Payne from Clewiston weighed five bass for a total just over thirty pounds. And the media just keeps writing about how bad of shape that Lake Okeechobee is in. The lake level is 10.12 feet above sea level and still holding its own. If we could just keep getting the once a week rains that the good Lord has been blessing us with the lake level may not drop too much.

   Everyone is still fishing in the rim canal for the most part. Both directions from Clewiston have been good, but most boats have been fishing up around Uncle Joe’s. The humps, drop-offs, and ridges in the rim canal have been the place to catch bass. The rip rap along the levy side of the rim canal has also been holding bass, especially from Moorehaven to Clewiston. The dynamite holes have also been good from day to day but the rim canal has been the most productive area. Wild shiners would be my bait of choice if you are looking to catch numbers of bass or that lunker of a lifetime. My favorite way to fish is with artificial lures and this past couple months has been just great here on Okeechobee. The shaky head worm is still my bait of choice as it has produced more large bass the past couple months than any other lure. My favorite jig head for the shaky head rig is a Giggy Head made by Gambler Lures and you can use almost any kind of worm with it from a finesse worm to a ten inch worm. My favorite soft plastics to use on a shaky head jig are a Lake Fork Ring Fry, Gambler Sweebo worm, and Berkley Shaky worm. Worm color doesn’t seem to matter as long as it is a darker color like junebug, black, or black-blue. Some other lures that have been working are the Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbait and a bandit 200 series crankbait in rootbeer/chartruse color. I have also been catching a few bass under the right conditions on a swimbait like a Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad or a Strike King “King Shad”.

   The crappie bite is still going strong here on the south end of the lake. Most are fishing in the rim canal both east and west of Clewiston, but the area around Uncle Joe’s has been outstanding. Another area is out the Clewiston channel before you get to the main lake, but this area depends a lot on the wind. Jigs and minnows are the weapon of choice but most report that jigs are working best.

 

BITE OF THE WEEK

Fish the rim canal if you want to catch big bass and good numbers of bass. I would throw a shaky head jig with a Lake Fork Ring Fry attached. Color selection would be junebug or black-blue. Concentrate on humps and ridges in the rim canal, best if covered with rocks. For crappies the rim canal around Uncle Joe’s and out the Clewiston channel toward the lake.

 

 

 

 

Feb 5th, 2008

 

Picture of Butch Fulks from Sistersville West Virginia with a seven pound eleven ounce bass caught on a Lake Fork Trophy Lures worm.

 

 

The past few weeks on Lake Okeechobee has been pretty busy with the FLW Series tournament and normal winter fishing. The news reporters keep reporting about how bad it is on the Big “O” but FLW angler JT Kenney from Port Charlotte Florida has a different story to tell, after winning the FLW Series tournament with a four day total of sixty eight pounds and thirteen ounces. JT’s four day limit of twenty bass netted him a $100,000.00 payday with a $25,000.00 bonus from Ranger Boats. It was a pretty busy week with most of the tournament anglers fishing in the rim canal, but you could still go out and catch some nice bass for clients. The lake level is still hovering around ten feet above sea level but reports in the news are that the farmers are going to start pumping lots of water out of the lake real soon. It’s too bad that Big Sugar has the right to pump all the water that they want out of this lake after all the bad things that they have pumped into this lake over the years.

   The rim canal has been the hot place to be the past few weeks for the tournament anglers, guides, and crappie fishermen. The water has remained clean and the wind doesn’t seem to have to much affect in the rim canal as compared to out on the lake. Yes I know JT Kenny and second place winner Jimmy McMillan caught most of there bass out on the lake, but the rest of the one hundred and ninety eight boats fished in the rim canal and the rivers. For most of us it’s not worth tearing up your motor or boat to get to the places that this tournament was won.

    The humps, drop-offs, points, and rip rap banks in the rim canal have all been holding bass. Drop shot rigs, shakey heads, crankbaits, and Carolina rigs have all been working depending on the areas that you are fishing. On the humps and drop-offs a shakey head and drop shot rigs have been my weapon of choice. On the points try a Carolina rig or shakey head and on the rip rap a crankbait works best especially if the wind is blowing parallel to the rocks. Some of the lures that I have been using are a Berkley Frenzy crankbait, Gambler Giggy Head jig with a Berkley Shakey worm, Lake Fork Trophy Lures 8” worm, and a Senko on the Carolina rig. The colors that I have been using for the soft plastic lures have been junebug, black-blue, or any darker colors. Crankbait colors that have been working for me and my clients are firetiger and shad colors depending on the water color. On cloudy overcast days and when there is a fog in the morning topwater lures like a small Pop-R or Heddon Tiny Torpedo has been great to catch some bigger bass. The bass that we have been catching have varied in size from two to nine pounds with two to four pound fish being the average.

   The crappie bite has been good lately here at the south end of Lake Okeechobee. The rim canal, dynamite holes, and main channel out of Clewiston have all been producing some nice sized crappies. Small jigs have been working as well as minnows for most. Now that we are finally seeing some good numbers of crappies being caught here on Okeechobee please only take what you are going to eat, there is no need to go out and catch a limit every day of the week and then wonder next year why you can’t catch any crappies.

 

Bite of the Week

For bass I would concentrate on the rim canal both directions from Clewiston, paying close attention to your depth finder looking for any humps, drop-offs, or ridges. Fish these with a Gambler Giggy Head jig in 1/4 ounce size rigged with a Berkley Shakey worm in a dark color. When the wind blows try a crankbait or carolina rig with a dark colored Senko. For crappies I would fish the main channel out of Clewiston at the first bend and the rim canal both directions from Clewiston.

 

Picture of Butch Fulks from Sistersville West Virginia with a seven pound eleven ounce bass caught on a Lake Fork Trophy Lures worm.

 

 

January 23rd, 2008

 

What a great couple weeks it has been here for fishing on the Big “O”. With Christmas over the folks from up north are making the trip to sunny south Florida to catch some nice bass. And Lake Okeechobee has been producing some nice ones for sure and the number of bass being caught on almost every guide trip has been great. Most of my clients are enjoying a day of catching at least twenty bass with most catching more. Oh did I mention that we are also catching some nice ones from the five to nine pound range!  Yes the crappie fishing here on the south end of the lake has been good also, with good numbers of big crappie being caught almost daily.

   The bass the past month have been eating artificial lures as well as they have been eating wild shiners. On a typical guide trip we will use five dozen shiners in about three hours and then go catch just as many fish on artificial lures. Most of the bass that I have been catching are on soft plastic lures. I have been using a shakey head rig which consists of a 1/4 ounce Gambler Giggy Head jig with a Gambler Sweebo worm on it. The other soft plastic lures that I have been using are a Texas rigged Lake Fork Lures “Ring Fry” with a 3/16 ounce sinker. I use tungsten sinkers made by Lake Fork Trophy Lures for the simple fact that they are smaller than lead sinkers and they are harder then lead so you are able to feel any contact that they make with rocks or other structure. The colors that I have been using on my soft plastics are darker colors like junebug or black-blue. If fishing a worm is to slow for you than you might try throwing a Little John crankbait or an Aruka Shad lipless crankbait, both are made by Spro Lures and have been working good for me and my clients. Crankbait colors need to be natural colors or something with a gold finish. When the wind doesn’t blow we have had a topwater bite on a Pop-R and a small prop bait like the one I use called a Lil’ Zip made by local custom lure maker Sam Griffin. The topwater bite seems to be all day on cloudy days and early morning or late afternoon on sunny days.

  The areas that I have been fishing mostly have been the rim canal both ways from Clewiston and the dynamite holes from Clewiston to Belle Glade. On days when the wind doesn’t blow to hard the area out in front of Coots Bay and the East Wall has been good. Try throwing a swimbait on this flat area like a Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad or a Strike King “King Shad”. The rim canal has been the best place to catch good numbers as well as bigger fish. A client from the Atlanta Georgia area last week had two seven pound bass within two casts of one another on soft plastics in the rim canal. You will need to key in on deeper water and steep banks in the rim canal with the soft plastics and look for shallow humps and ridges to throw crankbaits and topwater on.

   The crappie bite has really turned on since the cold fronts that South Florida has been receiving the past few weeks. Most are being caught in the rim canal both directions from Clewiston and out around Bird Island when the wind isn’t blowing too hard. Minnows and jigs are both working great. The ones that they are catching in the rim canal are coming from the lake side not the dyke side. The FLW Series tournament will be in Clewiston the week of the 21st of January and there should be some awesome bags of bass weighed in. With the water level at 10.09 feet above sea level there won’t be a lot of boats fishing out on the main lake but there are still some big fish being caught in the rim canal

 

Picture of Zachery Taylor from Wauchula Florida with a 6.15 pound bass. Zachery won a donated trip from me by catching the biggest fish at the Bass Pro Shops kids day at Ft Meyers store. The Ft. Meyers store has kids day the first Sat. of every month, come out and win a free trip guide trip with me

 

 

January 7th, 2007

The first cold front of the year for south Florida had everyone scrambling for coats and gloves this past week, but the bass fishing continues to be awesome. Hope everyone had a great Christmas and Happy New Year. The past couple weeks has been great bass fishing here on the south end of Lake Okeechobee with most of the bass coming from the rim canal. And the rim canal has been busy with the guides, pleasure fishermen and the FLW Series anglers who are here practicing. Even with all this pressure the fishing has been great. Most of my clients are enjoying days catching around twenty to thirty bass with at least one good one over six pounds.

   Wild shiners have been the bait of choice for both numbers and larger bass but that’s not to say that the artificial bite isn’t almost as good. Even with the cold front coming through the area we were still able to catch a few nice fish on shiners. The rim canal and dynamite holes are still the better areas to catch bass from Moorehaven to Belle Glade. Areas to key in are the points especially if the have rocks on them, and any other drop offs or structure in the rim canal. The dynamite holes and the other cuts that that go to the lake from the rim canal are also good spots to try. Some of the artificial lures that have been working the best for myself and my clients have been texas rigged Senkos, shakey head jigs (Gambler Giggy Head) rigged with a four to six inch straight tailed worm, Lake Fork swim bait, and a small Pop-R type topwater bait. It seems to take a day with cloud cover to get a topwater bite but when you do it last all day long. The Lake Fork Trophy Lures swim bait called a “Live” Magic Shad has been working great in the rim canal around any structure you can find. Color choices for the Senkos and worms are junebug and black-blue, watermelon-red was working good till this cold front came through and muddied the water up. The key after this cold front has been to fish slow and in the deeper water.   

   The lake level is at 10.20 feet above sea level and has been holding its own for the past couple weeks. We have been getting a few rain showers that have been keeping the fields around Lake Okeechobee moist and this is good news for the lake, the farmers won’t need as much from the lake right now. The water temperature has been in the fifties since the cold front but it is slowly warming back up. One good thing about the colder water temperatures is the crappie bite will really turn on. Not that the crappie bite hasn’t been good but it will surely improve with this cooler water. Most of the crappies are being caught in the rim canal and some in the dynamite holes. The size of the crappies being caught is making up for the small numbers that most are catching.

 

BITE OF THE WEEK

The bite of the week would be in the rim canal from Moorehaven to Belle Glade. I would look for ridges and humps in the rim canal and I don’t just mean along the edges. Try idling down the rim canal and watching your fish finder looking for drop offs and humps, these are the areas to key in on. Soft plastics would be my bait of choice with Senkos and straight tailed worms on a jig head. Try along the edges of the rim canal if you’re looking to catch a few crappies, minnows would be my bait of choice

 

 

 

Clewiston----- what a great couple weeks my clients and I have enjoyed on the south end of Lake Okeechobee. We have been catching bass from seven to ten pounds on almost every guide trip with a good number of three to five pound fish also being caught. One trip last week produced five bass over nine pounds with the biggest one weighing in at 10.2 pounds. Wild shiners are the bait of choice if you want to catch one of these big bass or if you are out to just catch a good number of bass. On most guide trips I can go through ten dozen shiners if the client is willing to pay for that many shiners at $20.00 a dozen. The artificial lure bite is almost as good with one over eleven pounds and two over ten pounds caught during the toys for kids tournament a week ago. If you do find bass in an area you can stay there and catch them till you’re tired of catching them. And the media says that Lake Okeechobee is low and in such bad shape environmentally that it is hardly worth fishing here, my clients would be more than happy to tell them how wrong they are. John and Cindy Venable from the Lake Amistad area said that they thought Lake Amistad was the best lake that they had ever fished on till they came to the world famous Lake Okeechobee and caught five over nine pounds in one day.

   The rim canal, dynamite holes, and the flat in front of Coots Bay and the East Wall are the areas that are producing the best here on the southern end of the lake. As far as what artificial lures that have been working best all I can tell you is what I have been using and what has been working for me and my clients. A lipless crankbait like the Spro Aruka Shad that I throw most of the time has been working great out on the flats in front of the East Wall and out toward the fish attractor that is marked with an orange barrel. In the rim canal and dynamite holes a worm like a Gambler Ace or a Lake Fork worm in a darker color. Both of these I have been fishing on ten pound test line and with an 1/8 ounce sinker also made by Lake Fork Trophy Lures. There have also been some bass caught on swim baits, I use a “Live” Magic Shad made by Lake Fork but there are many different ones being made at the present time. The water in the rim canal and the dynamite holes has been very clean and with the water level slowly dropping most of the areas will remain clean all winter long. The lake level is at 10.18 feet above sea level and dropping ever so slowly. Most of the areas that we have been fishing are still accessible at this time but you will still want to be careful running your boat in some areas of the lake.

   The snowbirds are catching some crappies everyday either in the rim canal or in the dynamite holes. There should also be a few crappies in Uncle Joe’s Cut and out the Clewiston channel. Minnows and jigs are the way to go if you’re looking to catch a few crappies. I want to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

 

Picture attached of David Lowe from Ft Meyers Florida with two nice Lake Okeechobee bass.

 

 

November 26th, 2007

 

Wow what a great week on Lake Okeechobee this past week. The bass fishing has really improved by the day with good numbers and bigger bass being caught almost every day. How does three bass over seven pounds caught in one day and then a nine and seven and a half pound bass caught the next day sound. And as the press reports how low the water level is and how bad the fishing is on Lake Okeechobee, my clients have a different opinion.

   The lake level has been at 10.3 feet above sea level for the last few weeks and with little change expected for the next few weeks. Most of the bass that we have been catching have been in the rim canal or close to the rim canal. The water in the rim canal has been very clear and has been loaded with bait fish. This is the reason that the rim canal has been the place to catch bass and the wind doesn’t really affect it one way or the other. Wild shiners have been bait of choice to catch the bigger bass that the Big “O” is famous for. I have been using from five to eight dozen shiners on most guide trips so you do the math on how many bass we been catching. The artificial lure fishing has also been good, but most of the bass caught on artificial lures have been in the two to three pound range. A straight tailed worm like a Gambler Sweebo or Gary Yamamoto Senko have been the baits that have been working best for my clients and myself. They can be fished on a Gambler Giggy head jig or texas rigged with as smallest weight as possible. But the real key to fishing the rim canal is to use small eight to ten pound test line, preferable fluorocarbon line. With the water in the rim canal being so clear these bass are pretty spooky of fishing line and trolling motor noise. I have also been catching a few bass on topwater lures like a the Hydro-Pop made by Spro Lures, it’s a great little popper type lure. I have also had some good luck the last couple weeks on the swim baits made by Lake Fork Lures, the “Live” Magic Shad is great to fish along the rocks and on points. The smaller Magic Shad in the 3.5 size have been working better than the larger ones, try the golden shiner or magic shad color. I have also caught a few bass on a Rapala Shad Rap in the SR7 size and the natural colors.

   The water is cooling off and the fishing has improved as we head into the winter season. Yes the bass may be a little harder for some to locate and getting out to traditional areas on the lake to fish may be impossible but the bass haven’t left the lake for better waters, they are still here and looking healthier than ever. The crappie bite has also been improving on a daily basis. I see crappie fishermen catching a few almost everywhere from Uncle Joe’s Cut to South Bay area of the rim canal and most of the dynamite holes. Minnows and jig are working best according to what the marina at Roland Martin’s Resort has been selling to customers.

 

 

November 12th, 2007

 

As we’re heading toward the Thanksgiving holiday the fishing on the Big “O” continues to improve. The water temperature has been dropping with the cool weather that we have been having for the last couple weeks. And the water level has been staying around 10.35 feet above sea level without much change. The wind has let up a little from what it was the past few weeks and most areas have clean water in them.

   The rim canal has been the place to be for the past week or so if you want to catch bass. I don’t mean just good numbers of bass but also big bass like the 10.4 pound bass caught in the HT3 tournament over the weekend. My clients have enjoyed catching a good number of bass with a few bigger ones over six pound on most trips. Wild shiners and artificial lure are still working equally well, but most of my client’s larger bass have been on shiners. When I say the rim canal I mean most of the rim canal, from above Moorehaven to Belle Glade. The water is very clean in the rim canal and will stay that way even when the wind blows as it always does here on Lake Okeechobee during the winter months. Some key things that you should look for when fishing the rim canal are drop offs, rocky points and rock banks. There has also been bass around some of the cuts that go from the rim canal to the lake or at least used to go to the lake before the lake level got so low. Another thing to keep in mind is to slow down while fishing these areas and if fishing with shiners stay in an area and let the shiners work around for a while, don’t get in a hurry to move to another area to quick.

   Some of the artificial lures that have been working well the past week or so have been mostly soft plastic baits. A Gambler Lures Giggy Head jig in 3/16 or 1/4 ounce size with a Gambler Ace, Senko, or any kind of a straight tailed worm has been working best for me. A Carolina rigged Senko has also been catching a few bass. But the key to fishing artificial lures now seems to be to use as light a line as you can. Eight and ten pound test line will get you twice as many hits then if you were using heavier line. I know that sound light for line size for Lake Okeechobee but you are fishing open water in the rim canal and if you check your line for bad spots often you shouldn’t have any problems. There have been a few bass schooling in different areas, but it just hasn’t been very often that you find them. If you are fortunate enough to be close when they do come up schooling, throw a Rat-L-Trap or a Lake Fork Magic Shad swim bait. You will enjoy catching these bass till they quit schooling usually about ten to fifteen minutes. Most of the bass that the tournament anglers and guides have been catching the past few weeks have come out of the rim canal. There is some adjusting to do to fish the rim canal compared to the main lake and grass that so many are familiar with, but the rewards are well worth it. A few crappies are starting to be caught at this end of the lake with Uncle Joe’s Cut being the best place that I have heard of.

   In local tournament news HT3 Outdoors held there American Series tournament on November 11th and 12th in Clewiston. Jeff Edgerly won 1st place with 21.02 pound with a three fish limit per day. Jeff also had big bass that was 10.43 pounds. Troy Olivier was second with 20.07 pounds with a three fish limit both days. Congratulations to all that participated in this tournament. Bass Busters will be hosting the 17th annual Toys for Kids tournament December 2nd in Clewiston. The entry fee is $50.00 per team plus two new unwrapped toys. For more information on this event go to www.bassbusterflorida.com or call Chris Fickey at 941-232-9539.

 

BITE OF THE WEEK

 

I would definitely concentrate on fishing the rim canal because that is where most of the bass are being caught. As for bait wild shiners would be my first choice but artificial lures have been working just as well. If the wind isn’t affecting the area that you are fishing try a Gambler Ace rigged texas style with a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce bullet sinker. My color choices would be junebug or blue shadow. A Gambler Giggy Head jig in 3/16 ounce size with a straight tailed worm would be my next choice fished on eight or ten pound test line. For schooling bass make sure you have a swim bait like a Lake Fork Magic shad in the color they call magic shad. If you are targeting crappies try Uncle Joe’s Cut with minnows.

 

 

Oct 14th, 2007

Cooler water temperatures and fall approaching have the bass on Lake Okeechobee starting to move in toward traditional spawning areas. Now will they be able to get to these areas will be the question. But not to worry they will still find places to spawn even if the have to stay out a little from the grass they will still spawn. But that’s not for a month or so right now they are just on the move hunting bait to eat and get ready for the winter months. My clients this past couple weeks have enjoyed some good days catching bass on both wild shiners and artificial lures. We were able to catch an 8 pound bass on shiners and a couple around six pounds on soft plastic lures.

   The lake water level has been steady at around ten feet above sea level for the past two weeks and looks like it may stay there for awhile. We all need to quit looking at this drawdown of Lake Okeechobee as being such a bad think. The lake bottom has started growing some good vegetation up to two miles offshore and there are areas that the water is crystal clear that were nothing but muddy water last year. The bass are still here they just aren’t in the tradition areas that we are all so used to catching them in. Try fishing out in the open water and looking for little differences in the bottom contour. On some lakes a drop off or hump could be many feet of difference but here on Okeechobee with such shallow water a drop off could be six inches. Try looking for small rock piles or piece of wood that hurricane Wilma put in the lake. These are the things that hold bass out in the open water where most anglers don’t fish. This drawdown that Lake Okeechobee is going through is a positive thing and when the water does return to normal level our lake will be better than ever. Some of the key things that you should look for when fishing open water is where you have a color change in water color. Look for water that is clean or just stained a little, muddy dirty water is not the place to be when looking for bass on Okeechobee. Before you jump on the press bandwagon and badmouth our lake try fishing in the open water, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

   Last week I had the pleasure of guiding Lanier and Elizabeth Bryant from Adairsville Georgia and she told me when I met her at the marina that all she wanted to do was catch an eight pound bass. Now I knew this was going to be a challenge with the conditions we were faced with but as lady luck would have it she put an eight and a half pound bass in the boat on the second day. They were a wonder couple to fish with and I’m glad that I could help make Elizabeth’s dream come true. Wild shiners and artificial lures have both been working good but I think if you are looking to catch a trophy shiners are the way to go. Soft plastics are my choice for artificial lures with the shaky head jig still working the best for me and my clients. Swimming Senkos have been working in the shallow clear water along with topwater lures when the wind isn’t blowing to hard. Some of the better areas to try are the rim canal, the ship channel out from Clewiston, Bear Beach channel, the Airport Hole, and the dynamite holes south of Clewiston. Try to keep in mind that you want to fish where the water is clear to slightly stained in color.

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com

 

BITE OF THE WEEK

 

The bass have been biting good out the ship channel from Clewiston on wild shiners and shaky head jigs with a junebug Gambler Ace on it. My next choice would be the rim canal both north and south of Clewiston, fish the rocks with a Zoom Fluke and a wacky rigged Senko. You can also catch a few on topwater and jerkbaits along these rocks. Bear Beach channel has been producing quite a few bass on Flukes, Swimming Senkos, and topwater lures. If the wind isn’t blowing to hard there have been a good number of bass in the Airport Hole that have been hitting topwater lures and swim baits like the Lake Fork “Magic Shad” that I use. The bluegill bite has been slow but a few are still being caught but most are being tight lipped about where they are catching them. 

 

 


 

 

Oct 1st, 2007

 

The fishing continues to improve as we head into our fall pattern here on Okeechobee. We have been having some better days catching bass, but there seems to be no rime or reason to what works best. One day you can take out some wild shiners and catch a boat load of fish, and the next day you can’t even catch a single bass in the same spot. I guess this is why they call it fishing not catching. The water level is still slowly rising with it at 9.85 feet above sea level as of October 1st. The water continues to remain clear out into the lake for miles and we are still seeing some vegetation growing on the bottom. As the water temperature drops a little into the mid 80’s the bass fishing should get better every day.

   Some of my clients enjoyed some great bass fishing last week catching a good number of fish in the two to five pound range. Wild shiners were working best but we did catch some on topwater lures, crankbaits, and soft plastics. The key seems to be in the right place at the right time. I have not been seeing many schooling bass like we should be seeing this time of the year, but there is plenty of bait swimming around for this to happen. I have still been catching bass out the main channel about two miles out from Clewiston. Wild shiners are working best but a 10” worm rigged texas style or a Gambler Sweebo worm rigged on a jig head will catch you some bass. Try to fish along the channel throwing your bait up in the shallower water and drag it into the deeper channel.  Another place to try in this same area is around the islands with deeper water on the ends, the bass have been holding here especially when the wind is blowing across them. Around these islands a Carolina rigged Senko or crankbait would be my choice.

   The Airport Hole and Norman’s channel at the south end of the lake have been producing a fair number of fish. Topwater lures like a Lil’ Richard made by local lure maker Sam Griffin or a Heddons Tiny Torpedo have been working good all day long. I have been catching bass in these areas using a swim bait by Lake Fork Trophy lures called a “Live” Magic Shad in the 3 inch size. The fish in this area seem to want a smaller bait that is closer to the size of the live bait swimming around in this area. A few bass have been being caught in the dynamite holes south of Clewiston but it has been slow in these areas. The bass that are holding in the Bear Beach channel have been receiving a lot of fishing pressure lately and the bite has slowed down. This seems to be a good area to go to during the week but come the weekend there are to many boats in here to catch fish like we were. One of the things that I do when fishing in here is not run the trolling motor to much, even though my Minn Kota trolling motor is very quiet I try to run it on a low speed and not turn it on and off to much. Topwater, small crankbaits, and Swimming Senkos would be my choice in the Bear Beach channel.

   The Rim canal has been holding bass all summer but they seem to be on the small side, with most being two pounds at best. But these bass are a lot of fun to catch and you don’t have to worry about the shallow water like you do out in the lake. A Gambler Giggy Head jig in ounce size has been my go to bait to fish this area. You can put any kind of soft plastics on it that works good for you some of my favorites are a Berkley Gulp 5” Sinking Minnow and a Big Stick by Gambler Baits. Dark colors like black, junebug and black-blue have been my go to colors in this darker colored water. Don’t pass up any of the cement pumping station in the rim canal as they usually hold bass and they are normally a little bigger fish.

   Some of the resent tournaments on the lake have been tough for some but nice bass are being caught. The Super Bucks tournament held on September 22nd and 23rd resulted in a $10,000.00 check for John Burke and Jim Hurlock with a winning to day total of 42.64 pounds. Brad Sievert had big bass of the tournament that tipped the scales at 9.64 pounds. The BFL Super tournament held on September 29th and 30th was won by Brian Prowant from Moorehaven Florida with a winning two day total of 22.03 pounds good for a check worth $3,967.00. On the co-angler side John Guttuso from Delray Beach Florida walked away with the winning check worth $2,334.00 for a two day total of 17.07 pounds of bass.

   The brim fishing continues to be good here around Clewiston. Local angler Bob Frieg reported catching a five gallon bucket full of nice sized brim more than once last week. Crickets fished under a cork float are the bait of choice. Some of the areas that you may want to try are the dynamite holes, the rim canal, and out in open water around the water tank and the islands along the main channel from Clewiston.

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

Bite Of The Week- If you want to fish with live bait I would concentrate on the main channel out of Clewiston. Go out a mile and a half and anchor up and throw shiners into the channel itself. Don’t be afraid to move further out or in if you don’t get bit. For an artificial bite I would try the Airport Hole, and the dynamite holes with deeper water. For bait choices topwater lures with a propeller on them, Lake Fork swim bait in the smaller size and a shakey worm rig with a darker colored worm. The islands closest to the water tank on wind days with a Carolina rigged Senko or Lake Fork Ring Fry. For brim get some crickets and fish the rim canal and out around the water tank.

 

 

Sept 17th, 2007

 

The fishing has been improving as the month of September flies on by, and with October just around the corner better fishing and cooler weather is on the way. The lake level has been staying steady at around 9 feet above sea level in spite of the rain and water that has been flowing in from the Kissimmee river. The bass have been starting to school up and the water continues to get cleaner farther out into the lake, with some areas as far out as three and four miles and you can still see the bottom. Some of the better areas to fish for bass are the Bear Beach channel, around the islands out the Clewiston channel, the Airport Hole, Norman’s channel, and the rim canal both north and south of Clewiston. The Bear Beach channel has been pretty good now for a couple weeks, the key is to go out far enough that the water is still clear and not run the trolling motor to much as to spook these fish. I have been throwing a Gambler Ace in watermelon-red and bluegrass color, rigged weightless with an Owner 4/0 wide gap hook. I have also been using a Yamamoto Swimming Senko rigged the same way, this seems to work better when there is no wind and you need to get a little more action out of your bait. If you happen to be close when these bass come up schooling in this area you need to have a swim bait, spinnerbait, or a topwater lure ready on the deck of the boat to cast to them. A Carolina rigged Ace has also caught a few good bass in this area the past week, try to use as light of weight sinker as possible. Fluorocarbon line is also a must in this shallow clear water, it is almost invisible in the water to the fish and most have good abrasion resistance that is  needed fishing in these areas. Around the islands out the main channel from Clewiston the same baits have been working, but the 3 inch swim bait made by Lake Fork Trophy Tackle has been accounting for the most of my client’s fish. Another lure you might want to try in this area is a big worm at least 10” in length, I have been getting reports from other anglers that the bigger worms have been producing the best for them.

   The Airport Hole and Norman’s channel are on the Pahokee side of the lake and you will want to be very carefully in this area as there are a lot of big rocks in some pretty shallow water. There are some big bass that hold this time of the year in this area, try fishing a crankbait or a jerkbait and if that doesn’t work than you will need to throw a worm or Senko. If you get a good map it will show these areas and it will also show you where the deeper water that is safe to be running a boat, please be careful in this area there is a lot of underwater hazards.

   When fishing the rim canal I would try to fish along the rocks and would start out with a jerkbait or crankbait and if that doesn’t work try using a Giggy Head and a Big Stick worm both made by Gambler, junebug and watermelon-red would be my colors of choice. Most of the bass that I have been catching in the rim canal have been around two pounds with an occasional larger one. The bite here seems to last most of the day even on those days when it is real hot and the wind doesn’t blow.

   Resent results for a Bass Busters tournament held on Lake Okeechobee out of Clewiston on Sunday September 16th netted a first place win for the team of Terry Garrels and Steve Lake of Clewiston who brought a five bass limit of 22.76 pounds to the scale with an 8.73 and 7.14 pound bass to anchor there limit. Second place went to Asa Godsey and Mark Lee both of Clewiston with a five bass limit of 17.07 pounds. Most of the bass were caught on plastic worms, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits.

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com

 

BITE OF THE WEEK-Bare Beach channel would be the better place to start in the morning hoping to catch a few bass on topwater or soft plastics and this would be a good place to catch a few schooling bass. The Airport Hole and Norman’s channel would also be a great place to start in the morning and probably be able to catch bass all day long, this would be a great place to catch a big bass. The islands out the Clewiston channel and the rim canal would be my next choice with soft plastics and crankbaits.

    

 

 

Sept 2nd, 2007

 

Clewiston-----As we head into September we could sure use some water in the big Lake Okeechobee. The water level is staying steady at around nine and a half feet above sea level and only goes up or down a very little on a daily basis with the little amount of rain we are getting. The bass are still biting it has just not been all that easy to go out and catch a boat load of them. My clients and I have been catching more bass on artificial lures than on wild shiners the past couple weeks, even though Kay Donnely of Nashville Tennessee did catch a nice eight pound bass on a shiner last week. Most of the bass that I have been catching are in the one to three pound range, just haven’t been getting a lot of them at any one time. I have still been catching most of my bass on a Giggy Head jig with a Lake Fork Ring Fry in watermelon-red and blue bruiser colors. Some of the other lures that have been working are a Gambler Ace and Sweebo worm rigged wacky style with the hook in the middle of the worm, a Pop-R topwater bait and a jerkbait like a Rapala Husky Jerk or a Lucky Craft Pointer Minnow. While the wild shiner bite has been extremely slow at best, there are still a few places to catch some bass on them as long as you are patient enough. The main channel from Clewiston out to the water tank is still holding a few fish but not like it was, I believe these bass have scattered out looking for bait. The islands along this main channel have been holding some bass in between them early in the morning and then they just disappear. The rim canal around Uncle Joe’s Fish Camp has been producing some smaller bass along the rocks, this is a place that works all day long and if you use a Giggy Head jig and a new Gambler Big Stick in junebug you shouldn’t have any trouble catching some. The Football Field and the other dynamite holes south of Clewiston have a few bass roaming around in them, the key is to try and find the some bait moving around.

   The HT3 Executive Bass Tour made its final stop in Clewiston last week and local angler Harlan Griggs walked away with a cool $6000.00 for a two day total of 17.40 pounds and second place went to Tim Fellers with 15.76 pounds for a $3500.00 check. The HT3 Tour is a great tournament trail with good paybacks and is run like most of the larger tournament trails but is affordable for most to fish. Another tournament that is coming to Clewiston is the Super Bucks Tournament on September 22nd and 23rd with a guaranteed $10,000.00 for first place. More information on these tournaments and others coming to the area can be found at Roland Martin’s Marine Center in Clewiston.

   My best bets for this week would be the islands along the Clewiston channel early in the morning, I would start with topwater and than move on to a jerkbait and finish up with a Lake Fork Ring Fry on a Giggy Head jig as the sun got up overhead. I would then move to the Rim canal and fish the rocks on the dyke side from Uncle Joe’s toward Clewiston with a Gambler Giggy Head and Big Stick. From here I would try the dynamite holes and the mouth of any cuts that go from the rim canal to the lake, try a Carolina rigged worm or Rat-L-Trap. Good luck and tight lines.

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com       

 

 

August 20th, 2007

 

The water continues to rise and the bass are scattering everywhere on the Big “O”. The water is coming up slowly from the rain and what water they are letting in the Kissimmee river, Harney Pond canal, and Fisheating creek, the level is at 9.54 feet above sea level as of August 20th. The fishing has been a lot tougher the last week as the bass are moving around more chasing bait into new areas that did not have much water in them two or three weeks ago. The shoal islands along the main channel going out of Clewiston have been holding a few bass that can be caught on topwater early in the morning, I have been using a LIL’ RICHARD made by Sam Griffin and a Japanese pop-r type bait called a Rico made by Lobina Lures. Some of my clients have also been catching them on jerkbaits like a Lucky Craft Pointer or Rapala Husky Jerk. After the sun gets up some of these bass move back to the channel and can be caught on a worm, I have had good results on a Lake Fork Trophy Lures “Baby Ring Fry” and a Gambler Ace both in watermelon-red or green pumpkin color. The key to fishing this area is to try and find the bait and that is where you will find the bass and with the water level coming up a little the bait is moving out of the channels and roaming around more. The rim canal from Clewiston up to Moorehaven is looking real good and clients that I had last week did pretty good throwing a Gambler Ace on a ounce Giggy head jig and a Lake Fork “Baby Ring Fry” rigged texas style with an 1/8 ounce sinker. One thing that I will suggest that you do is to use a good quality fluorocarbon line like the new Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line that I’m using. Fluorocarbon line is almost invisible underwater and with the strength of fluorocarbon line you can drop back in line size so that the fish will not be able to see it in the clear water. Since we are not fishing in the grass at the present time you should be able to back down in line size to ten pound test and not have any trouble landing most bass. The Football Field and the other dynamite holes south of Clewiston have been producing some two and three pound bass on worms, the Giggy Head jig has been working best for me with either the Gambler Ace or the new Gambler Big Stick that is a larger version of the Giggy Stick.

   Fishing with wild shiners has also slowed down some, but is still worth your while to try. Most of the bass that we have been catching on the wild shiners have been in the two to four pound range with an occasional five pound fish being caught. I have still been doing my best on shiners in the main channel between Clewiston and the water tank. Just anchor your boat about a casting length distance from the channel and cast a shiner under a cork to the edge of the channel and let the shiner swim around till a bass decides to grab them, be patient it has been slow. Another area that I have had reports of some of the guides from the north end of the lake fishing is the rim canal from Moorehaven up to sportsman’s cut, this part of the rim canal has a rocky bank in many areas and the water has been fairly clear. I would try a 7A Bomber in firetiger color, Lucky Craft jerkbait, Spro Aruka Shad in blue shiner color, and if none of these work switch to a worm like a Gambler Ace or a Lake Fork Baby Ring Fry in watermelon-red color. Some of the better areas will be the points especially if the have rocks on them.

   The bluegill are still being caught around the Clewiston area, but most of the bluegill fishermen are being pretty tight lipped about where they are getting them. I do know they are catching some in the dynamite holes and the rim canal but I think that there is a better concentration out in the lake around the water tank and toward the lakeside of Uncle Joe’s Cut. Crickets and Beetlespins are both working. It summer time and extremely hot out there on the water so don’t forget to bring and use a good quality sunscreen like the brand I use called Smartshield and bring and drink lots of cool water throughout the day.

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

August 7th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----Finally the water is starting to flow into Lake Okeechobee and the water level has rose to 9.45 above sea level and still rising. With the water coming up and the water temperature at near 90 degrees everyday the fishing has gotten a little tough. Even though the water has only come up about six inches it has the fish swimming for areas that they previously could not get to. Some of my clients are still catching them good on wild shiners in the main channel out from the locks at Clewiston but the fish have been a little smaller with two to three pound bass being the norm. There is still some schooling fish out here swimming around and if you happen to be close enough when the come up feeding almost any topwater or crankbait will catch them. I have been using the Lake Fork Trophy Lures new 3 ”  “Live” Magic Shad in the golden shiner and magic shad color, the new 3 ” size is close to the size bait that these bass are chasing and these baits have so much action that they really do look like they are live. I’m still catching a some bass on the Spro Aruka Shad and a 200 series Bandit crankbait in the Clewiston channel when the wind blows and gets the bait fish stirred up. Now that the water level is rising the bass seem to be spreading out and are not so concentrated in the channels. Faster moving baits will cover more water to locate these bass and then you can slow down and catch them on worms and other soft plastics. I have also been catching a few bass in the Football Field and the other dynamite holes south of Clewiston, a Gambler Ace rigged on a ounce Giggy Head jig has been working great for me in bluegrass and watermelon-red color. One of the keys to fishing soft plastics this time of the year when the water temperatures get so hot is to fish as slow as you can and then fish even slower, the bite will be real subtle with most times you will just see your line moving off slowly.

   If this water continues to rise and we do pray for that the bass will continue to move toward areas that now have grass growing in them, when this happens the fishing will continue to improve daily. Even though a lot of the water that is flowing into Lake Okeechobee is the water that we refer to as black water or water that is run off water from the agricultural industry at this point it is better than no water at all and if it flows in slowly the lake should be able to withstand this inflow of highly nutrient water without getting a bad algae bloom. The bluegill are still biting in a lot of different areas including the rim canal, Bare Beach, and many other areas south of Clewiston, with most being caught on crickets and Beetle Spins. My next door neighbor who is also a guide, Joe Payne reported a great day catching a good number of bluegill and crappies yes I said crappies last week.

   I just returned from Hot Springs Arkansas where the FLW Championship was held last week, winner Scott Suggs from Bryant Arkansas pocketed one million dollars for first place. This is the first bass tournament in history to pay out one million dollars to the winner and you could really tell from the intensity from both the anglers and the fans in the stands. FLW Outdoors named after Ranger Boat founder Forrest L Woods said that they would be stepping it up even more next year, can you even imagine fishing for over a million dollars. There were a number of new products at the FLW outdoor show that I will be reviewing for you in the next few weeks.

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or 863-677-0983 or at mark@markkingfishing.com

 

 

 

July 30th, 2007

Clewiston----- The summer rains are finally starting to put some water into Lake Okeechobee even if it is just a little at a time. The lake level is at 9.19 feet above sea level and ever so slowly creeping up. The fishing here at the south end of the lake continues to be good for both bass and bluegills, with early morning being the best time to be out on the lake. The wild shiners are still your best bet to catch bass in the two to five pound range and a few bigger ones up to ten pounds still being caught from day to day. My suggestion to catch a few bass on wild shiners would be to get a couple dozen at least and go out the Clewiston channel toward the water tank and anchor your boat just out of the channel and throw a shiner about two and a half feet under a cork float out into the channel. One of the keys to catching these bass is to be patient as they are just moving around from the flats to the channel looking for bait and they will find your shiners if you just wait for them. We have been keeping plenty of good healthy shiners at Roland Martin’s Marina along with any other fishing supplies you might need. As far as catching these bass on artificial lures it has slowed down some with the water temperature up over 85 degrees, but if you get out early there has been some schooling bass chasing bait in the Clewiston channel. My clients have enjoyed catching some of these schooling bass on topwater baits like a Heddon Torpedo and a Spro Dawg, crankbaits have also been working great on these schooling fish. As far as plastic baits that have been producing for me the last couple weeks the Magic Shad swim bait made by Lake Fork Trophy Lures in any of the natural colors and a Gambler Ace in watermelon-red color. Clients have also been catching a few bass on 8” worms like a Charlie Worm in red shad color and a Lake Fork worm in blue bruiser color, both of which are fished with an 1/8 ounce bullet sinker and a 4/0 Owner “J” hook. Be sure to fish the plastic worms as slow as you can and then slow down some more, the bite will be real subtle and most times you will just see your line moving off in a different direction slowly. Some other areas that you might want to try are the dynamite holes and the mouth of any of the cuts that go into the lake south of Clewiston. The Rim canal north of Clewiston has also been producing some bass on a regular basis, try running a crankbait like a Bomber 7A in firetiger color along the rock ledges toward Moorehaven and north of there, this is also a great place to fish a Gambler Giggy head jig with a small straight tailed worm.

   The bluegill have been being caught from the dynamite holes south of Clewiston, the rim canal and out on the lake around the Bare Beach channel and on the pipe line that runs from the water tank to Clewiston. Crickets would still be your bait of choice but Beetle spins have also been working well. I would like to congratulate Jim Medlin and John Supley on there win in the Bass Busters Gold Tournament on July 22 with a winning weight of 17.20 second place went to some good friend of mine Kenny McAuther and Mark Baldel with 16.33 pounds, good job to all. Bass Busters will host a two day tournament in September on the 22nd and 23rd that will pay the winner $10,000.00 for more information contact Chris Fickey at 941-232-9539. The condition of the lake continues to improve daily with water slowly rising, the water conditions real good, vegetation growing and some of the lake being dredged to get rid of the muck that is on the bottom. As long as we keep getting some rain and the lake keeps rising I believe that Lake Okeechobee will be back at the top of the list for Best Bass Lakes in the United States soon.

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

 

July 10th, 2007

Clewiston-----Well were finally getting some of the desperately needed rain to the Lake Okeechobee region and the lake level is slowly going up with the level at 9.03 feet above sea level. The other great news is that with the low water level and the water clearing up so good that we are starting to see some shrimp grass growing here on the south end of the lake and hopefully the eel and pepper grass will follow. Mother nature has started the healing processes here on the Lake and hopefully it will fill back up slowly and let the habitat for the fish grow back slowly and the water quality will continue to improve. The bass fishing continues to be great with twenty to thirty fish days being the norm especially on wild shiners. With the water being so clear an early start in the morning is a must if you want to have a better chance to catch some bigger bass. Most of the guides have been using up five dozen shiners in about four hours and than you can still catch a few on artificial lures until the sun gets up overhead and then the fishing slows down fast. Most are still fishing the same areas like the main channel from the locks at Clewiston out onto the lake, the rim canal both north and south of Clewiston and the dynamite holes. The main channel has been the best area to catch some nice bass, only we are fishing farther out from Clewiston as the water continues to get clearer. Some of the lures that have been working good for me the past couple weeks are a Spro Topdog topwater lure, Gambler Super Stud in watermelon-red color, and a Gambler Ace in both watermelon-red and bluegrass color. I have been rigging the Super Stud and the Ace on 4/0 Owner “J” hook and an 1/8 ounce bullet sinker. Another lure that has been working good for me is the Lake Fork Tackle “Live” Magic Shad swimbait, just throw it up in the shallow water and reel it slowly back toward the channel and hold on. Try them in a couple different colors and I think you will see why I like them so well. The Rat-L-Trap bite has slowed down quite a bit, but I think this will change and they will start hitting them again soon. I have seen a lot of baitfish swimming around me the last couple weeks and this just reinforces what I’m saying about mother nature taking care of the lake in her own way. I have also been catching some schooling bass that have been feeding on this bait, if you see them feeding on the baitfish just throw a topwater close to them and it won’t be long before you will catch a bass. The key to fishing the main channel out to the water tank is to work your baits along the edge of the channel, once the sun gets up high in the sky most of the bass will position themselves in the deeper water right at the edge of the drop off.

   I would like to congratulate Val Osinski and Byron Childers on there win in the Bass Busters Super Bucks Tournament out of Clewiston where there two day total of 38.01 pounds was good enough for a check worth $5000.00. Val is the owner of Gambler Lures and Byron is the national sales rep. It’s no surprise that they used Gamblers new Giggy Head jig with a black Sweebo worm. Till next time good luck and tight lines.

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com    

 

 

 

June 26th, 2007

Clewiston-----Summer and the fishing continue to heat up on the Big “O”. With temperatures in the 90’s and the water temperature almost the same, the bass fishing is heating up almost daily. On most guide trips the past two weeks the bass have been eating wild shiners as fast as you can throw them in the water, and the artificial bite has been equally as good. Most bass have been in the three to five pound range with a few big one mixed in like the 9.1 caught Saturday by Scott Gallerani from Boston Mass. With the rain that we have been getting the lake level has been staying steady around 8.91 feet above sea level, which is great to not have the lake going down more everyday. Most are still fishing out the main channel from Clewiston toward the water tank, one thing to keep in mind is with the wind not blowing as much the water is cleaning up more each day. And as you go out toward the water tank you will want to key in on water that is a little stained. Usually the farther out you go toward the middle of the lake the dirtier the water is so look for the areas where the dirty water is mixing with the clear water. The channel has been working so well because these bass can lay in the deeper water then go up on the flat to chase bait when they are hungry. My choices for artificial baits for a couple weeks now have been a Berkley 7” worm in tequila sunrise color and a Gambler Ace in bluegrass color both fished on a 4/0 Owner wide gap hook and a 3/16 ounce tungsten weight. The key to fishing these worms is to fish slow and I mean real slow. My next lure choice would be a Spro Aruka shad in blue shiner color and a Lake Fork Tackle “Live” Magic Shad swimbait, both of these lures have been producing great when the bass are up on the flats feeding. I have been very impressed and pleased with the results from the Lake Fork swimbait, it is about as real looking and swimming as you can get and the bass have been eating them up here on Okeechobee and at the Everglades. Some other areas that you might also want to try are the dynamite holes south of Clewiston, the Football Field, the Bare Beach channel and the rim canal north of Moorehaven. Some baits other than the ones I have already mentioned that you may want to try in these other areas are a crankbait, Carolina rigged worm, a shaky worm rig and a topwater like a Zara Super Spook or a Heddon Torpedo. If you decide you want to fish with wild shiners take at least five dozen and that will only last a couple hours. Whether fishing with live bait or artificial lures you will want to try and get out as early as possible because by noon the fishing slows down and the heat is more than most can bear. The bluegill fishing has still been pretty good around the Bare Beach channel and around the shoal islands along the Clewiston channel, be sure to take along lots of crickets. Remember during these hot summer months to be sure and take lots of cold water to drink and a good sunscreen like Smartshield Sunscreen to avoid that nasty sunburn. Yes the ramps in Clewiston are very usable since they dredged out the canal to the locks. Tight lines and hope to see you on the lake.

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com .   

 

 

 

June 11th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----I have a lot of good news to report on the conditions of Lake Okeechobee at Clewiston, first we have been getting enough rain almost everyday that they are not pumping much water out of the lake for the surrounding agriculture. The lake level is at 8.96 feet above sea level and has been staying close to this level on a daily basis the next good news is that the city of Clewiston has dumped some stone on the ramp that is on the inside of the dike and have made it good to use for now and the South Florida Water Management District has dredged the channel from the main ramps in Clewiston out to the locks to a depth of five or six feet. Now everyone should be able to get there boats in the water to take advantage of some of the great fishing that the few of us that have been able to get our boats in the water have been enjoying. I know I have said some things in the past about South Florida Water Management but my hat is off to them for getting in here and taking care of this channel that was in desperate need of some dredging.

   The wind has finally let up and the areas that we were fishing a month ago are starting to clean up great, another week of little to no wind and the water will be back to being clear again. Some areas to concentrate on are the main channel from Clewiston out to the water tank, the rim canal south to South Bay and north up to Moorehaven. When fishing the rim canal some of the key areas that I look for are rocks and where the rocks end and it turns to sand, this change in structure will usually hold bass. These areas are great areas to throw a crankbait, some of the ones that have been working for me and my clients are a Bomber 7A in firetiger color and a Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbait in gold shiner color. A couple other places that have been good are the football field and the dynamite holes south of Clewiston, these have been great areas to get out the wind and still catch good sized bass all day long on both wild shiners and artificial lures. A few other baits that I have been using are Zoom Super Flukes in watermelon-red color and the Gambler Ace in bluegrass and watermelon-red color. I have been fishing both of these lure weightless with a 4/0 wide gap hook and the key is to fish them as slow as you can stand it. I do have another lure that I want to mention and that is a new custom crankbait by Gambler lures, I have been catching some nice bass since I received a few of these baits from Val Osinski owner of Gambler Lures and was very impressed with the fact that they are hand made and hand painted from balsa wood with a bill made from circuit board material. You need to get a couple of these crankbaits and give them a try. The bluegill fishing has been still going strong both here on the lake and down at Holiday Park in the Everglades. The Bare Beach channel and the rim canal around the cut that goes out the Bare Beach channel are the areas that I am hearing that have been pretty good and don’t forget to take lots of cricket for bait.

   Bass Busters will hold it’s Silver and Gold Series team bass tournaments on June 16 and 17 with the Super Bucks tournament being held on June 30 and July 1 and this tournament has a guaranteed $5000.00 1st place. You can contact Chris Fickey for more info at (941) 232-9539.  

Capt. Mark King can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com  

 

 

May 15th, 2007

 

Clewiston----- What a great couple weeks we have had here on Lake Okeechobee. The fishing has been the best it has been for over six months, and the lake level just continues to go down. With the water level being so low it has concentrated the bass in areas that have deeper water such as channels and dynamite holes. I have been using up to ten dozen wild shiners and still coming in early on guide trips this past two weeks and the artificial bite has been just as good. Most of the bass have been good sized with three to five pound fish being the norm and quite a few seven and eight pound bass being landed  all week long. Most of the bass that clients have been catching on artificial lures have been caught on chrome and blue Rat-L-Traps, Gambler Super Studs in watermelon-red color and a Gambler Ace rigged on a jig head like the ones I use from Gambler Lures called a Giggy Head. This is called a shakey head rig and has been winning tournaments all over the United States, the key to this rig is to let it settle to the bottom and move it real slow and just shake the rod ever so slightly and the bass will pick it up and swim off with it, most strikes are light and you will just see the line moving. Another key to fishing this shakey head rig is to fish it in clear water it doesn’t work real well in stained or dirty water. Some of the areas that you will want to concentrate on are the dynamite holes south of Clewiston and the main channel from Clewiston out to the water tank. Try to fish the drop offs in both the dynamite holes and the channels and if you can find any structure you will want to concentrate on these areas. The channel out to the water tank has also been the place to throw shiners, try to find a drop off along the channel and look for anything different like rocks or a small cut and these will be the best areas to set up and shiner fish for bass, try to use floater rigs if the wind allows. The water on most of the lake including the areas that I have mentioned has been clear to slightly stained when the wind blows, which is perfect for shiner fishing.

   Now on to the biggest problem we have right now and that is with the water level at 9.34 feet above sea level and still dropping we are running out of places to launch our boats fast. The main ramp at Clewiston has just enough water to get your boat in and idle out to the locks, that is if the wind isn’t out of the south or they are not pulling water out of the lake through this channel at a fast rate or you may not get through this channel with your boat. The city of Clewiston started to dig this channel out two weeks ago but were told to stop by the South Florida Water Management District. We need help to try and get this channel dug out so that we can use these boat ramps, this not only effects the guides and our clients but also there will not be any tournament in town which will affect all businesses in town including gas stations, restraints, motels, marinas and tackle shops. If anyone has any suggestions on how we can get South Florida Water Management to let us fix our ramps and canals out to the lake this would be a great help to the community and everyone who enjoys beautiful Lake Okeechobee and it’s waterway. Most all of the guides including myself are still working and catching good numbers of bass almost everyday, if you want to fish the lake and are afraid to bring your boat let one of us take you out for an enjoyable day on Lake Okeechobee.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler working out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. You can contact me at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com  

 

 

May 01, 2007

 

Clewiston----- The water keeps getting lower and the fishing keeps getting better here on the Big “O”. With the lake level at 9.66 feet above sea level almost every area that you can get into has pretty clean water and lots of bass. The bass seem to be getting use to the water being low and have moved to the channels and deeper water and if you can find some structure in the deeper water you will have a ball catching bass till you get tired of catching them. Some of the cuts and dynamite holes south of Clewiston are still producing some nice bass along with the Football Field. It’s easy to see now with the water low that this dynamite hole looks like a football field. I’m still catching most of the bass that I catch on artificial lures on Rat-L-Traps and Gambler Super Studs a bait that resembles a Zoom Super Fluke, chrome with a blue back color for the Rat-L-Trap and watermelon-red color for the Super Stud. Some of the better fishing this past week for me has been out the main channel from Clewiston out to the water tank. You should try to fish the drop off on either side of the channel where it drops from two feet down to deeper part of the channel. Most of the hits are right on the edge of the drop off. These areas have also been great places to throw wild shiners and if you can find some structure along this channel you can sit there and catch dozens of bass with some real nice ones being caught almost daily. Uncle Joe’s Cut is also still producing a few quality bass the only trouble up here is that the fishing pressure has been great and the bass are a little harder to come by than they were. Overall I would say the fishing the past couple weeks has been better than it has been all winter and it seems to be getting better every day. Another area that deserve some attention is the rim canal I have had reports from guides and  a few local anglers that I have talked to say that they have been catching bass from Moorehaven to Southbay . I know the low water level has been scaring off a lot of folks but as long as you stay in the channels and rim canal when you are running the outboard motor you shouldn’t have any trouble. I did talk to Sam Griffin a lure maker from Moorehaven and he said that the ramp at Moorehaven has plenty of water to get your boat in and he also said that the middle ramp will be the one to use through the drought.  The only thing that you really should be mindful of is the wind, if we get a strong south wind it pushes the water north and can drop the water level in the Clewiston area up to six inches. The bluegill fishing here on the south end of the lake has been good with good numbers coming in every day. Most are being caught in the rim canal on crickets.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Mark can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com      

 

 

 

April 23rd, 2007

 

Clewiston-----This week we are going to concentrate on the low water level on Lake Okeechobee, with the current level at 9.85 feet above sea level. The low water conditions are not a bad thing like I keep hearing from outside sources that are not around the lake on a daily basis. With the water low it is letting the lake bottom recover from the past high water levels and from hurricane Wilma’s damage. The water is getting clearer every day and the lake bottom will start to grow back some of the grasses that this lake so desperately needs. I have talked to some of the locals including former guide Jim Wells that were around back in 2001 when the water level was low and tried to get a little insight to pass on about how the lake was, where you could fish and how it helped the lake. Everyone I talked to said that the fishing was great and this only stands to reason that the bass will be more concentrated in deeper areas that are accessible to fish. Some of these areas will be the main channel running across the lake, the rim canal and any of the dynamite holes. I have also been told that the fishing was great in 2001 out from shoal around Turners Cove area but out in the lake at least a mile from the grass line, this will be a tricky place to get to but I have been told the rewards are well worth it. The Clewiston channel has already been giving up some big bass and the water is still pretty dirty this will only get better with the water level going down and the wind should also slow up a bit which will help this water to clean up also. I’m sure the low water level will affect the guide and tourism business in the Lake Okeechobee region and I wish there was a way to let everyone know it’s not a bad thing that is happening to the lake and the fishing will continue to be great and get even better in years to come after the water level comes back up. Some of the tournament associations will be apprehensive about having tournaments here with the low water level but give this some thought, for the last month and a half it has taken over thirty pounds to win tournaments on the Big “O” and that is a five bass limit. I can’t see anyone saying the fishing is bad with the water being low and weights like that coming in. Our biggest problem is going to be places to launch our boats, the main ramp at Clewiston has plenty of water but the canal from the ramp to the locks is getting real shallow and the ramp on the inside of the hurricane dike at Clewiston is not in very good shape. If we could get the Army Corp of Engineers to let the city try and fix some of these issues I don’t think we would have trouble fishing right through this low water time, but they don’t seem to want to cooperate and give us the break we need.

   The fishing this past week has been great and getting better each day, my client had thirty and fifty fish days and some good ones from five to eight pound thrown in to make a great fishing trip even better. Both artificial lures and wild shiners are working equally well. My pick this week for artificial lures would be lipless crankbaits with my favorite being the Spro Aruka Shad but the Rat-L-Trap brand is also working well. Shaky head jigs with finesse worms are also catching some good bass, my favorite being the Gambler Giggy Head jig and the Giggy Stick worm this worm is has a hollow inside and floats upright from the jig head and really entices the bass to bite. The wild shiner bite this past week has also been great with most full day trips using six to eight dozen wild shiners, I have been catching most of my bass on floater rigs. Some of the areas you might give a try are the dynamite holes and all of the cuts onto the lake south of Clewiston, the Clewiston channel from the locks to the water tank, and Uncle Joe’s Cut out as far as the clean to stained water allows. My advice this week on running on the lake is if you are not sure about the water depth or the bottom just idle, a bass is not worth destroying a boat or motor.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Contact Mark at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com    

 

 

April 16th, 2007

Clewiston-----Wow the Big “O” is back to producing good numbers of bass on almost every guide trip, Thank God. The weather has been great this past week and the fishing has really reflected on this, with bass being caught on wild shiners and artificial lures just as well. All of the areas that we have been fishing the past few weeks are the places to be like the Football Field, the 94 Hole, Uncle Joe’s Cut and the main channel from the Clewiston locks out onto the lake. Don’t leave home without a Rat-L-Trap or my favorite the Spro Aruka Shad which seems to produce better for me and my clients. Another bait that is working good is a shallow running crankbait made by local angler Sam Griffin called a Lil’ Katie, they are working great to crankbait the edges of the channels and dynamite holes. As far as plastic baits a Gambler Super Stud in watermelon-red and just plain watermelon has been working good to fish slower than the crankbaits when the bite slows down some, I have been fishing them on a 4/0 Owner Wide Gap Plus hook and Berkley 15# Big Game line. The bass have been eating up the wild shiners as fast as you can throw them in the water, with most of them being good solid three to four pound fish with an occasional one around seven pounds. Something else I would like to share with my reader is that I have started using circle hooks for shiner fishing the last couple weeks and have not deep hook but a couple bass. I would suggest anyone bass fishing with wild shiners give them a try, I have been using Owner 4/0 Mutu Light Wire hooks and love them. Just think how many bass that we have all deep hooked in the past and wondered if the would live, give these hooks a fair try I think they will work for you to.

   A few words on the lake level, it is still going down but not as fast with the level at 9.99 feet above sea level as of yesterday and most of the area that I talk about are getting smaller but most are deep enough that the bass are holding in these areas. The only problem is that they are getting a lot of fishing pressure since there are so few places to fish. Please be courteous to other anglers fishing close to you, I’m sure they wouldn’t be fishing so close to you if there was somewhere else to go and if everyone can give just a little there are plenty of bass to catch. There has been a few bluegills and Oscars being caught on Okeechobee but if you really want to catch them you will want to head down to Holiday Park area of the Everglades where most are catching all they want. The bass fishing has also been good out of Holiday Park I was down with clients a couple times last week and caught over seventy five bass each time, most are small from one to three pounds but they are sure a lot of fun for kids to catch. Take lots of Gambler Super Studs and Aces both in watermelon-red color. Next week will be doing a special edition on the low lake level on Lake Okeechobee, if anyone has any info they would like to share about the last time the lake was low please e-mail me. Till next week God Bless and good fishin.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martins Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Contact Mark at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com  

 

 

 

April 9th, 2007

Clewiston-----It’s been a good week on the Big Lake with the bass hitting both artificial lures and wild shiners. I know I’ve been reporting about the lake not being all that good but it has changed a lot in the past week, the water is cleaning up as the wind has calmed down some and with the lake level dropping the bass are really starting to move into the areas with deeper water. The lake level is down to 10.09 above sea level and if you have not been on the lake for a while it will really surprise you with the way it looks, there are rocks and shallow mud flats in most areas. The channels and dynamite holes are your best bet if you want to catch some nice bass. I have had several bass over six pounds this week on guide trips and several three to five pound bass both on shiners and artificial lures. On several trips this week we caught bass all day long on Spro Aruka Shad  lipless crankbaits and Zara Super Spook topwater lures. Some of the areas that were producing best were the channels like Uncle Joe’s Cut and the Clewiston channel, the key was to fish in the clear and stained water not dirty water so you will have to keep an eye on the wind and fish accordingly. A few area that you may want to try with wild shiners are cuts and dynamite holes south of Clewiston off the rim canal. With the water temperature in the mid to upper 70s you will have to weed through the mud fish and gar but you will catch some nice bass in between. There are also some good sized bass out in the open water, you will want to be careful fishing out in the lake try to key in on water that is clear to stained and throw out a couple free swimming shiners on floats behind the boat and start throwing Rat-L-Traps or Spro Aruka Shads in a gold color in front of the boat.

   I also guided a couple days at Holiday Park last week and caught over fifty bass a day on artificial lures up to five pounds. Gambler Super Stud in watermelon-red color and Zara Super Spooks accounted for most of my clients fish but we also did good on Senkos. The key is fish the cuts that go out onto the flats and lily pads on the side of the canal that is closest to the sawgrass  or Everglades side. The Bluegills and Oscars have been hitting great on crickets in most areas of the Everglades.

   I would like to take a minute to thank everyone who reads my weekly article to everyone who has taken the time to say hey at the boat ramps, marinas, and boat and sports shows. Thanks for all the e-mails and kind words, I will try to continue to give you the best and most accurate information on Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades as possible. Any comments will be greatly appreciated and answered.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martins Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Mark can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com      

 

 

 

April 2nd, 2007

Clewiston-----The lake has continued to improve this past week even though the water level is still dropping to a level of 10.39 feet above sea level. The wind has given us a little reprieve and the water is cleaning up in most areas if you can get to them. The great South Florida weather has been showing itself this past week with warm temperatures and no rain, I have had numerous families the past couple weeks enjoying spring break and the fishing on the Big “O”. The bass fishing with wild shiners has been good all week with most all of the guides reporting that the bite has improved throughout the week. Some of the places that you may want to try and catch bass with wild shiners are Uncle Joe’s Cut, the Football Field, and most of the dynamite holes south of Clewiston. Another area that should start to be good is the Clewiston channel from the locks out to the water tank, although this will depend a lot on the wind and water clarity. We are still getting some good shiners at Roland Martins Marina and George plans to keep bait all summer long for us. The bass bite on artificial lures has improved a lot over the past few weeks with Rat-L-Traps and Carolina rigs being the main players. The cuts that go from the rim canal out onto the lake are some of the better places to start and than you will want to work on any canals or main channels out to the lake. Crankbaits like the 200 series Bandits and Rat-L-Traps in chrome and black color are great search baits to locate bass and than you can slow down and probe the area with a Carolina rig or a Senko to catch more fish. As the wind slows down and the lake starts to clear up you should be able to drift out in open water up to a mile or more off the grasslines and catch bass on any structure or differences in the bottom contour and on Okeechobee that can be a small ridge a ledge that may only be a six to twelve inch difference in bottom and water depth but these areas will hold the fish, you should also look for any holes in the bottom especially out on the reefs or shoals for they will also hold bass. Another factor that you will want to consider is bait, if you see birds diving on bait out on the lake this will be a great place to possible catch some schooling bass so keep a Rat-L-Trap or swimbait handy for these occasions. The Everglades is still producing some nice bass at both Holiday Park and Sawgrass Recreational areas, try throwing a Super Fluke or Senko and if the bass seem aggressive try a Super Spook topwater lure. The bluegill bite has been on fire at Holiday Park with over a hundred boats a day out catching large numbers of bluegills on crickets.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Mark can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com  

 

 

 

March 26th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----The bass fishing this week has finally started to improve with good catches being reported by both guides and tournament anglers. The wind has been blowing pretty hard most of this past week but the lake has been staying fairly clean in most areas. Most of the same spots are producing for the guides that are out using wild shiners daily they include the Football Field, the 94 hole, Uncle Joe’s Cut and the Clewiston Channel. I have also heard that there are some bass to be caught in the Rim canal south of Clewiston but I have not heard where yet. The Bass Buster tournament this past weekend on the lake showed us all that there are some nice bass to be caught if you can find them, Jimmy McMillan and his son from Belle Glade Florida won the two day tournament with over sixty pounds of bass and that was a five bass limit per day. There are some nice bass being caught offshore in the south end of the lake and also off the shoal. Some baits that are working are Spro Aruka Shad baits, a Gambler Ace if the water is clean enough and a Carolina rig, another bait that you may want to try is a swim bait like a Lake Fork “Live” Magic Shad, I have had good success this past week on all these baits. Some of the key points to look for when fishing open water on Lake Okeechobee are holes in the offshore reefs, any differences in water depth ( this can be as little as 6” on a shallow lake like Okeechobee ) can hold fish and any structure in the lake whether man made or not. With the lake level at 10.62  feet above sea level and still dropping you will need to be careful going places that you are not familiar with. If you have any questions about where you can and can’t go on the lake please contact me and I will try to help you out. As the lake level continues to drop the water will continue to get cleaner in most areas and when the winds die down a little it will also help the water to clean up and the fishing should get much better on a daily basis. The Clewiston channel will be a great area as the water gets cleaner it offers both deep water in the channel and shallow water up on the flats, you should be able to start fishing at the locks and fish out into the lake till the water gets to dirty. The crappie fishing has slowed down some as being reported by the regulars that are out there everyday, minnows are the bait of choice. I’m still doing a couple trips a week at the Everglades and have been doing great at Holiday Park area catching  bass from two to five pounds on artificial lures and can get out of the wind on those real windy days. I have been using Gambler Aces in watermelon-red color and Gambler Super Studs also in watermelon-red color, top water lures have also been catching the bigger bass all day long.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martins Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Contact Mark at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com     

 


 

 

March18th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----Shallow water and hard north winds continue to make the fishing on the Big “O” a little tough. The water level is at 10.79 feet above sea level and still dropping at a fast rate. In another week or two you will want to be extra careful as the water level will start to be at a dangerous level, especially if you like your boat in one piece.  The areas that we are able to still fish for bass are starting to dwindle with a lot of the areas that we were fishing almost inaccessible by boat. You will want to be careful that you have enough water if you go from Uncle Joe’s Cut up to Cochran’s Pass, if you get in close to the grass line there is a good chance that you might get in water too shallow to float your boat. This is the same in most of the areas that I talk about every week like the West Wall , Coots Bay and Pelican Bay, they are for the most part too shallow now to get  into or be able to fish them the way that they should be. If the wind doesn’t have the water churned up in the Football Field, the dynamite hole at the 94 marker and any of the cuts south of Clewiston you can catch some nice sized bass in these areas. Capt. Ron Stevens, Capt. Jerry Wares and Capt. Fred Baraks all had bass over eight pounds with clients last week, they are all guides working out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort.  Wild shiners are still the bait of choice to catch bass even when the fishing is tough.  Rat-L-Traps or Spro Aruka Shad and Carolina rigged worms are a couple artificial lures that are working good on a daily basis and if you can get in close enough to the grass line in most areas a Gambler Cane Toad will produce some real nice bass.  The crappie bite is still fair with good numbers being caught in the Rim canal south of Clewiston and in Uncle Joe’s Cut, minnows are still the bait of choice.

   I took some of my clients to the Everglades last week and had great time catching bass from three to five pounds all day long on artificial lures. We caught them on topwater lures and Gambler Ace’s a Senko type bait and swimbaits. You can also catch them on wild shiners but most of my clients would rather catch them on lures. This is a great option to fishing on Lake Okeechobee since the water level is low and the wind has been blowing hard almost every day. There is a lot of wildlife including alligators, birds and otters that you will get to see while fishing in the Everglades. This is also a good area to catch  Oscars and crappies, you can catch them almost anywhere and in good numbers. Most of my clients find it to be a very enjoyable day fishing in the Everglades.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly.  863-983-9950  www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

March 12th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----As the lake level hovers at just over eleven feet (11.01) above sea level the fishing continues to be tough on some days and good on others. A tournament over the weekend put on by HT3 brought in over seventy anglers to Clewiston with Brain Reeves from north of Atlanta Georgia winning $2250.00 with a winning weight of 18.45 pounds in a three fish limit, congratulations to who participated. So as you can see we still have plenty of nice bass to be caught here on the big lake. With the lake level being low a lot of the areas that myself and most of the other guides have been fishing are now almost impossible to get to, including Coots Bay , the West Wall, and a lot of the shoal up to Cochran’s Pass. Now with just the right amount of wind you can get into some of these area but be careful you might not be able to get back out. I’m still catching some nice bass at Uncle Joe’s Cut, the Football Field the dynamite hole at the 94 mile marker south of Clewiston and if the water cleans up just a little bit more we should be able to fish in the main channel out of Clewiston. Wild shiners are still the bait of choice on most guide trips to catch both the most and usually the bigger bass. As far as catching bass on artificial lures your best bet would be to throw a Rat-L-Trap and a Carolina rigged worm like a Senko or a Gambler 10” worm. Some of the places that you might want to try are the cuts into the lake south of Clewiston on the rim canal, Uncle Joe’s Cut out into the lake as far as you can go and still be in water that is clean, this is also true up on the shoal the fish have started to move out into the lake and seem to be following the clean water out from the grass line. As far as the crappie bite on the lake I know it has slowed down and that the few diehards that are out everyday are still catching some but they aren’t saying to much. Some of the areas that crappies are still being caught are south of Clewiston in the rim canal and in Uncle Joe’s Cut.

   The Everglades has still been going strong with Sawgrass being one of the better areas followed by Holiday Park and Alligator Alley, the Alley has slowed down some but bass can still be caught all day long. Some of the lures that you will want to try are wacky rigged Senkos, Zoom Super Flukes and crankbaits they can also be caught on topwater lures in the morning before the sun gets up to high in the sky. While on the topic of artificial lures I want to tell you about a new craw type bait by Berkley called a Chigger Craw that is 4” long and has the Berkley Powerbait scent and flavor that makes fish hold on. This bait has a nice thick body to hold a hook and claws that are thin enough they wave as you move the bait forward in the water. I used this bait at Lake Eufaula in Alabama last week in the Stren Tournament for both flipping in heavy mats and also on a Carolina rig and was very pleased with the results. Another way that this bait will work good is to use it like a swimming jig rigged with a screw in sinker. I will definitely adding this bait to my fishing arsenal. With the lake levels being low if you have any questions about where you can and can’t go with a boat please e-mail or call me and I will let you know what I’m seeing every day.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler that guides out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly.  863-983-9950  www.markkingfishing.com  

 

 

March 5th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----The fishing on the Lake Okeechobee is finally improving by the day with catches of good numbers of bass being reported by most guides and larger bass also being caught on a regular basis. However the lake level continues to drop with the current level at 11.16 feet above sea level and getting more dangerous everyday to be out on it running around with a boat. I will caution everyone to be extremely careful on the lake, places that you might have went last week may not have enough water over them to go there this week. A few areas that you will want to be very careful around will be The East Wall, The West Wall, the mouth of Indian Praire, the Shoal, Pelican Bay and anywhere that you are not familiar with. Now to the fishing, bass have been being taken around Uncle Joe’s Cut, Pelican Bay, the cuts and dynamite holes south of Clewiston. Wild shiners are the bait of choice on most guide trips as the artificial bite has been kind of tough for the inexperienced angler. Capt. Scott Martin reported catching some nice bass this week including a couple big bass on shiners. Some of my clients this past week did catch some bass on Rat-L-Traps and Hula Grubs made by Gary Yamamota baits, yea I had some of those western anglers this week that just had to show me they could catch Okeechobee bass on lures they use out west. Some areas that you might want to try catching bass on artificial lures are the outside grass line in Pelican Bay, the Football Field, Uncle Joe’s Cut and the area around Cochran’s Pass. If the wind isn’t blowing to hard you might want to try the area in front of  Coots Bay as this area is getting real shallow and these bass will be moving out toward open water. This is also true with the West Wall and out from Turners Cove as these bass will also be moving out as the lake level continues to drop. I also spent a few day guiding in the Everglades last week and had great time catching bass all day long. We caught most of the bass in the Everglades on Gambler Ace rigged wacky style with the hook in the middle, watermelon-red and black-blue were the best colors. We also used a drop shot rig to catch a good number of bass, this rig has the weight under the hook about eight inches I like to use a ounce weight. I fished the Sawgrass area, the Holiday Park area and out on the Alley and all were good with catches around fifty bass per day and a couple good ones each day. There is also a lot of wildlife to watch while in the Everglades, including alligators, birds and turtles it’s not uncommon to see thirty or more gators a day. It is a great opportunity to get some photos of a lifetime. The crappie fishing on the lake is still fair with most reporting catching a good number of crappies every day that they go out.  Minnows are still working great as are jigs.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Contact Mark at 863-983-9950  www.markkingfishing.com  

 

 

 

February 26th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----Tough bite on the Big "O" continues as the water level goes down and the water temperature starts to come up. With the lake level at 11.28 feet above sea level and still going down daily the bass have been hard to find and harder to get to bite. A few places that you can still catch a some bass on wild shiners is the Football Field and the dynamite hole at the 94 marker both south of Clewiston. With the lake level going down the bass are looking for deeper areas to move to. There are still a few bass still hanging out in Uncle Joe's Cut, Harnie Pond Canal, and Indian Prairie Canal these are also deeper water areas. The Airport hole down by Pahokee has also been producing a good number of bass as long as the wind doesn't have the water muddied up. Most areas are really reliant on the wind right now, if the wind blows water into areas like Coots Bay and the West Wall you can get in to them and catch some nice bass but if the wind blow out of these areas you can't even get a boat get close to them to fish. If you can get into these areas a Zoom Super Fluke in watermelon-red has been working great and also a Gambler Flappin Shad with the tail cut and fished like a buzzbait across the top of the water will get you a few nice bass. A 10" worm has also accounted for some of the bass my clients have caught this week, I like to use a Berkley 10" worm in blue fleck color. Another bait that did work good for me this week was a Rat-L-Trap in all the cuts that lead out into the lake south of Clewiston, I like to use the 1/2 or 3/4 ounce size in chrome with a blue back on sunny days and a gold with a black back on cloudy days Big bass this week were few and far between, but Capt. Jerry Wares and Capt. Jesse Allen who both guides out of Roland Martins Marina reported having a couple good ones this week on wild shiners. I spent a couple days with clients last week down at the Everglades along Alligator Alley and had a great time catching over fifty bass a day up to seven pounds with two to three pound bass being the norm. I was using a Gambler Ace in green pumpkin and watermelon-red colors rigged texas style with a 3/16 weight. Most of the bass are right along the edge of the grass and lily pads and at all of the cuts from the canals out to the flats, you should also try all the bridges they are holding lots of bass around them. I had one customer this week that was using a drop shot rig and really catching the bass that were in the deeper water and another customer catching them on a Zara Spook, so as you can see almost anything will work if you are where the bass are. The bass in the Everglades are like the bass anywhere else in Florida the will hit good for awhile and then slow down or almost stop but then start hitting good again. The crappie fishing on the lake was a little slow last week also with most not catch a limit or even close. Some of the diehards were still catching them but reported having to really work to find them. The Rim Canal south of Clewiston and Uncle Joe's Cut are still your best bet to catch some crappies and minnows are the bait of choice.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martins Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Contact Mark at 863-983-9950 www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

 

February 19th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----Wow has it been cold the past week here on the big lake, but the fishing is still hot. Most of the guides have been reporting having a couple good days and then a slow day and then back to good days. I guess these cold fronts have these Florida bass guessing if they really are in Florida or in one of the cold northern states. The water level has really dropped this week to 11.30 feet above sea level and you can really tell if you go out onto the lake as land and rocks start to show themselves above the water. Capt. Ron Stevens and Capt. Jerry Wares both guides out of Roland Martin's Marina reported catching bass over eight pounds last week and Capt. Mike Balon had a couple good days in between cold fronts. The West Wall is getting very shallow and hard to fish if the wind is blowing out of this area, but the fishing continues to be good. I'm not sure how much longer these bass will be able to hold in this shallow water before they head out into the lake where they will be a lot harder to locate and catch. There is still some water up on the shoal and if they wind isn't beating it to bad you can catch some nice bass on the outside grassline and the grass points on wild shiners and artificial lures. I have been using Zoom Super Flukes in watermelon-red color and Gambler Ugly Otters in black-blue color to catch some nice bass up to four pounds. The dynamite holes south of Clewiston have been producing some nice bass as long as the wind isn't churning the water up to bad, wild shiners are the bait of choice but I have caught a few bass on Rat-L-Traps in chrome/blue color fished parallel to the drop off. I have also had reports of some nice bass being caught in and around Pelican Bay, how far in you can fish really depends on the wind direction and the bass seem to be moving in and out of this area depending on the wind direction and depth of water. A lot of weekend fishermen and folks that are not real sure about running the lake with it being shallow are fishing in the main channel outside of Clewiston and have been catching a few bass on wild shiners without worrying about tearing up their boat, these bass seem to be holding right on the edge of grassline before it drops into deeper water. With the weather being not so great last week quite a few of the guides out of Roland Martin's Marina headed south to the Everglades for a day of fishing out of the wind, most reported having good fishing all day catching bass on both wild shiners and artificial baits. Some of the areas in the Everglades to try would be Sawgrass, Holiday Park and out on Alligator Alley, most of the guides from up this way are going to Sawgrass and are catching a good number of bass up to four pounds. I haven't heard to much from the crappie fishermen this past week but I do know that they were out and I did see them catching a few in Uncle Joe's Cut and south of Clewiston in the rim canal. A quick follow up report on my Garcia Revo Reels that I have been using the past two months, I have had no problems and they cast and look like they did the day I got them. I love the way they fit in my hand and how light in weight they are, I would recommend them to anyone looking for a high quality low profile baitcasting reel at an affordable price.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin's Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Mark can be contacted at 863-983-9950 or at www.markkingfishing.com  

 

 

 

February 13th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----With the passing of another cold front the bass fishing is once again picking up and becoming fun again. The cold front the first part of last week had everyone scrambling to find a warm coat and to locate some bass that wanted to eat. But as the warm air and rain approached the bass finally decided it was time to start eating both wild shiners and artificial baits. The few bass that we did catch earlier in the week were small with most under two pounds but as the water and air temperature rose on Sunday the fishing turned on as the day went on. The West Wall still has a few bass roaming around on the outside grass line that can be caught on shiners and there are a good number of bass in the Hog Pen area that can be caught on Gambler Flappin' Shad in watermelon-red color rigged with a 1/16 ounce screw in sinker and fished like a worm back in the grass. The bass around Uncle Joe's Cut has been fair on shiners but slow on artificial lures, but with the wind we had a couple days last week this was one of the few places that you could get out of the wind and still fish. A few other places that we were able to fish with the wind blowing were the dynamite holes south of Clewiston and up around Sportsman's Cut. The water level is still dropping and is currently at 11.48 feet above sea level which is making alot of the areas that we have been fishing shallow and getting shallower by the day. The outside grass line from Turners Cove up to the fourth pole north of Cochran's Pass also has some bass that can be caught on shiners and artificial lures like 10" worms and 4" craws, junebug would be my color of choice. As this water continues to drop and clear up in this area you may want to move out from the grassline as this is what these fish will do, I would try using a carolina rigged Senko and a lipless crankbait like a Rat-L-Trap for a search bait to try to find these fish as they move out to deeper water. Hopefully this weather will stabilize and the cold fronts won't have so much affect on the bass and they will be easier to locate and catch. 
   The Sawgrass and Holiday Park everglades areas have been good for the past week producing good numbers of bass and a few good ones now and then. These areas are great if you want to catch numbers of bass and are not concerned about catching a trophy bass, Senkos and Zoom Super Flukes are a couple of the baits that I wouldn't go to these areas without. There are also some beds along the edges and in the lily pads, try a Gambler Ugly Otter in these bed and I'am sure you will catch some of these bedding fish. The crappies are still biting good in Uncle Joe's Cut and in the rim canal south of Clewiston, most are being caught on minnows and limits are being taken just not ever day but the size of the crappies are making up for smaller catches.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martins Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. Mark can be contacted at 863-983-9950  www.markkingfishing.com  

 


 

 

 

 

 

February 5th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----The weather has dictated another week that has been a little tough on the Big "O" as cold fronts moved through the area. The fishing has been hit or miss mostly dependant on how hard the wind blows, if you can hold the boat so that you can fish you will be able to catch fish. The bass fishing has been best on wild shiners this week, one thing you can count on is catching a few bass on wild shiners no matter what mother nature throws at you. The West Wall, Coots Bay and Pelican Bay are some areas that are producing bass if the wind will allow you to fish these areas if not Uncle Joe's Cut and Harnie Pond Canal are a couple areas that you can get out of the wind and still catch some nice bass. While you are in Harnie Pond Canal you may also want to try throwing a crankbait or Rat-L-Trap in the cuts that lead out into the lake from the canal or a carolina rigged Senko dragged from the edge out to the first drop in the canal. Some lures that you may want to try are a Bomber 7A in firetiger color or a chrome Rat-L-Trap, Senkos, Flukes and worms in junebug and black-blue color. Try working the Senkos along the grass line and fish it real slow, you might also try a 10" worm rigged with an 1/8 ounce sinker that will make the worm fall slow and entice bass to grab it on the fall. Coots Bay and Pelican Bay are a couple of areas that have been producing some bass on artificial lures like 10" worms and Zoom Super Flukes and Gambler Cane Toads if the wind allows. The West Wall is getting real shallow with the lake level at 11.59 feet above sea level but if you are careful you can fish the outside grass and catch some good sized bass, try a new Swimming Senko or Super Fluke fished on fluorocarbon line like what I use Berkley Vanish in 17# test, this water is very clear and these bass are very spooky so you will want to make longer than usual casts. The lake is starting to claim props and gearcases in this shallow water, again I warn you to be careful and not run anywhere that you are not sure about the water depth. Another area you might want to try is from Uncle Joe's Cut up to Cochran's Pass, if there wind allows you to fish this area there has been some nice bass being caught on the outside grass line mostly on worms and my favorite the Gambler Ugly Otter in bluegrass color. You will want to throw back in the grass about three to four feet and work your bait back out to the boat and don't miss any of the holes in the grass as they seem to hold bass like a magnet. Crappies are still biting good in Uncle Joe's Canal, Harney Pond Canal, the rim canal at Bare Beach and the Kissimmee River. Minnows and small crappie jigs are the bait of choice both seem to be working good so you can use which ever you prefer. The bass are also biting good at Sawgrass Recreational area with Flukes and Senkos working best, Capt. Ron Stevens who guides out of Roland Martins Marina and Resort reported having a great day last week catching bass up to four pounds and several other bass. I also heard that they are catching a good number of bass at Holiday Park Recreational area, both of these areas in the Everglades are a great place to go to get out of the wind when it gets to blowing to hard.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martins Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. 863-983-9950 www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

 

January 29th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----It was a busy week this past week on Lake Okeechobee with the FLW Series tournament finishing up on Saturday and pro angler David Dudley of  Lynchburg Virginia winning $100,00.00 and $25,000.00 Ranger Boat bonus with a weight of 64 pounds and 2 ounces for four days. The winner on the co-angler side was Ron Fabiszak of South Bend Indiana with a winning weight of 31 pounds and 8 ounces good for $20,000.00 and $5,000.00 Ranger Boat bonus, Florida Fishing Weekly’s own Scott Martin finished fourth with 45 pounds and 9 ounces for a $30,000.00 payday, congratulations to all. With another cold front that moved through the area last week the fishing was tough for most as we know the bass in south Florida do not like cold temperatures and it can make them hard to catch. The bass fishing on wild shiners was good as the week started with a fair number of bass with a couple larger bass over six pounds being caught on most guide trips. The West Wall, Coots Bay and north up to the shoal have been the better areas last week but I also heard that a few good bass were being caught around Ritta Island and in Pelican Bay. The artificial bite was fair early in the week even with two hundred FLW Series professional anglers out practicing for their tournament, but slowed down as the cold front moved through and the tournament started. Some lures that were working was Rat-L-Traps, 10” worms and top water frogs like a Gambler Cane Toads. The outside grass line seems to be the best place to start and work your way to the inside fishing the areas that have sparse grass and the holes in the heavier grass. You will need braided line to get the bass out of the grass and not loose them. The same areas that I have been fishing with wild shiners has also been working good for artificial lures. A few other areas that might work good is the cuts from the rim canal out into the lake from Clewiston to South Bay, these are great Rat-L-Trap places and you might start to look for places on the rim canal to fish that look good like points and areas that there is a good number of large rocks.   The water level is still dropping slowly with the water level at 11.76 above sea level and as I keep stressing every week be very careful going places on the lake that you are not sure about the water level, it’s not worth getting hurt or tearing up a boat and motor. The crappie fishing continues to be good with limits coming in daily and the size of the crappies this year have been large, not to say that there isn’t plenty of smaller ones that you need to throw back in for next year. Minnows and crappie jig are both working good, but the jigs seem to be producing the larger crappies.

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martins Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly.  863-983-9950  www.markkingfishing.com  

 

 

January 22nd, 2007

Clewiston----- The bass fishing continues to improve on Lake Okeechobee as the month of January flies by with only a week left. With the FLW Series tournament in town this week the lake and the boat ramps have been a very busy place to be with two hundred more boats on the lake than usual. There will also be lots of family fun from boat simulator and seminars by fishing pros to the fun zone at Wal-Mart on the finale day of the weigh in on Saturday. FLW is a very family oriented organization that always has something for the whole family not just the fishermen. I am still catching a good number of bass on wild shiners in Coot Bay, The West Wall and around Uncle Joe's Cut, I didn't go north of Uncle Joe's this last week with fishing being as good as it was around the Clewiston area. I did hear that a few bass were being caught from Cochran's Pass north to the fourth pole and that this water was stained a little and the bass weren't so skittish of boat traffic. Most of the bass that I'm catching on shiners are on the outside grass line, I believe these bass are starting to pull out of the shallow water with the lake level dropping daily and the current water level at 11.94 feet above sea. Most of the bass that my clients caught this past week were from three to six pounds with at least one over six caught almost every trip. The artificial lure bite has also improved with good bass being taken on 10" junebug worms and on frogs slowly reeled over the grass. Some of the baits that have been working well for me are a 10" Berkley worm in junebug color, Gambler Cane Toad in white and black color, Zoom Hornie Toad in Okeechobee Craw color and Senkos in black and blue color. We had a couple mornings last week that the fog stayed down low on the lake until almost noon and the frog bite was great until the fog lifted. Some of the areas that have been good on artificial baits this past week are Pelican Bay, Ritta Island, Coots Bay and the West Wall, the key was to fish the areas that had stained water not dirty water or clear water. Most of the bass that we caught in these areas are in the scattered grass not the bigger patches of grass, these are the perfect places to fish the Gambler Cane Toad across this grass. The 10" worm works good fished in the open holes in this grass, both the frog and the worm works best if you try to make long casts and don't run the trolling motor any more than you have to. Try to get up wind from the area that you want to fish and let the boat drift over the grass and fish ahead of the boat and than you won't have to run the trolling motor much. The crappie fishing is still going strong both at Uncle Joe's Cut and at the area around the bare beach cut, both minnows and crappie jigs are working great. 
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martins Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly.  863-983-9950 www.markkingfishing.com    

 

 

 

 

January 15th, 2007

Clewiston-----It was another one of those weeks last week with a cold front coming through and making the bass fishing slow for a couple days, but now it is back to normal and we are catching good numbers of fish on every guide trip. Wild shiners have been the bait of my choice with these cold fronts moving through, if the bass are going to eat anything it will be shiners before artificial lures on most days. The West Wall has been pretty good place to catch bass on shiners with most being caught on the outside grass line where the water is clean and not to muddy. Another place to try if the wind isn't blowing to hard is the outside grass line from Cochran's Pass down to Observation Island, this water remains clean even if the wind blows hard so it is fishable as long as you can hold the boat to fish. Both of these areas are getting real shallow with the lake level under twelve feet above sea level, you will want to idle in from out in the lake to avoid damaging your boat or motor. While I'm on this subject the lake is once again at a dangerous level and you will want to know where you are running before you get yourself in a bad situation, a suggestion I might make is to hire a guide to show you where you can and can't go on the lake with the water level so low and while your at it a guide will be able to show you some good places to fish on your own. The artificial lure fishing was slow as the cold front passed through the area but has picked up considerable now that the weather has stabilized. A ten inch junebug colored worm has been my best producer for the last couple weeks, I like the Gambler Ribbontail that I fish with a 1/4 ounce Gambler Florida rig weight and fifty pound braided line , another lure that has been working is a Berkley Gulp Batwing frog in green pumpkin color also thrown on fifty pound braided line. Some of the areas that you might want to try artificial lure fishing would be Coots Bay, Pelican Bay around Ritta Island, the West Wall and around Uncle Joe's cut out at the lake end. All of these areas are dependent on the wind and how much dirty water from out on the lake gets pushed into these areas and then the bass are much harder to catch, so the best thing is to do to keep an eye on the wind and fish those areas that are not getting pounded by the wind.
   The crappie fishing has really picked up with lots of crappies being caught in Uncle Joe's Cut and just south of Bare Beach channel in the rim canal, most are reporting that the crappies have been big and that limits are being caught daily. Most of the crappies are being caught on minnows but that jigs are producing larger fish for most. Don't take more crappies then what you can eat save some for others as this has been a good year and we want the lake to continue to produce crappies for years to come.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin's Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. 863-983-9950 www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

 

Jan 8th, 2007

 

Clewiston-----What a week here on Okeechobee with the Stren Series tournament finishing up on Saturday and Glenn Browne from Ocala Florida winning on the pro side with 60-02 pounds that netted him $25,000.00 and a full rigged Ranger boat, while on the co-angler side Chuck Webb from Sarasota Florida caught 35-03 pounds to win $5,000.00 and a fully rigged Ranger boat congratulations to both. The weights from this tournament should prove to all that the Big "O" is in great shape and producing good quality bass on an everyday basis. The lake level is at 12.11 feet above sea level and has been staying at or around this level for over two weeks now. The bass fishing on wild shiners has picked up and on most days you can keep busy catching fish all day long with most of the bass weighing in from two to six pounds and a few over eight being caught. A few places to try catching bass on wild shiners would be the West Wall on the outside grass line, around Cochran's Pass on the outside grass points and also in Pelican Bay concentrating on the outside grass line. The bass were on the beds with the full moon we had last week and I did get to see a good number of big bass while practicing for the Stren tournament, the water in most areas that the bass had beds in is real clear and these bass were very spooky if you run the trolling motor to much or made shorter casts or pitches most of these fish were gone. Bass can be caught on artificial lure almost anywhere the water is clean and by clean I mean if you can see down in the water six inches to clear water that you can read the newspaper on the bottom. Some of the lures that were working for me this past week were a 10" worm in junebug color, Zoom Fluke in watermelon-red color, and a Gambler Cane Toad in junebug color. The key to most of the fish I caught was to make mega long casts and my new Abu Garcia Revo reels aloud me to make these long casts with 50# Spiderwire Ultracast and is light enough that I was able to make hundreds of casts a day and not have any hand or arm fatigue. Another trick is to let the wind push you through the grass and not run the trolling motor any more than you have to so that you do not scare these bass that are in this shallow water. The area from Uncle Joe's Cut up to Cochran's Pass is still a good place to catch bass on artificial lures as well as the area from Horse Island up to Tin House Cove, all of these areas have beds where these bass have been spawning. If you don't catch any fish in the grass or out on the grass line than you will need to move into the open water and start looking for these bass, a Rat-L-Trap is a good search bait. Another thing to keep an eye on is birds diving on bait and we all know if there is bait there is fish near by. The crappie fishing on the south end of the lake continues to improve daily with some of the locals catching limits almost everyday, Uncle Joe's Cut is the place to be and minnows are the bait of choice. The crappies seem to move in and out according to the weather when the water is warm they seem to move out in the lake and when the water cools off they move back into the canal where they are easy to catch. Till next week good luck and please practice catch and release so that our kids will have a great lake to catch fish in the future.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin's Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. 863-983-9950
www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

 

Jan 1st, 2007

Clewiston----- It has been a busy week here on the Big "O" with tournament anglers practicing for the upcoming Stren Series tournament January 3rd through the 6th with most good areas covered up with boats. The fishing is improving by the day as the bass are on the move into prime spawning areas. A good number of big bass were caught on guide trips last week with Capt. Ron Stevens out of Roland Martin's Marina weighing in a bass over ten pounds and Capt. Fred Baraks also out of Roland Martin's Marina weighing in one over ten pounds and Capt. Bryan Honnerlaw had a customer with one at eight pounds. Wild Shiners are still producing the best but some artificial baits that are working this past week were frog type baits like the Berkley Gulp Batwing frog in green pumpkin color and a 10" Gambler worm in bluegrass color and also the new Gambler Loco Lizard in june bug color both the worm and the lizard were fished on Stren 50# Super Braid line and a 3/16 ounce sinker. Some of the better areas last week were the Blue Hole area, around the mouth of Uncle Joe's Cut, the West Wall and the area north of Cochran's Pass. The water in these areas is clean with the wind pushing in just a little stained water which is good, the bass like to stay in these areas where the water is just slightly stained and mixing with the clear water the bass can wait to ambush bait in these areas. If the wind does not dirty up the area from this side of Ritta Island to the Football field you can catch bass on worms and Senkos, both need to be worked very slow. Pelican Bay is another area that has been producing a few bass but most are small with two pound being the average size for these bass, most are reporting of catching these bass on the outside grass line. From the Blue Hole up to Cochran's Pass has been giving up some fair sized bass along the grass on the outside but I have had reports of some beds back in the grass. With this water being so clear back in you will usually spook the bass off the beds if you get to close, if this happens back off a casting distance and wait a few minutes and than cast a Senko or a worm into the bed and let it sit and it shouldn't be long before a bass picks it up and moves off with it. This is a patience game but the rewards can be great if you hook into a giant bass, while I'm on the subject of giant bass and I know I've said this before PLEASE get a quick picture and release these fish back into the water so that they can still spawn and help the resources of this great fishery. The crappie fishing has also turned on with good numbers of big crappies being caught in Uncle Joe's Cut, with the cooler temperatures we had last week the crappies are starting to show up in good numbers from out on the lake and as long as the water temperature stays cooler the crappie fishing should improve daily. Minnows are still the bait of choice for crappies but I know of a few guys that are using jigs and are starting to catch just as many this way. Hope everyone had a safe and happy New Years and looking forward to seeing you all on the lake soon.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin's Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. www.markkingfishing.com   863-983-9950

 

 

Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler working out of Scott Martin's Anglers Marina in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. www.markkingfishing.com  

 

Copyright 2004-2006 Mark King Fishing

 

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