Okeechobee Bass Fishing
Capt. Michael Shellen
December 13, 2010
Lake Okeechobee - Freshwater Fishing Report
Our Fall/Winter season started with a bang this year. We had mild weather and warm water temps and the bass responded by going on a feeding frenzy. The water level is below 13 feet, which urges the bass to slowly migrate toward the outer edges where the water is slightly deeper. With abundant hydrilla and eel grass beds around the lake, finding bass has not been a problem. Anglers from all over the U.S. have been hearing about the great bass bite on Okeechobee and are returning to find themselves enjoying bass fishing that is not possible in many other spots in the world. Artificial bait aficionados are having a heyday catching large numbers of bass on many different types and styles of baits.
Any mention of great artificial baits for catching fish on Lake Okeechobee would be incomplete without the mention of the skinny dipper. Aside from being responsible for numerous tournament wins, everyday anglers can use it effectively and catch big fish and large numbers of fish, when the conditions are right. It comes in many colors and several sizes, but the original size in Houdini, California 420 or watermelon are tough to beat. A large 10 to 12 inch worm will work nicely as will a spinner bait. Top water walking style baits will draw strikes early morning over submerged grasses or among standing cover areas.
The full moon periods are pulling big bass into the shallow water areas where they are vulnerable to anglers. Our clients have experienced what they have called unbelievable & inconceivable fishing this early season already. During a particularly productive stretch of days our clients were catching as many bass as they wanted to take time to catch. More than once our best five fish exceeded 30 pounds, with bass to 11lbs 1oz pounds being our best recently. The sheer number of 7 to 8 pound bass being caught on a wild shiner is even impressing me. I find myself very proud of our fishery right now and am eager to show it off to anglers from all over the world.
Great fishing is not limited to one area of the lake, with every area of the lake holding large numbers of bass. From Lock 7 on the Northern tip of the lake, traveling West all the way to Observation Shoal, bass are being located and caught. We are approaching the time of year when cold fronts can effect fishing, if a front moves through and drops the water temps in the lake it can get tough to catch these Okeechobee Bass. The Okeechobee strain of largemouth is not fond of cold water and becomes inactive when its environment changes drastically. Metabolically a bass is driven by hunger to feed, the warmer the water gets the faster they metabolize the food they intake. When the water cools their body is not metabolizing the food they intake as quickly, thus the urge to feed is far less frequent. That in itself takes a great number of fish out of the equation. When the water is warm bass will be active and feeding. It is just fishing and if you don't go, you could miss the catch of a lifetime. Many times we have caught big bass and had great fishing when the weather was horrible, and there were no other anglers fishing. Have a great day!
Cpt Mike Shellen
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