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. Become a member of my new bass fishing social wesite at www.mybassclass.com
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