Lake Okeechobee, Fl.

 

 

 

Click for Clewiston, Florida Forecast

 

 

 

See fishing report below

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REGULATIONS EFFECTIVE TUESDAY, July 1st, 2008
LAKE OKEECHOBEE

• Bass: Minimum size 18 inches. One bass over 22 inches in five fish bag limit.
• Crappie: Minimum size 10 inches; bag limit 25

 

 

 

Contact information for Florida Fish and Wildlife offices.

Motel and Campground Listings for Lake Okeechobee.

 

  For real time lake level: Click Here

 


Lake Okeechobee Fishing Report

provided by: Mark King

 

 

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.

   

 

 

 

 

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.

Capt. Mark King
www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

February 22, 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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

December 12th, 2011

 

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.

 

 

October 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.

 

 

Sept 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 8th, 2011

 

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. 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

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.    

 

 

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 1st, 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 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 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.

 

 

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.

 

 

November 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, 20010

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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 Mark a call.

 

May 18th, 2010

 

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!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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 than 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.

 

 

 

December 23rd, 2009

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Sept 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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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 then 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.

Capt. Mark King

 

 

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 Beattle 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. 

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

 

 

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 especially 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.

 

January 19th, 2009

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Capt. Mark King

 

 

 

 

 

 

December22nd, 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 14.03 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 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.

 

 

 

 

September 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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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 shaky 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 Beatle 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 shaky head rig, and a top water lure. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different soft plastic worms on a shaky 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 Battle Spin with a black trailer. Please don’t keep more bluegill then you plan on eating, save some for others and for next year.

 

 

 

June 24th, 2008

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 shaky 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 shaky head rod with my name on it is just the rod to throw a shaky 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 shaky 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 shaky 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 shaky 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 shaky 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 shaky 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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

 

 

March 5th, 2008

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

 

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.

 

 

 

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 too 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 Myers store. The Ft. Myers store has kids day the first Sat. of every month, come out and win a free trip guided by me.

 

 

 

January 7th, 2008

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

 

 

 

 

December 11th, 2007

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.

 

 

 

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 Heddon's 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 recent 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 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 Dawg 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  

 

 

 

 

May15th, 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 1st, 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 hooked 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, also 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

   

 

 

Lake Okeechobee Fishing Report

3-12-07

 

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

Lake Level 11.95

 

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

 

 

 

 

January 8th, 2007

Lake level 12.11

 

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 allowed 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

 

 

January 1st, 2007

Lake Level 12.12

 

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

 

 

12-11-06 Okeechobee fishing report

Lake Level 12.07

 

Clewiston-----The bass bite has been improving by the day as we start into the winter season, and if we could get the wind to blow a little less everything would be great here on the Big "O". The bass were really eating good the beginning of the week and than as the weekend approached and another front came though the area the fishing got tough again. The East Wall and the West Wall both have been producing a fair amount of bass for both the guides and other anglers. Both of these areas are contingent on the wind direction and how hard it blows, as the dirty water from out on the lake will push into both the West Wall and the East Wall if we get a hard northeast or east wind. Capt. Ed Steady who guides out of Roland Martin's Marina and Resort reported catching a number of bass over eight pounds and a couple ten pound bass last week from these areas. These areas are getting shallow so you will need to idle or use your trolling motor to access these areas and wild shiners are the bait of choice but Senkos will also catch a few of these bass. The area from Uncle Joe's Cut up to Cochran's Pass has been good this past week with most of the points of grass holding fish that could be caught on wild shiners and on artificial lures. This area of the lake has been staying relatively clean even with the wind blowing on it for three or four days at a time, the problem is it with the wind blowing from the east at ten miles an hour and above it makes it had to fish this area and hold the boat so that you can fish it properly. Senkos and Gambler 10" worms in junebug color have been my artificial lure of choice this week to catch these bass on this outside grass line and on the trails that lead back into this area. With the lake level at 12.07 feet above sea level a lot of the areas that I have been referring to in my fishing reports are getting real shallow, what this will do to the bass is make them back out to deeper water usually closer to the outside grass line. Another area that I fished last week was the Harnie Pond Canal, we caught a few bass on Spro Aruka Shad lipless crankbaits and Bomber 7A crankbaits cast parallel to the bank in about seven to ten foot depth range, most of these bass are around two to three pound range. You can fish in this canal if the wind gets to blowing real hard and it is hard to fish out on the lake, just use caution if you are running in here from out on the lake because it can be tricky if you don't know where you are going there is a lot of shallow water in this area. I have had reports of a few bass being caught around Horse Island but most of this area has been dirty from the wind blowing on it from the passing fronts. I still haven't gone down to Pelican Bay to check this area out but I have had a few reports that the bass are trying to move into this area from out on the lake hopefully to spawn, this area was hit real hard from the hurricane last year and is just now starting to signs of improvement. The crappie report is about the same as last week with a few being caught around Uncle Joe's Cut, Harnie Pond Canal and the Kissimmee river, but I have not heard of anyone catching very many at any one time.
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 reached at 863-983-9950 or www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

Clewiston-----The condition of the lake and the fishing continues to improve everyday, with reports of big bass being caught on wild shiners and artificial lures alike. The water level is dropping rapidly and the water in most of the areas that we are fishing is clear to slightly stained. Most all of the guides reported having a good week catching most of there bass on shiners, my clients enjoyed a great week catching bass on both wild shiners and artificial baits. The bass we caught on shiners were from two to nine pounds with the biggest one tipping the scales at nine and a half pounds, most of the bass we caught on lures were from one to three pounds. Gambler Ace’s and Senkos were the bait of choice to catch the most fish last week and green pumpkin and junebug were the colors of choice. I also caught a few fish on a Zoom Super Fluke and lizards, watermelon-red color seemed to work the best, all these artificial lures had to fished slow. The bass seem to be moving in to the shallow water to spawn with the full moon approaching and another cold front that will be passing through our area next week. The East Wall was a hot spot this week with several big bass being caught in this area during tournaments over the weekend. The Senko and the Super Fluke were the baits for this area, the key was to fish them in and around the grass and to deadstick them or fish them as slow as you can stand to fish them. The next good area was from Uncle Joe’s Cut up to Cochran’s Pass, most of the bass are being caught on the outside grass line and on some of the trails that are close to the outside of the grassline and of course you will want to fish all of the grass points. I did catch a few bass on a Rat-L-Trap on these points but they were few and far between, chrome with blue back was the color I throw this time of the year to try and imitate the shad that the bass are feeding on. Another area that you might want to check on is Pelican Bay, I have had reports that the bass are starting to move into this area to spawn and this would be great as this area has not been in the best shape since hurricane Wilma did her deed a year ago. I spent a couple days last week down at the Everglades at Sawgrass recreational park and caught a good number of bass but most were from one to two pounds with a three pound bass being our largest one. I fished the canals mostly but the water is up high enough to go out on the flats and I would guess that is where the bigger bass are at right now. The crappies are still biting well at Harnie Pond Canal and Uncle Joe’s Cut, most of the reports are that the crappies are real thick and heavy this year but seem to be harder to catch. Most of the folks I have been talking to are using minnows to catch these crappies, but a few are jigging for them. Quick update on my Garcia Revo STX reel that I have been using for six months now, still real smooth to cast and retrieve and the finish looks like it is still new, I would recommend this reel to anyone from a tournament pro to the weekend warrior it will get the job done.

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

 

 

 

 

November 27th, 2006

 

Lake Level  12.26

 

Clewiston-----The week started out slow with the temperatures in the 40s at night but as the week progressed the fishing has improved. Most of the bass that I have been catching on my guide trips this past week were north of Clewiston from Uncle Joe's Cut up to Horse Island. This water has remained fairly clean even with the north and east winds we had all week, but the water level is really starting to drop fast with today's reading at 12.26 feet above sea level. Most of the bass are being caught on wild shiners and most of the bass earlier in the week were small but as the weekend approached and the weather improved so did the fishing with a bigger bass being caught. Everyone will need to use caution when running the lake as the water level nears twelve feet it will be easy to hit something on the bottom if you run in the wrong places, make sure you idle way out from the grass line before you try to get up on plane. This might be a good time to hire a guide that knows where he or she is going and can get you to the fish that you might otherwise be afraid to take your boat for fear of tearing it up. The bite on artificial has picked up some with a few bass being caught on Senkos on the East Wall and up around Cochran's Pass, both areas can be affected by the wind if it is blowing hard out of the north or east. When fishing the Senko you should use a darker colors like black-blue and junebug in stained water and lighter colors like watermelon and green pumpkin in the clearer water and you will want to fish the Senko weightless and as slow as you can. The trick this week was to let the Senko sit on the bottom for up to a minute and then the bass would pick it up and move off with it. Most of the bass seem to be just on the outside edge of the grassline, I haven't caught any bass back in the grass this week with the falling water level I believe these fish are moving out from in the shallow water. Capt. Ron Stevens who guides out of Roland Martin's Marina reported catching a good number of bass one day last week at the Sawgrass Recreational area in the Everglades on worms. I also spent a day in the Everglades out on Alligator Alley fishing with Dick McConnel and his daughter Polly and we caught around 25 bass but they were all small ones, this is the second year I have fished with Dick and Polly and they are a lot of fun out on the water. The crappie bite has slowed up this past week with a few being caught in Harnie Pond Canal and Uncle Joe's Cut also producing a few, minnows will be the bait of choice to catch some of these slabs. I would also like to remind everyone that as spawning season for bass approaches to please take a quick picture of these big female bass and get them back in the water as soon as possible so that they will still spawn and you will be able to catch them again. With Christmas only four weeks away a guided bass fishing trip on Lake Okeechobee would make a great gift for a loved one this year.
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

 

 

 

November 20th, 2006

Lake Level 12.34

 

Clewiston----- The weather has been cooling off but the bass fishing is heating up on the big lake. Reports of big bass being caught on wild shiners are starting to come in daily and it's about time with the month of December approaching fast these bass should be in off the main lake and getting ready to spawn. I had a good number of four and five pound bass with my clients last week and watched as another fisherman close by caught bigger fish on almost every cast. The bait of choice for this past week was wild shiners, but we did catch a few bass on artificial lures including a couple three pound bass on Gambler Ugly Otters in bluegrass color rigged with a 1/4 ounce screw in sinker. The West Wall has started to come alive again as the bass are starting to move back in the grass from the outside grass line and some nice bass are being caught on shiners from holes in the grass and in the boat trails. I weighed a bass for a fellow that caught it close to Clewiston either Coots Bay or the West Wall that weighed in at 11 pounds, yes she was full of eggs and was release unharmed back into the lake. Most of the guides from our marina are reporting having good days with Jerry Wares and Ed Steadly having a couple real good days last week. The Football Field (if it's not to muddy from the wind), Coots Bay, the East Wall and the West Wall are all good areas to concentrate on if you want to catch a good bass or two. The area from Uncle Joe's Cut up to Cochrans Pass is really holding up good to the wind and the water clarity is staying fairly clear especially if you get back in the grass a boat length or two. I did catch a few fish on Senkos in this area but I had to make long casts so as not to spook these bass with the water being so clear. You might also catch a few bass on Rat-L-Traps in Cochrans Pass and out along the outside grass line keying in on the points, silver with blue back  Rat-L-Trap would be my color choice. Another area that has started to produce bass is around Horse Island up to Tin House Cove as long as the wind doesn't have the water dirty, these bass like those on the West Wall are starting to move back into the shallows to get ready to spawn. I would throw a spinnerbait or Rat-L-Trap in the boat trails and a Senko or Ugly Otter in the sparse grass and around reed patches. The water level is still going down and is at 12.34 above sea level and the water temperature has been dropping into the lower 70's. The south end of the lake around the Belle Glade area has been slow with hardly any bass being caught at this end of the lake, I'm not real sure why there is not a few fish in this area, the bottom of the lake looks bad with lots of sediment and dead vegetation but the water has been clear in most areas. The crappie bite is still picking up with Harnie Pond Canal, Uncle Joe's Cut and the Kissimmee River being the better areas, with minnows being the bait of choice. Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and gets to spend it with family and friends.
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

 

 

Lake Level 12.57

November 13th,2006

Clewiston-----It has been another slow week fishing here on the Big "O" with the bass being rather allusive for the most part. Not to say we are not catching some nice bass they are just few and far between, in my opinion it has to do with the cold fronts and the wind pushing dirty water into most areas that we have been fishing. I did catch most of the fish we did catch last week on wild shiners in about two feet of water, the West Wall and Coots Bay were the two most productive areas. The key to catching these fish was to find where the dirty water and the clear water was coming together and throw a shiner in against a grass line and be patient because the bite was real slow. The Football Field and the East Wall was dirty the first part of the week and then started to clean up toward the end but the fish just seemed to disappear, we caught a couple little bass around one pound but that was it. Uncle Joe's Cut out at the lake end was producing a few bass but this area was getting fished by a lot of anglers and by the weekend was not producing very well either. Capt. Ed Steadly out of Roland Martin's Marina reported catching sixteen bass one day and fourteen the next with the biggest one being seven and a half pounds while Capt. Ron Stevens reported having a fair day today starting out with a six pound bass but had to move around a lot to catch some smaller bass to finish the day out. It has just been tough for most of the guides and anglers this past week, the wind is suppose to lie down a little this week. Most of the areas that we have been fishing, the water should clean up quick and with the cooler nights it should trigger these bass to start feeding up for the winter months to come.
   The bass that we caught this past week on artificial lures were caught mostly on Zoom Flukes (watermelon-red color) and Senkos (green pumpkin and junebug color). The fish that we did catch were really scattered out catching one here and one there, just no pattern that you could put together. The biggest key was to make long casts and fish as slow as you could, with most of the bass weighing in around one to two pounds, not your typical Lake Okeechobee bass that's for sure. I do have some good news to report about the crappie fishing, that some nice sized crappies are being caught and most are catching a good number every day. I know a few are being caught around Uncle Joe's Cut but everyone else is keeping it a secret about where they are catching them, maybe I can get someone to talk next week and I can report on where they are catching the bigger crappies. The Everglades along Alligator Alley has been good for bass fishing the past few weeks, I talked to a couple guides that had good days catching over fifty fish per day but most are two to three pound fish with only one or two over four pounds being caught per guide trip. There is a lot of bait in these canals so the bass should be here eating till they are full, it's just a matter of being here on the right day to catch the big ones. Till next week good luck and please practice catch and release these bass are our future of this great lake.
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

 

 

October 23, 2006

 

Clewiston-----The fishing on Okeechobee is improving by the day not to say it is great yet but we are starting to catch more and bigger bass almost everyday. The nights are starting to cool off and the water temperatures are also dropping a few degrees and all of this have the bass starting to feed much better. We are starting to see baitfish moving into most of the areas that we fish including the East and West Walls, Coots Bay and along the shoal up to Cochran's Pass. We had a thirty five boat guide trip out of Roland and Marry Ann Martin's Resort on last Friday and at least six bass over eight pounds were caught on wild shiners with every guide reporting on having a good day. We had guides from Miami to Okeechobee give us a hand with this group and it was a pleasure to see everyone come together and do a great job, thanks to everyone who participated. The bass are starting to show up everywhere and will soon be into the fall patterns and will be feeding on baitfish getting ready for winter and the spawn. My guide trips over the weekend were a little tough with the wind not blowing at all, the lake was as smooth as glass, but with our first good cold front approaching on Monday night the fishing on Monday was great with the bass eating up spinnerbaits and frog type lures most of the morning. The lake water level is still continuing to drop with the level at 12.89 feet above sea level and the lake is still very clear in most areas from the East Wall to Tin House Cove. There seems to be a good concentration of bass on the outside grass lines that can be caught on spinnerbaits and Senkos early in the morning and as the sun gets up high in the sky these fish move farther back into the grass and can be caught on frog type baits. If you can find some water that has a little color to it and is not so clear this seems to be the best areas to fish and if the wind is blowing in on it even better.
   Most of the tournaments that were fished on the lake the past couple weeks have had low weights with ten pounds getting you in the money, that means all you need to catch is one good bass and four smaller ones to go with it. But this will all change in the next couple weeks I think it will start to take fifteen to twenty pounds get you in the money. I would like to say congratulations to Val Osinski of Gambler Lures on his third place finish at the BFL regional in Demopolis Alabama, Val will now move on to the BFL All-American next year. Some of the local crappie fishermen are catching a few crappies every day most are being caught in the dynamite holes and in Harney Pond Canal.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out or Roland Martin's Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

 

Lake Level 13.07

 

Oct 16th, 2006

 

Clewiston-----The bass fishing this past week has taken a turn for the better in spite of the cold front that came through at the end of the week. The lake level is at 13.07 above sea level and dropping slowly and the water is clean in most areas from Ritta Island to Tin House Cove. I had a great week guiding with clients catching some good sized bass from six to eight pounds on wild shiners and a good number of two to three pound bass to keep everyone's interest. The West Wall is starting to get good again as the bass seem to be moving in from the outside grass line and from out on the lake, I believe this area will only get better in the days to come. The Football Field and the East Wall are two other good areas that are starting to really turn on with guides reporting some bigger bass being caught daily along with some nice catching size bass around the three pound range. The East Wall has also been good for catching bass on artificial lures with a Senko still being my lure of choice, the color to use is green pumpkin in the clear water and junebug in the stained water. The key is still to fish the Senko weightless if you can depending on the wind and to fish it as slow as possible, the longer you can let it sit in the holes in the grass the better chance you will have catching these bass. You will want to fish from the outside grass line on in to the inside fishing any open holes in the grass that you come across, some of this grass is real heavy and will be hard to get through my Minn Kota 101# thrust trolling motor does the job with power to spare and believe me moving my twenty one foot Ranger Z boat around in this grass is no easy task but my Minn Kota never misses a beat. Some smaller bass are being caught in Coots Bay in the scattered grass on spinnerbaits and Gambler Cane Toad's being my choice with Senkos still catching their fair share of bass in this area also.
   Tin House Cove to Horse Island is still producing it's share of bass with most being caught on the outside grass on worms and spinnerbaits, this area did get a little dirty with the wind from the cold front that just went through but it will clean up in a day when the wind lays down. Some schooling bass can also be seen and caught in this area with the small cuts and points on this outside grass being the best places. From Cochran's Pass to Uncle Joe's Cut has been pretty quiet for the past couple weeks but this area should start producing bass real soon, there is a good number of mats on the inside around Turners Cove and the bass should be moving into this area real soon if not already. Uncle Joe's Cut has some bass in it most of the way from the rim canal out to the lake, a Senko will be your best bet in junebug color worked along the edges on both sides you might also try a crankbait thrown parallel to the bank I like to use Bomber 5A or 7A size in firetiger color.
   Ritta Island and the Buzzard Roost both have some good looking clean water and I have caught a few smaller bass in both areas but nothing over three pounds, try fishing some of the grass from the tip of Ritta around to the Buzzard Roost an 8" Gambler Ribbon Tail worm in junebug color or a spinnerbait have been working for me. From the Buzzard Roost to Bay Bottom has been muddy looking almost like chocolate milk, there doesn't seem to be much vegetation growing in this area. I have been receiving reports of crappies being caught in Harney Pond Canal but not many are being caught yet.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin's Marina in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly.  www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

Clewiston-----The fishing is starting to pick up as the fall season approaches and the water temperatures start to cool off. We are just coming off a full moon and the bass are finally starting to eat both wild shiners and artificial lures. We did really well toward the end of the week on wild shiners fishing the East Wall and the West Wall, both areas have really clean water and the fishing is better in the morning before the sun gets up high in the sky. I looked over a few new areas last week including Pelican Bay and around Ritta Island both look really nice with clean water and plenty of vegetation, but there seems to be a lack of bait fish and not very many bass to be caught. I think as the water cools down the bass and bait should start to move into these areas real soon. I have been catching most of my bass on Senkos this past week, the color varied from day to day one day it was junebug the next it was green pumpkin. The key to fishing the Senko the last couple weeks has been to fish it as slow as you can , the best way is to throw it into a hole in the grass and deadstick it or in other words let it sit on the bottom for up to a minute before you move it. This way of fishing will test your patience but can be really rewarding when you catch a six or seven pound bass.
   The north end of the lake continues to produce some nice bass with the areas from Horse Island to Tin House Cove being your best bet. The outside grass is where the majority of the bass seem to be as they are chasing bait around in the grass. A Gambler Cane Toad, spinnerbait ( my favorite one being a Leverage in naked shad color ) and worm worked in and around this outside grass should produce some bass from two to three pounds. Some of the bigger bass are coming from isolated reed patches by pitching something like a Gambler Ugly Otter or a Zoom Brush Hog with a small 1/8 ounce screw in weight. There is some great looking hyacinth mats in this area but they don't seem to be holding any fish but they soon will with cooler temperatures on the way. From Cochran's Pass to Observation Island has been slow for the past few weeks but I have had a few reports of bass being caught on the outside grass when there is wind blowing in on this area and moving some bait into the grass. I haven't seen any schooling bass yet and this is something we should start seeing any day, when we do start seeing them be sure to keep a spinnerbait, Rat-L-Trap and a topwater plug ready because this can be the most fun you can have catching bass on almost every cast.
   I just want to say that the lake is looking great from the north end all the way down to Pelican Bay, the water is clean the hydrilla is starting to grow in areas, the bottom looks good for the bass to spawn this year and with the water level at 13.20 above sea level the lake should stay nice and clean through the winter even with the north winds. We want to thank God for no hurricanes this year I don't think this lake could have withstood another year like last and still been the great fishery that it has always been. If the water managers will slow down with the spraying for weed control and they will leave the water levels at or around fourteen feet above sea level this lake will be back to the great lake that our ancestors enjoyed.
   I want to tell you about a new item I have started using on my reel handles called Reel Grip, these rubber covers that go over your reel handles offer all day comfort and control and are non slip even when it's raining. The come in a thirteen different colors and one size fits most reels. I will have these on all my reels for customers to use and other tournament anglers to try, these grips rate an A+. You can contact them at www.reelgrip.com and let them know that you want to try a set for yourself. 
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin's Marina in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

Oct 3rd, 2006

Clewiston-----It has been another fickle week here on the Big "O" with the bass fishing being great one day and ok the next. We had a couple cold front move in and than a high pressure system moved in over the weekend and made the fishing a little tougher. The bass on the East Wall are eating wild shiners good one day and then they just won't eat the next day. The water level is dropping a little each day and is at 13.37 above sea level, and with most of the rainy season done for this year we will go into the winter with the water level under 14 foot.The area around Observation Island is looking real good with the water clear and some nice mats to flip in to and reeds to pitch worms and craws, I believe this area will start producing some good bass. The water continues to remain clear in most areas like the West Wall, the East Wall and up on the shoal but with the north and east wind that we had last week the Football Field and around Ritta Island did dirty up some. The bass on the East and West Wall are still being caught on Senkos with a technique we call dead sticking where you throw a Senko into a good looking spot like around some reeds or on the outside grass line and just let it sit for up to a minute before you move your bait. A white spinnerbait with silver blades and a Gambler Cane Toad in white are also working good back on the inside of the East Wall and in the Hog Pen areas. The North Shore is another area that has a few nice bass hanging around as long as the wind doesn't have the water muddied up when you are in here fishing. A Gambler Ugly Otter in blue shadow color pitched to the reeds with a 3/16 ounce sinker will get these bass to bite, be sure to make multiple casts to each patch of reeds to get these bass to bite.
   I spent a few days this past week practicing for the upcoming BFL tournament on the north end of the lake and there seems to be a good number of bass from Horse Island up to Tin House Cove. They seem to be on the outside grass line on in to the first trail, the key to this is to watch for the bait fish and the bass will be close by. Most of the bass I caught were small from one to two pounds but there was bigger bass being caught in this area all week. Some of the key baits were Gambler Ugly Otters, Johnson Silver spoons and Cane Toads, but I'm sure that these bass got to see about every lure there is this past week with about a hundred boats all fishing this same area. The water around King's Bar was muddy from the wind but most of the areas south were clean even with the wind blowing over 15 miles an hour most of the weekend. The winner on the boater side of the BFL tournament was Joseph Kremer from Osteen Florida with a two day winning weight of 42 pounds and 8 ounces that netted him $5,460.00 he caught his bass on a Johnson Silver Spoon and the winner on the co-angler side was Gene Elliott of Palm Springs Florida with a two day winning weight of 19 pounds and 11 ounces for a check totaling $2,730.00. Over all the weights were down for most of the fisherman with most just catching a limit of small bass. With the nights starting to cool off the bigger bass should be moving in off the main part of the lake into the shallows as they start there winter spawning migration.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Roland Martin's Marina in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

Sept. 25th, 2006

Clewiston----- The bass this week on Okeechobee seem to be in one of those moods if they feel like eating you can have a great day and if they don't they feel like eating it can be a long day. Most of the bass that we caught this week on guide trips were under five pounds and it didn't matter if you were using wild shiners or artificial lures. Coots Bay and the East Wall have some bass moving in but most are around two pounds or less, they can be caught on a Berkley Bat Wing frog thrown around in the scattered grass and if that isn't working go to a Senko and fish it slow in the same areas and you should catch a good number of fish. The lure color doesn't seem to matter as much as the speed that you fish the key is to fish slow. The West Wall has been producing a few bass this week mostly back in the grass using Senkos and Bat Wing frogs. The water in  area is real clear so you will want to make long casts so that you don't spook these fish. The bass up on the shoal this past week have been just cruising around and are hard to catch at times it seems like it is better the harder the wind is blows, the wind is moving the bait around and this seems to be the only time these bass want to eat. A spinnerbait worked in the grass will get you a few good fish, I like to throw a Leverage spinnerbait in naked shad color with silver blades or a Gambler Flappin Shad in white color. There is same nice looking mats to flip craws into in this area but there just doesn't seem to be any bass up under them yet, it will take a cold front or two to make this technique good. Turners Cove is another area that is looking great and you can catch a few bass in here if the wind is blowing and the bait is moving around a Gambler Cane Toad in ghost shad color and a green pumpkin Senko seem to be the baits of choice.
   Horse Island up to the Indian Prairie has had a fair number of bass that can be caught on the outside grass line with the points of grass being the best areas to fish . A spinnerbait and a Gambler Flappin Shad work good to fish this grass and if you see the bass busting shad in the thicker grass try a Cane Toad worked over top of this grass. If the wind is pushing the shad around in this grass the fishing can be great and you can stay in one area and catch a lot of bass before the baitfish move on down the grass line and you can usually follow them all day.Try to make long casts so that you don't spook the bass or the bait, on calm days you should be able to catch a few of these bass on a Senkos. I have not had any reports of anyone catching bluegills, either they are keeping it a secret or no one is catching any. The Super Buck Bass Tournament this past weekend was a success with over one hundred boats participating, everyone had a good time and it took over twenty two pounds to win the $10,000.00 first place, so the fishing isn't to bad.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Scott Martin's Anglers Marina in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. www.markkingfishing.com

 

September 19th, 2006

Clewiston-----The bass fishing this past week on the Big "O" has been great for some and slow for others. The fish are chasing the shad around the lake if you can find baitfish the bass are close by, but these bass are hard to pattern they will be in an area for a day or two and then they are just gone. The rising water has slowed down some and it has been around 13.40 feet above sea level for the past week with more and more area being accessible. The East Wall has been getting some attention now that you can get into this area but the bass are still holding on the outside grass line, I did real well on a couple guide trips this past week fishing with wild shiners in this area. The West Wall and Hog Pen areas has slowed down some you can still go in here and catch some smaller bass on Senkos in green pumpkin color and on Gambler Cane Toads in the new key lime color  but most of these bass are under two pounds. The mouth of Uncle Joe's Cut has been a good area to catch a few good bass during the week but as the weekend approaches this area has been getting to much fishing pressure, a Senko in junebug color and a Bomber 7A crankbait in firetiger color has been working for my clients on guide trips last week. 
   Cochran's Pass has a good number of smaller bass and there should be a few good ones hanging around this area, this is another area that has been getting a lot of fishing pressure. I would try using Senkos, worms and a lipless crankbait like a Spro Aruka Shad especially if you see any schooling bass in this area and you should start to see them. From Cochran's Pass up to Tin House Cove has been getting a lot of wind on it the past week and the water has dirtied up some, if the wind slows down for a couple days this would be a good area to catch some quality bass. A Gambler Cane Toad thrown in the sparse grass and an Ugly Otter flipped in the mats should work good all day long.
   The south end of the lake around Pelican Bay and Bay Bottom has clean up real well and a few bass are starting to be caught in these areas. I would start on the tip of Kramer Island and work back in to Pelican Bay. The bass should still be holding on the outside grass and if you can find any baitfish this is where these bass will be, if not look for the color break where the stained water meets the clear water and you should find some fish. Ritta Island  is another area that has been good one day and nothing the next, start in the grass on the tip and work around to the inside and you should find a few bass. Senkos, worms and frog type baits would be my choice. I had the privilege of trying out the new Garcia Revo STX this past week and I think Garcia has a winner with this eleven bearing low profile reel. I used it on my frog rod with fifty pound Stren Super Braid and could make super long casts and the reel is extra smooth, in my opinion I think Garcia has stepped up to the plate and produced a low  profile reel that is in the top of the class.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Scott Martin's Anglers Marina in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly.  www.markkingfishing.com    

 

 

Clewiston-----The lake level is at 13.42 above sea level and still rising, and the lake is changing daily. The bass are moving back in the grass and areas that were to shallow to fish a week ago are starting to produce some good bass. The area around the mouth of Uncle Joe's Cut where it meets the lake has been good for numbers of bass the size has been kind of small with an average fish weighing two pounds, this area is best with a north or northeast wind to create current down the cut. Crankbaits and Senkos have been working best with junebug color working the best for the Senkos and firetiger color for the crankbaits. With the water rising you are able to get back into Cochran's Pass now and I watch some nice bass being caught last weekend in the area but there was a lot of boats fishing around the mouth of Cochran's and this seems to be where the bass are and if this water continues to rise we should be able to get back in toward Moonshine Bay and there should be some bass in here. For the most part no one has been in Moonshine since after Easter and if the water gets up around fourteen foot above sea level we should be able to get back in this area without a problem and these fish haven't seen a lure or a boat for four to five months. The area from Cochran's Pass south to the shoal has been slow but we have caught a few nice bass up to six pounds on the outside grass line using a Senko and letting it just lay on the bottom a technique that is called dead sticking, it takes a lot of patients but the quality of the fish is worth it. Again a Senko is the bait to use in this area with green pumpkin color working best as the water here is very clear, and don't forget to put a little Mega Strike fish attractant on your Senkos to get these bass to hold on just a little longer so that you can get a good hook set.
   The West Wall continues to be good but the bass are moving to the inside of the grass and I have been catching these bass on 10" Berkley Power Worm in junebug color, green pumpkin Senkos and Gambler Cane Toads in Ghost Shad color. The Cane Toad seems to work best in the afternoon around the sparse grass patches and the worms has been working all day long. The area around the Hogpen is looking good but all that I can catch are small bass but there is a lot of them. The Football Field south of Clewiston has been good one day and the next day you go in here you might only catch a couple fish, not sure what is going on in here except the water in here can get dirty if the wind blows off the lake strong for more than one day. Be sure to watch for logs in the rim canal south of Clewiston, with the water rising some of the logs that were sticking out of the water last week are now just under the surface.
   For you tournament bass angler don't forget the Super Bucks Bass Tournament out of Clewiston is coming up on September 24th and the Grand Prize is $10,000 guaranteed, to register stop in at Scott Martin's Anglers Marina and pick up an entry form or call 1-800-413-9899 for more details.
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Scott Martin's Angler Marina in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly. www.markkingfishing.com   

 

 

September 5th, 2006

Lake Level 12.89

 

Clewiston-----After tropical storm Ernesto went through our area and did little damage except for the rain that has the lake level rising and the fishing really starting to pick up. The water is really flowing in from all intakes and the Kissimmee River and most of the water is clean so it is not making the water dirty at all. On guide trips this past week I started to catch good numbers of bass with most of them in the two to three pound range, most were caught on Gambler Cane Toads ( ghost shad color ) and Senkos (watermelon-red color). Most all of the area that I usually fish and talk about from Cochran's Pass down to the West Wall have been producing good and getting better as the water continues to rise. The water around Cochran's Pass and south down to Observation Island is crystal clear out at least a hundred yards from the outside grass line, most of the bass I have been catching in this area are just inside the grass line about one to two feet but you want to stay out as far as you can and still make a good cast into the grass so you don't spook these fish. Most of the fishermen in this area are staying in to close to the edge of the grass and are spooking these bass before they can even cast to them. There are also a few hyacinth mats starting to show up back in the grass, I have been able to catch a few bass flipping in these mats with a Berkley Gulp 3" Craw ( junebug color), the trick to this is to use Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon Line because this water is so clear, I like to use 30 pound test and you want to make multiple flips to the same spots to get these bass to take your bait. As you are moving from one mat to the next pick up a Gambler Cane Toad and throw it to any sparse grass and you will catch a few smaller bass as you move through the area.
   The area around Ritta has also been giving up a few good fish this past week and the water is getting cleaner in this area, the Football Field is producing some nice bass on a daily basis, but this area depends a lot on the wind.Robert Avery from Bob's Machine Shop ( aka Bob's Jackplates that we all use around here ) reported catching a couple bigger bass on the West Wall over the Labor Day weekend. With the water level rising we will be able to get into a lot of areas that we  were not able to get into last week, and the fish seem to be following the rising water back into the areas that were to shallow to be in last week. I'm not sure if the Army Corp of Engineers will leave the water level up a little or if they will draw it back down, but I do know with as much water that is flowing into the lake it will take a while to get it back out. I have had some reports that the Pelican Bay area and Kramer Island water is also clearing up, so these areas should start producing some good bass, they have been left alone most of the summer and should be ready to start eating. I have been seeing a good number of bluegills from Cochran's Pass down to Uncle Joe's Cut, there shouldn't be any trouble catching enough to eat using crickets. This week I want to talk about a product that has made my life as a guide and tournament angler a whole lot easier and that is a Power-Pole shallow water anchor, I have the XL model that allows me to anchor in water up to eight foot deep with a touch of a button. It works great for staying in one place to fish with wild shiners and also works great to fish for spawning and schooling bass during tournaments. I highly recommend this product to anyone who anchors or wants to fish in one spot without throwing anchors and dragging up all that muck off the bottom , check them out at www.Power-Pole.com 
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Scott Martin's Anglers Marina in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly  www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

 

August 31st, 2006

Lake Level 12.24 rising slowly

 

Clewiston-----Ernesto has came and gone with nothing more than some heavy rains around the lake. With the heat of summer upon us and the lake level low, the fishing hasn't slowed down much. You will want to try and get an early start so you can be in before the afternoon thunderstorms, as they can be really bad this time of the year. The bass fishing on the West Wall with wild shiners has slowed down some but we are still catching from fifteen to twenty on half day guide trips as long as we get an early start. The bass are also being caught on wild shiners around Rita Island, the Football Field and off the shoal around Observation Island. All of these areas depend on a little wind blowing on them to make the fishing good. While I'm on the subject of summer heat, you need to drink "lots" of cool water while you are out on the lake and if you start to get real hot take a towel and soak it with water and put it around your neck and it will keep you cool. Something else worth mentioning is that you shouldn't try to crowd to many shiners into your livewell at one time and you need to keep a bubble pump going all the time and use Sure-Life's Finer Shiner in the livewells.. 
   The artificial lure bite has been a little better this week then it was last week, with some good bass being caught from north of Cochran's Pass to Uncle Joe's cut. The bass in these areas are being caught on topwater including Zara Super Spooks and frog type baits like a Berkley Batwing frog or Gambler Cane Toad, you will want to work these lures on the edge of the grass line and in any holes in the grass that you can cast to, I have also been catching a few bass pitching a Gambler Ugly Otter ( blue shadow color) with a 3/16 weight into the grass. Crankbaits and carolina rigs are working good in the open water out from the grass line, don't be afraid to go out as far as a half mile from the grass as these fish are moving out as the water continues to get cleaner. If you can find an area that is maybe six inches to a foot deeper than the surrounding water this would be a good area to start to fish. These types of areas are great places to try a Rat-L-Trap or medium diving crankbait like a Bomber 7A or Bandit 200 series, I like to use firetiger and natural colored crankbaits. I have had good success with a carolina rigged 10" worm in junebug color, the bass this time of the year seem to like bigger worms. Some other areas I have had reports of bass being caught are Ritta Island, the Football Field, and Uncle Joe's Cut. There has been a lot of Jack Dempsey's being caught around the mouth of Uncle Joe's Cut with a few bluegills mixed in, I haven't heard of many bluegills being caught on the south end of the lake. 
Capt. Mark King is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of Scott Martin's Anglers Marina in Clewiston Florida and covers the Lake Okeechobee region for Florida Fishing Weekly.  www.markkingfishing.com

 

 

Clewiston-----It's been another beautiful week here in sunny south Florida and the fishing has been good all week long. I'm still catching some good sized bass on the West Wall using wild shiners, you still need to get out early in the morning because the bass slow down biting about eleven o'clock. I had a great day with a couple boys named Austin and Xavier Pearson who fished with their Uncle Dave and Aunt Beth Dion from Sunderland Massachusetts, they caught some nice bass and I enjoyed the day teaching them how to shiner fish for bass. The bass I'm catching on the West Wall are still on the outside grass line and are between three and five pounds with a least one over seven pounds on almost every trip. I have also been catching a few bass in this area on artificial lures, I have been fishing out in the open water about twenty five to fifty yards off the grass line throwing a carolina rigged Senko or Zoom Centipede. As you work this area you will be able to feel the rocks on the bottom and this is what you want to target. My carolina rig consist of twenty five pound Berkley Big Game main line with a 3/4 ounce egg sinker, a glass bead, swivel and a two foot piece of twenty pound Berkley Vanish with a 4/0 wide gap hook. You should fish this rig with rod tip low and drag it across the bottom, if you fish it with the rod tip high you lose contact with the bottom as the sinker comes up off the bottom. You might also try a Rat-L-Trap in this same area, I would select a chrome or a gold colored 1/2 ounce.
   The tip of Ritta Island is still giving up a few bass on shiners and also on the tip of Kramer Island has been doing ok, both of these areas haven't been great but there are a few bass to be had. From the cut at Uncle Joe's to the end of Observation Island has had a number of bass on the outside of the grass and on other days these bass seem to move to the inside of the grass, this water is very clear so you will need to make long casts. I would start the morning out with Gambler Cane Toads ( the new ghost shad color is working good ) in the grass, you need to make casts back in the grass as far as you can and you need to make multiple casts to the same area to get these bass to eat your lures. As the sun starts to get up high in the sky you should try a 10" worms on the edge of the grass, try to fish with as light a sinker as you can I use an 1/8 ounce is what I use. This also a great place to throw a carolina rig out from the grass line, this area has a lot of rock out in the open water and this water is a little deeper as you move out away from the grass line. The water around the mouth of Cochran's Pass is still producing some smaller bass but the bigger ones have moved out to open water or back in the grass, I can't seem to find them, but I have had reports of a couple over seven pounds being caught in this area. The bluegill bite is still hit and miss, one day you catch a few and the next day you don't. But the Oscar bite has been good around Uncle Joe's Cut with reports of all you want to catch coming from this area.
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

 

 

 

Aug 7th

Clewiston-----This past week has been a little challenging to catch bass, the water is continuing to clear up and the getting very warm as the sun gets high in the sky. Bass are still eating wild shiners on the West Wall, off the point of Ritta Island and around the shoal at Cochran's Pass. The point of Ritta Island has been good for fishing with shiners for the past week, this area has started to clear up and the fishing has been good in the morning till the sun gets up high in the sky and then the fishing slows down to about nothing. The West Wall is still producing some good bass up to eight pounds on shiners, we haven't been catching the bigger numbers of smaller fish but still been catching from fifteen to twenty five bass on most half day guide trips. The water level is 12.19 above sea level which has been pretty steady for the last couple weeks, this water level is permitting the lake to clean up and it is in most areas. The shoal area from Cochran's Pass down to Observation Island has been hit and miss this past week for catching bass on artificial lures. You may go out one day and catch good quality bass all day and then the next day you are lucky if you catch a couple small bass. Most of the bass clients have been catching are being caught on Gambler Cane Toads on days when the wind isn't blowing real hard, you need to try the new ghost shad color and also junebug color, we are carrying all the new colors of Gambler Cane Toads at Scott Martin's Anglers Marina. Some other lures I've been using 10" worms and a Gambler Ugly Otters rigged texas style with an 1/8 ounce sinker and 17 pound test Berkley Vanish line, this line is invisible underwater and won't spook the fish in the clear water. You should try to fish these lures along the grass line and you need to fish them slow, take your time and slow down you will catch more fish this time of the year.
  
 I have had reports that you can still catch some nice bass in the Harney Pond Canal on crankbaits and Senkos. I would start out throwing a Berkley Frenzy medium diver crankbait in firetiger color in the cuts that go from the Canal out to the lake and then I would follow that up with a watermelon-red Senko rigged wacky style ( with the hook through the middle of the worm ). This area is has been ok during the week when there isn't much fishing pressure but as the weekend comes around you will want to fish this early before to many fisherman get out. One other area that I have receive some information on is in Pelican Bay, I am not sure how it looks but if this area cleans up it should be good because this area has not been fished for quite some time. The bluegill fishing has been slow this past week and I haven't heard of anyone doing to good. But I will tell you about a real neat deal, there has been a school of tarpon hanging around the Clewiston area and if you see them tailing and the day is right you can throw a Zara Spook at these fish and have the battle of a lifetime on your hands. Local resident Bob Frigg reported catch four one day last week, these fish are real spooky so try to stay as far away from them as you can and still cast to them.
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

 

 

July 31st, 2006

Lake Level 12.29

 

Clewiston-----The Lake Okeechobee bass fishing has been good this past week with a good number of three to four pound bass being caught on every guide trip. The better fish are still being caught on wild shiners and the West Wall is still producing the best for me. The water on the West Wall is real clear so the best fishing is from around 6:00 in the morning till about 11:00 when the sun gets up real high in the sky. We are catching at least one or two good sized bass over six pounds on almost every guide trip, but most of the bass are smaller. There is a good amount of baitfish roaming around off the West Wall in the open water, the bass are out chasing these balls of bait around and can be caught when the start feeding on them. I would throw a Rat-L-Trap or crankbait at these schooling bass when they start feeding, a spinnerbait or small swimbait might also work good. I have also been catching some good bass on a Gambler Cane Toad in the grass, most of these fish are around three pounds or smaller I can't seem to catch anything any bigger in this area. From the West Wall up to Uncle Joe's Cut has been good worm fishing, you need to throw back in the grass at least two to three feet and work the worm out toward open water, a Gambler 10" worm in blue shadow or junebug color with an 1/8 ounce sinker. With this water being so clear you might need to go to monofilament or fluorocarbon line, I have switched from braided line to Berkley Vanish and I have been getting more bites with the Vanish line then I was with the braided line.
   The bass fishing from Observation Island up to Cochran's Pass has slowed down this past week, I think the fishing pressure in this area has moved these fish in the grass more or out to open water. I have been catching a few out in the open water on Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits, but most of the fish I have been catching in the open water has been on a Carolina rig . I have had the most success with a Senko or a Gambler Flappin Shad on my Carolina rigs, I use a 3/4 ounce weight to keep in contact with the bottom. As you drag this rig across the bottom of the lake you will feel all the rocks in this area and that is where these bass will be hanging out. The area around Ritta Island is looking real good and the water is clearing up daily, some bass are being caught on wild shiners around the tip of Ritta and the artificial bite has also picked up with worms and Senkos being the best choice. Another area starting to get some attention is around Kramer Island, the area around the tip is starting to get clean, but Pelican Bay is still pretty muddy. I have not heard to much this week about the bluegill bite, I have heard about a few still being caught around Uncle Joe's Cut and at the dynamite hole south of Clewiston.
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  

 

 

July 25th, 2006

Clewiston-----It's been a hot one this week on the Big "O" , both the temperature and the fishing. The lake is clearing up and the water temperature is on the rise, fishing has been great early in the morning and as the sun gets up high in the sky it slow down some. The West Wall is still producing some nice bass on wild shiners early in the morning, they are still along the outside grass line but there are some nicer bass just out roaming around twenty to thirty yards off the grass line. These bass are up to eight pounds and can be caught till about ten o' clock and then they move back in the grass and the two to three pound bass are all you can catch. So you want to get an early start if you want to catch these larger fish. With the temperatures being so hot please get a quick picture of your catch and get your fish back in the water as quick as possible,  a bass is quick to get stressed out and die during the summer months.
   Topwater frogs are still working good in the grass, I have been using a Berkley Batwing Frog in junebug color and catching a good number of bass in the three pound range and an occasional one up to five pounds. This water is crystal clear back in the grass and you need to make long casts to not spook these fish. The areas I've been fishing are from Cochran's Pass to the West Wall, these fish scattered in this grass. Try to fish small points and areas of thicker grass. On cloudy and overcast days some of these bass are out off the grass and can be caught with a Rat-L-Trap or shallow running crankbait, try fishing from the edge of the grass out to twenty or thirty yards. If you see bass schooling in these areas, throw a topwater lure at them I like to use a LIL' RICHARD made locally here in Moorehaven by Sam Griffin, these bass on the Big "O" really love them worked slow. As the sun gets up and these bass move back into the grass a 10" worm in junebug color and a Gambler Ugly Otter in blue shadow color have been accounting for most of the bass that my clients have been catching. I have been fishing both texas rigged with a 3/16 ounce sinker and braided line but with water getting so clear I think I will have to switch to Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon line that is almost invisible in the water, I'll let you know next week if this line makes a difference. On calm days when the wind doesn't blow try using a Senko rigged weightless along the grass line, watermelon-red would be my color choice. The bluegill bite has been slower this week with a few being caught around Uncle Joe's Cut and a few south of Clewiston at the Football Field and the Deep Hole, cricket are still working the best. I have been getting some reports that the water around Ritta Island is clearing up and also around the tip of Kramer Island is starting to look good. I'll try to get out to these areas and get a look and report on them next week. Remember to drink lots of water when you are out on the water in the summer heat and use plenty of sunscreen.
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

 

 

July 18th, 2006

Clewiston-----Lake Okeechobee's bass fishing continues to be hot this week from Harney Pond Canal to Clewiston. The lake level is up a little to 12.24 above sea level and the water continues to clear up the fishing has been great again last week. The area  from Observation Island to Cochran's Pass is producing some good sized bass on wild shiners, target the outside grass especially the points. These bass seem to eat good until the sun gets up high in the sky and then they move back into the grass to find some shade. The West Wall is still giving up some good bass on wild shiners, same as up north you want to get an early start and fish till the sun gets up high in the sky. Target the outside grass line, especially points or pockets in the grass and try to stay as far away from the grass as you can and still be able to cast a shiner in to the edge. These bass are getting a little spooky with the water being so clear. I'm still using about four dozen shiners for most half day guide trips, you can still get some good healthy shiners at Roland Martin's Marina for $20.00 a dozen.
   Artificial lure fishing for bass this week has been good with most fishermen concentrating on the area from Uncle Joe's Cut up to Cochran's Pass. These bass have been moving in and out of the grass, with topwater being good one day and pitching 10" worms good the next. The Gambler Cane Toad in pepper grass color produced the most topwater fish for me this week, the bite was real slow. I did catch so real good bass on a 10" Charlie Worm in junebug color and Gambler Ugly Otter in blue shadow color from Observation Island up to Cochran's Pass. Try fishing both of these baits with as light of a sinker as you can I have been trying to stick with an 1/8 ounce tungsten weight as long as the wind doesn't blow to hard. I also caught bass this week on a Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon in gold color with a twin tail trailer, work this bait through the joint grass and the bass will hit it so hard they almost tear the rod out of your hands. They have been spraying weed killer in these areas for two weeks now so you will need to fish where there is green joint grass not the dead brown grass. If they continue to spray this area I'm not sure where we will be able to fish in the weeks to come.
     The Harney Pond Canal has been producing some good two to four pound bass on crankbaits the past couple weeks. We filmed a TV show with Southwest Florida Outdoors this past week and caught a good number of bass on a Berkley Frenzy deep diving crankbait in firetiger color. You want to target the cuts that go out into the lake from Harney Pond Canal, throw your crankbait as far as you can in the cuts and crank them back toward the canal and these bass are hanging right on the edge of drop off along the canal. We also have been catching a few fish on a Senko in watermelon-red color by working these cuts after the crankbait bite slows down, you will need to fish the Senko weightless and real slow.
   The bluegill bite this week is about the same as last week, Observation shoal seems to be the best bet. The water is real clear in this area and crickets are the bait of choice, one day you can catch a limit and the next day you might only catch a few.
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

 

 

 

July 10th, 2006

 

As the water level falls below 12 feet, anglers should be very cautious where they run and sit down with their boats. There are a lot of limestone rocks in the lake that are now shallow enough to cause damage to lower units and props.

 

7-10-06

Clewiston-----The summer time heat is here and the fishing is still hot on the Big "O" ! The bass fishing this week has been as hot as the temperature outside with good numbers of two to four pound bass being caught on wild shiners and a few bigger fish up to eight pounds also being caught on almost every guide trip. The West Wall is still the place to be if you want to catch bass on wild shiners, the water is real clear on the inside and  we are still catching most of the bass here, but the outside grass line is going to be the place to be fishing in the near future. You can catch a few bass on artificial lures in this area also, I've had good luck on a Gambler Ugly Otter (black-blue color) rigged texas style with a 3/16 ounce sinker and a 10" Charlie Worm (junebug color) fished the same as the Ugly Otter. The artificial bite on the West Wall has been good for a couple days and then you will have days when you just can't get bit on anything, it's just been that way.
     The outside grass line around Observation Island has been giving up some good bass, a Berkley Batwing Frog (junebug color) has been working good, when a bass grabs one of these frogs with Berkley's Gulp formula the hold on and give you extra time to get a good hook set. The Ugly Otter and 10" Charlie worm are a good choice to work this grass with, don't be afraid to work your way back in this grass as far as you can get. These bass in this area are moving in and out of this grass on cloudy days they might be out from the grass as much as fifty yards and on sunny days the move back in the grass for shade and cover. There has also been a good number of bass being caught around Cochran's pass on the outside grass line, these bass have been smaller this past week compared to what we were catching in this same area last week. You might want to try the inside trails in this area, I heard that some bigger bass have been caught in the inside trails. A few bluegill are being caught from Observation Island down to Uncle Joe's cut, you want to fish back in the clear water and crickets are working the best. Remember all of the areas that I have talked about are very shallow and you need to idle out to deeper water to get up on plane. I have made a get up stick by cutting a broomhandle four foot long and putting marks every foot so that you can tell if the water is deep enough to get up on plane and you can feel if the bottom is mud, sand or ROCK.
 
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

 

 

Clewiston-----The lake level is now under the twelve foot above sea level mark and the fishing is still great. A good number of bass over six pounds are still being caught with wild shiners on the West Wall, the outside grass lines are still the place to be fishing. This area is real shallow and you will need to shut your boat down off plane way out and idle or use your trolling motor to get to the grasslines, try to run your trolling motor on low so you don't spook the bass in this area because the water is clear and shallow these fish are a little spooky of noise. There are also some nice bass being caught in this area on 10" worms, my choice is a 10" Charlie worm in junebug color.
   My next area to fish especially with artificial lures is from Uncle Joe's Cut up to Cochrans Pass. The outside grass line is where most of these bass seem to be holding and they have been knocking a Berkley Gulp Batwing frog in junebug color clear out of the water trying to eat it. The best method to fish the Batwing frog or any other frog type bait is to rig it with a 5/0 Owner wide gap hook and a 1/32 ounce screw in bullet weight, the screw in weight will keep the frog from sliding down on the hook. Be sure to fish frog type baits with braided line for a positive hook set I prefer to use Stren Super Braid in 50 pound test, this line casts easy and knots stay tied. The same 10" worm that is working on the West Wall is also working great in this area also, some other baits you might want to try is the Gambler Ugly Otter rigged with a 3/16 bullet weight and a Senko rigged texas style with no weight. There seems to be a good number of bass from two to four pounds being caught in this area with a few big ones over six pounds also being caught. This area really got pounded to death last weekend with at least three tournaments going out of Clewiston, but this area is still my pick to catch a good number of bass on artificial lures. Something else you might want to try in this area is to fish out from the grassline about 20 to 40 yards with a lipless crankbait like a Spro Aruka Shad, I have reports of some bigger bass being caught out in the open water.
   Another area that deserves some attention is the Harnie Pond Canal area, reports that second and third place in last weekends Bassmasters Series tournament came from this area and that one of the bass was over ten pounds, try working this area with a Bomber crankbait in firetiger color I would try a 5A or 7A size. With the water level dropping these fish have moved in to this canal where the water is deeper and cooler. The far outside of the East Wall is also giving up a few good bass as is the tip of Ritta Island if the water isn't to dirty from the wind. Not to much to report on bluegills this week, just a few being caught around Uncle Joe's Cut and a few around the dynamite hole south of Clewiston.
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

 

 

Clewiston-----Lots of big bass are being caught on the big "O" this week from the West Wall to Cochran's Pass. Most of the big bass are being caught on the outside grass line as long as the wind isn't beating it up to bad. The lake level is down to 12.27 above sea level and the water seems to be clearing up almost daily, the West Wall area was so clear this week that you can see the bluegill and tilapia beds on the bottom. The bass fishing on the West Wall with shiners was great again this week several bass over seven pounds caught on my guide trips. The better fish were all caught after 9:00 am in the morning, there just doesn't seem to be a real early bite. The artificial lure bite has been good this week on the shoal with clients today catching an 8 1/2 and a 6 1/2 pound bass around the Turners Cove area on a Gambler Ugly Otter rigged with a 1/4 ounce sinker and thrown into the grass line about a foot or so and worked out to open water, black- blue shadow seemed to be the best color another lure that was working was a Bandit crankbait, the 200 series in the color called mistake. We worked the crankbait along the outside of the grassline, but most of the crankbait fish were smaller. I think this area is going to continue to get better as the water gets cleaner, there seems to be a good number of bass staying in this area. When fishing this area be sure to idle out into the lake a good ways before trying to get up on plane, the rocks up here are starting to claim some props and gearcases. A few bluegills are still being caught around the Uncle Joe's cut area, they seem to hit and miss, good one day and gone the next, crickets are still the bait of choice with the guy that are catching bluegills consistently.
    I also had a guide trip to Holiday Park in the Everglades this week and the bass are still being caught in big numbers with a good number of bigger fish still biting good. A 10" worm in junebug color and a watermelon-red Senko rigged wacky style worked best for my clients, most of the tournaments here are weighing in at least twenty five pounds to be in the top five. The better areas seem to be where there is a cut or some type of change like where rocks and lily pads come together. The big challenge for my customers was to get the bass in to the boat before the alligators could get it. 
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  
    

 

 

Clewiston-----6-12-06 Wow !!! That's about the best word to describe how the fishing on Okeechobee has been this week. Lots of big bass were caught on just about every guide trip I had this week, on Sunday we had ten bass over six and a half pounds, with several eight pound bass weighed in this week. The wild shiner fishing was as good as it's been all year, going through five dozen in less than four hours. The West Wall is still the place to be to fish with wild shiners, the outside grass line is where most of these big fish seem to be hanging out. The water on the West Wall is still dropping with the lake level at 12.37 feet above sea level, it is really getting shallow. Be careful in this area ! the rocks are getting closer to the surface for sure. I'am not sure how much longer these fish will continue to hold in this area with the rising water temperatures and falling water level, but for now this is my pick to do some shiner fishing for big bass.
   The shoal from Uncle Joe's Cut up to the four poles area is still hot for fishing with artificial lures, keep using frog type lures like Berkley's Bat Wing Frog on the outside grass line as long as the wind isn't blowing to hard, try using this lure all day long. You will have better success working the Bat Wing Frog as slow as you can work it and still keeping it on or near the surface. Be sure to use a braided line like Spiderwire or Stren Superbraid so that you get a positive hook set and have the line strength to get the bass out of the cover. I like to use at least 30 pound test braided line for any frog type lures. Be sure to keep a Pop R and some type of topwater prop bait like a Lil' Richard made by Sam Griffin from Moorehaven Florida on the deck of your boat ready to cast to schooling bass when you come across some and you will. Most of the schooling bass are two to four pounds but they sure are a lot of fun to catch and five three to four pound bass would sure be a good start for any tournament. Try to stay out away from these schooling fish when you find them so you don't spook them, I have a Power-Pole shallow water anchor that holds my boat right where I want it to stay so that I can make casts to these fish without worrying about being blown in on top of the school. If the top water bite doesn't seem to be on try a 10 inch Charlie Worm ( black grape with red and green glitter ) rig it with a 3/16 ounce weight and work the same outside grass line.
   There are a few bass also being caught around Ritta Island, this area should be starting to clean up a little as the winds slow up some, the outside grass line should be where these bass will be holding. A few bluegills are being caught around the Uncle Joe's Cut area, this water is clear as you get back in away from the main lake.
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  

 

 

6-6-206

 
Clewiston-----This week has been another great week on Okeechobee, as we continue to catch bass on every guide trip. The water level is down to 12.42 above sea level and the lake is looking better every day. The water on the shoal has been looking real good and the bass seem to be on that outside grass line. On most days if the wind isn't blowing too hard a Gambler Cane Toad or Zoom Hornie Toad worked from about two feet inside the grass line out to open water seems to be the ticket, most of the bass are about a foot inside the grass line. Be sure to use a heavy action rod and braided line so you can get a good hook set and will be able to get these bass out of the grass once you get them on. This pattern seems to work all day long if the wind doesn't blow to hard, if the wind gets up switch to an 8" Charlie worm in black grape with red and green glitter color and a 3/16 ounce sinker. Work the worm the same as the Toads from about two feet inside the grass to the open water.

 

There are also some schooling bass in this area, when you see them chasing bait fish be sure to have a topwater lure ready to throw at them, one that has been working good for me is a gold Baby Torpedo or one of Sam Griffin's Moonshine Special in a white color. Be sure to stay backed away from these fish and make long casts to them and you will be able to catch these schooling fish for hours. Most of these fish are two to four pounds but I know of one over eight pounds being caught where I have been fishing.

 

The West Wall still seems to be the best area to catch bass on wild shiners, with a most guide trips running out of shiners before we run out of time. The key to this area seems to be the wind, the more the better. The wind makes it harder to fish but the quantity and quality of the bass is much better than it is on calm days. The bass we have been catching on guide trip in this area have been from two to five pounds, we did have one over seven and two six and a half pound bass last week. I have also had a few reports that bass are still being caught on the East Wall, again the outside grass line is going to be the area that you want to fish. Not much going on with the bluegill, I haven't heard of any being caught this week. One thing to keep in mind is that with the lake levels going down that most of the areas that I have wrote about are getting shallow and there are a lot of rocks getting closer to the surface, I know this because it cost me a prop this week. Please be careful and don't run anywhere you're not sure how deep the water is, it can be real costly.

 

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  

 

 

I personally recommend the following guides for Lake Okeechobee.

Walt Reynolds

 

 

 
 

 

 

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Last modified: September 13, 2012