Fishing Report

Listen to Mark King's fishing report for Lake Okeechobee on Reel Talk Radio every Saturday on 99.3FM from 7 to 10 A.M.
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Lake Okeechobee and Navigation Depth Report

November 19th, 2014

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

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

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

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

July 9, 2014

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

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

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

May 19, 2014

Summer is here on Lake Okeechobee with hot days and warm nights. The water level is down to 12.79 feet above sea level and the wind has been blowing non stop for weeks now, but the fishing is still pretty good. I have been pulling duty both here on Lake Okeechobee bass fishing and in the Florida Keys tarpon fishing here in May and will be doing so in June also. It has been a great season so far this year and I think the rest of the year is going to be even better. Let's start with the bass on Okeechobee, I have been catching them on both wild shiners and artificial lures lately and as we get more into summer the artificial bite will actually get better then the live bait bite. I have been starting out in the morning throwing spinnerbaits and chatterbaits catching schooling bass and then moving into the outer grass line and pitching jigs and craws to reed heads and peppergrass patches. You can expect to catch a good number of bass this time of the year but the size will usually be a little smaller then during our winter months. Now is a good time to fish 4 or 6 hours and then when that sun gets up high in the sky it is usually time to get off the water as the fishing really slows down. Try areas like Ritta Island, East Wall, West Wall, and on the shoal. Now on to my favorite fish this time of the year the giant tarpon in the Florida Keys. I fish mostly around the Bahia Honda Bridge area using live crabs and mullet on the incoming and outgoing tides. I do morning and evening trips and can accommodate up to three persons. If you have ever wanted to catch a fish that will put your muscles to the test and are one of the most majestic fish I know then you need to give tarpon fishing a try. I still have a few open dates left for May and June. And while in the Florida Keys be sure and spend some time enjoying all the Florida Keys has to offer from diving, snorkeling, fishing, great food, and the most beautiful water I have ever seen. Remember it is summer here in South Florida so drink plenty of water, use sunscreen and just enjoy the outdoors. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

March 24, 2014

The weather here in South Florida has been good and the bass fishing here on Lake Okeechobee has been great. The lake has been producing a lot of bass and some really nice ones are being caught daily out here on the big lake. The bass are still spawning and as we get into April the bluegill will start spawning and that means even more for the bass to eat. The water level is going down some with it being around thirteen and a half feet above sea level right now. The outside edge or grass line seems to be the place to be whether you are fishing with artificial lures or live bait. Now there are days that the wind blows to hard to fish along the outside grass line and you do have to move in to find cleaner water and bass but the closer to open water the better. I have been catching a lot of bass and almost all the bigger ones pitching a Gambler Why Not with a 1/4 ounce weight along the outside grass line from Kramer Island up to the Turners Cove area. I like to just pitch in into reed heads and scattered grass and let it hit the bottom, bounce it a couple times and if you don't get a hit then move on. I have also been doing pretty well on Gambler Ace's back in areas like East Wall, Coots Bay, and Ritta Island. On really windy days I have been still catching some bass back in behind the out side grass line at Long Point and in the Buzzards Roost on swimbaits and frogs. The wild shiner bite has been really good also fishing the outside grass line if the wind will let you. Using six to eight dozen shiners a day is no problem right now and we have been catching some really nice bass. April is a great time to come to Lake Okeechobee and catch bluegills on the beds and also a great time to catch bass feeding on the bluegill. Crickets are the choice bait for bluegill but Beetle Spins work equally as well. Now is a great time to book a tarpon trip with me for May or June in the Florida Keys as days are filling up fast. I target the migrating giant tarpon around the bridges in the Florida Keys and if catching one over a hundred pounds is on your bucket list lets get a trip booked. Good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

January 20, 2014

The fishing the past month has been great even with the cold fronts coming through the area one after another dropping the temperature in to the thirties a couple times, I know that doesn't sound cold to the rest of the country but here in South Florida it is cold. We have been catching a lot of bass and some really nice ones up to ten pounds. The fishing on live bait has been much better then artificial lures but as this weather stabilizes in February and on into March the artificial lure bit will get much better. For now catching up to fifty bass a day has been common as long as the cold fronts leave us alone. I have been fishing a lot of areas from the Monkey Box down to Kramer Island with the wind being the deciding factor as to where I go. The area from Cochran's Pass to Uncle Joe's has been pretty good but should get really good soon as more and more bait and bass are moving in from offshore to the grass. We are seeing spawning beds back in a lot of areas and if the water doesn't go down to quick we should have a good spawn back in areas where the water is clean and you can see the beds to fish. But if the water continues to drop the bass will be spawning on the outside grass line like they did last year. Areas I have been targeting with artificial lures have been the North Shore area in the scattered hydrilla and pepper grass patches, East Wall, and around Uncle Joe's Cut at the lake end. I have been throwing a variety of lures like Gambler's new Burner Worm, Big EZ, and Aces. But I have also caught some bass on spinnerbaits and swim jigs along the outside grass line when the wind isn't blowing to hard. The fishing has been improving almost daily and I can hardly wait till the next day to see how good the fishing is going to be. February and March are two of the best months to fish here on Lake Okeechobee for both numbers and big fish. If you have ever wanted to experience Lake Okeechobee at its best then now is the time to get on down here out of the cold and warm your bones and catch some monster bass. The crappie bite has also been pretty good out of the Clewiston area with both jigs and minnows working well. I will be on the lake guiding through April and then I switch gears and head down to the Florida Keys to guide for the monster tarpon in May and June, now is the time to get a trip for either Lake Okeechobee trophy bass or monster tarpon in the Florida Keys booked. Good luck, tight lines, and hope to see everyone on the water soon.