Fall Fishing Fantastic on Lake Okeechobee

                             Trophy Bass Season on Lake Okeechobee
         With the advent of stocking programs and lake management by individual states there are many great bass fisheries in the United States. None of them however compare to the incredible everyday fishing found on South Central Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. The sheer size of the Big “O” is prohibitive for all but the most seasoned of anglers. A sprawling 750 square miles places  Okeechobee as the second largest natural lake in the US. and Fishermen from all over the World visit Okeechobee annually. Aside from the massive dimensions of the lake, more people are shocked to find out that the lake is completely surrounded by a massive earthen dike  It is only after it is explained to someone that Florida is hurricane central and without the Herbert Hoover dike, severe flooding is a very real possibility.
            Each year seasoned anglers that are familiar with Okeechobee eagerly anticipate  the arrival of what can only be called a “fall bass bonanza”. Usually around mid-October the first wave of big bass will make their presence known, showing up in daily catches of artificial bait anglers, even more so by guides and anglers using a live wild golden shiner. To get a handle on this series of events an understanding of the movement patterns of the “Okeechobee Largemouth” is needed. Lake Okeechobee has an incredible number of fish, bass of all sizes swim and grow large in her fertile water, and many of those bass never leave the littoral zone,  known as the weedy cover areas that surround the outer perimeter of the lake. There are however a  percentage of bass that leave the shoreline cover once they are done spawning and move toward the open waters of the lake where they follow and eat schools of shad and other baitfish throughout the summer months.
             This fall the first wave of pre-spawn bass made their appearance along the grassy weed lines right on schedule, feeding around points and trails that lead further into the marshy area of the lake. Numerous factors contribute to the movements of the bass, cooler weather which also cools the water, the new moon phase, which many times is better fishing than the full moon phase, and shorter daily light periods. Catch rates soared, with live bait anglers particularly going from 10 to 15 bass per outing to 60 to 80 bass per outing. Big bass were in this mix of fish as well with 6 to 8 pound fish falling prey to a live wild shiner. Once the first wave of bass move shallow bass fishing gets better each moon period, as the initial onslaught of fish move with the moon periods to spawn, another wave of bass will take their place, staging in the shallows. Many times during the following months productive areas will hold bass that are in pre-spawn mode, spawning and post-spawn mode, what it means is you can catch them coming and going.
            Each area of the lake has features that are known to attract and hold bass, the key is to find a spot they just can’t seem to leave. The North end of the lake has the Kissimmee River which is the primary feeder for the lake. The water that flows into the lake from the River is rich with nutrients which feeds the entire food chain.  Native grasses are key, pepper grass, eel grass, spike rush are three that are prevalent on the North end of the lake. Although Hydrilla is a non-native vegetation it is a fish magnet, bass as well as every other type fish in the lake are drawn to it.. This year it is growing far out into the lake in many places, where it will form solid lines of c0over as the water drops throughout the winter.
            Each area of the lake has a name that accompanies it, whether on a map or tagged by residents. The Monkey Box has long been known as a productive area of the lake as well as Horse Island, Tin House Cove and Indian Prairie. These are but a few of the better spots on the North end of the lake, whatever area you settle on to start your fishing day, persistence (putting in your time) is key.
The more time you can put on the lake the more likely you are to find that one in a thousand spot where the bass are not only plentiful but large. It’s every fishermen’s dream.

December Big Fall Bass!

fished with the McCaw family today, Jeff and his two boys Cooper & Bradley are from Texas and love to fish. We had a great morning together catching good numbers of Bass. Cooper caught the big bass of the day with the last shiner in the live well. another great day of fishing with great people.

 December 27, 2012
I fished with Jerry James from Fl. and Bob Mrzwak from Indiana today. The bite was very good today although it was chilly and windy. The water temperatures are hovering in the mid 60’s which has a tendency to slow the bite, especially when coupled with a full moon. We have gotten spoiled by to many 50 to 60 bass days, and consider 25 to 35 fish days as slow. A great problem to have I guess. 
December 26, 2012
 I fished with Paul kelly and his son today, it was an extremely windy day and the fishing was not as good as it should have been. Using artificial baits when you have shiners in the boat is like taking a knife to a gunfight.
December 17, 2012
I fished with Douglas Rood from Ill. today, we caught a lot of bass, and had the largest bass I have ever seen get off when she went under the boat and straightened the hook.
 December 16, 2012
I fished with Bill & Joyce Clark from Rhode Island today, it was a beautiful day and the fishing was terrific. The water is warm and the weather pattern is stable, good fishing is going to continue.
 December 15, 2012
I fished with Scott Ring and his son Jeremy today. It was their first trip to Lake Okeechobee and they hit it just right, catching bass after bass and having an all around great time.
December 14, 2012
I fished with Mary Flaitz owner of Coastal Angler Magazine (lakeland) and her friend Larry today. It was an extremely windy day which made anchoring very difficult. We had a great day of catching together.
Decmber 13, 2012
I fished with Mark Watson from Illinois and his father Jay today. Both guys are great anglers so we had a great time catching bass and swapping stories. Lake Okeechobee Bass Fishing is unparalled in the United States. 
December 11, 2012
I fished with John & Sally Woods from Vero Bch today, we had a great day together. We got rained on several times, but the bass didn’t seem to mind so neither did we. Great day with great people.
December 6, 2012
I fished with Phillip Crawford and Harold from Montauk today, we had the best day of the fall, especially for numbers, we had 9 dozen shiners and they were all eaten and we were back at the ramp by 11. Lake Okeechobee is so very good, if you love to Bass fish now is the time to visit.

December 4, 2012
I fished with Mike Hamsher from Oklahoma today, this Bass is the fattest I have seen in my many years of fishing Okeechobee.
Watch this great video about Lake Okeechobee to learn about the big lake and it’s history.
December 3, 2012
I fished with Tony & Danyel Chin from Coral Ridge today, we have fished together several times before and they are always fun to have in the Ranger. We caught some great bass again today, with Danyel catching the big Bass of the day. The weather was perfect today light breeze with 70 degrees temps. December is a great month for big Bass. There are several openings in my book for December, it is a great time to catch the bass of a lifetime. Give me a call and let’s go fishing!
Cpt Mike 863-357-0892

December 2, 2012
Mike Hamsher from Oklahoma fished with us today, It was a great day to be on the water, calm winds, stable weather. The fish bit for us and we caught a lot of bass, aslthough we did not land any trophy sized bass today it was still a great day with good people.
December 1, 2012
November provided the kind of Bass fishing we have grown to expect, with many Big Bass and daily catch rates that were off the charts. December started out with a bang! I fished with Ray Villwock & Evan from Jupiter today. We caught bass from just after sun-up until we ran out of bait around 11am. Beside catching large numbers of Bass, we caught some giant bass too. If you are looking for that fish of a lifetime, December is a great time to catch one, many years the largest bass of the year are caught in December.

Okeechobee Bass Fishing Guides

Okeechobee Fishing Guides

November 30, 2012
Day 5 with the Efird boys, we had a great week together catching bass and talking trash to one another. We caught a couple of big Bass today and had big numbers too. For the five days we fished together we caught over 200 Bass. My job is made very easy when I get to fish with wonderful people like the Efirds. Okeechobee Fishing Guides are the best in the business!

Okeechobee Fishing Guides Nov. 24 2012- Okeechobee Fishing Report

Okeechobee Fishing Guides

November 24, 2012
I fished with Brad Roark and his father today. The Roarks are from Swayzee, so we had a lot to talk about. Seems we knew all of the same people, so we had a great day of catching bass and catching up on home state news. It was a terrific day with great people.

Okeechobee Fishing Report 11/21/2012 -Okeechobee Fishing Guides

Okeechobee Fishing Guides

November 21, 2012
I fished with Len Ciulla and his grandsons Nick & Alex today, the boys love bass fishing and we always have a great time together. It was very windy and rough again today, making anchoring and holding on our shiner spot difficult. Just like yesterday the fish bit hard in the rough water. As you can tell from the pictures the guys all caught big Bass today.

November 2012 Okeechobee Fishing Guides


November 28, 2012
Day 3 with the Effird boys, fishing got much tougher today, the wind brought dirty water into our fishing area making catching very tough. North winds are forecast for the next few days which will clean it up quickly.
November 27, 2012
Day 2 with the Effird boys, only today we were joined by 11 year old Justin. In the last two days we have caught well over 100 bass, with all 3 guys catching their personal best big Bass. The moon is nearly full and the water and air temperatures are warm it makes for near perfect conditions.


November 26, 2012
 I fished with Johnny & Jody Effird from Ga. today, aside from the incredible bass fishing we had a discussion about the bulldog & Gator rivalry. It was a terrific day of fishing with big Bass and large numbers of bass too.




November 20, 2012
Day 2 with Earl Trotter, very windy making it hard to hold on anchor, but the trouble was well worth it. Earl caught 2 big Bass today the top picture was an old fish that is looking to spawn, her tail is all torn up and she has a huge mouth and bugged out eyes, the other fish is in about the same shape only younger. Looks like we may have some fish spawning on the full moon, unless the water gets too cold from a cold front.


November 18, 2012
 Day 1 with Earl Trotter, we have fished together before and always have a great time. We did’nt catch huge numbers today, we did however catch big Bass, three of them to be exact, Earl is holding the first two he caught early this morning, he then caught another big fish later.
November 17, 2012
I fished with Mark & Lenny (Mudfish) Spitz today, as always we had a great time catching bass. They are both good guys and we always have a great time when we fish together.


November 16, 2012
I fished with Clinton & Joseph Jones from Atlanta today, it was a terrific day of fishing with great company, as you can see we caught em!


November 14, 2012
Day 3 with Erroll, we really wacked them today, from the first shiner right to the last the bass were chewing! Erroll is a great guy and we had a great 3 days together, I learned alot about South Africa these past three days.
November 13, 2012
Day 2 with Erroll from South Africa, terrific early morning bite then it slowed to a crawl. Still looking for the big ones!
November 12, 2012
I fished with Erroll Nortke from Johannesburg South Africa today, Erroll wanted to catch some big bass, and he did. We had a great day of fishing together
November 11, 2012
Day two with Tom & Andy, as you can see the lake was dead flat, catching was not as fast as yesterday, but we managed to pick away at them all day.
November 10, 2012
I fished with Tom Allgood & Andy Tisdale from Ga. today. Tom has been here numerous times and it was Andy’s first trip. We had a banner day as the pictures will show. I can’t say enough about how great the fishing is on Lake Okeechobee, there’s no place in the World like it!
November 9, 2012
I fished with Norm Akers & his brother -in-law Denny Elder today, the guys are from Mo. and do a lot of fishing. It was a little chilly and of course windy. The bass are biting like crazy though.
November 8, 2012
Day 3 with the five retired Military Officers, angler of the day was Gene Auerbach from Ca. it was cool and very windy today which lowered the water temps several degrees. The bite was slightly slower but we caught them anyway. We had three great days of fishing and fellowship with these great guys.
November 7, 2012
Day 2 with the Retired Military Officers, Mike Casey was the man of the day with 2 big Bass. We left the shop with 10 dozen shiners this morning, and none of them, made the return trip.
November 6, 2012
Today we fished with 5 gentlemen who are all retired military officers, 4 of them were in the Navy and the other was in the Army. In my boat today was Mike Casey from Mi. and Gene Auerbach from Ca. We had a  wonderful morning of catching, we left the ramp with 7 dozen shiners and they had all been eaten by 9am, we then switched over to artificial baits and continued catching only at a slower rate. I love the fall & spring on lake Okeechobee!


November 4, 2012
I fished with two lovely ladies today, Eydie & Linda are from NJ and just wanted to see if they could catch some Bass on Lake Okeechobee. Eydie is an experienced angler and Linda does not fish so we sort of got offf to a slow start. Once the girls figured it out though the results are obvious. It was a tremendous morning of catching!


 November 3, 2012
 I fished with Jim Henry from Hobe Sound this morning, great fishing just keeps getting better, we are catching them as fast as we can hook a shiner and get them into the water.
       November 2, 2012
I fished with Jim  & Christy Bradley from Colorado today, we fished together last year and they caught so many fish they decided to come fish with us again. We had a great morning of catching going through shiners quickly. We moved to the North Shore today to another prime catching spot, and it was good!


November 1, 2012
I fished with John & George this morning, after yesterday afternoon they couldn’t wait for this morning, and for good reason.
Oct 31. 2012
I fished with John Emerson & George Minix from Indiana This afternoon we had a great afternoon a caught a lot of bass.
Oct 31, 2012
Im fished with Tom Hanzlik from Chicago today. After a week of very windy conditions and rough water today qwas dead cal slick, a beautiful day for fishing and catching! Tom caught bass as fast as he could reel them in and bait the hook with another shiner.
Oct 30, 2012
I fished with Roddy & Nick from NY today, it was the 8th time they have traveled from NY to Okeechobee to fish with us. We had another great day of catching. The air temperatures were cold and it was a little windy, but the catching was great.
Oct 24, 2012
I fished with Brant & Kari Crenshaw from Ca. and Dave Thomas from Jupiter today. It was a very windy morning which made keeping anchored a very difficult task. The fishing remains very good though we caught them as fast as we could get our baits in the water. It was a great morning with great people.



Oct 21, 2012
I fished with Jason Durbin from Tallahassee today, it was very windy but we managed to catch them good once again. Now if I could just keep other people out of my shiner hole.



Oct 13, 2013
      I fished with Nathan ,Emma & Ethan this morning. This trip was all about the kids, although Nathan caught the biggest bass today. The kids caught a lot of bass on shiners and also had some great snacks!
Oct 12, 2012
       I fished with Joe Woods and his son-in-law Kevin today, the bass were on fire this morning munching on our shiners like there was no tomorrow. We caught bass on artificial baits and live bait too, Surer makes my job easy when the fish are biting like this.



Oct 11, 2012

I fished with, Devon , Justin and Jordan today, It was another great morning of catching. It is a great time of year,  were catching  a lot of bass and big bass too. Traffic is very slow this month, so lets go fishing..

Oct 10,2012

I fished with Buddy Adams and Al Mills from NC  today, we caught over 50 bass on shiners and artificial baits, it was another great day of catching.




         Oct 3, 2012
Heavy rainfall has triggered Lake Okeechobee to rise at a rapid rate. The largest rainfall of the year, thanks to hurricane Isaac fell in the Kissimmee Basin that feeds Lake Okeechobee making it necessary for the water structures to be opened wide, in turn triggering an inundation of water coming into Lake Okeechobee. Some estimate that the lake may reach 16 feet, others insist it will be lower. Whatever the final level, it is great for fishing and the local economy in Okeechobee. Add a huge bass population to the mix and the town of Okeechobee has all makings of a great fall and winter season.


          As the long hot summer finally comes to a close, the days are getting shorter and the water temperatures in Lake Okeechobee are dropping. The water level is high enough to provide access to the marsh areas as well as the shoreline cover. Each Fall savvy anglers eagerly anticipate the first wave of large female Bass as they move along the shallow shorelines, where they gorge themselves. From October thru November and into December Lake Okeechobee’s bass go into feeding mode, chasing and eating shiners, shad and whatever food morsels that are available.


          Once the bass locate a food source they will hang out in that particular area as long a food is available, they may not feed every minute of each day, but they are never very far away from the food source. Last year we located a spot early in October that bass frequented Fall, Winter and Spring, with bass coming and going in conjunction with the moon phases. We were able to catch bass in this same area during pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn. It is not easy or normal to find a spot that will produce big bass and large numbers of bass as well, sometimes a little luck plays into it as well. We fished this productive spot many different ways and from many different angles. At times during the season the fish would be holding in one single piece of cover along the area, other days they would be scattered along the whole stretch. Don’t misunderstand there were a few days when we could catch fish in our number one spot and we would have to move to another area to continue to catch fish. Each year as we have fished Lake Okeechobee we have learned something different about the lake, the lesson is not always immediate and mind numbing, many times it is very subtle and only becomes clear after much retrospect. Bass fishing is a wonderful sport and I can honestly say that I still get excited when a big bass comes to the boat.


          Fall fishing on Lake Okeechobee is second to none, the sheer number of bass in the 7 to 12 pound range is incredible. Traffic is relatively low during month of October, since many of our visitors from the North aren’t here yet. The days are mild and the bass are biting, quite simply it just doesn’t get much better in the bass fishing World.


          The North end of Lake Okeechobee is loaded with hydrilla, eel grass, pepper grass and other great cover elements where big bass love to hold. From the East side of the lake at J&S fish camp all the way around the North end of the lake to  the Point of the Reef. bass are already being caught in great numbers. Each year it’s only a matter of timing until the bass are triggered to start their fall feeding spree. It  happens suddenly and without fanfare, one day the bass will be of average size and the next day you might catch 4 or 5 bass over 7 pounds.



Cpt. Mike Shellen