Collection: So you want to bass fish Florida?

I retired January 1, 2021 and traveled the country in a motor home with my wife.  During that time we were looking for a location to spend the winters.  I had one goal - spend lots of time fishing "world class bass lakes".  I thought Guntersville Lake was the one.  We spent the month of November there and frankly froze our butts off.  Although the fishing was outstanding we knew we had to look further south.  Lake Okeechobee was on my list for obvious reasons and we found the winter weather ideal.  So we ended up purchasing an old camper with a lanai and a permanent roof over both.  This sounds like a camp down by the river but this is actually on Lake Okeechobee.  The rest of that picture is mostly accurate but this is pretty common in this part of Florida.  Everyone here fishes.  Everyone.  And that's good because there is little else to really do in the immediate area. 

Lake Okeechobee
So I've been fishing the Big O almost everyday November through March.  Every local down here will tell you about the glory days of the lake and how bad it sucks now.  Well I get it.  The lake is being held much higher and the eradication of aquatic vegetation is 99% successful.  This makes for challenging fishing very often.  But make no mistake, this lake is filled with bass and biguns too.  For my mid-western buddies, this is a different kind of lake.  Actually the whole deep south is very much different than I'm accustomed to but Lake Okeechobee is pretty unique.  First off, this lake is humongous.  400,000 surface acres or something real close to that.  And the shoreline here is kind of a mysterious notion.  You can't just nose up to a bank and get out to "take care of business".  There is a buffer sometimes miles long between open water and actual dry land.  It might look like a corn field but there is a couple foot of water in that field.  Also, everything here looks fishy.  It's not.  You've heard the rule that 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water?  Well here it's gotta be something like 99% and 1%.  This lake fishes very, very small.  90% of the bass fishing happens on the east side of the lake and only around visible structure (reeds, mats, grasses, etc).  Now that's a 30 mile stretch from Okeechobee in the north to Clewiston in the south.  So there's plenty of water to fish.

Time of Year
People always ask when is the best time to fish Okeechobee.  Still figuring that one out.  My entire experience is November through March because of the weather.  I know there are tons of fish and big fish caught here 365 days of the year.  But I am always fishing the spawn.  The bass here spawn from late October through early April.  Like half the year.  So basically, this time of year, you're fishing pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn fish on any given day.  They spawn in giant waves and often-times it is very, very noticeable.  It seems that the males are always eager to bite but the giant females spend just a day or two on the beds and then leave for who-knows-where.  Summer fishing, as far as I can gather, is largely about finding giant schools of bass chasing  gizzard shad around the outer grass lines.  I got in on that bite a little bit very early November and it was a blast.  But sadly, that bite has dwindled for me.

So the bass are spawning half the year here.  But where do they like to spawn?  This information is based on my personal observations and research and might be incomplete.  Keep that in mind and feel free to comment.  Bass here look for a few key features for a bedding location.  Hard bottom, clean water, and protection from winds.  They prefer areas with submergent vegetation but the Florida


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