Orlando Bass Fishing Report
Butler Chain and Johns Lake
Week ending June 3rd
We had a few days where we were able to get out and spend some time working drop shot baits from Gitem Baits, and toss around a few lures that just don’t get used a lot, or are not talked about much.
We started out with a run to Butler Chain, bass had moved off the grass edges and were suspended in deeper water, so the perfect bait of choice was a drop shot.
Working in 14 foot of water on various lakes we did manage to get a few good keepers.
We had also tossed around a small swim bait which did very good, allowing it to fall to the bottom before swimming it back was the key to catching the quality bass.
With the schooling activity slowing drastically, the deeper water bite and flipping bite has been the way to out here. Flipping Gitem Bugs in junebug has been very productive. Bass have been holding tight in the pockets and with the cleaner waters here, a line switch from braids to 15 pound test Berkley Big Game has been the ticket. Spinner baits and a Mepps Minnow worked on the outside edges of grass beds has produced a few good catches, with a very early morning bite on Pop R’s and spooks. Something t remember on both John’s Lake and Butler Chain, these are NOT your typical Florida waters, these bodies of water are much cleaner, which dictates when using lures you make those longer casts and focus more on the mono lines and try to avoid the braided lines. With the dog days of summer here, a slower presentation will be the definite way to go.
Saturday the 10th we spent a few hours out on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Lake County.
Not having been here in several months, we opted to start our day off on Little Lake Harris, working mainly grass beds. With our day starting at 6am, we spotted some bass feeding on the surface along and inside of scattered grass beds, trying spinner baits and topwater baits along these grass beds produced not even one strike. We made the switch to the good old flipping stick with a Gitem Bug and on the second flip, picked off a nice 3 pounder.
With a move to the northern end of Big Lake Harris, we followed the same pattern, flipping the grass beds, but here the focus was more aimed at the isolated holes further back into the heaviest grass beds. Here we opted for the Gitem KO pitched back into those little pockets, generally 20 to 25 feet back, managing to pick up a few more good bass, but not the ones we were looking for.
By 10am, the sun was already scorching hot and no breeze to speak of, so on our run back to Little Harris, we made a stop and tried some drop shot and swimming some jigs under the bridge, with no takers, we worked our way back into Little Harris, continuing the pattern of working the grass beds, slowly and methodically was the key to catching anything, along with pitching under the docks.
There were several tournaments being run out there this weekend, which made for some heavy boat traffic in areas. Word is that Lake Griffin and Yale Canal has been the hot spot to catch good limits up to 25 pounds, but it has also had its days of small limits with all the pressure it has been getting. With us putting in at Hickory Point, the run to Griffin really was not an option. We will be heading out there again in the next 2 weeks and launching from Buzzard Beach, we will check out Griffin and report back as to how it is and if the pattern out there is still running consistant.
Lake Toho Week ending June 17th
We had a few runs out on Lake Toho over the past week. Waters are on the low side, going into the far backside of Gobblets cove, past the St Cloud canal, the waters are VERY shallow, if your not on plane coming out, expect a slow ride coming out as you will be bumping bottom in several areas. Waters were looking good otherwise with scattered schooling activity going on.
Toho had produced some good bass for us on a wide variety of lures.
Spinner baits, spooks, toads and worms were the main lures used. Main areas to target were Reeds, but the best producing reeds were the scattered ones, especially the stands with a grouping of 4 or 5 reeds, bass were held tight and hit very aggressively. North Steer Beach and the cut into Gobblets Cove were top producers when it came to the reeds.
Good hyrilla patches off the islands held some descent bass, working worms slowly thru the patches along with heavier topped out hydrilla yielding a few good toads. The bite at times has and can be off and on, but with some patience, the bass are there. This seems to have been the pattern on most lakes as of late
Shiner bite has been best around the reeds, deeper water hydrilla and around the islands, free lined in the deeper waters, and bobbers set to about a foot off the islands has produced good bass to 5 pounds, with a few break offs which were pushing the 7 to 9 pound range. Although the waters are not crystal clear, mono lines are still recommended as you will notice your hookup rate is much better.
Today we had a run out to Clermont Chain to do some scouting for up coming tournaments. Started the day out at 6am on Lake Minneola, working grass beds and docks, we were throwing rattle traps with one good thump and a miss, made a switch to a Gitem Toad in Black/red flake and picked up 3 quick bass. From there we made the move heading to Wilson and checked out the river, River looked horrible with all the spraying that was done, be careful navigating it. Lake Cook looked great as did Wilson, a couple schools were blowing water in the river between Wilson and Cook, but it wasn’t schooling activity we were looking for.
Top water bite was pretty good, Slim Dogs were the hot bait as the sun came up and got HOT fast. Best way of working this bait was to walk the dog and let her rest, we generally leave the front hook as original, and switch the back hook to a bleeding bait series, this has faired well for us, I hit Capt Al on the radio and had him come join in on the action, we nailed a good toad and she wrapped us up in deeper waters, tried working her lose but with tapping the tip on bottom, revealed the old train tracks that were dumped in the lake.
Water levels on the chain are way down, which has pushed the bass out of the marsh areas and out into more open waters, most all bass were caught in 6-8 foot of water off of submerged grass beds with one or two being picked up off of stickups.
The last two days has had us out on Butler Chain of Lakes. Yesterday the day had started out pretty good, with bass coming from deeper waters on Lakes Down and Little Down, shiners slow trolled was the definite way to go and has been the case for several weeks now. Around 11:30 we hit the ramp for to take cover as a storm rolled in and it was the smart move. This storm produced a ton of lightning, and as we sat in the truck by the ramp, watching the storm roll by and keeping an eye on the boat tied off to the dock, we heard the spookiest noise we ever experienced, a bolt of lightning wizzed by the truck, hitting a cypress tree and exploding the tree, sending timber flying some 50 feet in every direction.
Today, the 28th we were back out on Butler again, with a two boat party from New York.
Fishing was hit and miss most of the day, bass were schooling up, and you could manage one good bass from each school as they disappeared as fast as they appeared. Most all fish were caught in 18 to 32 feet of water, the guys hooked up some good numbers, and lost just as many. This is definitely the time of year, where shiners are going to be your best bet, and deeper waters will yield some good bass, as the guys said, these babies fight like small mouth bass. Despite the little to no breeze, and being HOT, the guys had so much fun, they will be coming back in March, when the weather is much cooler.
Attached is the picture of the cypress tree that was hit by lightning, folks we cant stress it enough, if you see a storm coming in, position up close to the ramp, if you hear thunder, or see ANY lightning, GET OFF THE WATER!!!!! Its great catching bass in Florida, but your safety and the safety of others is more important than any green fish.