Lake Okeechobee Fl Fishing Report - Bass, crappie weekly update by Captain Mike Shellen

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12-11-10

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report

 

 

Chris Peterson from Charlotte, NC 

 

Caught an 11 lb - 1oz bass on a wild shiner Nasty weather! Big Bass

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report - December 12, 2010

 

Our Fall/Winter season started with a bang  this year. We had mild weather and warm water temps and the bass responded by going on a feeding frenzy.  The water level is below 13 feet, which urges the bass to slowly migrate toward the outer edges where the water is slightly deeper. With abundant hydrilla and eel grass beds around the lake, finding bass has not been a problem. Anglers from all over the U.S. have been hearing about the great bass bite on Okeechobee and are returning to find themselves enjoying bass fishing that is not possible in many other spots in the world. Artificial bait aficionados  are having a heyday catching large numbers of bass on many different types and styles of baits.

Any mention of great artificial baits for catching fish on Lake Okeechobee would be incomplete without the mention of the  skinny dipper. Aside from being responsible for numerous tournament wins, everyday anglers can use it effectively and catch big fish and large numbers of fish, when the conditions are right. It comes in many colors and several sizes, but the original size in Houdini,  California 420 or watermelon are tough to beat. A large 10 to 12 inch worm will work nicely as will a spinner bait. Top water walking style baits will draw strikes early morning over submerged grasses or among standing cover areas.

The full moon periods are pulling big bass into the shallow water areas where they are vulnerable to anglers. Our clients have experienced what they have called unbelievable & inconceivable fishing this early season already. During  a particularly productive stretch of days our clients were catching as many bass as they wanted to take time to catch. More than once our best five fish exceeded 30 pounds, with bass to 9 1/2 pounds being our best recently. The sheer number of 7 to 8 pound bass being caught on a wild shiner is even impressing me. I find myself very proud of our fishery right now and am eager to show it off to anglers from all over the world.

Great fishing is not limited to one area of the lake, with every area of the lake holding large numbers of bass. From Lock 7 on the Northern tip of the lake, traveling  West all the way to Observation Shoal, bass are being located and caught. We are approaching the time of year when cold fronts can effect fishing, if a front moves through and drops the water temps in the lake it can get tough to catch these Okeechobee Bass. The Okeechobee strain of large-mouth is not fond of cold water and becomes inactive when its environment changes drastically. Metabolically a bass is driven by hunger to feed, the warmer the water gets the faster they metabolize the food they intake. When the water cools their body is not metabolizing the food they intake as quickly, thus the urge to feed is far less frequent. That in itself takes a great number of fish out of the equation. When the water is warm bass will be active and feeding. It is just fishing and if you don't go, you could miss the catch of a lifetime. Many times we have caught big bass and had great fishing when the weather was horrible, and there were no other anglers fishing. Have a great day!

Cpt Mike Shellen
863-357-0892

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- Nov 8th, 2010

 

   
As we enter fall the resurgence of Lake Okeechobee continues. Throughout the summer months you were inundated with information concerning the large numbers of bass we were catching each day, and it has continued throughout the transition into the fall months. Early in October there were several cooler nights and days that served to cool the lake water temperatures. Instead of water temps in the high 80’s to low 90’s the temperatures dropped into the low to mid 70’s. Couple the lower temps with the late Oct. full moon and dropping water levels, which forced the fish toward the outside edges and the perfect scenario was set. As the Oct full moon approached, a wave of large female bass moved into the shallow shoreline cover. Holding in and along the outside edges of the cover made the bass accessible to anglers, and big numbers of large quality sized bass were, and still are being caught daily.


I received a report from an angler that bass fishes almost daily, of catching a ten pound plus bass on a spinner bait and losing another bass as big, or bigger. The largest bass caught on shiners during our trips this week was nine and a half pounds. Numerous bass over eight pounds have fallen prey to a shiner in the last few weeks, with six and seven pound bass being almost daily occurrences. When the very large bass are not biting our time has been occupied with the plethora of smaller bass that are so plentiful in the lake right now.

Traditionally bass are found in somewhat specific areas of the lake, Moonshine Bay, Observation Shoal, Tin House Cove and Grassy Island being but a few of them. At this time bass are still being caught in the old traditional spots, but also in nearly every area of the lake.  The Kissimmee River and all of the local canals are rife with fish too, giving anglers an opportunity to escape the wind when it blows.

Numerous baits are working, drawing myriad strikes from bass of all sizes. Top water prop baits have been good for strikes daily, and not always at first light. Skinny dippers are still producing vicious hits, as are Trixie sharks. When the bass do not seem willing to chase down a bait that is being retrieved, a more sedate, slow presentation with a senko or a worm has worked nicely. On occasion bass can be seen chasing or schooling on small bait fish or shiners. When this occurs, lipless crank baits like a chrome- black back rattle trap have worked well. The lake has numerous hydrilla lines that can be flipped or pitched by anglers using a paca craw or sweet beaver with a heavy weight to punch through the mats. Eel grass and pepper grass abound in the marsh and around the shoreline edges, providing millions of places for bass to ambush bait.

Speckled Perch or “specks” are being caught in the Kissimmee River and local canals, by anglers using minnows. Anglers that prefer using a jig pole with a small minnow imitating jig are catching large specks adjacent to hydrilla on the outside edges of the lake. Large twelve to fourteen inch specks have moved into the hydrilla beds, many of the speck are being caught in the very sparse hydrilla that is growing fifteen to twenty feet off of the hard line. The start of a speck bite this early bodes well for the overall bite to come as the water continues to cool. It has been several years since a great speck bite has taken place in the shallow water edges of the main lake, already this year it is happening.

Captains choice: For large specks get on the water very early, before light and jig the edges of the hydrilla lines. Many of the fish are still holding well off of the edge and seem to want the bait right on the bottom. Move the jig very slowly and change colors if necessary to find the color the fish can’t resist, there are days when one color will far outperform all others.

Cpt Mike Shellen
863-357-0892     
 

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- Nov 1st, 2010

 

It was a great week on and around Lake Okeechobee. Bass fishing continues to be terrific, with catches of big bass being reported daily. Large numbers of fish are still being caught on artificial baits. I had an angler comment to me this week that the only reason that they stopped catching bass was because the sun went down. Catching is good all around the lake, we have fished from Lock 7 all the way West to Sportsmen’s in the last few weeks and have had success catching fish everywhere in between.

 

It is just a great time for fishermen of all experience levels to be out on the lake, nearly any bait you would like to use, can and will draw strikes for you. Anglers that are not familiar with lake Okeechobee need to be familiar with the slot limits, Lake Okeechobee's bass are protected by them. We really advise anglers to practice “Catch and Release” when Bass fishing. One of the contributing reasons that our bass fishing is so good today can be attributed in part to anglers that catch bass and then release their catch alive to be caught again by another angler.

 

There are many great eating fish in Lake Okeechobee, Blue Gill,  Shell Cracker, Specks and Cat Fish all make for great table fare. If you must have fish to eat from Lake Okeechobee I would suggest you target these tasty species. A bass that reaches 18 inches in Okeechobee is 4 to 5 years old and will spawn and help replenish our great lake if released when caught. At least consider  “Catch & Release” for Bass, we have a very special fishery that is still very fragile, let’s all work to protect and respect it.

 

Cpt Mike Shellen

863-357-0892


 

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- Oct 27, 2010

 

Speck fishing is once again on the radar around Lake Okeechobee. With the return of many of our friends from the North, specks are once again being fished for daily. We have had reports from numerous anglers and the results have been different in each situation.  Early Morning anglers seem to be catching the greater numbers of specks, while evening anglers are catching larger size specks. The bait of choice has been a minnow, either large or small. A small light weight jig has been a second choice for many anglers, with various colors working. There have been reports of limits being caught one day, and the anglers return the next day to no fish or very few fish. The schools of fish are changing depths and locations as the water cools.
 

Bass fishing continues to be terrific, with every angler I talk to glowing about the numbers of fish they are catching. I spoke with a gentlemen Saturday at Gilbert Chevrolet's Outdoor Expo and he was ecstatic, telling me in all of the years he has lived here he has never been able to catch so many bass , so easily.  I am glad everyone is catching and would only ask that the bass you catch be handled with great care and respect. If you catch a large bass carefully hold it for a picture and let it go unharmed, so that everyone for years to come can enjoy our great fishery!


Cpt Mike

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- Oct 17, 2010

 

The water in the Lake has cooled considerably in the last few weeks, triggering good fishing conditions for multiple species. Bass fishing continues to be very good, with large numbers of bass and big bass being caught daily. Skinny dippers, trick worms, senkos and flipping and pitching style baits are all working. It’s a good time to try some of the “stuff” we all have in our boat. I’m talking about the many bags of plastic baits that every angler has stuck away in his boat just in case they need it. One of my friends used a lizard this week that had been in his boat for quite a while and caught a 7 pound plus fish on it.
 

Speck fishing is picking up slowly, with more anglers obviously targeting the fish it makes sense that more are being caught. Reports vary from a few speck per trip to catches of 25. I have had reports of anglers catching speck to 14 inches. The Kissimmee River is yielding fish for those using minnows. Other anglers are said to be catching specks in the grass in shallow water on jigs.
   

Blue gill and shell cracker can still be taken on a cricket by those working the hydrilla lines. As the water cools many of these fish will move to slightly deeper water, and only venture very shallow to feed.


Cpt Mike

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- Oct 3, 2010

 

The water has cooled considerably, triggering the bass to move and feed. Bass fishing is still better for numbers with artificial baits. We are catching 40 to 60 bass from 7am to 1pm most days. Bigger fish are showing in the shallow areas. The bass are scattered from the 18 inch deep marsh areas to the 5 foot outside grass lines, a smorgasbord on conditions. Flukes, top water, worms, flipping and pitching all working well.

 
Lots of blue gill in the shallow marsh areas. They are scattered and spooky in the gin clear water. The panfish around the heavy hydrilla lines can be caught on crickets, worms or grass shrimp.

 

Cpt Mike Shellen

863-357-0892

 

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- Sept 26, 2010

 

We have had that beautiful full moon filling the sky at night for what seems like a week now. We can never know what to expect when we have a full moon when it comes to our fishing. Some anglers complained that the moon slowed their bite, while others continued to catch bass and lots of them.

The method and types of baits anglers are using vary greatly. It is possible to get bites on top water, although it’s not always at first light. Skinny dippers, flukes, trixie sharks, trick worms, paca craws, sweet beavers, ugly otters are a few of the baits anglers have tied on. The best thing to do in this case is go fishing. It is a good time to broaden your fishing prowess, tie on a lure that you have never used before and see if you can make it work for you. Many anglers get stuck in a rut, fishing the same baits every time they go fishing. Trying something new or different will broaden and strengthen you fishing arsenal. The best anglers in the world are not scared to step away from their comfort zone and try something new, you may surprise yourself.

Bass are being found from the Eastern shore all the way to Observation Shoal, get out and explore new areas the fish seem to be in about every area of the lake right now. Pan fishing got tougher for us this week the bite slowed in the area where we were catching them. I don’t think they left the area completely; we just weren’t smart enough to catch them. We limited our bait to crickets and probably should have taken along some worms or grass shrimp.

 

Cpt Mike
 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- Sept 19, 2010

 

The middle of September is traditionally one of the slowest times for about everything around Okeechobee. We’re several months into the hurricane season, the kids are back in school and the days are getting shorter and shorter. Football season is in full swing (go Brahmans) and the only people around these days are us local folks. Traffic at our local boat ramps is pretty slow too.

 

The fish have not seemed to notice the lack of attention from us anglers as they continue to bite daily. The lake water level is three to four inches lower than last year, which bodes well for the winter season.

 

In the last couple of weeks we have been diverse in our fishing, dividing our time between bass and pan fish, and both have proved successful. Good numbers of large blue gill & shell cracker can still be caught by anglers willing to invest their time in hunting and then catching the fish.  Crickets and red worms are the baits of choice. Some anglers scoff at the idea of using a bream buster pole, which is just a glorified cane pole made out of fiberglass. I predict that an experienced angler using a bream buster pole will wear out an angler that is anchoring and casting with an ultra-light in almost any situation, especially in the heavy cover.

 

Bass are biting on spinner baits, horny toads, skinny dippers and about any type and style of plastic bait you may cast. A weightless fluke is always a good choice on Okeechobee, as is a flipping stick with a sweet beaver or a paca craw for bait.  

 

Cpt Mike   

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- August 16, 2010

 

Anglers lucky enough to live near Okeechobee are having a great summer. Bass fishing has been better than good all summer long, with anglers catching bass daily. Many of the bass are small year class sized bass, but they provide action and bite readily. Cpt Butch Butler and I had the pleasure of guiding the Marx family from Miami Sunday morning. Several of the family had fished with us before and wanted to share the great fishing. We started our morning at sunup by catching bass on shiners, and then switched over to artificial baits. We found that we could catch bass even faster using artificial baits. The Marx family caught more than a hundred bass during their morning guided fishing trip and then had a leisurely lunch at Lightsey’s

 

Top water baits, soft plastic jerk baits, senkos, trick worms, and large 10 inch worms all drew strikes. We did not catch any really large bass, but had a great morning of non-stop action. We caught bass from the mouth of the Kissimmee to Tin House Cove. The water had cleared up nicely from the West winds that were blowing lightly. It is very hot fishing during the month of August, but the great bass fishing makes up for any discomfort you may experience.

 

Blue gill are being caught by anglers using crickets and grass shrimp along the edges of the Kissimmee and near the banks of the local canals. Some anglers are still catching big blue gill fishing right on the bottom, using red worms in deeper water.

 

Cpt Mike Shellen

863-357-0892

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- July 19, 2010

 

The large rains that have pelted our area have raised the lake level again. The higher water level has contributed to many of the fish moving further into the marsh areas. We went as far back into the marsh this week as we could get and were shocked at the number of bass and blue gill that we found. Many of the bass were small school size fish, but there were some bigger fish back there as well. The water was crystal clear and about 18 inches to 2 feet deep, it was like looking into a fish tank. 

 

Several of the anglers that I spoke with this week related to me that they were not catching as many bass as they had been, although they were still catching fish. Instead of catching forty or fifty fish they only caught 20 to 25. I am sure the high water temperatures are contributing to that. This time of year is what my grandfather always called the dog days of summer, if you look at the cattle in the fields they are all under the trees trying to stay cool. Being on the water during the early morning hours has been critical for us, we are still catching a few fish each day on a top water bait, and then we are switching to flipping or pitching a craw or other type of creature bait. 
 

Cpt Mike Shellen

863-357-0892

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- July 13, 2010

 

During my many years of fishing on Lake Okeechobee I have experienced more great moments than I could ever possibly have hoped for. Not all of them pertain to catching big bass or even catching a lot of fish, many of them relate to special times on the water with family, friends and clients. We all have memories that flood over us and bring a smile to our faces and joy to our hearts. There's nothing like a day of fishing to put a smile on your face and melt your troubles away.

 

The summer of 2010 has been a very memorable one in the respect that the lake has rebounded from a devastating drought and the fishery has made a miraculous recovery. For all intents and purposes the extreme low water conditions and the muck removal projects performed by the SFWMD have given the lake new life.

 

The numbers of bass in the one to three pound class are staggering, with so many young quickly growing bass in the system, catching has been relatively easy for anglers of all experience levels. I had the pleasure of fishing with three generations of the Etheredge family this week, Lee lll, Lee lV and seven year old Eland from New Jersey. We spent an overcast morning together catching bass, starting with shiners and progressing to artificial baits. Our four dozen shiners lasted less than two hours; we caught many small bass but also caught bigger bass that weighed six and eight pounds. After the live bait was gone we rigged up medium action spinning rod with eight-pound test line. The bait of choice for young Eland was a swimming lizard; he learned very quickly that if he cast it out and retrieved it very slowly he would get bites. The expression of pure joy and then pride on his face when he hooked and then landed his first bass on an artificial bait on his own, was priceless!

 

The J&S area has been a hot spot for numbers of fish and big fish for the last few months. Top water baits particularly a pop’r will draw strikes when worked tight to the cover, whether it is rocks or weeds. Eagle Bay & Grassy Island are both productive spots for anglers using skinny dippers and flukes, the fish are sometimes on the outside edges, other times the inside grassy clumps are more productive. From the Pearce canal to Indian Prairie bass are working the Kissimmee grass line eating shad and shiners during the early morning hours, skinny dippers, speed worms and horny toads worked slowly through the grass are effective. The North Shore has great eel grass fields to fish, from Horse Island all the way to Harney Pond, depending on the wind direction the water here varies from crystal clear to stained, and tons of bass live in the eel grass. The only thing left for you to do is go fishing!

 

Cpt Mike Shellen

863-357-0892

 

 

4th of July

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report

 

We all have a duty, as Americans, Floridians and residents of Okeechobee to be proud of our country, state and town. I have the pleasure of fishing with people from all over the United States and people are always pleasantly surprised when they visit our great city and witness all it has to offer. Being a veteran I am acutely aware of what great cost the members of our Military pay for the freedom we all take for granted. We are truly blessed to live in the United States, thank you servicemen and veterans for your sacrifice

 

Usually there seems as if some aspect of fishing on Lake Okeechobee draws my attention in a negative way, but this past few months has been smooth, very smooth. I realize that we are just getting started with hurricane season and that a major storm could alter things around our town and lake very quickly. There has been an influx of anglers around town that rival that of several years ago, word of mouth about the great fishing is slowly seeping out to other areas and folks that have not been to Okeechobee in a long time have come back to see for themselves.

 

Bass fishing is tremendous, it does not matter whether you are a novice or an expert or fall somewhere in between, fishing is just great! I have fished with numerous inexperienced anglers in the last few months and every one of them has been able to learn to cast and retrieve a lure, ultimately resulting in catching bass, and normally a lot of them. A wild shiner is still the ticket for the larger bass, although several days we have scored our largest fish on artificial baits. The sheer numbers of small bass in the Lake has everyone talking about the future, and how good it is going to be for years to come. Spinner baits, speed worms, flukes, senkos and skinny dippers are all working for us and I am sure many other lures would work as well, a great time to experiment.

 

Blue gill are still as prevalent as they have been for the last few months, with a little hunting around a nice bunch of big gills can be caught daily. Crickets, grass shrimp and red worms are the preferred baits.

 

Cpt Mike

863-357-0892

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- June 23, 2010


OK, we know Captain Mike is a great guide, but this is really over the top!

Two bass at once. Click on the images to see larger size.

 

It is very hard to say anything negative about Lake Okeechobee right now, the lake level is fine and the fishing is and has been terrific for quite a while. In all honesty it has been quite a few years since the bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been so easy. When I say easy I am refering to everyone being able to catch bass. I have had seasoned bass fishemen on my boat this summer that have marveled at the quantity of bass we are able to catch. We have had customers this summer that have never used an artificial bait for bass prior to this summer, and the smile that lights their face when  they are able to catch bass on an artificial bait is priceless. Even young kids have been able to catch bass on their own this summer, it has been so much fun!  
 

Many days we are able to catch bass on many different kinds and styles of baits. We usually start the morning trying to catch fish on a top water bait, just because it’s such a thrill to see a bass blow up on top. Many days they will eat the top water some days  they refuse,  that’s  just fishing. Skinny dippers, big e-z’sa and flukes are next on the agenda for catching, some days the bass are teating the moving baits up, others they will just lazily swirl or swat at  the lure. Then we cahgne to a slow moving bait that we can keep in their face until they give in, a senko or a worm, or a creature bait will work in these situations. We usually start with natural colors, watermelon, green pumpkin or black usually draw strikes, sometimes colors that are a little bolder will work even better. As any savvy bass fishermen knows, when you think that you have the bass figured out they will let youy know that you don’t. Bass fishing is a constantly changing endeavor, one minute they will eat every thing you throw, the next nothing is good enough. 
 

We have fished in all areas of the lake this summer and have found that there are huge numbers of bass everywhere we have been. The north shore and its prolific eel grass beds are yielding big numbers of bass as well as big fish, although in the summer a south wind can quickly change everything by dirtying the water. The west side of the lake from point of the reef, where there is a very hard rocky type bottom is less prone to getting dirty and has been yielding huge numbers of bass, around the Cochrans pass area.  
 

Blue gill and shell cracker are still being taken in big numbers, many of the fish are holding around the mouths of the canals where they enter the lake. The Kissimmee River banks are still giving up a lot of big gills,although some anglers are catching blue gill and shell cracker  by fishing red worms right on the bottom. 
 

Cpt Mike Shellen

863-357-0892

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- May 24, 2010

 

Lake Okeechobee continues to yield good catches of bass for those anglers willing to brave the heat and put in their time. Schooling bass are showing up in many different areas, the schoolies on the whole are small but once in a while there will be some bigger fish hanging with them. In deeper water larger bass will sometimes hang out below the marauding school that is blasting bait on the top, waiting for injured or dead bait to filter down to them. A lipless crank bait will entice the feeding school fish into biting, but even the small fish will wise up to a bait after a while. Top water baits, flukes and wacky rigged plastics can draw strikes too.

 

Shiner fishing is still providing good action for those looking for a big fish bite. Catches of 20 to 30 bass have been the norm this week.

 

Blue gill are biting like crazy in every part of the lake, whether you fish the River the local canals or the lake, catching has been good. The lake is a great place to catch when the wind conditions are tame, when the wind is blowing hard, the River or the canals provide refuge and also a great bite.

 

Grass shrimp are abundant in the hydrilla areas of the lake and are relatively easy to catch with a dip net, there is not a fish in the lake that will not eat a grass shrimp. Crickets are great bait and are much easier to get, all you have to do is go to your local tackle store and fill your cage. They are relatively inexpensive and are a close second to a grass shrimp. For those that prefer to fish on the bottom for big blue gills or shell cracker, red worms are the hot ticket and are also available at the tackle shop.

 

Cpt Michael Shellen

863-357-0892

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- May 15, 2010

 

Big Blue Gill are being caught in the local canals as well as in the lake. This time of year the canals offer big blue gill deep water to access to escape from the summer heat as the water warms. A fly rod is a good choice for catching big gills if you like to see your fish rise up and suck in a top water offering. A chartreuse or white popper will draw strikes along the canal edges. We are still using a bream buster pole with a cricket for bait and are experiencing great success. This time of year Okeechobee’s pan fish can have a tendency to get thin across the back so in order to take a nice bunch of fish home for the frying pan it is necessary to be more selective about the fish you keep.

 

During the new moon phase this week we spotted blue gill on their spawning beds way back in the marsh areas, and we also saw fish spawning on the outside edge of the lake too. We are catching a nice mixture of blue gill, shell cracker and specks as we fish using crickets as bait. There is an abundance of grass shrimp to be found in the lake. Much of the hydrilla that is present on the North end of the lake is holding the tiny crustaceans. A fine mesh net passed through the hydrilla will collect the tiny creatures, at times it is hard to locate them but normally they are pretty much in all of the hydrilla. Once you have collected a bunch of the baits you can either leave them in the net in a bucket or place them in a wet towel to keep them alive. I think every species of fish that lives in Lake Okeechobee will eat a grass shrimp, the shrimp just take a good bit of time to collect as opposed to going to the tackle shop and getting a basket of crickets.
 

This is the time of year my grandmother would call the “Dog Days of Summer”, a time when every species that lives in Florida is looking for some shade, to find some relief from the summer sun.

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- April 22, 2010

 

Bass, Shell Cracker & Blue Gill are all biting; with a little patience and persistence it is possible to have a level of success each day.

 

Bass fishing with artificial baits is very good, with anglers reporting that they have been able to catch bass in all areas of the lake. Our efforts at fishing artificial baits have been centered on fishing top water baits early, and then switching to some sort of plastic bait as the sun reaches higher into the sky.

 

We have been having success using a senko, rigging it weedless or wacky style, both have produced strikes. Natural colors have been working best in the shallow clear water areas, watermelon, green pumpkin or black all perform well at times. A fluke is also a dependable fish catching bait in our arsenal, watermelon with red, gold or candy flecks all produce.

 

The larger bass we are catching are still falling prey to a wild shiner, most of the bass have spawned at this point and are feeding up after expending a great amount of energy spawning. We are seeing a lot of shad in some of the areas where we are fishing and the bass in these areas are stuffed full of them.

 

Many different techniques are working to catch bass and or pan fish at this time, go outside of your comfort level and try something totally different than your normal way of fishing. The results may surprise you.

 

Cpt Mike

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- March 31, 2010

 

The full moon prompted a huge spawn on Lake Okeechobee this week. Bass, shell cracker and blue gill could all be seen fanning beds in the shallow water this week. Artificial baits have been providing a lot of bites, flukes, worms, top water, spinner baits and senkos are all drawing strikes and catching bass. Shiner fishing provided us with several big fish in the 8 pound class range this week; although most days I think we could have caught more bass on artificial baits.

Everywhere we looked this week in the marsh areas there were bluegills and shell cracker bedding. Several days this week we caught as many shell crackers as we wanted to clean. The primary bait being either grass shrimp or red worms. Blue gill are showing up everywhere in the shallows, along the canal edges and in the river. Several different methods are being used to catch them, for live bait crickets, worms or grass shrimp are working. Another method involves using a beetle spin on light line or fishing a popping bug or sinking fly on a fly rod.

The weather is warm and so is the water, nearly every species of fish in the lake is biting, it is a great time to take your kids fishing!

Cpt Mike Shellen

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- March 1, 2010

 

It seems as if every week we are dealing with cold weather, which in turn means cold water. We all try to learn something from our experiences in life, and this winter has taught us one key lesson about Okeechobee’s bass. Bass still have to eat. It does not matter how cold the water gets, to survive they have to eat. The water temperatures again fell into the fifties, slowing the bass bite down considerably the first few days, but after a couple of days of sulking in the cold water the bass had to eat. Even though the water was still cold the bite picked up again with both shiners and artificial baits. Saturday the water was fifty nine degrees and we caught as many bass on artificial lures as we did on shiners.

 

There is good news on the horizon though. March is here and we all know that March brings us beautiful temperate weather. March is traditionally a great month for big bass and for catching numbers of bass as well. In addition shell crackers should start appearing in the shallow water to spawn, and right with them will be big blue gills. There is not better bait anywhere than a grass shrimp for these pan fish and with all of the aquatic vegetation we have in the lake at this time dip netting some grass shrimp should be quite easy. If you can’t find grass shrimp, a cricket or a red worm will serve as a substitute.

 

For those of you that prefer speckled catfish, there are a lot of very nice sized cats in the shallow water right now. Stink bait, or worms on the bottom will do the trick to get them to bite. A strip of dead shiner will work as well as anything to entice these tasty fish into biting.

 

Captain Michael Shellen

Shellen Guide Services

863-357-0892

 

Hook, Line and Sinker

The Captain Mike Shellen Fishing Report- February 11, 2010

 

Artificial baits anglers are catching good numbers of small bass with an occasional large bass being caught as well. There are many different baits that are working at this time, in fact at times it seems as if they will eat about any lure you’re throwing. Other times fishing becomes more true to form, and becomes downright tough.

 

One of the hotter lures around the lake has been a skinny dipper, there are many different colors of this lure and a couple of sizes too. A skinny dipper can be fished in very thick cover, so heavy line or braid is recommended, a 6/0 hook is recommended and can be fished weighted or unweighted , depending on what water depth you are trying to fish. The bait can be fished on top or under the surface, so it is versatile as well, the action is unique and subtle and can be worked many different ways. The bottom line is, a skinny dipper has been catching fish for anglers and that makes it a bait that you should be fishing. Other artificial baits that are working include a weightless fluke in watermelon red flake color, a trick worm in any number of colors as well as a white spinner bait with silver blades. There have been some decent morning bites on a rear prop spinner top water bait like a crazy shad or a Sam Griffin lil zip.

 

Shiner fishing has been consistently good with bass in the 7 pound or larger range coming with regularity. Catch rates vary from day to day as the water temperature and conditions change. Good trips are yielding 35 to 45 bass per trip, poorer fishing conditions are yielding 15 to 20 bass per trip. The cold weather delayed the spawn somewhat, meaning that there will be a steady influx of bass into the shallow water to spawn for the next few months.

 

In January the water temperatures on Lake Okeechobee were as low as 42 degrees, lower than anyone we have talked to can remember. Literally shocking the fish into a near dormant state until the water warmed once again. As the water warmed the fish went on a chew, biting with a vengeance, making every angler around Okeechobee very happy. Bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee has become better with each passing month, the low water periods we had for several years allowed bass to spawn and grow unmolested and we are just starting to see the results of great spawns. The next few years should provide some of the best bass fishing that has been seen in quite some time on Lake Okeechobee.

 

Speck fishing remains steady in the Kissimmee River, with nighttime anglers leading the way when it comes to numbers of keeper size specks. There has been a good bite of specks in the shallow grass that rims the lake, with the north shore area being a consistent provided of quality size specks. Soon there will be waves of specks moving into the shallow grass and hydrilla areas to spawn, which will provide jig fishing anglers  many hours of fun. 


Captain Michael Shellen

Shellen Guide Services

863-357-0892

2010

2009 Captain Mike Shellen fishing Reports

 2008 Captain Mike Shellen fishing Reports

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 Here is Dan Wall with two of the 19 bass he caught today (1-15-07) with Captain Mike.

 click on the picture for more detail or see the picture and complete story on Captain Mike's Blog.

 
 

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