This afternoon, I’ll drive down to Lake Okeechobee to fish with friends, Sam Griffin and Dave Burkhardt. Sam is a legend on the Big O, and a long-time creator of some of the best wood topwater baits. He also knows as much about the art of cajoling bass to bite a topwater as anyone I’ve ever met.
A couple of years ago, I caught the 8-5 pictured above while fishing with Sam on Lake Okeechobee.
The Big O is not only a world-class bass fishery, but a national treasure because of its natural beauty, its abundant wildlife, and its popularity as a tourism attraction. One of its inhabitants is the rare Everglades snail kite, which I photographed while fishing with Sam.
Sadly, Lake Okeechobee also is a paradise under siege from pollution. Check out this article to learn more.
Check out my conversation with Terry Brown about threats to fishing and my new book, Why We Fish.
Bass, as with all other predators, will feed on the largest available prey that requires the least amount of energy to catch and subdue. At least that’s what many resource managers believe, and they call this idea the “optimum foraging theory.”
But don’t be misled and believe that this means you always should throw big baits and retrieve them as slowly as possible if you want to catch large bass. You might see your magnum crankbait or 1-ounce spinnerbait as just what the big fish should want. But what you should be paying attention to is what the bass actually are feeding on. That’s what they see as the best bang for their buck in terms of least amount of work for the best meal.
While you can catch bass year around, you will not, on average, boat as many bass in cold water as you do in warm. That’s because bass are cold-blooded. At 39 degrees Fahrenheit, a bass’ metabolism and digestion falls to only 20 percent and 10 percent of what it was at 64 degrees.
(These are excerpts from my book, Better Bass Fishing. But the information is beneficial for anglers pursuing just about any predatory fish. This book and my new one, Why We Fish, both are available at Amazon.)