Fired Up on Fresh Water

By: Terry Gibson

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Some of my friends are fishing the Gambler Tournament on Lake Okeechobee this weekend. They'll need to catch five bass with a combined weight of at least 25 pounds to finish in the money. That won't be easy. The big fish are off the beds between the moons and mixed in with the aggressive smaller fish. My bet is that they go flipping and pitching heavy cover.

Me, I've got a few weeks until I fish competitively again. So I think I'll head out to the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge Water Conservation Areas and get some "practice" in. On most waters this time of the year, bass school up. Thirty-fish days aren't uncommon, at least during the low-light hours and throughout the day on overcast days. I've caught that many on fly tackle, right on top with popping bugs to boot.

My point is that if you want action, and lots of it, the next two months offer the best time to catch and release a mess of bass. It's great fishing for youngsters. And it happens in waters big and small around the state. Click here for a list of great bass lakes.

It's also bluegill and shellcracker bedding season. When you're done with the bass, seek out the panfish beds and catch a mess for a delicious dinner.

The freshwater bite is officially on fire.

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