Toward the end of the summer, Teresa and I met a very cool father/son angling team, Ralph and Anthony Garbiras, while fishing a remote lake in East Central Florida. The fishing wasn't so hot, but the company was great, and I got to give Anthony a fly-fishing lesson. This pair of tournament anglers loves to take off and see how many lakes they can fish in a week or even a weekend, and they've clued me into some pretty interesting bites lately near Orlando, where they live. Last weekend they were thinking of me and my obsession with catching freshwater fish on fly tackle, especially on popping bugs, when they got into a hot "sunshine bass" bite on Lake Monroe. Lake Monroe is near Sanford and is one of the many lakes that the north-flowing St. Johns River passes through.
The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission stocks this tasty, sterile hybrid between a striped bass and a white bass, commonly called a "sunshine bass," or a "whiper." I've caught them in a number of Florida lakes and they will beat every other fish to a fly or lure, especially during low light hours. The minor weather systems that have been moving through this September have triggered an aggressive topwater bite. Once the sun is high, you can catch whipers as well as largemouth bass and striped bass throughout the St. Johns and associated lakes. There are numerous expert fishing guides in the area. Contact the Monroe Harbor Marina. It's not to late to get on the bite this weekend.