The fluke, it simply gets the job done. From Florida all the way to the northern smallmouth impoundments a fluke will catch you fish day in and day out. It’s versatility makes it one of the greatest lures ever invented. From using it as a fast action top water bait for schoolies or working it slowly when the bite gets tough the fluke covers it all. Here in Florida our Lake Toho fishing guides always have one rigged up. Through the years our guides have refined fluke fishing down to an art. Here are some of the tricks that we’ve learned.
Searching for Fish
When searching for fish nothing beats a Texas rigged watermelon or white fluke quickly jerked below the surface. Jerking it as fast as you can without making it break the surface seems to always get more bites. Putting a small rattle behind the head of the fluke will weigh it down and keep it from jumping as much. I have found countless groups of fish around grass and on flats doing this and I’ve probably caught more fish using this technique on Toho than I have any other. (more…)
That’s right! The fishing is on right now on Lake Toho, it’s the best bass fishing in Floirda and if you’re not fishing hydrilla or moving water than you’re just missing out! At this time of year the fishing become’s extremely consistent and the fish are even more predictable. With the heat of the summer the bass just kick out lunch and gorge themselves during breakfast and dinner which makes the fishing fast at those times! Our Lake Toho guides have been catching between 10-20 bass a day. With most bass weighing in at 3 pounds or more. With the vegetation steadily growing throughout the lake the water tends to become clearer which makes this also prime time to catch that fish of a lifetime you’re looking for with our Lake Toho guides. I know I am personally excited to see what I can pull out of Toho’s thick vegetation because last year I caught my two biggest fish during the months of August and September. Those both respectively came off of top-water baits too! So if you’re planning a trip to Orlando come get in on the action!
While winter is widely known as the best time to catch trophy bass because of the spawn. It is the summer where nearly all of the record sized bass are caught. There’s just something about the summer with its heat and thick vegetation that just makes those behemoths, those truly monster bass want to bite.
The 3 biggest bass ever caught out of Lake Toho were caught during the summer months. John Faircloth’s 17 pound 12 ounce uncertified Lake Toho record was caught in July. Ed Chancey’s official Lake Toho record of 16 pounds 10 ounces was caught in May, and Captain Jamie Jackson’s 15 pound 8 ounce Lake Toho monster was also caught in May. But Lake Toho’s record bass are not the only records that have been pulled out during the summer. The Florida certified state record of 17.27 pounds was caught in July, and the uncertified state record of 20.13 pounds was caught in May. But it also doesn’t stop at just Florida either. George Perry’s world record bass of 22 pounds 4 ounces was caught in June, and the bass caught by Manabu Kurita that tied the world record at 22 pounds 4 ounces was caught in July.
Nearly all of the top 25 biggest bass ever caught were reeled in during the summer months. This is the time that personal bests are broken. The summer is without a doubt the best time to go not just trophy hunting but record hunting. Whether you’re fishing in Florida or all the way in Japan, the time that records are caught is soon arriving. So re-spool your rods with new line and sharpen your hooks because you never know the next one you hook into could be a life changer.
So far this year has been one for the record books here on Toho. Since the start of the year our clients have caught 77 bass weighing 8 pounds or bigger! The mild winter has produced more consistent trophy bass fishing than ever before here on Toho, and the trophy fish haven’t stopped! Usually the biggest bass in the lake(and I mean the big big ones, the 12+ monsters/record fish) are caught during the summer months. This could mean record numbers of trophy’s being pulled in by the end of the year. To commemorate this amazing start to the year we’ve made a collage of all the giants caught so far, and if you’d like to come on down and help us add to the trophy count don’t hesitate to call!
That’s right! As of 3/15/2017 64 bass weighing 8 pounds or more have been caught by clients of AJ’s Freelancer Bass Guide Service on Lake Toho since the start of 2017! And we haven’t even reached the end of our peak season for catching these lunkers. Is Lake Toho the best lake in the country for catching trophy bass? We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. We would like to thank all of our clients for making this possible. After all they are the ones catching them! And if you have yet to go on a trip with us, give us a call and be part of the fun! We are also going to be creating a collage of ALL of these fish and the upcoming ones that we have yet to catch at the end of the month. For now we will leave you with pictures of the best nine. With the number at 64 so far, I wonder what it will be at the end of the year?!
Not all cold fronts are bad? Yup, that’s right. I’ve seen it before and this latest cold front proves it again that some cold fronts actually help the fishing. This latest cold front is another example. The week before the front we had a slight lull in the fishing. The days prior to the front the fishing increased like normal. But it was after the front came through that the unexpected happened. The fishing went lights out and all of our guides began hoisting in multiple giant Toho bass each day (collage above). A 12 pound 9 ounce behemoth was just boated today with Capt. Jamie Jackson under heavy 20mph winds. The fishing has indeed gotten better. I believe the cold front cooled the water just enough that it sent another group of giant Toho bass up to spawn.
This reminds me of a very important tip that I learned from perhaps the greatest fisherman ever. I read it in his book “Kevin Vandam’s Bass Strategies” here is a small excerpt from it. “Perhaps the most common myth is that ‘fishing is ALWAYS tough after a cold front.’ Indeed, a cold front will slow down fishing action most of the time, but you should never assume that it will until you’ve proven it. I’ve gone out on cold-front days and caught fish on a spinnerbait along the same bank where I had caught them the day before. The fish were just as aggressive as they were before the front. Now, that’s not to imply that they are ALWAYS aggressive under cold-front conditions, but it does mean we have to keep and open mind in our fishing and not get so hung up on what the fish are supposed to do under specific weather conditions.”
Another perfect example of that is one day of fishing that I had about 3 or 4 months ago. I went out for about 4 hours in the morning and I hadn’t paid much attention to the weather for the last couple of days. It seemed like a nice day for fishing to me and it turned out to be true. I had caught a 7 pounder, two 5 pounders, and several 3’s all within a couple of hours. When I had finally gone in I asked the guides how there day went. They all had bad days each of them catching no more than 3 or 4 small fish. All of them complaining and blaming it on the cold front that had gone through. Cold front? I mean it was slightly cooler but I had no idea that a cold front had gone through. If I had known I probably would have fished differently and done much worse. That was the day that I realized that cold fronts sometimes affect fisherman more than they affect the bass. They had convinced themselves that the fish weren’t going to bite good before they had even gotten to the ramp. Now I’m not saying that the fishing is always good after a cold front. Most of the time that is not the case, especially with Florida strain bass. But if you keep and open mind and wait until the fish prove to you that the cold front has affected them, then you may find that not all cold fronts are bad.
Spawning flats, spawning flats, spawning flats, this is the time of year on Lake Toho where if you’re not fishing on one you’re simply not catching fish. With the warm winter this year the fishing has been even better than usual! It’s some of the best fishing we’ve ever seen here on Lake Toho! We’ve been bringing in boat loads of big Lake Toho bass daily on our charters and we haven’t even gotten to the late February-early March crunch time for big bass!
Figuring out what stage of the spawn these fish are in on a daily basis is key to finding and catching these swamp donkeys. Sure you can always go straight into the spawning flats and catch little bucks everyday but staying consistent with the big females like we are on our charters requires you to slow down and figure out whether they are on the inside edge, outside edge, or out on deeper hydrilla waiting for the next full moon or heat wave to drive them in to spawn. For the most part if they’re not spawning on Lake Toho the big females will be out deeper or in the thick stuff. (more…)
Captain Jamie Jackson has been a shiner fishing guide on Lake Toho for over 35 years. Called the “Shiner fishing phenom” by the great people over at In-Fisherman, Jackson has perfected the art of bass fishing with shiners. In this article we will go over all of his tips and secrets. In the previous article we talked about how effective shiners are and how they can help you become a better artificial angler, if you have not read it I’ll provide a link to it here.
To begin with we’ll start with his tackle. While shiner fishing can be utilized on nearly any rod and reel, Captain Jackson prefers to use the heaviest tackle he can get away with. He uses a 7’6″ heavy
action, Avid Inshore, St. Croix. Paired with a Shimano Calcutta with 50 pound Power Pro Max Cuatro braid. This set-up could hoist big Tarpon in the ocean but Jackson uses it to hoist in giant Florida bass out of the heavy vegetation. With the no stretch braid and heavy action rod the hook is driven perfectly into the fish on every hook-set. He ties a palomar knot to a 5/0 Mustad O’shaughnessy hook with a white bottom and red top foam bobber. He says he’s used all the different bobbers from cork to plastic but he finds the white and red foam ones to be the least visible to the fish. With this set up he says “Anyone can pull these giant shiner slob bass to the boat”. (more…)
Shiners, not only do they catch giant bass but they can be used in a number of different ways to help you catch more fish with artificials. Shiners are renowned for there ability to catch the biggest bass in any body of water. The reason why shiners work so well is because it’s simply what these fish prefer to eat. Bass in a aquarium will gulp shiner after shiner while refusing to eat bluegill, frogs, or crawfish. While big bass may easily become accustom to the strange movements and shapes of artificial lures, they just can’t help themselves to the natural movements and fears of a live shiner. But, shiners can also be one of the most useful tools to helping you become a better artificial fisherman.
First off, if you have a few spots that you feel have lost there luster and no longer hold fish, you can spend a day fishing them with shiners. The results will probably surprise you. Chances are there are still plenty of fish there just waiting to be caught. Catching a few of these fish with shiners will renew your confidence in an old honey hole and spending the day trying new presentations attempting to figure out what these fish (that you know are there) want, and learning how to get the most out of a spot can help greatly in bettering yourself as a bass angler. (more…)
While the lakes in the north may be frozen over at this time of year, the fishing in the south is in full throttle. There’s a little secret that may not be exploitable on all lakes but on the ones that do have it, you can find yourself a honey hole. That secret is hydrilla, alive and green hydrilla to be exact. Live vegetation at this time of year can be very hard to find and many anglers ignore searching for it. Most anglers will be looking for deep drop-offs or searching for spawning fish if they’re in Florida. But some of the best fishing may still be out on the deeper hydrilla or milfoil that is surviving the cold, where the fish will stack up on whatever vegetation they can find. This holds true even in Florida where the Kissimmee grass fields and reeds survive throughout the winter, the bass will still center around what hydrilla is left.
A perfect example of this is one of our most recent guide trips we did on Lake Toho, while everyone else was stacked up on spawning flats we were able to locate some deeper hydrilla that was still green and alive. After just a few minutes of ticking the tops of the hydrilla with swimbaits and speed worms the action started and we had our first fish. We caught around 15 fish with close to half being in the 4-6 pound range! Lake Toho bass fishing is on fire right now. It doesn’t get much better than that! Reeling the baits nice and slow, ticking the tops of the hydrilla about a foot or two down was the key. Another key bait that landed us some fish was a fluke jerked across the top of the submerged vegetation. So if you live in the south or are planning a trip down here and you happen along some hydrilla or milfoil that’s still kicking don’t hesitate to tie on a swimbait, speed worm, or fluke and work it all through it. Because you may have just found yourself the best spot on the lake.