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The Kayak Angler Skinny on Kissimmee

I was recently asked to contribute to Kayak Angler Magazine's feature on Best Bass Lakes in the United States. The editors interviewed kayak fishing experts on the best tactics for catching bass on some of the most popular locations for bass tournaments. Here's the link:

The Kissimmee chain of lakes in central Florida fits the description as one of the state's finest. It has an exceptional history with approximately 800 bass weighing over eight pounds in Florida's Trophy Catch program. This post spills a little juice from the full article and reveals a few baits and techniques that I've used for some great kayak fishing days at Kissimmee.

Big Lake, Big Bass

My focus in the feature was on Lake Kissimmee. It's close to 35,000 acres of water and the fourth largest lake in Florida. It's home to an array of Florida wildlife, including big gators and big bass. As you might expect, it has miles and miles of Kissimmee grass (see bass picture above), which holds quality fish. Despite its total size, Lake Kissimmee might be considered "skinny water" by some, with an average depth of 5 feet and water levels that are managed by a series of pumps, locks and dams.

Alternative Search Tactics

When I stare at the infinity of Kissimmee grass there, it can be daunting. However, I seem to catch more fish when I focus on alternative tactics for finding bass. Some of my best days on Lake Kissimmee have been fishing brush piles and shell bars. Any time I learn of lower water levels (either due to seasonal dry spells or lock maintenance drawdowns), I try to make scouting trips to find brush pile limbs sticking above the surface that might otherwise be hidden at high water. Additionally, under the water, I use my graphs to locate hard bottom and make sure to drag a weighted worm or dig a crankbait to confirm potential newfound shell bars where bass like to hang out.

Throw Your Best Stuff

Some of the best advice I've received for tournament fishing is to fish your best stuff early. Getting some early bites enhances your confidence and helps you focus. Find me on my kayak on Kissimmee (or on most lakes in Florida for that matter), and you'll likely see me casting one of my confidence baits such as a Zoom Magnum Speed Worm in Junebug or Watermelon Red. Or, when the weather gets hot and calm, a Gambler 10" Ribbon Tail Worm produces results as well. Both are very versatile to fish at different levels in the water column and are relatively weedless in the grass and on top of brush piles.

My Florida big bass worm set up currently looks like this:

Superstar Switch Ups

Some other superstar baits to switch to at Kissimmee are:

Give these baits and fish finding techniques a try on your next trip to Lake Kissimmee (or other Florida lakes) and let me know how it goes. See you on the water!

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