When you get a chance to go scout some new conditions because the water came up, you really can’t be looking to have a truly epic day on the water. What you’re really doing is seeing what the conditions are in the newly flooded areas and trying to see where you can find the more active fish. I spent this past weekend exploring old haunts and testing out theories I’ve been making based on the research I described in last week’s Prep Time article. First stop was an area that was both mentioned in many of the fishing reports for the past four years in the fall and an area I’ve personally done well in during this time of year. Immediately this became apparent that this was still a valuable location. Fish were popping in the kissimmee grass and I caught a few schoolies right off the bat. I could see big fish moving around and there was a lot of life in the area. This is definitely an area which needs to be picked apart, and I can guarantee there are big fish out there. There was a boat of friendly anglers fishing a tournament right there with me, and since I found what I was looking for I decided to move on and continue looking.
I moved on to another transition zone that I’ve known to hold big fish which are transitioning to and from the spawn. This stop was no different. Again, the bluegill were there, the shad were there, and I could see the bass swimming around. A few blow ups on a frog, and now it’s time to move on. Remember, I’m wasn’t out to have an epic day on the water, I was data mining.
With the water finally up to an acceptable level on the lake I moved to yet another transition zone. Low and behold, there were fished stacked in there too. When a six plus rolls next to the boat, and what looked to be threes chasing bait, I knew this to be what I thought it would be. As the storm moved in and I could see bolts of lightning in the distance, I decided to call it a day.
Not a lot of catching, but what I learned was far more valuable. I equate this to a day of heading out to Kentucky Lake and graphing ledges for fish. Since Lake Okeechobee transition zones are many and spread out, being able to make the observations I did were key. It showed me two things. First, I was able to effectively find fish based on the research I was doing. This is key because nine times out of ten, finding the fish in the first place is 90% of the battle. Even more, I can take what I now know of these areas which are currently holding fish and apply it to different areas of the lake. I know of many other transition zones on the north end which are very similar in a lot of ways to what I observed. They’re easy to find on a map as long as you know what to look for, and will assist me in making my decision to run south or stay north come October. Remember, when preparing yourself to have an absolutely epic tournament, you don’t necessarily have to catch your quarry during practice; but you do have to find them.