Well I guess I dont REALLY have to have an excuse to go to Lake Okeechobee to go fishing, but it sure helps when I try to explain the expense to my wife.
I made a promise to my Nephew Phillip Passafiume that I would take him fishing if he would get on the Honor Roll at his school. Phillip did a great job and made the honor roll. The benefit was that I got to take the young man fishing.
I had wanted to return to Okeechobee after a trip in October. More horror stories of dead fish and years to recover had been rumored of the lake. I wanted to see this for myself since my October Trip had been extremely good and good fish had been caught in the lake within a couple of weeks of the last Hurricane of 2004.
Phillip and I went fishing with Ron (Hondo) Webb.
Ron guides on the lake from October 15 to April 15 each year and then guides on Taylorsville Lake from April to October each year.
Ron took us out early and we had a great time. Besides some terrific bass fishing we caught Needle Fish, and Bowfin, as well as a really nice pickerel, a relative of a Pike that is smaller and lives in the warmer southern waters.
We started the day with Phillip in the Front Seat and I sat in the back and Ron, spent most of the morning casting for Phillip, and baiting both of our fishing rods. The key was to find some clear water which after the hurricanes and windy days following it is a bit tough. Ron had found a nice spot several days before and took us out too it. We only had to move a couple of times all day and we caught fish all day capped of with the last shiner in the bucket catching Phillip a Monster 26 inch Bass that we took a LOT of pictures of and for which I got a Replica Mount for him from www.AmericanFishTaxidermy.com
After the Bass fishing was over we took the latter half of the day and went to the river to try some crappie fishing. Crappie fishing on the river had been estremely good this year in the spring and I wanted to see if we could manage a few fish although we were very late for the run. A few minnows and grass shrimp later we had caught a few nice fish, but nothing like what Ron Webb reported catching with friends during the height of the run.
In talking to the guides on Lake Okeechobee, I found the following information...
1. Fishing is EXCELLENT, great numbers of good fish are being caught.
2. Average fish is around 2 to 4 pounds and fish up to 8 and 9 pounds are not uncommon
3. The rumors surrounding the demise of Lake Okeechobee are greatly exaggerated.
4. IF I were you I would head to Okeechobee and the surrounding area for some AWESOME fishing.
I have heard that the rumors about Okeechobee started with a newspaper article in Tampa that quoted Fish and Wildlife as saying over 2 million bass died on the lake. I have not been able to confirm this and believe it is an Urban Legend. Fishing is excellent.
Ron Webb can be reached for guided Bass Fishing Trips at
the following numbers and on his website..Hondo's
While I was at the lake we also did some hunting with some friends and I also managed to run down to Clewiston to visit with Angie Douthit another guide whose website I do. We got out for about 2 hours and darn if Phillip did not catch a nice 5 pounder with Angie. I skunked both days on big fish, but did catch the Pickerel that I mentioned, and I had always wanted to catch one of those.
If you are headed to Lake Okeechobee definitely give Ron Webb a Phone Call.
Ron has worked out some great package rates with a local Hotel / Marina in the Okeechobee city area. He is a terrific guide and we had a wonderful time fishing with him.