Fishing the Florida Everglades for bass can be a memorable and exciting experience. Depending on the time of year you can have days of up to 100 bass on fly or spin tackle. One of my favorite ways to catch Everglades’s bass is with a fly rod and any type of top water bug. Seeing a bass come up to the surface and explode on a fly is something you won’t ever forget.
This is a great way to introduce fly fishing to someone or yourself. You’re able to catch a lot of fish and experience what it’s like to fight a fish on fly. For a beginner with the long rod, this is a great starting point as soon as you get the basics of casting down. Although it helps, accuracy and distance is not required to catch fish as it is on the bow of a flats boat sight fishing in shallow water.
Some of the gear you need to fly fish the glades for bass would be any 5wt-8wt setups. I prefer 5wt or 6wt just because it’s a thrill with a lighter rod, but you can definitely use a 7wt or 8wt. In fact I will always have an 8wt on my skiff when fishing in the glades. Poppers, Gurglers, or any type of top water fly will work great. To get down a little deeper, I like to throw clousers but any baitfish pattern will work extremely well. I also like to use a 25-30lb bite tippet when bass fishing especially when there is a lot of dense cover. You might need that extra strength to pull your fish from the lily pads that cover the edges of the canals throughout the entire Florida Everglades.
If fly fishing isn’t your thing, light tackle is another great way to catch Everglades Bass. I love throwing topwater frogs and senkos. The senkos allow you to get to the bottom and a lot of times that’s where some of the bigger fish are. I like using a Texas rig setup with my senkos or sometimes with no weight at all. Using both setups, you can be very successful catching largemouth bass. Some of the best Everglades bass fishing around!
The historical Everglades waters flow south from the Kissimmee River into Lake O. From there it flowed south into Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay. That has all changed with land development in South Florida. There are still canals that were dug south of Lake O for water storage and flood control. These canals flow north to south and east to west. Most of these canals are in southern Broward County and eastern Collier County. In the winter months these canals hold some of the biggest bass in South Florida. The winter months are our driest months and these canals fill up with fish. The water leaves the flats and the fish follow into these deeper canals. The bass will stack up on ambush points and you can literally pick off 10-15 fish at one spot. You will catch a lot of pounders, as I like to call them, but you will eventually get into some fish close to 10lbs. This will start to happen about February each year and last into June, if we don’t have too much rain. I prefer using top water because there are days you can get a strike on almost every cast. Another good tactic when using spin gear is long 10 inch worms. Since there are a lot of snakes roaming around the Everglades, that is a good source or protein for a Largemouth Bass. It is not uncommon to see a snake swimming across the surface and a bass coming up and eating it. They pounce all over a decent size snake. Another great way to catch these fish is on a black and gold Rapala plugs. Another food source for these bass is small Mayan Cichlids and shiners. These baits are black, orange, and some have red on them. The tannic water brings out a lot of these colors, so a shiny orange plug works great.
Besides the fishing, the amount of wildlife you see is astounding. When the water is low, you can see alligators all the way down the canals. A lot of times you will see them laying on the bank and not even know they are there. The birds are plentiful as well. From herons to egrets to ibis’s, they are all there. We launch out of Holiday Park, which is off of US 27. When the fishing is tough, I like to launch from the Tamiami Trail and get into some areas that a lot of people don’t fish. When the water is high in most places, this area will hold a lot more fish.
So give me a call and let’s do some Everglades Bass Fishing!
For freshwater fishing only, you will need to obtain a Florida Freshwater Fishing License. You can obtain that by clicking here