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Lake Tarpon Bass Fishing Guide

In this Lake Tarpon Bass Fishing Guide, we will take a closer look at Lake Tarpon, the “Jewell of Pinellas County” – the lake, the location, and of course, how to ensure your day on the lake is full of the biggest and best bass possible. 

For fishing enthusiasts living in – or visiting – Florida, you’re never too far away from a good day’s excursion on one of the states numerous lakes. However, if you’re seeking a hidden gem with excellent freshwater fishing, Lake Tarpon, just outside of Tampa, should be your next destination.

About Lake Tarpon

Located northwest of Tampa in North Pinellas County, Lake Tarpon might be best described as a rural lake in the middle of suburban sprawl. There’s quite a bit of development – single-family housing and golf course communities – encircling the lake, but the drive in can be deceiving.

Upon reaching Lake Tarpon, the built-up communities melt away, and you are planted firmly in one of the top fishing environments in all of Florida. 

Dammed in 1968, Lake Tarpon is a mid-sized lake with a total area covering 2,500 acres or just under 4 square miles, which places it as the 29th largest lake in Florida. The average depth remains consistent at around eight feet, with a maximum depth of 14 feet.

Lake Tarpon Bass Map
Lake Tarpon Bass Map

The most notable feature of the lake is its length. It stretches a little over nine miles between its northern and southernmost points, providing approximately 16 miles of shoreline and a bit more variety than other lakes of similar size. 

Though smaller compared to more well known Florida lakes, Lake Tarpon is renowned as one of the top 10 bass lakes anywhere in the state. 

Bass Fishing in Lake Tarpon

So how does a relatively straightforward, suburban lake in the middle of Tampa rate so highly on the bass fishing scale? Similar to other bass hot spots in the state, Tarpon’s environmental conditions are absolutely perfect for producing a thriving bass population.

Gentle currents, consistently warm, shallow water, and a lot of aquatic vegetation – Lake Tarpon checks all the boxes. So much so that for many years Lake Tarpon held the state record for the biggest bass caught – a 19-pound largemouth that was reeled in 1961. Unofficially, there were reports of another, near-equal, catch of 18-pounds, 15-ounces that same year.

Although nothing that large has been pulled from the lake since it’s not at all unusual to see seven to 10-pound bass. Even a few pushing higher on the scale is not uncommon.

For first-timers, hiring a guide to navigate your initial few days is a good option. Although it’s not large by any means, and no real mysteries exist to catch bass there, a guide will help discern the few subtleties and points of interest the lake does have. If you want a successful first run, it’s a smart way to go, even if for a day. You’ll certainly be primed to take on the lake on your own after that.

4lb Bass Caught on Lake Tarpon
4lb Bass Caught on Lake Tarpon

Lake Tarpon Bass Fishing Guide

Speaking of which, Lake Tarpon is every bit a do-it-yourself kind of lake. Everything is right in front of you, and you don’t need insider information to manage a decent catch. Both novices and veterans of bass fishing will get plenty out of the experience. It’s also a fantastic family lake – evidenced by the two parks that border the water – and a beautiful, low-key place to introduce kids to fishing.

Similarly, to hook your trophy bass, it won’t require anything fancy. Live wild shiners will always prove the bait of choice, and Texas-rigged speed worms, trick worms, lipless crankbaits, or trolling small jigs will never go out of style.

How to fish a speed worm.

Other must try baits are chatterbaits. Any bladed jigs, especially that look like panfish or crappie will absolutely smash larger bass.

While this guide aims to help you catch the best bass possible, Lake Tarpon is well known for holding several other species of fish. Black crappie, bluegill, and redear sunfish all make a home in Lake Tarpon. The lake also features healthy populations of blue tilapia and catfish.

Where to Find Bass in Lake Tarpon

Unlike behemoths like Lake Okeechobee, where conditions and fish shoals can vary wildly, Tarpon is relatively consistent from top to bottom. As we noted earlier, though, it does have some variety.

First and foremost, Lake Tarpon is excellent for year-round fishing. Its location in Tampa helps to maintain the lake’s ideal bass conditions. In contrast, the further south you go in Florida in summer, success on the water can be hit or miss.

During those summer months on Tarpon, it helps to follow the bass further offshore. Bass take to the outcroppings of vegetation that sprout from humps and ledges, where an abundance of shad await.

In the morning You’ll always find bass though closest to the shoreline. Cattails and bulrush blanket the banks, and there’s a good measure of hydrilla as well. The bass love to congregate in these areas.

In the afternoon, offshore debris will hold your largest bass. A lot of tournament anglers have been dropping offshore brush piles. While illegal to fish your own during a tournament, it can produce large bass in short amount of time.

Where & When Bass Spawn

If you’re seeking the absolute best conditions, spawning season occurs from December to April with February and March the peak of activity. In the midst of this, you’ll encounter some of the lake’s most prominent and healthiest bass. 

During this time of year, stick close to the shoreline with the northern- and southernmost points providing optimal fishing. Coontail grass thrives in these areas and is the preferred spawning grounds for the bass.

In addition, the southern tip of Lake Tarpon, called South Cove, adjacent to John Chestnut Sr. Park, can produce a number of great catches. The fishing extends to the Lake Tarpon Outfall Canal, usually at points along the banks, which are lined with cattail reeds until it finally drains into Tampa Bay. 

Finally, the western shoreline offers several small alcoves where bass will gather. Salmons Bay, located next to A.L. Anderson Park, and, further south, Dolly Bay and Little Dolly Bay (both of which contain deep holes) can all result in significant yields.

Lake Conditions and Policies

As far as changing lake conditions, Lake Tarpon is by far one of the less volatile in Florida. You will find the occasional storm passing through, but very few upset the ecological balance. Also, given its location in one of the more protected, moderate areas of the state, the conditions are often perfect year-round for fishing the lake.

Recent environmental pushes had increased the upkeep of the lake and the larger 52 square mile Tarpon watershed. 

It’s important to keep in mind that Lake Tarpon is a neighborhood recreational lake. Aside from the premier fishing, it’s a popular spot for boating and jet skiing.

Although the combination of location and stock make Lake Tarpon a prime location for weekend bass fishing tournaments, the daily bag limits help keep the fishery population healthy.

Currently, anglers are restricted to five, with an allowance of only one longer than 22 inches. Similar to other Florida lakes, the limited policy helps maintain a consistently high level of quality of fishing on the lake. 

Additional Info

Lake Tarpon is a massive draw for outdoor enthusiasts. As we’ve briefly touched on, two popular parks, John Chestnut Sr. Park in the southeast and A.L. Anderson Park in the northwest, sit directly next to the lake. 

Anderson Park Boat Ramp on Lake Tarpon
Anderson Park Boat Ramp on Lake Tarpon

A.L. Anderson Park Boat Ramp: 39699 US Hwy 19 N, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Boat Ramp Costs $6 and is paid at the ramp via credit card or cash.

The parks provide direct access to Lake Tarpon via public boat ramps (fee charged) and have several amenities, including restrooms, fishing piers, picnic areas with grills, playgrounds, and trails. Both parks, including the ramps, are open sunrise to sunset. 

If you can gain access, there is a private boat ramp located at the Lansbrook Lakefront Park, part of the Lansbrook community on the lake’s eastern shore. There is also one at Cobb’s Landing, another private community on the opposite side of the lake, and a ramp at the Lake Tarpon Sail and Tennis Club further north.

Lakeside Restaurants

At the north end of the lake is the Tarpon Turtle restaurant. A fantastic eatery directly on the water, the Tarpon Turtle provides free boat docking. Float in and grab a bite, or take it to go and enjoy a quality meal on the water.

Travelwise, Clearwater (15 miles) and Tampa (30 miles) offer the most direct access. Orlando and Fort Myers are each approximately two and a half hours away.

If you need help deciding when to go, keep in mind the height of bass spawning season on the lake is also prime time for spring training and Major League Baseball’s Florida Grapefruit League. Nine of the 15 teams in the league are within 100 miles of the lake, including the New York Yankees training facility 45 minutes away.

Final Thoughts

Florida boasts plenty of phenomenal bass fishing lakes. Lake Toho and Lake Kissimmee near Orlando. The St. Johns River or Rodman Reservoir south of Jacksonville. And, of course, the “Big O,” Lake Okeechobee, in south Florida. 

However, when it comes to overall bass fishing, few provide a better, more complete angling experience than Lake Tarpon.

From its accessibility and location to the serene setting once out on the water to the abundant population of bass, Lake Tarpon earns its distinction as the “Jewell of Pinellas County.” Next time you’re planning a bass fishing trip in Florida, make Lake Tarpon the top of your list.

Lake Okeechobee Bass Fishing Guide


Lake Okeechobee Fishing Guide: There are few better ways to spend a day than on a lake with your most trusted rod and reel. And there are very few lakes in Florida – or anywhere in the country – that can match the fisherman’s utopia of Lake Okeechobee.

Few inland bodies of water carry the grandeur and beauty of Lake Okeechobee. Spanning more than 730 square miles, the lake is the second-largest freshwater lake in the lower 48 states (Lake Michigan is bigger). 

Even better, it’s long been a fertile spot for the best bass fishing in the country. You’ll find more bass here that are seven pounds or more than you will in any other freshwater lake in the U.S.

Let’s explore Lake Okeechobee, what it holds for both experienced and novice anglers, and how to get the most out of your visit to the “Big O.”

About Lake Okeechobee

Fed predominantly through the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee is roughly an hour’s drive northwest of West Palm Beach, at the northern end of Florida’s famed Everglades. 

North End Map of Lake Okeechobee
North End Map of Lake Okeechobee

Often referred to as “Florida’s Inland Sea”, the earliest mentions of Lake Okeechobee (the name translated from Hitchiti Indian means “big water”) date back to the 16th century. Settlements began popping up around the lake in the early 18th century.

After a series of hurricanes devastated the area in 1926 and 1928, the Herbert Hoover Dike was constructed in the 1930s to assist in flood control, and then expanded in the 1960s for additional protection. This produced the lake we are accustomed to today.

Bass Fishing on Lake Okeechobee

Incredibly shallow considering its size – average depth is nine feet; 12 feet at its deepest point – Lake Okeechobee produces perfect environmental conditions for several fish species.  

Of course, when fishing the “Big O” it’s all about that bass, and the lake is arguably the best fishery for largemouth trophy bass in the country.  

Lake Okeechobee Bass Fishing – Parker Meets Scott Martin Challenge

The lake itself, thanks in large part to its lack of depth, produces an abundance of bushy vegetation and large swaths of grassy cover – arrowhead, cattails, eelgrass, hyacinth, hydrilla, lily pads, peppergrass – perfect for the predatory bass to hideout. 

Add to that consistently warm waters and ample food supply.

Further, the lake has a number of canals and waterways where bass congregate. During pre-spawn and spawn, bass will migrate to the shallowest depths of the lake, relentlessly feeding and nesting in the vegetation.

Although the primary allure for fishermen to the “Big O” is the famed largemouth bass, the lake’s freshwater is home to several other thriving species. Both crappie, or speckled perch, and bluegill propagate in the lake’s warm waters with more successful catches between fall and spring.

When considering the time frame for your trip, from late-autumn to through the end of spring is often the best window of opportunity on Lake Okeechobee.

Book Your Okeechobee Fishing Guide

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To hook your trophy bass at the “Big O,” the preferred bait comes down to artificial lures or wild shiners, with the latter the preferable choice. After all, it’s the bass’ meal of choice and certainly increases your catch opportunities. In terms of technique, there is no right or wrong to nab your catch. Flipping and pitching are always effective at Okeechobee, but so too is top-water frogging if you’re looking for more action.  

Where to Find Bass in Lake Okeechobee

Due to Lake Okeechobee’s size, navigating the area – both on and off the lake – can be a challenge for newcomers. Spread across five counties, there are a number of entry points with the area surrounding Clewiston and the town of Okeechobee being the most well-known.

Of course, finding the best areas to fish on a body of water the size of Lake Okeechobee is daunting. To get the most out of your visit, hiring a guide to help traverse the lake is a winning strategy. That said, there’s no reason you and your fishing party can’t go it alone. Big as it may be, even the top anglers have a little trial and error period based on current conditions.

Lake Okeechobee Bass Guide
Parker catching a Largemouth Bass on Lake Okeechobee on an anchored boat.

One thing that is a must, guide or no guide, is a fast boat. Obviously, you’re not going to warp speed atop the waves, but you also don’t want to waste too much time traveling from point A to point B. And depending on where bass are biting, it can take a bit longer to track than your average-sized lake back home. 

As far as the actual best spots to catch your trophy bass, you have a lot of options.

Generally speaking, the Rim Canal that circumvents the entire lake is a great starting point for Okeechobee newcomers. Conditions such as wind and volatility of the weather are a bit more predictable here than getting caught off guard on the lake.  

Additional Okeechobee Fishing Guide Information

The backwaters are typically excellent and can produce quite the haul in a small amount of time. And, if the lake levels happen to be lower than usual, the Rim Canel is an outstanding fallback.

The best rim canal spots include the Moore Haven Lock along the lake’s western edge and at the Miami Canal in Lake Harbor.

The entire area starting from Clewiston in the southwest corner of the lake, heading east to Lake Harbor and on to Belle Glade, stands as one of the premier fishing areas on the whole lake. Otherwise known as South Bay, this section of Lake Okeechobee is often the best bet for newcomers. 

It’s a big open space with lots of vegetation. Should your plans involve a winter excursion, fishing the Clewiston area tends to yield the best results. 

Fishing Okeechobee During The Summer

Fishing the lake in summer months may also prove rewarding but does require a bit more effort. Start early if possible, and as the day heats up focus on currents, spots with a lot of cover, or work deeper with your bait.

Heading northwest, you’ll encounter the famous Monkey Box. It’s a popular spawning spot for bass, so, no surprise, it’s regularly celebrated as one of the best catch points on the lake. The area works as something of a self-contained pond with a healthy amount of vegetation, including eelgrass, hydrilla, and hyacinths.

Additional hot spots just to the south of The Monkey Box include Cochran’s Pass and Moonshine Bay. Cochran’s Pass, in particular, is a high yield spot thanks to an outcropping of rocks behind the reed line.

Immediately to the north of Monkey Box is Harney Pond. Depending on the time of year, you’ll be met with hydrilla and large hyacinths mats and an active bass population. It’s location also provides a bit more protection from windy conditions.

Also here, heading back east towards the center of the lake, is a more underrated area of the lake, Observation Shoal. By no means an afterthought though, the shoal is one of two areas on the lake where you find constantly biting bass year-round (the other being King’s Bar in the northern part of the lake).

Lake Conditions and Policies

Just as vital to the areas you fish are the seasonal conditions you encounter out on the lake. Lake Okeechobee is very much a product of its environment, and always in a constant state of flux. Even in down seasons, when events such as hurricanes might upend the ecosystem, bass remain plentiful.

Lake Okeechobee Picture taken by Debbie Hanson https://www.acrartex.com/news/5-best-fishing-tips-for-lake-okeechobee

To find them, here’s what to look for throughout the year:

  • Winter (from December to February): clean water, spawning bass, hard bottom amidst the grass, hydrilla (and/or matted), reeds, cattails, and lily pads
  • Spring (March to May): clean water, full hydrilla, small depressions
  • Summer (June to August): shad, diving birds, deeper water, head beyond the grass
  • Fall (September to November): think cover, full hydrilla, lily pads

Once your bass start biting, there are bag limits in Florida. For bass caught in Okeechobee, the limit is five and includes only one fish 16 inches or longer in total length per angler per day, with no minimum length limit.

Additional Lake Okeechobee Guide Info

If you live anywhere in South Florida, a day trip to the “Big O” is easily doable. 

The town of Okeechobee at the northern tip of the lake is two and a half hours from Tampa; fewer than two hours from Orlando.

To reach Clewiston, in the southeast, it’s an hour from Fort Myers and 30 minutes more from Miami. It’s here you’ll find the most amenity-laden area at Lake Okeechobee. Moore Haven is also on this side of the lake, and similar to Clewiston has a ton of conveniences for those staying multiple days.

And finally, if you’re anywhere between West Palm Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Belle Glade, at the lakes southernmost point, is less than an hour away.

Regardless of where you set up base, you’ll find everywhere around the lake accommodating. There are over 30 boat launches, nine major marinas, and countless campgrounds, picnic areas, and facilities spread throughout the shore area. 

If you’re up for it on your day off from angling, there’s even a 110-mile nature trail circling the lake atop the Herbert Hoover Dike.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to remember that Lake Okeechobee is massive. It can be overwhelming for first-time visitors. Hiring one of the best fishing guides available throughout the lake region will help you get the most from your trip. Still, the do-it-yourself folks can see plenty of success too.

The key to a great day (or days) on the water is to do a little planning ahead of time and scope out your spots and secure your equipment before setting off. The bass will reward you for it.

Where Can I Find Bass in Lake Okeechobee?

As far as the actual best spots to catch your trophy bass, you have a lot of options. Generally speaking, the Rim Canal that circumvents the entire lake is a great starting point for Okeechobee newcomers. Conditions such as wind and volatility of the weather are a bit more predictable here than getting caught off guard on the lake. 

The backwaters are typically excellent and can produce quite the haul in a small amount of time. And, if the lake levels happen to be lower than usual, the Rim Canel is an outstanding fallback.

How deep is Lake Okeechobee?

Max Depth is 12 ft (3.7 m) Average depth of Lake Okeechobee 8 ft 10 in (2.7 m)

What is the best bait to catch bass on Lake Okeechobee?

3/8-ounce Dirty Jigs No-Jack Swim Jigs – one white and one green pumpkin with Zoom Super Speed Craws in matching colors. Poppin frogs, black n blue creature baits either on a jig or Texas rigged. Bladed jigs and burner worms will also product giant bass. Gold spinner baits can also be productive. All fished on 65-pound-test braid

MEGA 360 Imaging Ultimate Guide & Review – Humminbird


If you are an avid angler, you have probably heard about the recent release of the Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex. Open to the public just at the end of 2019, this new piece of technology could be a game-changer for fishing enthusiasts. 

It offers 360-degree imaging and includes the MEGA technology that has become famous in the Humminbird products. 

But what is the Humminbird MEGA 360 all about, and what is the big deal? Let us take a closer look at the Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex

What is Sonar and Imaging Technology and How Can it Help Anglers

Humminbird Helix 12 MEGA SI G3N
Humminbird Helix 12 MEGA SI G3N

Sonar and imaging fishing technology gives anglers the ability to understand what is below the surface of the water. These technologies produce picture-like images of underwater life. Using this technology, anglers can see the depth of the water as well as structures under the water. More top-of-the-line imaging technologies even allow people to “see” individual fish and their homes. 

Before these technologies became more developed for fishing, many anglers would rely on triangulation to find a productive fishing spot. Of course, this is still a practice that some people use today, but technology has come so far over the past few decades that these old school ways of fishing are not nearly as common. Sonar and GPS technology have become so powerful and so convenient that even hobby anglers use them. 

Using sonar technology while fishing will not make the fish jump into the boat or bite your fishing lure, but it will give you a ton of intel to help you catch that prize fish. 

Who is Humminbird and What are They Known For

Humminbird is a company that began in 1971 in a garage-like building in Eufaula, Alabama. Tom Mann, along with a few investors, started modifying Heath Kits. These modified kits became the first Humminbird Depth Sounders. What began as a small project soon grew into something that had a real market. 

In 1975, Humminbird introduced the waterproof depth sounder known as the Humminbird Super Sixty. It was an incredibly popular fishfinder and grew their sales exponentially. 

Today, Humminbird features imaging, sonar, mapping, and navigation products. Their mission statement explains, “For over 40 years Humminbird has operated with one goal in mind: create difference-making days for anglers out on the water. Day after day, year after year, we’ve done just that. It is no wonder we have become America’s favorite fish finder.”

What’s Exciting About the Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex

The Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex is a sonar imaging transducer kit that works with Minn Kota Trolling Motors. 

Humminbird was the first to take sonar into the Megahertz range, and this improvement has also been used in the development of the new Humminbird MEGA 360. 

MEGA 360 Imaging

Here are the things that make the Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex exciting:

  • 360-degree imaging beam. With the MEGA 360, you’re able to scan 360 degrees around your boat. The information is constantly updating, so you have the up-to-the-minute details on the water surrounding you. 
  • Custom viewing options. You can choose how the data appears on your screen. You have the option of a split-screen with a map on one side and sonar views on the other. Another thing you can control is the beam rotation speed. Lastly, you can zoom up to 10x to get a better view of a particular area or fish. 
  • The Humminbird MEGA 360 is compatible with other Humminbird devices. You can use the MEGA 360 along with the SOLIXS® Series and HELIX® Series fish finders. These fish finders are also equipped with MEGA imaging. 
  • Ability to mark a waypoint. If there’s a particular place you’d like to fish, you can mark the spot on your screen. Range rings will help you determine how much distance there is between you and your target. Once you have the mark set, just line up your cast to hit the right spot.
  • Custom sweep area. While the MEGA 360 has a 360-degree range, you can also change it to cover a smaller area of the water. You have the option of 10 to 360-degrees around your boat. 
  • A diameter of 250 feet around your boat. The range of the sonar reaches 125′ in every direction around your boat. 
  • Detailed imaging. The clarity with the MEGA 360 is incredible. The megahertz range allows you to view images in high detail. You’re able to see individual branches of a submerged tree and actual fish swimming around. Anglers are even able to see bluegill beds and individual bluegill swimming. 
  • Easy to use. The MEGA 360 is easy to use. Set it up and go. 

What are the Experts Saying About the Humminbird MEGA Imaging 360 Ultrex?

The Humminbird MEGA 360 has been a highly anticipated piece of technology, but how has it been received? What are the professionals in the field saying about the Humminbird MEGA 360, and is it worth the investment? 

The Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex is Award Winning 

At the 2019 international Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) trade show, the Humminbird MEGA 360 Ultrex was voted “best in electronics.” 

Chris Hatton, the Humminbird brand manager is quoted saying, “Humminbird has driven innovation in our industry by consistently developing breakthrough technologies and products. We’ve continued this trend by bringing our MEGA imaging capabilities to our 360 Imaging transducer, the only sonar option that provides a high-resolution 360-degree view around the boat. Providing sonar clarity more than three-times the traditional 455 kHz frequencies, Humminbird’s MEGA 360 allows anglers to mark waypoints and cast to structures accurately, maximizing every second on the water.”

Professional Anglers Weigh In

In an interview with The Bass University, professional angler Chris Zaldain spoke very highly of the Humminbird MEGA 360

He explains the usefulness of the Humminbird MEGA 360 by saying, “I use Humminbird 360 with MEGA Imaging…Basically, MEGA 360 is an underwater radar. So it’s a high-frequency sonar pinging that happens 360 degrees all around the boat…When you box that fish offshore, you hop up to the front of the boat, and the wind may have moved the bow, but just by looking down at your screen you know its exact angle so there’s no wasted cast. It shows every detail in every direction…No one else has this 360 degrees technology.”  

Kevin VanDamn (KVD) on the Humminbird MEGA 360

Extremely well-known tournament angler Kevin VanDam (KVD for short) shared his thoughts on the Humminbird MEGA 360 with Outdoor Sportsman Group at the 2019 ICAST show. 

He says, “I’ve been fortunate to be with Humminbird from the beginning of site imaging when it first came out. It’s part of the One-Boat Network where everything that we have is integrated. So my Ultrex, my Talon, my LakeMaster mapping, my Helix or Solix units, whatever you have. Now, with the 360 which it’s mounted right on the trolling motor, and all it does is scan everything around the boat.

Chuck Pippin On the MEGA 360 Imaging

“MEGA imaging came out a couple of years ago, and just the detail is incredible…I said with the 360 we got to have that same kind of detail. Now you can look at the screen and see the bait and the trees, it’s just like the MEGA imaging. It spells it out. You can see the bluegills. You can see the bluegills in the beds…. It’s incredibly detailed, and the beauty of it is you see everything around you… It’s a huge game-changer for me personally because I know the distance and direction of everything out there in the water.”

How Does the Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex Work?

The Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex mounts independently to the Minn Kota’s Ultrex bow-mount trolling Motor. Once mounted, it keeps a constant orientation and imaging of a 360-degree circle. The trolling motor can still be used, and the MEGA 360 will not affect any of the features of the Minn Kota® or Spot-Lock

When the MEGA 360 is connected to a compatible Helix or Solix unit, then the imaging can be shared through an Ethernet network. 

The images are revealed using a high-frequency beam. The MEGA 360 beam rotates like an underwater radar. It continually updates the information and sends it to your MEGA 360 imaging screen. 

Different shades on the screen give detail about things found under the water. Brighter colored images mean that there is a strong sonar return. Deep or soft water areas will appear darker on the screen while lighter shades will indicate a hard bottom or shallow area. 

Furthermore, the MEGA 360 also gives anglers the chance to see how tall or big objects are. Tall shadows cast by the object indicate a taller object, while short objects will cast a short shadow. Additionally, you can also use the shading and shadows to identify bait and game fish areas. A fish’s shadow can be used to see how far they are from the bottom of the water.    

Final Wrap-Up of the Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex

One of the best things about the Humminbird MEGA 360 is that it’s so versatile and so useful that it can be used by both amateur and tournament offshore anglers. This imaging system can be used in both shallow and deep water, making it far more marketable to a broader community of anglers. 

Where the Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex shines is in the details. Humminbird has taken the MEGA imaging technology and put it into a 360-degree model. The high-definition imaging can help anglers locate the exact place to cast. Currently, there’s no other product on the market quite like it. 

To summarize, the Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex is a real commodity for both weekend and professional anglers who want to get out on the water and find the perfect fishing spot. 

What is Humminbird 360 Imaging?

360-degree imaging beam. With the MEGA 360, you’re able to scan 360 degrees around your boat. The information is constantly updating, so you have the up-to-the-minute details on the water surrounding you.  You can even see fish swimming around your boat.

How Does The Humminbird 360 Imaging Work?

The Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging Ultrex mounts independently to the Minn Kota’s bow-mount trolling Motor. Once mounted, it keeps a constant orientation and imaging of a 360-degree circle. The trolling motor can still be used, and the MEGA 360 will not affect any of the features of the Minn Kota® or Spot-Lock

The images are revealed using a high-frequency beam. The MEGA 360 beam rotates like an underwater radar. It continually updates the information and sends it to your MEGA 360 imaging screen. 

Lady Anglers Create Awareness and Build Community


History tells us that women have been fishing just as long as men. Yet history also tells us that women have not had the same recognition as men in the sport. Relegated to the sidelines, only able to fish on “ladies’ days” or banned from fishing competitions altogether. Women were not considered equals.

Luckily, the majority of these discriminations are in the past due to a small community of lady anglers who recognized the inequalities in the industry and took action. Their goal, to create the changes they wanted to see.

Kate Hough FLW Co-Angler Of The Year 2019
Kate Hough FLW Co-Angler Of The Year 2019

That community of lady anglers has continued to grow. Now, more and more women are participating in fishing and outdoor activities. Yet the ratio of women to men who fish is still very small.

From the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation survey conducted in 2016: women ages 16 and above make up only about 27% of the total number of people who fish.

women ages 16 and above make up only about 27% of the total number of people who fish.

In order to increase that percentage, lady anglers all over the world are creating awareness. Additionally, they are building community and uniting resources so that inspiring lady anglers. The focus is to encourage, support and provide the knowledge they need to be successful in fishing. 

Women Making Waves In Professional Fishing.

Nikki Jo Hatten, the RNAngler (a play on her full-time job as a nurse and her second passion—angling), is using social media to share her love of fishing and to make other women aware that they can fish just as well, if not better, than men. “Social media and networking are game-changers,” Nikki Jo said.

“Fishing is a sport that women are equally equipped for…and more women need to see that.” Nikki Jo is an even rarer breed amongst women anglers in that she fishes competitively.

Nikki Jo Hatten Holding Two <a class=Largemouth Bass” class=”wp-image-398″/>
Nikki Jo Hatten Holding Two Largemouth Bass

Nikki Jo’s presence on Facebook and Instagram as the RNAngler is showing other women that fishing competitively isn’t just a man’s world anymore. She’s setting an example for other women to follow and influencing them to get involved in tournaments. “By showing [other women] how far some women are getting in the competitive bass world, I think it will let them know,

‘Hey, I can do that, too! She did!’” Nikki Jo said. She’s constantly posting updates on her tournament schedule, has sponsored product giveaways and networks relentlessly to connect with other women in the fishing world.

She only sees room for improvement and is hopeful that her presence on social media is paving the way for other women in competitive fishing. “I look forward to the coming years of competitive fishing and what it holds for us ladies,” she said. 

The Fishing Community Is Listening

But, because women in competitive fishing are so rare, there is not yet a robust community of women to share information, and this is one thing Stacy Fretina, another competitive angler, is changing.

She feels a large support network of female anglers will increase the number of women who qualify in tournaments. “In all fishing tournaments I fish, [men] share information with each other. Very few men share fishing spots and information with the lady anglers.

Stacy Fretina
Stacy Fretina

With very few lady anglers for help and advice, I see women giving up and not able to commit to more tournaments,” she said. Showing other women that it’s possible to become a pro despite some of these challenges is what drives Stacy.

And her drive paid off. Stacy has the honor of the first woman to be invited to participate in a new reality-based televised fishing tournament called the Elite Fishing League.

She’s not only the first woman to be invited, she is also the only woman featured on the TV series, fishing against 14 male competitors.

Her presence in the TV show lays the groundwork for more lady anglers to be included in the future. And, like Nikki Jo, she does her share on social media to build the community of support for women anglers all around the world. She shares her stories on Facebook and Instagram at Stacy_Fretina_Fishing. 

Connecting To A Wider Audience

Another popular media outlet that some of these influencers are using are podcasts. Angie Scott, along with co-host Barb Carey, put out The Woman Angler and Adventurer podcast to inspire women who have a passion for outdoor activities to do more, connect more, and, perhaps most importantly, share more.

Angie Scott Holding Jack Crevalle
Angie Scott Holding Jack Crevalle

They want women to teach and learn from each other, and, from that, they hope more women will get involved in outdoor activities. “It’s an uphill grind, but we’ll get there!” Angie said. And it seems they are getting there.

Reviews from listeners are nothing but glowing and show that the podcast is inspiring action. Listener Wendy Lister wrote, “I’ve been fishing exactly twice in my life…[Angie] has an amazing voice, and it is transcendent to listen to someone talk about their passion. It’s working because I’m developing an inexplicable desire to give fishing another go.”

But, it’s not just listeners who think the podcast is good; fellow communications professionals and associations have taken notice of the impact the podcast is making.

The Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers found The Woman Angler and Adventurer podcast so good, in fact, they awarded it three awards at the 2019 Awards-in-Craft for Excellence in the Outdoors Industry. Currently, Angie and Barb release one episode per week on Tuesdays, but soon they will release a new episode on Fridays, as well.

They agree that the more information that’s geared towards women that’s out there, the better. 

Women In Fishing, A Growing Trend

Again, awareness is key in growing women’s participation in this sport, be it for recreation or for competition. Wanda Stewart is one lady angler who did not grow up fishing. She did find it later in life and has since made it her mission to spread the fishing-love as much as she can.

She said, “It’s never too late in life to reinvent yourself or chase your dream. Sportfishing has become my life. Helping other women get onboard is a no brainer.” She has manifested her dream of sharing her passion for fishing in a few ways.

Wanda Stewart Holding A Redfish
Wanda Stewart Holding A Redfish

One is that she found, Fish Louisiana with Wanda Stewart, where she connects people who want to fish in Louisiana with guides. Another is that she became co-owner of RodnReel.com, which provides fishing reports, tide, and solunar data.

And yet another way she’s sharing information is that she’ll be launching a podcast and blog about fishing directed at lady anglers in 2020 called Rod ‘n Reel Girls Talk Fishing. Wanda is certainly doing as much as she can to make it be known that women are welcome in fishing. 

Other Challenges Women Face In Fishing

Making it be known that women are fishing, are good at it and are welcome in the sport is one challenge. However, there are some practical challenges, as well.

One challenge, particularly in the fly-fishing world, is clothing and gear. Properly fitting chest waders designed specifically for women, to be exact.

In the past, women were forced to buy waders designed for men, whose physique is typically opposite of a women’s. Women’s hips are wider than men’s, and women’s torsos are narrower than men’s. Try fitting into a piece of clothing that’s designed for exactly the opposite body shape. Now try fishing all day with it on.

Kimberly Ranalla saw an opportunity to address this after talking to her daughter and other female anglers. The problem: they could only buy garments designed for men that were ill-fitting and unstylish.

So in 2018, Kimberly started Miss Mayfly, a company that designs chest waders specifically for women’s body shapes. As well as a focus on foot/bootie size.

“It took a woman to understand what women need,” she said. Miss Mayfly offers slim, curvy, full and plus sizes, all of which have three different bootie sizes to choose from. It’s obvious to Kimberly and the staff at Miss Mayfly just how underserved women are in the gear industry when they sold out of their first production run very quickly.

Miss Mayfly is working on another production cycle, and the waders will be for sale again soon.

The World Of Women’s Fishing Is Just Beginning

The women highlighted here are just a few of those who are out there creating awareness. Even more, they are building community and encouraging more women into the world of fishing.

Nicole Foor (FLW Co-Angler of the Year 2017)
Nicole Foor – FLW Co-Angler of the Year 2017

Other lady anglers, like Ronnee Klinger, Nicole Foor, Nikki Hames, Melissa Maguire Larson, and Laura Cairns McKnight, are each doing their part to encourage more women to fish.

We thank them for their contribution to helping shape this article. These ladies are the wave-makers, boat-rockers, and disrupters in the world of women’s fishing. All of them exude excitement and positivity when you talk to them about fishing.

All they want is for more women to feel the freedom from everyday life. To feel the connection to nature, the pure fun, thrills, and excitement that fishing provides.

And with what they are doing to make other women aware of all that goodness, the number of women who fish will only continue to increase. 

Resources mentioned in this article and more for women anglers:

Nikki Jo Hatten: Facebook and Instagram
Stacy Fretina: Facebook and Instagram
Angie Scott: The Woman Angler and Adventurer
Wanda Stewart: Fish Louisiana with Wanda Stewart and RodnReel.com
Kimberly Ranalla: Miss Mayfly

Ladies Let’s Go Fishing
Indiana Bass N Gals
Gateway Bass N Gals
Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation Making Waves
Lady Bass Anglers Association
International Women’s Fishing Association
Wisconsin Women Fish
The Women Ice Angler Project
Able Women 
DUN Magazine
Orvis 50/50 On the Water Project

Orlando Bass Fishing Guide


In this Orlando bass fishing guide, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about Orlando bass fishing. 

What comes to mind when you think about Orlando? If you’re like most people, you probably think about theme parks, golf courses, and fun in the sun. After all, Orlando is the land of Mickey Mouse, massive resorts, and a whole lot of sightseers. 

But what most people don’t know is that Orlando is also a great place to go fishing. In fact, Orlando bass fishing is some of the best in the state. If you’re looking to land a lunker bass, Orlando is a great place to go. 


Let’s dive in. 

Orlando Bass Fishing Guides

If you want to catch a trophy bass in Orlando, you’re probably going to need a guide/charter. You need someone who has a significant amount of experience catching lunker largemouth bass. Someone who knows the Orlando bass fishing lakes inside and out. Someone who knows where to fish, when to fish, and how to fish. Without a guide, you may end up spending hours and hours on the water and still not catch the trophy fish you’re after. 

Best Bass Charter In Florida
Chuck Pippin Charter Captain

One such guide who meets all these qualifications is Chuck Pippin. With over 19 years as an Orlando bass fishing guide, Chuck certainly knows where to locate the big ones. He spends over 300 days every year on the water, and specializes in using artificial lures. However, if you want to use golden shiners to catch trophy largemouth bass, you can do that too. 

Perhaps most important of all, Chuck is determined to help anglers have an amazing experience on the water. His “no fish, no pay” policy ensures that you’ll get the absolute best service possible. 

And if you’re staying in an Orlando or Kissimmee hotel or resort, free transportation is usually available. 

Orlando Bass Fishing Guide To Lakes

Despite being a relatively well-developed area, Orlando has numerous outstanding bass fishing lakes, all capable of producing huge fish. Simply put, you don’t have to drive far from Orlando to find great bass fishing. 

Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho)

Located in Kissimmee, which is only 18 miles south of Orlando, Lake Toho has long been known as a stellar bass fishing lake. It achieved notoriety when, in 2001, professional angler Dean Rojas set a new B.A.S.S. tournament total weight record, hauling in a whopping 108 pounds of largemouth bass. In total, 21 bass over 10 pounds were caught and 251 individuals reached the fish-fish limit. But don’t think these kinds of results are only limited to tournaments. Anglers regularly pull trophy fish from the waters of Lake Toho. 

West Lake Toho Bass Fishing Map
West Lake Toho Bass Fishing Map by Mark Evans

Why is the lake so productive? Several reasons. First, there is plenty of cover for the fish. Second, the water is absolutely full of nutrients. Third, the consistently warm weather allows the bass to stay active longer and grow larger. It’s the perfect recipe for big bass in large numbers. 

The lake is 18,800 acres so if you are looking to catch huge bass or lots of them the best thing to do is hire a lake Toho fishing guide.

Lake Butler (Butler Chain Of Lakes)

Located just nine miles from Disney World, Lake Butler is a fantastic place to go hunting for largemouth bass. A lot of people think the butler chain is fishing in Disney World. Lake Butler is actually a series of 11 interconnected lakes sprawling over 4,720 acres in Orlando. It’s important to note that boat access to Lake Butler is limited to one county ramp at Lake Isleworth. It costs $5/day or $150/year to use the ramp. 

Butler Chain Bass Fishing Map
Butler Chain Bass Fishing Map

By fishing the offshore structures in the lakes, anglers can consistently catch five-pound bass. Another popular and effective method is free-lining shiners over drop-offs, ledges, humps, and grass edges, especially those near to spawning flats. When the air and water get colder and the fish gather in groups, jigging spoons over deep-water humps can be tremendously effective. 

Lake Conway (Conway Chain of Lakes)

Like Lake Butler, Lake Conway is a series of interconnected lakes (or pools). There is a north pool, south pool, east pool, and west pool. It’s located in the southern Orlando area, approximately 13 miles from Disney World. There are two boat ramps available to the public, with the largest located off Hoffner Avenue. 

Spanning over 1,800 acres, the Conway Chain of Lakes has beautifully clear water and hard sand bottoms. Patches of hydrilla, eelgrass, and peppergrass can be found throughout the lake. 

Lake Conway Sunrise
Lake Conway Boat Ramp

During the dead of summer, it can be a bit harder to catch bass in the Conway Chain of Lakes due to the fact that the bass suspend in deeper water. During other times of the year, however, fishing is excellent. This is especially true during the late fall and early winter when the bass travel in schools. When cold, post-front conditions move in, bass can be caught from these schools. 

To locate the schooling bass, watch for birds feeding offshore. When you spot a school of bass, try using topwater lures, soft jerkbaits, jigging spoons, or white spinnerbaits. 

Lake Kissimmee (Kissimmee Chain of Lakes)

Situated 29 miles from Disney World, Lake Kissimmee is the largest lake in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Covering approximately 36,700 acres, the lake is known for producing trophy largemouth bass. There are boat ramps at various points along the lakeshore. 

Populated by a variety of wildlife, it’s not uncommon to see bald eagles, whitetail deer, turkeys, and maybe even a bobcat. The surrounding area is an undeveloped state wildlife area and protected wetlands, presenting a truly glorious and secluded environment for anglers. 

Lake Kissimmee Guide Fishing In the Grass

Large expanses of aquatic grass can be found at Brahma Island, Tiger Cove, North Cove, and Philadelphia point. These stands of grass are the perfect place to fish for bass during winter and spring. Plastic baits, crankbaits, and golden shiners work well in these areas. If fly fishing is your preference, there are miles of shoreline for you to explore. 

Lake Walk-In-Water (Lake Weohyakapka)

Spanning 7,528 acres, Lake Walk-In-Water is a fantastic place to catch trophy bass in Orlando. Also known as Lake Weohyakapka, the lake is clear, and on calm days when the water is smooth, you can see the bottom even without wearing polarized sunglasses. Cattails, bulrushes, Kissimmee grass, shrimp grass, eelgrass, and hydrilla provide plenty of cover for bass. 

If you want to use live bait, drifting shiners around offshore ledges regularly produces good catches. Topwater artificial baits also work particularly well. If you’re fishing around the docks in shallow water, consider using a jig. If you’re fishing a bit deeper, a rattletrap or crankbait can be especially productive. 

One of the reasons Lake Walk-In-Water consistently produces large bass is that the State of Florida Fish and Game Commission has imposed a catch-and-release program. Any bass between 15 and 24 inches long must be put back immediately. You can keep three bass that are less than 15 inches or two bass less than 15 inches and one greater than 24 inches. This strict program has allowed the bass in the lake to grow large. 

Stick Marsh/Farm 13

Located about 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Orlando, Stick Marsh/Farm 13 is a 6,700-acre reservoir is known for producing big largemouth bass. Created in 1987, it was heavily stocked with both bass and crappie. It opened in 1990, and since then it has been a favorite of Florida bass anglers. The reservoir has many man-made and natural objects in it, which offer cover for bass but present hazards to boaters. If you’re not familiar with the area, use caution when fishing it. 

The best times to fish Stick Marsh/Farm 13 are in the early morning and late evening, when the sun is not as hot. Fishing after thunderstorms can be particularly productive. During the summer season, bass can be found throughout the reservoir, usually close to the tops of underwater levees and near woody structures. When the rainy season comes, look for water control outflows. Bass tend to congregate near these to feed. 

If you want to use live bait, golden shiners work especially well. Anglers tend to have success with artificial lures that look like shad, which is a central part of the bass diet. Topwater lures and crankbaits are very effective. 

Lake Blue Cypress

Spanning 6,555 acres, Lake Blue Cypress is a bass angler’s paradise. With an average depth of only 8 to 9 feet, the lake has plentiful vegetation which provides outstanding cover for trophy bass. Large bass can be found around the lily pads, sawgrass, submerged logs, and cypress roots. The water is known for being especially clear and clean. 

The largest bass ever caught in Lake Blue Cypress was 18 pounds, 5 ounces, a true whopper in every sense of the word. 

John’s Lake

Situated just northwest of Orlando, Johns Lake is located 6 miles east of the great bass fishing Clermont Florida. John’s Lake is known for consistently producing trophy largemouth bass. With a large amount of structure and a significant number of weed beds, there is plenty of cover where the big bass can hide. In the early 2000s, the lake was restocked with 500,000 fingerling bass, and many of these bass have grown to trophy size. 

Johns Lake <a class=Bass Fishing Map” class=”wp-image-269″/>
Johns Lake Bass Fishing Map by Mark Evans Maps

A variety of lures can be effective on John’s Lake. In particular, rattling lipless crankbaits and plastic worms work very well. Topwater lures tend to be effective in the spring and fall, while slower lures tend to work better during the warm summer months. 

A canal connects the two main lakes, and schooling bass can often be found in the canal both early and later in the day. During midday, the areas just outside either end of the canal can be productive.

Fishing Orlando Vs. Fishing Disney World 

If you’ve done any Googling, you may have discovered that Disney World offers guided trips on their private lakes. Should you consider booking a fishing expedition in Disney World? 

Well, maybe. It depends on what your goals are. 

The lakes in Disney World certainly have plenty of largemouth bass. However, they’re not known for producing particularly big bass. You’ll probably catch bass between one to three pounds, with the occasional five-pound bass thrown in. Not bad, but not great either. You can easily catch bass this size in other parts of the United States. 

Also, most Disney World fishing trips are done in pontoon boats, as opposed to bass boats. If you’re anticipating a ride in a high-performance bass boat, you probably will be disappointed by Disney World. 

Finally, you probably won’t see as much wildlife in a Disney World fishing trip compared to one of the other Orlando lakes. After all, Disney World is a finely tuned ecosystem. They’re very careful about what types of wildlife they let into their lakes. If you want to see things like alligators or bald eagles, you’re probably better off fishing one of the other Orlando lakes. 

Bottom line: if you want to catch trophy bass, ride in a high-powered bass boat, and see plenty of wildlife, don’t book a Disney World fishing excursion. 

Ready To Catch Your Lunker? 

Hopefully, this Orlando bass fishing guide has been helpful to you. Most people don’t realize that the Orlando area is home to some of the United States best bass fishing. When they think of Orlando, they think of tourist attractions, like Universal Studios and Disney World. 

But with numerous high-quality lakes holding trophy bass, Orlando is actually a premier fishing destination. 

So if you’re looking for great bass fishing, great weather, and beautiful scenery, book your Orlando fishing trip. You won’t regret it. 

Catching A Dream


Catching fish and inspiring others to fish isn’t the only thing Kate Hough is good at. Kate-—mother, teacher and professional angler—is also good at catching her dreams and motivating others to do the same.

The support she lends to her first-grade students, her two kids Zoe and Ben, friends, family and especially women in the professional fishing world is tireless. From hosting fundraising fishing tournaments to helping P.E. classes obtain fishing equipment to giving casting classes to women who are interested in the sport of fishing, Kate does her best to make anything possible for anyone. 

Kate recently, however, had to make what seemed like an impossible dream possible for herself. 

Kate’s dream was to become the first-ever female co-angler of the year in the South Carolina division of the Bass Fishing League. She worked hard through the year to be in a good position at the final tournament at Lake Hartwell, but just 17 days before that final tournament, Kate became temporarily paralyzed from the waist down from a rare neurological disorder called transverse myelitis (TM). 

Kate Hough Intensive Care

“The entire time I was in the hospital, I thought about how will I finish the season, how will I try and make my goal. As the days got closer to the tournament, I never gave up hope,” Kate said. 

Her hope paid off. With the help of medical professionals, friends, family and her biggest supporter of all, her fiancé Jeffrey, Kate was able to work through the temporary paralysis enough to be discharged in time to fish the Super Tournament, just in time to continue chasing her dream.

Kate Grice Hough

With her self-described stubbornness and dedication and motivated by reaching her goal, she worked through the pain, the heat and the mental challenges of fishing with a new medical condition. And, despite falling several times on the boat and not fishing her best, in the end, she caught enough fish to earn the points she needed to win co-angler of the year. She had caught her dream—literally by hook, line, and sinker.

At weigh-in, when I found out that I had won, I was in disbelief. It didn’t hit me until I called to tell my mom,” Kate recalled.

Kate’s ability to turn her dream into reality all while dealing with a life-changing disorder has been inspirational to so many.

From her Instagram page, KateCanFish, follower stephanie_mez posted, “Congratulations!! I was at the [award ceremony] and saw you receive [the co-angler of the year award]. Awesome to see a woman receive this honor in a male-dominated sport.” 

FLW Tour Co-Angler of the Year Kate Hough
FLW Tour Co-Angler of the Year Kate Hough

Kate hopes she can continue to be a role model. 

But, in order to get back to full role-model capacity, Kate is in need of financial support. Since her diagnosis, she has been on unpaid medical leave from her job as a first-grade teacher; she will be out for at least another six months, as well. Daily necessities for herself and her two children and regular household bills are a challenge to cover, not to mention the medical bills that are rolling in. 

Kate’s best friend Vikki Gaillard is helping to raise money for Kate. Vikki said, “Kate is a supportive friend when you need encouragement and an enthusiastic cheerleader during your successes. She embraces the personal challenges with class, positivity, and strength. She is a role model and a blessing to the many, many lives she has touched.” 

Kate Hough Recovery
Kate Hough In Recovery

They’ve managed to raise some money, and Kate is grateful to have gotten the support she has thus far. “It has brought me to tears, the generosity and support of my family and friends from near and far away,” she said. “My fiancé Jeffrey has been working very hard to try and provide, too.”

But, there’s much more to be done and more financial support is needed.

Donations will help Kate to the speediest recovery possible so she can get back to being a mother, teaching her students, catching fish, catching dreams and supporting others in the pursuit of their dreams. 

Kate can be found on Instagram at KateCanFish or on Facebook at Kate G. Hough Catch, Kiss, and Release Fishing. 

To make a donation to help with Kate’s medical bills, please visit GoFundMe.