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Event - Florida Bass Fishing

Trophy Bass Fishing in Florida, Lake Toho Style (continued)

Time to go fishing: We met up with Steve at the launch ramp at 5:00am and planned for a full day on the water. Steve was excited to show us everything the lake had to offer and we loaded up into his 20 foot Triton which is powered by a 225 Mercury Optimax. We made it out of the marina and onto the water just as the sun started to come up and after just ten short minutes of running time Steve was pulling out rods and we got to fishing.

I used Koppers lures on the trip

Cal and I both started with baits that ran directly under the surface, Cal opted for small swimbaits while I fished a shallow running jerkbait. Even before the sun rose it was already over 80 degrees outside and as the sun came up we got our first real look at Toho. The lake looked and felt very natural with grass and tules at all the edges.

Steve and Cal work both sides of the boat in open water

We were fishing in what looked like open water but the depth was no more than six feet. As I retrieved the jerkbait I made positive contact with a lot of soft structure. “That’s the hydrilla,” Steve explained “when you make contact here take a second and slowly pull out of it, sometimes fish will take it as it breaks away.” I followed his directions and it didn’t take long before I got a missed strike. After that point I was setting on just about everything, unfortunately I was just getting rewarded with hydrilla bits on the end of my treble hooks.

Zander catches a little guy to start it out

As the sun rose higher we also got a better look at the water. While it was clear it had a very distinct brownish hue to it, in fact the entire lake looked “tea stained.” While Cal and I were fishing and taking in the sights Steve motioned to the left and said “over there you can see fish just starting to break across the surface.” We turned to the direction he was pointing and didn’t see anything other than small wind waves. Either Steve was messing with us or he was seeing things that we just were not used to seeing.

Soon afterwards Zander hooks into a better fish...

He pointed to the right and asked us to cast in that direction for fish chasing bait. Again we didn’t observe anything on the surface but followed his directions. Within two casts I had my first Lake Toho bass on the line. This little fish wasn’t anything to write home about but it got the skunk off the boat and made it clear that Steve knew what he was talking about, and I wasn’t going to doubt him the next time he pointed out a direction to cast.

...a lot better. This is exactly what we came to Toho for

Steve knew I wanted to fish cranks and even though there was hydrilla everywhere he decided we could get one to work. Using a variety of shallow diving cranks he instructed me to hold my rod up high to get the crank to wobble back and forth as close to the surface as possible. “Hold it up so it doesn’t snag in the hydrilla,” Steve said, “your definitely still going to snag up but again just pull softly and a fish might just chase and strike right after the lure pulls free.”

Steve releases the fish back into the tea stained water

I fished the crankbait exactly as he described, and Toho was so weedy that every few cranks I found myself snagged up. But like Steve explained all it took was a slight lift of the rod to break free. It was right after breaking free from some hydrilla did a fish hit my bait. We knew immediately it was a nice fish from the swirl it put out as it committed to the bait.

Steve points out activity on the waters edge

“Were going to need the net,” I exclaimed. “Don’t worry just play her real easy and I’ll hand line the fish,” Steve responded. The bass made two big dives and had me worried for a few seconds but within a few minutes Steve had the fish in hand and I was grinning ear to ear holding a seven pounder. “That’s what I call Florida fishing!” I exclaimed.

Cal surveys the marina as we take a break for lunch

At this point we had a few fish in the boat and Steve decided to break the day into two parts so we could experience both the sunrise and sunset peak periods. We went for lunch and it was then we got to know Steve a whole lot better. It is pretty much a given that quality guides can even make a slow day of fishing fun, and Steve is able to do just that with a combination of great stories, his exceptional knowledge of the lakes in the Orlando region, and his positive outlook on life. Before we knew it the break was over and we were back on the water.

Back on the water Zander casts towards the weed mats

Next Section: The weather on Toho turns on us









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