I DO NOT have this bite figured out and by no means can speak as an authority. Something is always bedding on Okeechobee….bass, bluegill, talapia/goggle-eyes, and Asian armored catfish. There is a cycle and way of life in the lake, in all lakes I suppose, that mirrors this to some level. You notice bass beds become bluegill beds or talapia/goggle-eye beds. The beds get re-used. Sometime I’ll share what I do with the 3:16 Rising Son around bedding bass, but for now, just wanted to share a nice one I got on Okeechobee over the weekend. It’s NOT easy out there for me. Okeechobee is on a fickle cycle for a swimbait guy. Lots of algae bloom, weird color water, bad wind, overgrown and choked out. The good black clear water I like to fish is really hard to come by. The fish are more ‘outside’ grass edge oriented and ideally, I’d have nice black clear water, or inside grass pools with enough depth and life to hold fish. The bite right now, as usual, is a flipping and punching bite. That is how you will win on Okeechobee. If tide and time completely come together and you make the right moves during a 4 day event to pull it off, I think a sight fish/swimbait bite could beat a pure punching bite. I missed my opportunity, twice, at the Tour level to prove and show that. I have nightmares about it. It haunts me, and that is no joke.
I am fishing in and around the Monkey Box, Harney Pond, North Shore area and I found some big hydrilla beds with clean water and bedding bluegill, that is all I can tell you. Hydrilla seems to be key for me, and I know was key for Brent Ehrler when the Tour was here and he finished 2nd. And Lord knows I could/should be punching, I just love the challenge of finding swimbait fish. The bite is way more a flipping bite and pitching jigs at the reeds. Anyway, I’ve found some bluegill beds (I think) in some thick hydrilla fields, and the water is by far the best black water I have found, and the water is fishable. The grass is not topped out in some pools and you can swim a bait thru it quite nicely. The 3:16 Sunfish (the Bluegill color is killer too) is a favorite bait of mine. I fish it with a 1/0 ST-36 Owner Stinger Hook, and 65# Braid, M Action 8 footer, and a Curado 300. It has a very down the line, nose down swim, which is amazing for a line thru bait with a 45 degree angle of attack between hook and line thru insert in the bait, that you’d think would bias more upward. The bait does not swim up or plane up, it really keeps its depth and drive ‘right’ on the straight grind. You don’t have to be overly technical to get the right down the line swim out of the bait, and can stall, snatch and buzz/burn it along too. It’s just a great bait, and I’m learning that May/June is bed time for bluegill all over the South, including Florida. You need to be throwing bluegill baits, and the post-spawn time of the bass tends to lead into the bluegill/brim spawn, which tends to be when the heat is setting in, mid Spring style. I catch fish on the 3:16 Sunfish and 22nd Century Bluegill right now.