Get ready to tussle with a trophy-sized largemouth bass in some of Central Florida's most beautiful freshwater lakes. Within this article, you'll find information on the different lakes frequented by fishing charters as well as some knowledge on bass fishing, in general.
When you think of the waterways in Central Florida, your mind probably turns to images of fan boats cruising over shallow, weedy, stained water. You probably even think of alligators lurking in the dark backwaters. However, while Central Florida is certainly known for fan boats and gators, their real claim to fame is trophy bass fishing.
Throughout Florida's interior, you'll find a number of lakes stocked with world-renowned largemouth bass. And local residents have taken full advantage of this, developing professional fishing charters that allow visitors to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime fishing experience.
North American anglers have been tussling with the game fish colloquially known as black bass for hundreds of years. Now, of course, there are a number of black bass species scattered throughout North America. These include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass (also known as Kentucky bass), Guadalupe bass, and a number of other species and subspecies.
The largemouth bass is Florida's state freshwater fish. So, naturally, there are a lot of them. The largemouth is an olive-green fish. They're marked with dark, often black, blotches that form a jagged horizontal stripe down either side of their body. Their upper jaw reaches far beyond the rear margin of the eye. Largemouth bass traditionally put up a good fight, making them a sought after game fish.
Over the years, bass fishing has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry. It's become a full-fledged sport that's aired alongside of other North American pastimes like baseball and football. This has led to the development of advanced fishing gear, including rods, reels, lines, lures, electronic depth and fish-finding instruments, drift boats, float tubes, and specialized bass boats.
Central Florida consists of a number of freshwater lakes, which serve as prime hunting grounds for trophy-sized largemouth bass. Common spots for local fishing charters include:
Majority of fishing charters in Central Florida stick to the Kissimmee Chain. At the top of this chain rests Lake Toho, a largemouth bass hotspot that covers 22,700 acres. For the most part, the lake is fairly shallow with approximately 1/3 of it consisting of maidencane grass and bulrush reeds. In addition to being stocked with bass, Lake Toho is also conveniently located 20 miles from downtown Orlando, 12 miles from Disney World, and 16 miles from the Orlando International Airport.
Undoubtedly, Lake Toho is the most revered spot for largemouth bass in Central Florida.
Cypress Lake, also part of the Kissimmee Chain, is located just 4 miles south of Lake Toho. While it's considerably smaller, covering 5,500 acres, the fish are just as big, if not bigger. Cypress Lake is especially popular during spawning season when hydrilla is present. This lake provides fishing with little pressure alongside of fantastic scenery.
Located just little over 10 miles south of Lake Toho is Lake Kissimmee. The lake, which covers 44,000 acres, is also part of Lake Kissimmee State Park. As one of the most beautiful lakes in the state, it offers breathtaking scenery in addition to an abundance of largemouth bass. The park is rich with wildlife, including bald eagles, white tailed deer, bobcats, turkeys, sandhill cranes and more.
Located in Orlando, minutes from Disney, the Conway Chain of Lakes consists of two lakes—Lake Conway and Little Lake Conway—formed by four interconnected pools—east, west, middle, and south pools. These clear water lakes allow anglers to see depths of up to 12 feet or more. It features a hard sand bottom with beds of peppergrass, eelgrass, and hydrilla scattered offshore. Water depths change drastically on this chain and there are many deep water drops and ridges. Be mindful, though, that this is an urban lake. While it features large schools of bass, there are only two public boat ramps, so you might have to do some waiting.
If you plan on freshwater fishing for largemouth bass in Florida, you will need to get a Florida Fishing License. Everyone over the age of 16 is required by law to have this document. But don't worry, they're rather simple to obtain.
A three-day non-resident Fishing Freshwater License costs $17.00 per person, which can be purchased in a few different ways.
You can purchase a license online through the Florida Fish and Game. You can also call a toll-free number (1-888-347-4350) at any time up to the very morning of the fishing trip to get your license. They will give you a number to keep in your wallet for the fish and wildlife officer and send a receipt to your home address. In order to avoid an online convenience fee of $3.50, you can also get your license at any Orlando Bass Pro Shop or Wal-mart up to the day before your trip.