Lake Kissimmee, Florida

Lake Kissimmee, Florida

Pro Terry Seagraves lives in Kissimmee, so I wasn't surprised when he picked Lake Kissimmee as his favorite place to fish. I was surprised, though, when he said June. "The weather gets stable, it's not quite hot, it's before hurricane season, and it's consistently the best time for big fish." He did confide that "early in the day was best."

"Look for grass; any kind works, but mostly you're fishing hydrilla," advised the resident pro. "The grass is really dynamic, definitely changing over a year, but it even changes within a month. The advantage goes to the angler that recognizes that."

Early in the day, start fishing at the edge of the surface-matted hydrilla and work out to where hydrilla is a couple feet tall. The edge of the hydrilla often indicates a hard sand or shell bottom or maybe a slight drop of 6 to 18 inches. Big fish trail the edge of the vegetation. Seagraves relies on a lipless crank bait to cover water—chrome for sunny days, non-flashing shad color for cloudy days. The bass are often concentrated, likely on something different. When he gets a few bites, he slows down and fishes a sinking worm, fluke, or a Texas or Carolina rigged junebug or black/blue tail ribbontail worm. Mark the spot. Moe on when the bite fades, but keep working that area on successive days.

When a.m. turns to p.m., reverse the approach—start at the outside edge of the hydrilla and work torwards the mat. Seagraves likened it to eating in an outdoor restaurant: "find a table out of the sun." Seagraves pitches and flips black/blue/silver flake and junebug Sweet Beavers and Berkley Craws to the thick cover, always giving extra attention to any change in depth or vegetation, like a patch of grass, pads, or hyacinths. Look for hydrilla that is "topped out" (growing horizontally on the surface) and the unusual.

"Confidence if vital when you are fishing for the big bite," counseled Seagraves. When you're on a roll, stay on it. When you get out of the zone, that's when you need to work the hardest."

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