Lake O anglers brave cold to catch big bass

OKEECHOBEE — Cold temperatures earlier this week didn’t keep boat captain Ryan Eckman and two clients from West Virgina off the Big O, and their efforts were well rewarded.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/RLE Big Fish Adventures
LAKE OKEECHOBEE — Angela Jenkins caught a big bass that weighed in at 11.04 pounds while fishing Lake Okeechobee on Tuesday. She was fishing with Jason Fridley (pictured) and fishing guide Ryan Eckman. Angela and Jason are from West Virgina, so temperatures that had Floridians shivering didn’t stop them from enjoying the big lake.

Jason Fridley and Angela Jenkins, both from West Virginia, fished Monday and Tuesday, explained Mr. Eckman of RLE Big Fish Adventures. He said they fished six hours each day. The big catch came around 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

“The weather was the coldest it will probably get all year and the wind was howling 30 plus mph,” he said. “We were one of four boats at the ramp but we stayed optimistic and went out to chase giant bass.”

The West Virginia couple “hit the Okeechobee lottery and won their prize of one of the biggest bass in the lake at 11.04 pounds,” said Mr. Eckman. “This bass will more than likely be the biggest bass caught on Okeechobee in all of 2020!”

He said they fished Grassy Island on the north end of Lake Okeechobee, about 5 minutes from the mouth of Kissimmee River, using large wild shiners purchased from Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters.

The big bass “came from underneath a water lettuce and hyacinth floating mat blown up against a thick patch of round reeds,” he explained.

He noted these bass need cover to survive and spawn healthily.

He said anglers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to catch a bass of a lifetime on the beautiful Lake Okeechobee. The West Virgina anglers practiced catch and release, so that big bass is still in the Big O.

“It’s the biggest one I have heard of so far this year on Lake Okeechobee,” said Mike Krause at Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters. “That’s a giant fish.” Cold weather can make fish more sluggish, he said, so it is even more impressive they caught the big bass during a cold snap. He said the fishing should be even better as the water warms up again and next week brings a full moon.

For more about RLE Big Fish Adventures, see their page on Facebook.

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