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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just in case you check this board more often than you do your e-mail (I just sent you an e-mail, but I'm leaving at 2:30 a.m. tomorrow)...I'm desperately seeking advice on Lake Kissimee. I will be fishing it tomorrow and Sunday and have never even seen the lake before. The launch is 3 miles south of the lake on the river. Have you ever fished this lake or the river? If so, any advice/cautions you could share would be greatly appreciated. Yes, I know this is AZBassZone, but I can't find anything similar in FL...and Lone Ranger fished these lakes for years.
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
If my memory serves correctly, when I used to watch the Lone Ranger series, he would show when needed. I think you need to be in distress or have someone taking stuff from your boat. Then he just shows up.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You'd think! But when all my gear was stolen about 6 months ago in Phoenix, nobody showed. The insurance company advised me that I shouldn't put in a claim as it would cost me more in the long run...hadn't even thought about the angle of suing the Lone Ranger for lack of assistance to re-coup my losses....Oh well, off to Kissimee in 5 hours without an inside scoop.
 

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Who is that masked man?

Hi Brandon,

I also emailed the following to you. I check my email in the morning and at night during the week and several times a day on the weekends, so please don't sue! :lol:

I fished Lake Kissimmee about 10-12 times over the course of 5-6 years. It was known as a lake that one could get skunked on unless you knew how to fish it. A lot depends upon how high or low the lake level is. I would prefer to fish it if it was a little lower than normal.

If Jerry Lundsford is still the owner-operator of the Oasis Fishing Lodge he might be willing to give you some tips. His lodge is located at the intersection of the Kissimmee River and route 60 on the north side of the street. His number used to be 813-692-1594. The 813 exchange may have changed, I'm not sure.

I remember fishing one Saturday and Sunday ( 1 1/2 days) tournament on Kissimmee when the water level was fairly low. We were going to fish one of my spots first in the middle of the lake where there was a grassy island. Knowing that the water level was only about 2' on the outside of the grass island, we came off plane about 100 yards from the grass and put down the
trolling motor. A fish splash near the boat about 100 yards off the grass island, we looked at each other and said "there's fish out here!" We never made it to the emergent grass shoreline. In 15 minutes I had my limit of 10 bass and in 45 minutes we caught about 30-35 fish - all in the 1# to 1.5# size. We should have left after we got our limits, because when we went back the next morning they had sore mouth and we couldn't catch them. We still came in 2nd place even though we only caught a couple of fish the next day. This grass island is NW of Bird Island and east of Phildelphia point.

This time of year the fish are usually active, chasing shad or golden shiners. They usually reveal themselves on the surface when they are mauling the baitfish. Be alert. You may even see sea gulls diving after the left overs. Be observant. Topwater lures, Johnson silver minnows in black with yellow skirt, silver with white skirt, or gold with white skirt, and spinnerbaits are good lures to have tied on. The fish are usually schooled up tight so if you catch one there are usually more around them
close by. If you can find a current flowing - from a river flowing into the lake, you can usually find shad and bass. If the river is 10-20 feet deep and it enters the lake, the lake bottom may only be 5-6 feet deep. That dropoff and 5-6 foot flat can be dynamite. Where is Kissimmee river dumps into Lake Okeechobee, is just like that and I have caught many limits of
bass on those 5-8 foot flats (on the lake bottom) outside the river channel where it opens up to the lake.

If the water is low, I would look for grass, either hydrilla or peppergrass outside the emergent grass (maiden cane and joint grass) shorelines. Again I would use the Johnson spoons and spinnerbaits and also weightless plastic worms. We didn't have Senkos back then, but I would skip a Senko worm weightless right over the thick matted hydrilla and peppergrass. Hold onto
your rod and don't set the hook until they take it under. I would use 15-20 lb test line throwing Senkos over the thick grass.

If the water is fairly high, the bass may have moved into the shorelines. Sometimes you'll have a bullrush (round reeds) shoreline, followed by some open shallower water with joint grass, maiden cane, hydrilla, peppergrass and eel grass mixed together. Where the inside water meets a 2nd shoreline,
and where there is a mixture of several types of weed cover, you might find the bass this time of year if the water is up. If the water is deep enough and open enough, you might also be able to throw some shallow water crankbaits at them also. They also migrate up and down the boat lane that run perpendicular from the solid shoreline and from the open lake through acres of grass toward the shallow shorelines. Boat will run the boat lanes helping to clean off the bottom and deepen it a little. Run your lures in the boat lanes but hang onto your rod.

Be observant while you're fishing. Listen to what's going on around you. This time of year the bass may tell you where they are at with all there feeding and thrashing on the water surface. It is not the time to have the radio blasting. Most of the time if you see them thrashing up the water 100 yards away in an opening in the grass, pretty good chance they will stay there long enough for you to catch them.

If it is really windy at first light and the water is real rough, if the wind starts dying down around 9-10 a.m., watch out. When it calms down around 10-10:30 a.m., the fish might go on a feed rampage on the grass points that were too rough to fish at first light.

In the river, just down stream of the locks, sometimes there's a point formed by the new river and the old river channel. A shallow sandcovered point might stick out 1/4 of the way into the river. Sometimes the fish will stack up on those. Crankbaits, carolina rigged worms and drop shot worms would work on those. The winding old river channel was blocked off and a straight channel cut straight down to Lake Okeechobee. There was some
talk about restoring the old river channel, but I don't know if they have done that.

My favorite worm colors were junebug (dark green with metal fleck) and red shad (red/black). I don't know if they will work today, but that's what I'd be throwing.

Lake Kissimmee is about 12 miles long and about 5 miles wide at the widest.

I also remember a big tournament being won by a local angler (he beat Tom Mann and Roland Martin) in Little Lake Jackson. They got to it by going part way up the east shoreline of Kissimmee, going through a small canal loaded with water hyacynths (they raked there way to this small lake) and loaded up on the bass. The weather was cool and very windy and they were unaffected by both. If you look at a road map, you will see little Lake
Jackson east of Lake Kissimmee. If the water is down, the canal to the lake would be close to dry. You may want to look into fishing little Lake Jackson in the future.

I hope this helps. Let me know how you did.
 

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Just like clockwork, the "Lone Ranger saves the day! Hi ho Silver....Away! Silver Kastmaster that is....LOL! :wink:

John

PS. Are you going to fish the MMCDC, Howard?
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah haaaaaa masked man! Thanks a million. It's 2:15 a.m. and I'm so late I'll have to print and read this on the way, but I thought I'd check one time before I left. That looks so thorough from a quick scan of your information that I'll have to send a novel back on Canyon. Thanks again.
 

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John SWA & Desert Cajun

JohnSWA - I have to work Monday 10/13 so I won't be fishing the CD MMBC Classic. I have payroll to be involved with on Mondays and also have a meeting to go to at Honeywell. I'll be thinking of you out there catching those explosive fish on topwater.

Desert Cajun - I just reread my post to you last night and realized I should have double-checked the grammer and spelling! Good grief, I know how to spell and write better sentence structure than that. Anyway, I think you got the jist of what I was saying.

For future reference, get yourself a copy of the "Fisherman's Guide" to the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. It is free compliments of the Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville, FL district. Most tackle stores would have them. Contained within are topo maps of about 20 lakes that make up the Kissimmee chain of lakes, including little Lake Jackson. I say "Little" to differentiate it from Lake Jackson which is close to the Florida/Georgia border. If you made it to Lake Kissimmee, how deep was the water on the outside joint grass shorelines? If the water is high enough, Little Lake Jackson could be a good bet, especially if the weather is nasty. It is a small lake in the shape of a boot with the "toes" section of the boot having deeper water. There the water dropped from 3' to 5' which was the deepest water in the lake. We caught fish along the deep side of the lilly pad field. On the "high ankle" side of the lake, there is a fence row that runs halfway into the lake. We caught some fish along the fence row too. Also in some of the shallower water lakes in central Florida, you can catch fish in open water if the water is down. The key is to look for mussel beds on the bottom. Mussels are like clams, only they have black elongated shells. and they attract fish. If the water is shallow enough, put your rod tip down into the water and you will be able to feel and hear the "tick tick" sound of the rod tip hitting the mussels. Back off the area and fish it with Rattletraps and C-rigged worms (or other lures to your liking). Usually the mussel beds are round in shape and you'll be able to fish from one mussel bed to the next. I haven't learned to use the GPS unit on my boat, but you could punch a button and mark each bed on a GPS unit and go back to them time after time. These mussel beds attract offshore bass. Lake Marian, which is east of Little Lake Jackson and east of Kissimmee is the lake I learned about the mussel beds on and caught fish on them during a tournament.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Lone Ranger,

I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate your tips. I finished outside of the money, but I was close only because of your information. That is one HUGE lake, and it all looks the same...endless flats with various grasses and lillys. Every cast you make you say "theres gotta be one there"...but there wasn't one there very often. Unfortunately, I didn't get your second tip until tonight, but we learned it the hard way.

The lake had just been dropped a couple feet, so little lake jackson wasn't an option. I was fishing the back of a boat for the first time in a long time so I didn't get to make the call anyway. Long of the short is alot of guys got skunked due to the front that moved thru. My "boater" insisted on trying to pull fish out of the mats for most of the first day as I looked at the lake map and the post of yours I had printed out moments before leaving. I wound up convincing him to fish grassy island around noon and limited and culled using a light carolina rig with some of Joe Owen's 4" hand pours on a spinning rig with 8 lb P-line on the east side over what turns out to be a shell bed with no distinct features to distinguish it (out in the open away from the mats). I offered the worms to him over and over, but he insisted that my gear was too light and it was going to cost me a quality fish if I hooked one. At the end of that day, I was in the hunt and he weighed one fish. That night he re-spooled a couple reels from his miniature bass pro shops located on his boat (I thought I carried alot of gear until then). The next morning he "back boated" me holding down wind of that shell bed that was only about 10 or 15 feet across and he culled until he wore them out while I finished the day weighing the only 4 fish I had caught that measured all day (too add salt to the wounds, he caught all but two of his fish on those worms I gave him)...hopefully there is a lesson to be learned from this. Always ask anyone you know for advice if they know the lake better than you. Additionally, always be in the front of the boat.

Turns out it wouldn't have mattered anyway. A couple boats never locked in to Kissimee and headed down river. The standings looked like they were from 2 different tournaments. 3 guys who had culled 3's for 4's while the rest of us who caught fish on Kissimee culled 12 1/2" ers for 13 " ers with the occasional 2-3 lb fish.

In case anybody else suffered through this novel to Lone Ranger I'll try to make it worth your while. One thing interesting came out of this. Once every half hour or so a fish or two would bust on the surface throughout the weekend even though there was no reaction bite to be found by anybody I talked to. It usually happened once a boat would pass in the wake. I tried everything I had to catch those fish including sencos with no success. Eventually, I was going through the arsenal of soft jerkbaits trying a new color/size each time I saw a fish roll when I stumbled on something that worked. In a panicked drop one rod/grab the other moment, I accidently picked up a rod rigged with a weightless senco. I wanted to cast to the boil quickly so I went with it. For some reason I began working it like a soft jerkbait with real quick twitches and BAM!!! Turns out we caught several of our nicer fish that way. Go figure, they wouldn't touch a bass assassin or fluke, but would slam a green pumkin senco worked just below the surface. I've got no idea why, but I never did understand why they hit a senco to begin with...they just do. It's worth a shot. That said, I swore I could become a millionare marketing cheese puffs dipped in A-1 sauce during one kitchen raid back in my big-time party days...didn't taste the same the next day.

Thanks for your help. I forgot how spoiled I was the last 13 years. Everybody talks about FL bass fishing...doesn't hold a candle to AZ as far as I'm concerned. To boot, a routine "hull inspection" here could quickly turn into an improptu gator feeding.
 

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Desert Cajun, I'm glad to read that you caught some fish. Kissimmee being 12 miles long would seem like a big lake, but wait till you see Okeechobee (40 miles long by 20 miles wide). It can get quite rough if it's windy. So you found some fish on shell beds, good for you. I'm sure there would have been other shell beds if you had time to look for them that would have yielded some more bass also. Too bad you got backseated by the boater though. If you can ever find a guy named Ray Tester in Melbourne, FL., he might be able to offer you some better advice. He owned a paint shop and as the owner could get away and fish a lot of tournaments. He loved Lake Kissimmee. I only fished with him once as a non-boater in an ABA (American Bass Association) tournament on the St. John's river chain, but remember him as a expert on Kissimmee and a nice guy too. Thanks for your detailed post on your tournament. I found it interesting to read.
 
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