Floridas Top 10 Striper / Hybrid Honey Holes
The Apalachicola River/Lake Seminole ? This is the home of all three state record morones. In the lake, stripers and sunshine bass congregate along the old river channels and near the dam in fall and winter. They migrate up Georgia?s rivers in the spring. In the river, stripes and sunshine bass range from the dam to the coast during fall and winter around pilings, deep channels and drop-offs. Larger ones hang around the dam in the spring. They go after bucktail jigs and crankbaits. White bass feed in schools, and they like live crayfish and freshwater shrimp.
Lake Talquin/Ochlockonee River ? This system produces lots of 10- to 20-pound stripers that take to live shad, jigs and spoons. White bass, rebounding from recent drought, historically approach state record size. They are all over the place in the fall and winter and migrate to the dam in the spring.
St. Johns River ? The FWC doesn?t stock the river with sunshine bass anymore, but it still has a few. Stripers are a different story with 8- to 12-pound fish showing up regularly. Striped bass move throughout the river in fall and winter. The best spots to catch them are around jetties, the bombing ranges in Lake George, the lower Oklawaha River, Buffalo Bluff, Shands Bridge, Buckman and other bridges in Jacksonville. The big stripers congregate in cool-water creeks in the summer. Live shad and shiners, jigs and shad-imitating crankbaits are the baits to use in this river.
Blackwater/Yellow rivers ? In this northwest Florida area, the FWC stocks these waters with stripers every year. The best fishing is in the upper Blackwater Bay, near the river mouths in the fall and winter and upstream in the summer. Sometimes, the best time to go is at night. Be prepared to bag 10-, 20- or even 30-pound striped bass. Use live mullet, menhaden or shrimp for bait. Shad-imitating lures also work.
Choctawhatchee River ? The FWC stocks this river with stripers and sunshine bass. The main fishery is between SR 20 and Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton and Washington counties during fall and winter. The baits to use are live finger mullet, shad and menhaden. During cold weather, anglers use shad-imitating lures to bag fish from surface-feeding schools. During summertime, the fish seek out cool-water tributaries.
Escambia River ? The FWC has begun stocking this river annually, alternating striped bass and sunshine bass. Anglers catch both species in the lower 10 miles of the river during fall and winter. The fish migrate up-river in the spring. Dawn and dusk are prime times for striper fishing, especially on a falling tide. In the lower tidal part of the river, points of land extending into the river are good fishing spots. The best baits on this river are live mullet and menhaden, shad- or mullet-imitating lures, live shrimp and twister-tail type jigs.
St. Marys River ? Striped bass are the most popular sport fish in the St. Marys River and connected waterways. The FWC stocks the St. Marys with stripers, but it also gets some migrating fish from the St. Johns River. Stripers tend to spend the winter in the lower river and move north above U.S. 17 in the spring. On the St. Marys, anglers bag stripers between I-95 and the town of St. Marys near the mouths of the larger tributaries, along deep banks and around the I-95 Bridge Pilings. On the Nassau River, which is connected to the St. Marys, striped bass hang around the confluence with Thomas Creek to below U.S. 17 around Pearson Island. In the summer, stripers congregate in tributaries with cool-water discharge. Trolling along or casting to steep banks with jigs or shad-imitating lures is the way to go on this river. Live shrimp work too.
Eagle Lake ? This is a 200-acre reclaimed phosphate pit in Hamilton County. It?s a fish management area that the FWC stocks with 50-100 sunshine bass per acre annually. The lake?s abundance of shad nurtures sunshine bass to 6 or 7 pounds in two years. Fall and winter are the best times to go. Rapidly retrieved crankbaits fished deep and suspending shad imitators work well on this lake.
Edward Medard Lake ? The FWC stocks 100 sunshine bass per acre annually in this 700-acre reclaimed phosphate pit in Hillsborough County. Most of the fish anglers catch in this lake are 1 or 2 pounds, but some 2-year-old fish tip the scales at 6 pounds. Fall and winter are the times for fishing in Edward Medard Lake, and the best techniques are drifting in open water with live minnows or bottom-fishing with dead shrimp or chicken liver. Trolling with deep-diving crankbaits also is effective in finding sunshine bass schools that often congregate along drop-offs. The lake has a nice fishing pier with good fishing.
Lake Osborne ? Lake Osborne (356 acres) and Lake Ida (159) acres, are the largest water bodies in the Osborne Chain of Lakes in Palm Beach County. The FWC stocks Lake Osborne with 28 sunshine bass per acre annually. Most of the fish find their way to the dinner table by the time they reach 1 pound, but some of them make it to 3 pounds. The lake has plenty of shad that provide a source of food for the bass and a source of bait for anglers. Fishing is best in winter and spring months, and the baits to use are live minnows and chicken liver, fished on the bottom near the Sixth Avenue Bridge and in deep holes throughout the lake. Bank fishermen catch lots of sunshines here at the southern limit of the species? range.
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.
Arthur C. Clarke