Florida Fish BustersMarch 2008Florida’s Top Bass Fishing OpportunitiesBy: Bob Wattendorf, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission(special thanks to Wes Porak and John Cimbaro, FWC)For anglers of all abilities andexperience, nothing beats the opportunitiesfor landing freshwater bass in Florida’s10,550 miles of rivers, streams and creeksor in its 7,000 plus lakes.The latest national statistics indicatethere are 30 million anglers, and 10 millionof them specifically pursue freshwater bass, compared to 6.8 million fishing fortrout and 2.1 million fishing for flatfish (the most popular saltwater group).
Joey shows off his "Big Catch" Floridalargemouth from a small lake in St. Cloud.
Florida has four species of freshwater or black basses: the largemouth, spotted,Suwannee and shoal. Of those, largemouth are by far the most common, since theylive in almost every body of fresh water in Florida. The native subspecies, theFlorida largemouth bass is also the official Florida freshwater fish. Their popularityis the driving force behind many popular magazines, fishing shows, tournamentseries and billions of dollars worth of tackle and boat sales each year, all becausethey represent a great challenge to anglers wishing to refine their skills, while stillbeing attainable to the novice. At either level, the thrill of a bass hitting a topwaterlure is one to get the juices flowing and make you glad to be outside.