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Figuring out Florida Panhandle rivers

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I recently move to the Florida panhandle from the Kentucky Lake area.  Fishing is definitely different and I'm having trouble getting on the bass.  I know we call it fishing but right now, I'm getting SKUNKED!!!!  Can anyone give me any pointers on what to look for?  I'm fishing the Blackwater and Choctawhatchee Rivers.  They are pretty clear but have alot of tannic acid in them making them look like ice tea.  The flow is slow to moderate.  It seems like the banks drop almost straight down into 17-20 feet on the lower end.  The river has lots of turns and there are numerous cuts, creeks and oxbows that enter the systems.  The oxbows appear to be pretty shallow though.  There is areas of dense hydrilla but mainly in the shallow cuts and oxbows.  Some pads grow in the main river.  There's plenty of lay downs and brush to target it doesn't seem to produce.

I've used everything from cranks to soft plastics with no luck.  I've caught 2 fishing in 12 outings....This is just unsatisfactory.

Any help would be appreciated.

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Hey Flippinout, I feel your frustration.  I'm actually just north of you above the Alabama line.  I have fished the Choctawhatchee north of the state line on several occasions and did a kayak trip down the blackwater last summer.

For me and my buddies, we were certain that using our kayaks and wet wading to get to untouched areas would be our ticket.  We went through the same skunking you've received time and again.  On the blackwater my strategy turned to using soft plastics and literally dredging out those deep holes in bends.  I prefer dark colored tube baits.  I would throw one to the opposite bank in one of the deep pitch black holes and let it sink to the bottom, then I begin slooooooowly inching it back.  I lift my rod tip about 6 inches (normally my tip is pointed at the spot I cast to) and reel painfully slow, maybe making a 1/4 turn of the reel handle.  This was the only way for me to pull ANYTHING. They were still bass of small size.  The biggest one was less than 2 lbs.  

On the Choct. my luck is similar.  We attribute bad fishing on the Choct. on our side of the line to heavy fishing pressure.  No matter where I go to access the Choct. it is covered with people.  With a jon or kayak I can quickly cover some ground and get away from the easy to access spots, and that helps some.  I have been very disappointed with the Choct. in that it has always been crowded and seems more of a party destination than anything else  >:(  

Sounds like we need to set up a stream outing.  Also, check out Americanriverfishing.com for the Florida forum.  I am on the Alabama forum and it is a wealth of info (albeit for the guys way in upstate AL and not for us swampland bums ::) ) but the FL site should be a good prospect also.


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