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Keithscatch

Only for those who have fished in multiple states

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I am curious to those who have fished multiple states and multiple lakes within multiple states for your opinion of the best bass fishing. Which state do you think has the overall best bass fishing? If your experience has only been bed fishing let's say here in Florida then your opinion might be skewed. If that is the case please mention that. Because fishing is not like that all the time.

For me, I would have to say Texas has the best bass fishing lakes. I have lived in Florida for almost 2 years now. I have fished in well over a dozen lakes and rivers here. Some of which are considered the best this state has to offer. My experience has shown me that Texas has outperformed for me in size and in quantity. Granted I lived in Texas for 21 years.  ;) But it was not as hard to catch 20+ fish in a day there then it is here. Plus, out there if I did get into some fish and boated 20 or so several of them would be in the 5lb range or close to it. I have caught 20 fish here 1 time and none where even in the 2lb range.

So IF you have fished in multiple states and in more then one body of water in various states what do you think is the most productive place to fish for bass? Please only respond if you have experience in more then 1 state.

My situation is fishing only with artificials. I haven't shiner fished. Maybe I need to do that in order to catch these tougher to catch Florida bass  ;)

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You dont even need to have fished a lot of states to have heard amazing things about them from reputable sources. States right off the bat that I have heard tons about is Tennessee, Texas, California, and Florida. Florida seems to be one of those Bass fishing states that you either hate or love. You also have to take a look at Michigan more fresh water then any place in the world. Id say just about every state has a spot thats great just some are more known as others are not. The hot spot right now though I think is in California where everyones trying to catch the world record.

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i agree but i have fished in michigan but in diffrent parts of the year than when florida bite turns on so i coulnt tell you how much better it is

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States I've fished in for more than just a 1 day trip: Louisiana, Texas, Missouri, and Florida

States I've fished in for just a 1 day trip: Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio

#1: Texas has the best bass fishing lakes for quantity and quality  ;D

#2: Florida for its historical lakes  8-)

#3: California for shear size of its fish (to many people for this Cajun)  :(

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I have fished Lake Michigan around Sturgeon Bay and the Green Bay side of Door County, WI. Although I have never caught big bass (5 lb +), I have had 40+ numbers. Bull Shoals, the largest reservior on the White River has produced a couple of big bass for me and a few of the most memorable days of smallmouth fishing I have ever experienced. In June of 2002 I fished for two and a half days without ever going fifteen minutues without a fish. Now, that was a trip.

For size, the Tennessee River has been very good to me. I have yet to fish the Cumberland River or the associated reserviors (including Dale Hollow). Since the two largest smallmouth ever caught were at Dale Hollow, it would be hard to make a case for anywhere else. On the otherhand, many respected publications think the next World Record will come from Pickwick. We'll see. My partner boated the only 10 lb smallmouth I have ever seen in November 2004. I netted and weighed the beast.

So, my observation is that better numbers are common further north and I know big bass are occasionally caught there. But for my money, I would bet on the rivers and reserviors of northern Alabama and all of Tennessee for larger smallmouth. 5 lb smallmouth are not uncommon; 8's, 9's, and even 10's are a possibility. 12 lbs 1 oz. is what we are dreaming of.

Current World Record: 11 lb 15 oz at Dale Hollow by David Hayes.

http://www.worldrecordsmallmouth.com/

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I've fished MI, Canada, IL, MO, AR, TX, and probably another one I am forgetting. It all depends on what you are looking for imo.

If I was going to pick it would be Lake St. Clair MI. This is one of the best lakes I have ever fished. No you wont catch a monster like you will in TX or CA but I would rather catch smallies all day from 2-4lbs then one big LM. There are fish bigger in St Clair but not like southern states except the toothy critters.

Thats my choice and the other one would be Rainy lake in Canada. Eyh

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Have to agree with St. Clair and add Erie to it.  Lately there have been atleast one 7# plus smallie coming out of each tournament.  Sheer numbers you can catch smallies all day long on either lake in the 3 to 4# range with 5# being common and 6# not uncommon.  These are just great fisheries and they continue to get better with no peak in site.

B

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I HAVE FISHED FLORIDA, MISSISSIPPI, ILLINOIS, AND MY BACKYARD, LAKE ST. CLAIR. I CAUGHT ALOT OF NICE LARGEMOUTH IN ALL THE OTHER STATES BUT I'LL TAKE ST. CLAIR BEFORE ALL THE OTHERS.

AS GMAN STATED, JUST FOR SHEAR NUMBERS OF GOOD SMALLMOUTH, YOU CAN'T GO WRONG. I'VE HAD FOURTY FISH DAYS WITH REGULARITY (BEAR IN MIND, A LONG DAY FOR ME IS FOUR HOURS BECAUSE OF MY SPINE PROBLEM) AND SIXTY FISH DAYS ARE NOT UNCOMMON.

MY PERSONAL BEST IS 6LB-15OZ AND I'M SURE THERE ARE BIGGER ONES OUT THERE.

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Keith,

No, I don't fish crawdads for smallmouth. I have tried, but I can't figure out how to present them in a river environment. They either ball up like a piece of gunk or die and just bounce around. We end up catching white bass and drum, but have not caught any smallmouth.

BTW,

States fished: MO, KS, OK, AR, MS, AL, LA, TX, TN, CO, WY, ND, SD, WI and Manitoba Province.

Currently licensed in TN, AL and AR.

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I have fished NC,FLA,GA, and Colorado. For Bass, I like my chances on the large central Ga impoundments and lake Lanier. Within 150 mile radius, you can find big largemough, spots, and smallies in the far north of the state.

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I have fished Kentucky,Tennessee,Illinois,Missouri,Oklahoma,and Florida.

It's hard to say which state would be the best for me.If I ruled out Ky. because I live here and only vacationed in the other states,I would pick Florida.I fished Toho,Monroe,and Walk-in-Water in Florida.I caught over a hundred fish in a 7 day period.Several good fish amongst those and my father got his PB of 7lbs.15 oz. while there.Most of the quality fish I have caught have come from Ky. and Barkley lakes but I have hammered those lakes most of my life.I would like to spend a few months in Florida,say January thru March and see what I could do.

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I have fished these states for bass: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Missouri, Washington, Florida and California.

I honestly think that in all aspects of bass fishing, California is my favorite. There are times when you might feel crowded, but all you have to do is take the boat out on the delta on a week day. Miles and miles of water to yourself.

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I lived in Texas up until about a year and half ago.  I now live in GA and can say that the fishing is definitly slower here (at least in the newnan/peachtree city area.)  Here in georgia there seems to be a lot of private lakes and ponds you cant fish, It wasnt so much that way in texas.

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My bass fishing exposure does not include western United States, but I've fished extensively

for bass in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, New Jersey, New York and Ontario.

With respect to bass fishing ACTION, the lineup of waters from personal experience

would go something like this (Ex-Canada):

ACTION WATERS

No. 1: Florida Everglades, L-67A & L-35B (During falling water in spring)

No. 2: Thousand Islands, St Lawrence River, NY (Alexandria Bay & Clayton)

No. 3: Lake Champlain, NY (Largemouth & Smallmouth bass)

No. 4: St Johns River, FL (Lake Monroe to Lake George)

No. 5: Lake Hartwell, GA (15 years ago)

=================================================================

A list of lakes that regularly yield 9-pound bass (trophy-class) would be staggering

and impossible to rank. Moreover the hurricane trio of 2004 (Charley, Frances & Jeanne),

has temporarily reshuffled Florida's hierarchy of trophy lakes. In my opinion,

the waters listed below are among the best bets for boating a trophy bass (9+),

in ballpark order.

TROPHY WATERS (9 lbs+)

> Lake Walk-In-Water, FL (Lake Weohyakapka)

> Stick Marsh/Farm-13, FL

> Lake Istokpoga, FL

> Santee Cooper, SC (Marion not Moultrie)

> Lake Kissimmee, FL

> Guntersville Lake, AL

==========================================================

If we agree that any bass over 12 pounds is record-class, the list below is how I'd rank

the top three "record-class" waters in the east:

RECORD-CLASS WATERS (Over 12 lbs)

No. 1: St Johns River, FL (Tocoi to Green Cove Springs)

No. 2: Rodman Reservoir, FL (Eastern stump fields)

No. 3: West Lake Tohopekaliga (aka: Lake Toho)

Fallen from grace are Withlacoochee River, Lake Rousseau, Lake Lochloosa & Orange Lake

If bass lakes to the west were included, Lake Fork, TX would certainly be on the list

Roger

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States I have fished:

Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Oregon, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, California, Louisiana, New York, New Mexico, Arkansas, Arizona, I am sure I am forgetting one or two.

Trophy:

Florida, California, Texas, Georgia, Alabama are top on my list.

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I have fished Lake Michigan around Sturgeon Bay and the Green Bay side of Door County, WI. Although I have never caught big bass (5 lb +), I have had 40+ numbers. Bull Shoals, the largest reservior on the White River has produced a couple of big bass for me and a few of the most memorable days of smallmouth fishing I have ever experienced. In June of 2002 I fished for two and a half days without ever going fifteen minutues without a fish. Now, that was a trip.

For size, the Tennessee River has been very good to me. I have yet to fish the Cumberland River or the associated reserviors (including Dale Hollow). Since the two largest smallmouth ever caught were at Dale Hollow, it would be hard to make a case for anywhere else. On the otherhand, many respected publications think the next World Record will come from Pickwick. We'll see. My partner boated the only 10 lb smallmouth I have ever seen in November 2004. I netted and weighed the beast.

So, my observation is that better numbers are common further north and I know big bass are occasionally caught there. But for my money, I would bet on the rivers and reserviors of northern Alabama and all of Tennessee for larger smallmouth. 5 lb smallmouth are not uncommon; 8's, 9's, and even 10's are a possibility. 12 lbs 1 oz. is what we are dreaming of.

Current World Record: 11 lb 15 oz at Dale Hollow by David Hayes.

http://www.worldrecordsmallmouth.com/

Kent, you amaze me with your knowledge.. most out of towners that come here go straight for Lake St.Clair or Lake Erie sometimes the Detroit river. I would love to fish where you live you must have some amazing smallie spots down there compared to here.

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To be honest guys, I really wouldnt join the party and fly down to Cali to go after that record catch when I know there are some excellent bodies of water in this country that are just as likely to hold something like that. Down south has proven its size, Texas has proven its lakes, etc etc.. if it were me.. and I just had to go somewhere.. id go down south. Smallie action is decent in Michigan but our Largemouths are more noteable. Down south with the better climate and mulitiple bodies of water would be heaven for me. Id go down south over Cali and Texas for sure.. numerous records have already hailed from there and just because a fish was found in Cali everyones going bonkers. Id bet the record is closer to some of you then you might think. If you guys know the odds of catching a record Bass then you know its very very slight and to catch it in the same body of water where it was pulled out is even riskyer to me because anyone could have just caught it and did whatever with it. Not worth dealing with 100s of anglers all pileing into one place throwing the same lures.

My best advice for this topic: If you can afford a trip to another state to fish you can afford a qualified and expierenced guide. Ive talked to a few great people on here who have given me names and locations. I will deffinatly be calling them up if I can get to those areas just for the 1st time. Going down there with nobody after never being there is probably going to be like running around blindfolded. I've lived and fished in Lake St.Clair (MI) all my life. I know a lot of spots that lots dont know about on that lake and I been fishing it for a very long time for someone my age, I still am finding new spots on this place every single year. A guide is deffinatly the way to go when your on virgin waters for your first time. After that first time id go alone probably.

BTW, if you do come to Lake St.Clair you must be aware of national laws. You can find yourself in serious trouble if you winde up in Canada without proper paperwork.

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Guest avid

I wonder if it's a "state" thing or a "Lake" thing.

I have fished in many states. There are some lakes or rivers that are fabulous and others that are very tough. I find this true, pretty much everywhere. New York has some outstanding bass fishing, but there are some lakes I have fished their that are very very tough. As a matter of fact the Wallkill river in NY has provided me with several of my highest catch days ever. 40 to 50 fish (smallmouth) in a day, including a nice selection of chunky momma's. Then there were other lakes that I would always struggle in.

I can also add this. I'm not a good fish finder in very large impoundments or natural lakes. My "secret" to success in areas like Lake Mead or Powell etc. is to go to a bait store or marina, make it clear that I know nothing about this particular lake, so I need to buy the best lures for "right now" and detailed instructions as to where and how to catch bass. I always get excellent advice. They are happy to sell you stuff and so long as you buy they will be very detailed. I have had several cases where they would take out maps and actually mark them with the areas I should fish.

Don't get me wrong. Many bait shop owners and the guys who hang out in them will give advice even if you don't buy but this is a business and money talks.  Plus I don't feel right asking for advice in a place of business without dropping some cash.

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i fish in 3 different states, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. i would say Michigan would be my favorite because there are so many lakes to choose from, so if one lake is bad early in the morning, just go to another lake close by. there are also alot of species to choose from.

aaron

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As I'm getting closer to retirement I'm more thinking about where I want to move to to spend those retirement years as close to good fishing waters as possible.

I currently live in St. Louis. That is the LAST place I'd suggest anyone move to for good closeby bass fishing. Instead I've thought about the following.

Texas - I'm up in the air on this one. Great lakes but it gets awfully hot down there for too much of the year.  Year round bassin though.

Springfield Missouri - Man, I could be a greeter at BPS headquarters,  Stockton, Pomme de Terre, Truman, LOZ, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Taneycomo (trout), Norfolk, Beaver, Grand Lake (OK) all within 100 miles or much less.  Hmmm.  sounds like heaven.

Nashville - Here's another spot I'm thinking about.

chattanooga TN - Another spot. Beautiful scenery, great bass lakes.

Panama City Florida - cheaper than down on the pennisula, great SW fishing.  Eufaula, Seminole, Talquin.  The better lakes are further south but so is the higher cost of living.

There are a lot of great bass fishing waters in our country which is making the decision to spend my last 30 or more years of my life harder to make.

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Panama City Florida - cheaper than down on the pennisula, great SW fishing. Eufaula, Seminole, Talquin. The better lakes are further south but so is the higher cost of living.

Cart, what you say is essentially true but another factor that determines the "cost of living"

in peninsular Florida is nearness to the coast. For example, West Palm Beach on the Atlantic coast

and Naples on the Gulf coast have a Sky High cost of living (coast of living).

Without changing the latitude, as you move toward the interior of Florida the cost of living

declines sharply. It's most reasonable along what is called the "Lake Wales Ridge".

The Lake Wales Ridge runs from Clermont (NW of Orlando) south along US-27 to Venus

near Lake Okeechobee. I don't say that because I live on Lake Wales Ridge, in reverse order,

it's one reason why I do. To boot, you're away from the full brunt of hurricanes

and you're in the thick of the nation's best bass and saltwater angling (psst...no state income tax).

[ BTW: If you live in Panama City it's Lake Jackson and Deer Point Lake ]

Roger

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Guest avid

There is no doubt about it, Florida Real Estate has gone way up.  But as RoLo says it's the Coasts that have seen skyrocketing home prices.  You can get excellent value in BIG BASS country in the middle of the state.  Do searches around Polk, Lake and Osceola counties to see what I mean.  These areas are pretty rural, if you want more activity you can get very good buys just outside of Orlando.

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Where I live in Palm Bay is probably the best value Florida has left to offer. It is unreal the cost of homes here compared to most other places in Florida. It is not unusual to find 2,000 sq ft homes here for $165-$175k. That is unheard of anywhere else in Florida that I know of. These are not old homes but brand new ones. Palm Bay was one of the fastest growing markets in America for a while. There are literally hundreds of homes sitting on the market down here empty. Things just sort of burst here.

I am only 23 miles from the Stick Marsh and about 15 miles by road to the beach. About 45 minutes or so from Orlando.

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I wonder if it's a "state" thing or a "Lake" thing.

I think it's an "angler" thing.  Sure, the southern states have a much longer growing season but that doesn't stop a northern lake from handing you one of the best days of your lives.

It's what you take from the experience, as opposed to WHERE you experienced it, that means the most to me.  Great experiences can happen anywhere you toss a line.

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