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Help A New Boater In Fl. Please

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I just purchased a new starter boat and am excited to get off the banks for once! I am really looking forward to Lake O and I'll launch out of Moorehaven or Clewiston. I was just wondering if the water is safe to travel on at Lake O? Maybe now I'll find out how it feels to have one of those 50-100 fish days!

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Congrats on the new boat and hope you enjoy it a lot. At near 14', water level is not much of a problem as you can pretty much run anywhere, put down anywhere and get up on plane anywhere. I do recommend having a good GPS system and a map. I'd suggest learning the lake in small bites maybe working outward from Clewiston. For example, run over to West Wall and poke around over there; then maybe next time after that go further north up past Joe's or go east and fish off of East Wall. This may sound a little cautious, but a small breeze at the ramp at Clewiston can mean 3 foot rollers out by the water tank. You didn't mention what size boat etc and maybe you've been on the lake a million times on someone else's boat, but some caution is a good idea on the Lake.

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Congrats on the new boat and hope you enjoy it a lot. At near 14', water level is not much of a problem as you can pretty much run anywhere, put down anywhere and get up on plane anywhere. I do recommend having a good GPS system and a map. I'd suggest learning the lake in small bites maybe working outward from Clewiston. For example, run over to West Wall and poke around over there; then maybe next time after that go further north up past Joe's or go east and fish off of East Wall. This may sound a little cautious, but a small breeze at the ramp at Clewiston can mean 3 foot rollers out by the water tank. You didn't mention what size boat etc and maybe you've been on the lake a million times on someone else's boat, but some caution is a good idea on the Lake.

Thanks,

I have never been on the main lake. I apologize but I don't even know where east and west wall are, haha or even what they are. I did plan on taking it piece by piece. Your advice on the 3 foot rollers by the water tank is excellent, I never would have known that. My first day I plan on finding the grassy areas or mats and fishing around those areas. I did wind up getting a 2011 tracker pro 165 with the 40 hp merc. I have yet to find out if this will handle the lake ok or not. From what I understand, Lake O can get pretty choppy? Hopefully this small boat will allow me to get fairly shallow as well. My only other boating experience is all in the salt on a 27 footer. Apples to oranges there.

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Congratulations on getting your water toy!

Capt. Shane,

Thanks, maybe one day I can meet up with you and have one of them 100 fish days! Hopefully I can stop dreaming about it and actually do it now. by the way, do you want a brand new 316 baby wake in chartreuse shad?? Brand new A-rig maybe?? Again thanks.

Tony

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That boat is pefect for south Florida. save the bait and we'll go out on Okeechobee sometime soon....in your boat ;)

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Sounds good, I'll sneak a bait or two into your tackle before you leave. You can even take the front.

Tony

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Is a 9 gallon tank enough with the 40 horse motor, or will this limit how far I can run?

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I use a 6.6 gal w/a 50hp 2 stroke. That gives me a 32 mile range. I think you will be just fine with your 9 gal., especially if its a 4 stroke.

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Thanks,

I have never been on the main lake. I apologize but I don't even know where east and west wall are, haha or even what they are. I did plan on taking it piece by piece. Your advice on the 3 foot rollers by the water tank is excellent, I never would have known that. My first day I plan on finding the grassy areas or mats and fishing around those areas. I did wind up getting a 2011 tracker pro 165 with the 40 hp merc. I have yet to find out if this will handle the lake ok or not. From what I understand, Lake O can get pretty choppy? Hopefully this small boat will allow me to get fairly shallow as well. My only other boating experience is all in the salt on a 27 footer. Apples to oranges there.

I have a friend who just bought a very similar rig and he is having a great time with it. Like anything you have to fish the conditions and with a body of water as large as the "O" you have to respect the conditions and respond accordingly. There are a lot of days when you can't just go do what you want to do. Yes, the Lake can get choppy to say the least and unless you're fishing for a $100k, I can't see running from Clewiston to Eagle Bay in three footers LOL. Most any of the tackle stores sell those hand drawn maps on vinyl. While maybe not perfect as a map, they are good enough and they are great because they identify all those place names we use like West Wall, East Wall, Joe's etc etc. There is one for the South End from Clewiston west to Moorehaven and a lot of the Shoal on one side and on the reverse side over south toward Belle Glade. Another tip, learn to use the Rim Ditch as a way to get around on a day when it's "choppy". It's a great connector highway and with the Lake high enough there are many entrance points to get into the Lake. Again though, you are gonna hear things like "run over to Bare Beach and take the cut in" so that's where that cartoon map comes in handy so you can learn those places. Can't answer the question about the gas consumption though my friend says it's been great with his new rig. I think you'll just have to learn what your consumption rate is and gas up as necessary. As Cap Shane said, your boat is perfect for SoFla. You might not be able to do and go everywhere my aircraft carrier can but there is lots you can do that I can't do.

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salmicropterus,

Great response, I will have to get one of those maps and soon I'll understand all these areas you guys are talking about. I would think with the lake being so big even a slight breeze could produce very choppy water? I've been in the rim ditch so that and uncle joe's cut is about the ONLY areas I can famailiarize myself when mentioned. I hope the boat launches aren't as hectic as when we launched into the gulf! Those places almost have more fights than night clubs. I very much appreciate the time for you response.

Tony

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JayD,

AWESOME! Now I know what you guys are talking about! Just noticed, new member also, Welcome and greatest first post ever! :D Where are you located?

Thanks!

Tony

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Jay D, thats a great map!!!!!!!!! Thanks, I needed that. Know I know for sure that I was in the Monkey Box last week :blink:

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Haha, I'll let you know only if I don't get skunked! :D I'm pretty good at that!

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Congratulations on the new boat! You will find out pretty quickly where you can/ can't go when you arrive at Lake O. If it's windy I would stay off the main lake. There are plenty of entrances off the rim canal. I'm suprised to find that no one had mentioned the three most important words when it comes to Lake O:

"Find Clean Water"

Do that and you can throw almost anything... Good Luck.

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salmicropterus gave excellant advice, fish it as a section and think of that section as a small lake, otherwise it will overwhelm you.

Also remember a tournaments been won pretty much everywhere on the lake at one time or another. So have confedance everywhere.

Learn its depth and how it fishes, imagine a saucer, the outer edge being the deeper part traveling towards the rim ditch being the edge of the saucer.

One other point cover a lot of water within the little section you pick, although its one of the biggest lakes in the country the fish will be in a little 30 yard by 30 yard section not a mile long stretch.

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salmicropterus gave excellant advice, fish it as a section and think of that section as a small lake, otherwise it will overwhelm you.

Also remember a tournaments been won pretty much everywhere on the lake at one time or another. So have confedance everywhere.

Learn its depth and how it fishes, imagine a saucer, the outer edge being the deeper part traveling towards the rim ditch being the edge of the saucer.

One other point cover a lot of water within the little section you pick, although its one of the biggest lakes in the country the fish will be in a little 30 yard by 30 yard section not a mile long stretch.

Ha! It took me about 5 years to learn what you so correctly said in 3-4 sentences and....it's still a work in progress!

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Jay D, thats a great map!!!!!!!!! Thanks, I needed that. Know I know for sure that I was in the Monkey Box last week :blink:

No problem, I am the contractor you met at the sawgrass recreation area. Thanks for the frogs.

JayD,

AWESOME! Now I know what you guys are talking about! Just noticed, new member also, Welcome and greatest first post ever! :D Where are you located?

Thanks!

Tony

Im from Stuart on the east side of the lake.

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Wow guys, thanks for all the advice. To be honest I figured I'd go out and catch a bunch of fish just because it's lake O.

Great points to consider as stated above.

I'll pick a good looking area and cover as much water in that area as possible!

I will look for clean, clearer water, although never being on the main lake, I'll have to figure out how clear the water actually gets there.

The picture gar-tracker described really helps me get an idea of the bottom. If I'm understanding this correct, it seems the middle of lake in general is shallower than around the edges?

Looking at the map, I'm wondering if Moorehaven would be a better place to launch vs Clewiston. It appears theres a much larger area of vegetation along the edge in Moorehaven with Moonshine bay somewhat towards the middle of all that. Last time I was at the Moorehaven ramp there were only three trailors there as well, which would be nice.

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Wow guys, thanks for all the advice. To be honest I figured I'd go out and catch a bunch of fish just because it's lake O.

Great points to consider as stated above.

I'll pick a good looking area and cover as much water in that area as possible!

I will look for clean, clearer water, although never being on the main lake, I'll have to figure out how clear the water actually gets there.

The picture gar-tracker described really helps me get an idea of the bottom. If I'm understanding this correct, it seems the middle of lake in general is shallower than around the edges?

Looking at the map, I'm wondering if Moorehaven would be a better place to launch vs Clewiston. It appears theres a much larger area of vegetation along the edge in Moorehaven with Moonshine bay somewhat towards the middle of all that. Last time I was at the Moorehaven ramp there were only three trailors there as well, which would be nice.

I think gar-tracker was refering to the rim canal being the deep part around the edge of the lake.

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I think gar-tracker was refering to the rim canal being the deep part around the edge of the lake.

Most of that green that shows up on maps on the west side of the Lake is not navigable-it is almost like land. Read Capn Shane's posts this past week on Moonshine Bay-even at near 14 ft it is tough for a boat like his. There is a canal that runs up from Moorehaven into the lower end of the Monkey Box. That is a worthwhile area to go to and pick apart in small pieces but...overall you'll be better served and your learning curve will be faster launching from Clewiston and going from there. But the Box is an area that can hold huge bags. The Rim Ditch itself can hold fish and even the most brazen lake-runner will stay in there on 30 mph wind days. It is generally deep but there are humps and bumps that can be fished and the cuts into the Lake usually hold fish as well. The real experts on the Lake, and I'm not in that group, know the structure out in the Lake-the rockpiles, the holes etc-that is Lake O fishing at an advanced level. For me, the "structure" is the grassline and learning how the fish relate to that. Are they outside, inside the outside, well inside? etc etc. It depends on water levels and the seasonal movements of this fish. Gar-tracker made an excellent point when he said the entire Lake holds great fish at all times. Don't be thinking you should be north when you are south etc. I would expand that by saying that the Lake doesn't lend itself to pattern fishing the way a lake in Missouri or Tennessee does or how you might read about in magazines or see on TV. The spawn is a perfect example-at any time from November through even May there are substantial amounts of fish in pre-, post- and actual spawn patterns. Fish those small areas that Gar-tracker talked about (and look for clean water as Everglades said-maybe the best post of all) but probe outside and outside-cover water as he said. Remember this-the Lake can confound even the good sticks-you can go to a spot and load the boat one day and the next day nada (well maybe that's just me LOL). You've received a lot of good advice on this thread from a lot of Lake rats,...now get out there and post how it is going. The Lake is an incredible resource in our backyard. People fly in here to fish there and most of us can drive there in a hour or two. It's like having a membership at Augusta National and living in Augusta for a golfer.

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Remember this-the Lake can confound even the good sticks-you can go to a spot and load the boat one day and the next day nada (well maybe that's just me LOL).

No,it's not just you. Robert (South Fla) and I had a 27lb bag by noon a couple weeks ago in a spot on the south end. My next trip there I blanked at that spot.

The great thing about Okeechobee, though, is if you apply some common sense reasoning and a little bit of lake knowledge (which is all I have) you can almost always get something going. The smallest bag I've caught there since ~mid August is ~14lb. And I'm a rank amateur on the big O.

I absolutely love Okeechobee...the lake is so big and so complex with the changing water levels, clarity, temperature, etc... Like gar tracker mentioned before...the lake comes up two feet and it's a completely different lake. Like it wasn't hard enough to figure out one 440,000 acre lake...now I gotta learn two?? :) I could spend the rest of my life fishing it and still not know all the nuances. it's my goal to give it a try though...

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