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South Bay, FL Fishing: Crossroads Angling

South Bay, FL Fishing: Crossroads Angling
Published: Sunday, July 4th, 2021
Updated on: Thursday, July 8th, 2021

Situated in Palm Beach County, Florida, is the city of South Bay. This city is the westernmost city of the South Florida Metropolitan Area. This city is primarily known for being the crossroads for two major roads in Florida: State Road 80 and US Route 27. Because of this, it is often called the “Crossroads of South Florida.” Due to its location, the city serves as a launching point for anglers who want to visit the more famous Florida Everglades. Its name comes from its location with regards to Lake Okeechobee. Located at the lake’s southeastern shores, it depends on the river for the irrigation of its crops. 

South Bay’s history and development are tied closely with both the crossroads situated there and Lake Okeechobee. The first settlers came to what would later become South Bay with the North New River Canal (L-18)’s completion in 1912. The town grew until new roads made traveling much faster compared to traveling in the city’s crossroads. The town’s development slowed down until it recovered in the 1980s and became the third fastest-growing metropolitan area in the US. 

Although overlooked by most anglers because of this, one should not pass the opportunity to fish the renowned Lake Okeechobee’s waters. This lake is famous for the world-class bass fishing it offers to anglers. The city also makes a nice contrast to the more popular and urban fishing destinations in the area. If you’re looking for a more natural and serene fishing spot when visiting Florida, why not give South Bay a shot? 

South Bay Fishing

The first thing that comes to one’s mind when thinking of fishing in South Bay is Lake Okeechobee. This lake is the largest freshwater lake in Florida and offers a variety of freshwater gamefish to anglers. Largemouth and peacock bass abound in the lake’s waters, as well as crappie, redear and spotted sunfish, and channel catfish. Bluegill, chain pickerel, warmouth, and longnose gar are also available in the lake’s waters.

But the gamefish that attracts anglers from all over to visit the lake is, of course, the largemouth bass. The warm waters and variety of plant life make the lake the perfect place to look for largemouth and peacock bass. If you’re looking to land yourself a trophy, then you’ve come to the right place. If Florida is the fishing capital of the world, then Lake Okeechobee is the bass fishing capital. 

For first-time visitors, several fishing charters are operating in the area. These charters can help anglers find the perfect fishing spots, as well as the best fishing techniques to use. So if you’re unsure of how to tackle Lake Okeechobee and the other nearby fishing spots, then it’s wise to avail of their services. These charters can help you make your first-time fishing trip in South Bay a memorable one. They even offer trips throughout the day, so it doesn’t matter whether you want to fish early in the morning or before sunset. 

For those who are curious about what the popular fishing techniques applicable are in the area, these are light and heavy tackle, fly fishing, spinning, and trolling. You can do surfcasting along the lake’s shoreline if you don’t want to leave the shore. The best bait to use when looking for bass is wild shiners, as these are the natural prey of bass. You can also use artificial lures and live bait to catch them. 

Aside from these, anglers are also required to practice catch-and-release when fishing in Lake Okeechobee. Each year, anglers catch more bass than they could consume, which could lead to the overfishing of bass. 

So, where do you start looking for fish in South Bay? The popular fishing spots in South Bay are the South Bay RV Campground, Pelican Bay, South Bay, Fisheating Creek, and Moonshine Bay. Most of the popular fishing spots are located on or near Lake Okeechobee, as this is where most of the fishing happens. Aside from these spots, most of the gamefish in the area could be found in the narrower waterways leading into and out of the lake and near thick vegetation. 

The South Bay RV Campground is the perfect place to experience South Bay’s waters, as it is located close to both the city and Lake Okeechobee. It also has accommodations for those who want to camp, and if you have a boat, you can launch it towards the lake from here. Aside from this, you can also use a fishing pole to cast your line from the campground’s shores if you want to keep your feet dry. 

Of course, when talking about fishing in Lake Okeechobee, we should not miss the fishing tournaments that happen here. Most of the major fishing organizations have at least one fishing tournament that is held at the lake’s waters, and it’s easy to see why.  The biggest recorded bass caught here was 15 pounds and 5 ounces, just a few pounds shy of the world record of 22 pounds and 4 ounces. You can visit the lake’s bass fishing website to know more about these tournaments and when they will be held. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next record-setter for the lake when you participate in the tournament? 

 

Top 10 Fish Species in South Bay, FL

The top 10 fish species in South Bay, Florida are the Largemouth bass, spotted sunfish, channel catfish, crappie, longnose gar, bluegill, peacock bass, chain pickerel, warmouth, and redear

South Bay, FL Fishing: Crossroads Angling Fish species
Largemouth Bass
Largemouth Bass fish

Habitat: Lake, Pond, Rivers

Weight: 2 - 22 Pounds

Length: 15" - 32"

Chain Pickerel
Chain Pickerel fish

Habitat: Lake, River, Pond, Bogs, Swamps

Weight: 3 - 5 Pounds

Length: 14" - 39"

Longnose Gar
Longnose Gar fish

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Marsh, Rivers

Weight: 30 - 55 Pounds

Length: 28" - 72"

Redear Sunfish
Redear Sunfish fish

Habitat: Lake, River, Pond, Streams

Weight: 0 - 5 Pounds

Length: 6" - 17"

Bluegill 
Bluegill  fish

Habitat: Lake, Pond, River

Weight: 1 - 2 Pounds

Length: 6" - 16"

Channel Catfish
Channel Catfish fish

Habitat: Rivers, Tidal Mouths, Bends, Wrecks

Weight: 2 - 4 Pounds

Length: 15" - 25"

Crappie
Crappie fish

Habitat: River, Lake

Weight: 0 - 5 Pounds

Length: 4" - 19"

Peacock Bass
Peacock Bass fish

Habitat: River, Lake, Canal

Weight: 3 - 15 Pounds

Length: 10" - 29"

South Bay Seasonal Fishing

There’s a reason why the waters around South Bay are considered to be the best spots to catch bass in the world. With its pristine waters, thick vegetation, and climate, bass and other gamefish abound in its waters. There is no bad time for you to visit here, as each month brings a different gamefish to the spotlight. What is constant, however, is the large numbers of largemouth bass just swimming in Lake Okeechobee. They will appear in numbers from February to May, and then the peacock bass will take over from June to August. The largemouth will then return in September and will continue to appear until December. 

 

Nature Tripping in South Bay

1. Fishing Charters

Due to it being near Lake Okeechobee, there are several fishing charters available in South Bay. With the variety of services they provide, these charters can help anglers looking to make the most of their fishing experience while in South Bay. There are 21 fishing charters available for hire, each specializing in a particular fishing spot or technique. 

 

2. Experience Nature via the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail

Up for some hiking excursions? After finishing a trip in Lake Okeechobee’s waters, why not take a scenic tour of it on foot? The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, or LOST, is a part of the Florida National Scenic Trail system and offers a beautiful view of the lake and surrounding areas It also passes through the many sugarcane fields grown in South Bay using the lake as irrigation. The trail is also a perfect spot to do some bird watching and observing the native alligators, turkeys, and other native animals. 

 

3. Relax at the South Bay RV Campground

After a nice day of fishing, it’s good to breathe the fresh air with your friends and family. And no other better place to do it than on the South Bay RV Campground. As its name suggests, this is an outdoor campground where visitors can park their RVs while staying in South Bay. The campground features portable wifi, a basketball court, an air-conditioned recreation room, and even laundry for its visitors. If you want to experience nature while still have all the conveniences, this is the place for you. 

Fishing Techniques
Heavy Tackle Fishing
Heavy Tackle Fishing
Trolling
Trolling
Light Tackle
Light Tackle
Spinning
Spinning
Surf Casting
Surf Casting
Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing