Bass Fishing in Florida, a Multi-Million Sport

Multi-Million Sport of Fishing

Bass fishing represents one of the most popular multi-million sports of fishing practices today. Its popularity has yielded a multi-million sport and billions of dollars to the industry. Aside from the business of sport fishing, bass fishing stands alone. There are boats on the market designed specifically for bass fishing, rods, reels, clothing, and gear, all designed around this very popular sport.

Freshwater sport fishing in Florida provided recreational opportunities for over 1.32 million people over age 16 and generated an economic output of $2.0 billion in 2001. Aside from that, Florida’s freshwater recreational fishing generated 19,519 jobs, with earnings of $484 million in 2001.

Florida freshwater fishing provided 20.8 million angler days of recreation (92% resident) based on 14.5 million trips. (A trip is from when someone leaves home until they return and may include many days; a day is defined by an activity on a specific day(s).

Unique Multi-Million Sport of bass fishing, bass habitats include a variety of environments: rivers, lakes, streams, reservoirs, and even ponds. Rivers provide one of the healthiest habitats due to the highly oxygenated waters from the rapid current. To fish bass from rivers, it is best to seek out current breaks, perhaps from a fallen tree, a stump, or rocks. The fish that bass feed upon will typically school below the current, making these spots ideal for bass fishing.

There are at least 32 species of fish commonly caught in the numerous Florida lakes, ponds, canals, and rivers throughout Florida. The anglers pursue the most popular of these freshwater game fish, the largemouth bass. The second and local favorite is referred to as “perch jerkers” or pan fishermen, depending upon the object of their pursuit.

Multi-Million Sport

Multi-Million Sport of Fishing

The most common of these popular fish are the largemouth Bass, Catfish, Panfish, Chain pickerel, and Crappie. But no smallmouth bass here.

Largemouth Bass, undoubtedly, is the most sought-after game fish in Florida. It is the main target of the majority of anglers in the nation. Many of these lure-busting monsters get in the 10 to 12-pound range and are taken yearly in local Florida waters.

The yellow and brown bullhead, followed by the channel catfish, is the most abundant in the area. Sportsmen favor them for the delicious table fare that they provide. Also harvested commercially, mainly on Lake Okeechobee, their tasty fillets are served as an “all you can eat” favorite in most area restaurants. But it is still the bass fish that promises the challenge of the sport.

Every freshwater river, canal, lake, and pond in Florida is abundant with what is locally referred to as “panfish” for the thick tasty fillets they provide. The term covers a wide variety of pan-sized fish in the sunfish family. These include, but are not limited to, the following: bluegill, bream, warmouth, and the most sought-after, redeared sunfish, locally referred to as a “shellcracker” for its diet of aquatic snails. Another favorite is the exotic oscar or cichlid, which has flourished in the area’s hundreds of miles of canals.

An angler needs only to arm themselves with a cane pole and a can of worms or crickets for guaranteed success in catching supper. However, most anglers opt for ultra-light spinning outfits with tiny spinners and spoons or the fly rod with popping bugs. Catches of fifty or more a day are expected, which has helped make this a Multi-million sport.

While not particularly sought after, the pickerel must still be considered a game fish for its savage attacks on the lures most commonly thrown by bass fishermen. They are fast, tackle-busting acrobatic fighters. While edible, they are usually released due to the many pesky little bones in their fillets.

Also locally called speckled perch or “specks,” and considered the favorite of the “perch jerkers” or crappie fishermen that pursue them. These quick-striking fish fall for a variety of lures. They congregate in large schools and, once located, provide the angler with plenty of action and excellent fish fry.

Numerous techniques and types of tackle are available to practice the sport of bass fishing. Gathering some more basic equipment is advised for a beginner to get started. Some suggestions begin with acquiring a 10-pound line suitable for this species’ average sizes and weights in freshwater. Also, it is suggested to begin with, artificial bait until the angler understands the unique lures used for bass fishing. The Spinnerbait is common artificial bait used by amateur and seasoned anglers, which can be easily cast and retrieved.

The catch-and-release method was introduced in the 1950s and undoubtedly helped with the Multi-million sport. It was designed to reduce the rising costs of restocking hatchery-raised fish and was generally used for fish not meant for consumption. Widespread consensus does not consider bass as good food for fish, so most bass fishermen widely use this technique.

Till next time tight lines and good fishing….
From Staff Writer BASSonline) fishing@bassonline.com
BassOnline.com / 888-829-BASS


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