Ranked #1 Best Lakes in Florida
BASSMASTER >> Rodman Reservoirs’ reputation as one of the best lakes in Florida stood out in the nation by received another boost on Monday when Bassmaster Magazine released its rankings for the best lakes in Florida….but we ask, is any of this even accurate?
Rodman Reservoir earned the No. 5 spot in the nation and is No. 1 in Florida Division, beating out Headwaters Lake, Lake Okeechobee, St Johns River, Lake Toho, and others for top honors. While the ranking is arguably correct at first glance, our and others’ catch ratios show many different results.
While BassMaster went over and beyond prior years to find the best results and locate the sources of information, they were incomplete. Let’s look at their resources and break them down so you better understand.
They’re quoted saying, more than three months of research went into this year’s rankings,” explained BassmasterMagazine editor James Hall, who noted that the initial pool of top fisheries was developed with input from B.A.S.S. Nation members across the country, state fisheries biologists, the 3,500-member B.A.S.S. Council and some of the 650,000 Facebook fans of B.A.S.S.
So the debate is not about the results but the resources and data used to calculate the results. Let us explain when you read the results, you’re thinking as an angler. That, if I fish that body of water, it will hold the best and biggest catch! Wrong…that would assume that the survey was based on “Catch Data,” which it should be, but is not. Simply because it’s not available.
So, instead, it seems that BM had followers, readers, and fans establish the ranking. Here lies one of the problems, as the readers see it published….”They believe the best fishing lakes in Florida lakes to be where they will catch the most and the biggest fish,” not just which lakes were voted most popular by fans!
So let’s look at their resources for determining the Top bass fishing lake in Florida.
Where did this info come from?
1) They used B.A.S.S. Nation members, 3,500 B.A.S.S. council, and 650,00 Facebook fans. That’s great, but all have one thing in common they are all regionally located and almost guarantee voted for a local lake or popularly named lake. Why consider the majority of the anglers that live in, let’s say, California will and have never fished Ohio, Texas, Alabama, etc., so how could they vote for a body of water in Ohio? This works both ways; willing to bet if the data were published, there would be a direct collation between the highest lakes and where the votes’ geographical location was collected.
Let’s be honest, even if you watched the BASSMaster tour on TV and it was excellent fishing on Table Rock Lake should you be able to vote for that lake even though you have never even fished it? That is not “Catch Data,” Without it, how can anyone rank for the best lake in Florida, Arkansas, California, Georgia, or others?
2) If the debate turned to state fisheries biologist collection as the most critical data, let us provide our readers with a bit of additional information so you better understand.
Most states even collect data for bass, which is fewer than you would think. Out of those, the majority provide what is referred to as shock data. You do this by traveling to the exact locations on the lake, year after year at the same time, for the same amount of time. Then compare those results to the previous years. And while shock data is beneficial, it is entirely different than “catch data.” Most states struggle to accumulate this, but as anglers, it is what we get each time we go fishing.
Why not use shock data for this kind of survey, you ask? Several reasons, and a few important ones. Any lake that is deeper them 8+ feet, especially lakes, has ledges where fish stage. These fish can not be shocked; they are to deep, so they are never included in shock data. But these same fish, on the same day, can be caught by anglers fishing which is “catch data” and never collected. Many ways shock data and catch data differ. That is one example.
To get catch data, some state agencies have biologists at the boat ramps or, in some cases, have boats that pull up next to you on the water and ask questions like, How many fish have you caught today? How many below 12″, between 13″-18″, and so on. This data is then complied to help manage the fishery, but in NO way does this get an accurate calculation of “catch data” or how a determine best lakes in Florida should be ranked for anglers looking to go fishing.
Included within the BassMaster statement was, “Then we scoured the Internet for current catch-rate data, using the results of more than two dozen tournament organizations and several state ‘lunker’ programs to narrow the field to 100. It’s a difficult process, but the results give bass anglers the ultimate bucket list of lakes for 2016,” Hall said.
Why is it accumulated?
So let’s look at the lunker programs that several states have started to collect data collecting programs Texas has the Share-a-lunker program, and Florida has Trophy Catch. All these programs were created to better accumulate CATCH data and science for the biologist, which helps with many things when properly managing a body of water. While these programs are needed to manage the resource and accumulate catch data correctly, they also cost the taxpayers money.
If not correctly managed becomes like many other government projects that never meet their potential, which could be argued about either of these programs. The difficulty of these programs is angler participation, and with government agencies running them, it leaves a lot of questions among anglers about why and how to participate. Ultimately, these data collection programs are highly needed, but many would suggest they could be more efficient and successful being privately operated.
Either way, at this point, because not enough data has been collected, the programs could not have been solely used to determine the TOP 100 lakes in the United States…the lack of complete data makes it impossible.
So, if you are one of the anglers out there across the internet and are dissatisfied with this year’s results as many anglers and organizations are voicing their displeasure. Know this is NOT or COULD not be an accurate assessment of the lakes without accurate catch data! To read the Best Florida Bass Fishing Destinations for 2022
Clearly, by the statement made by BM, the Best Lakes in Florida accumulated what little information was available, but knowing the information is inadequate, should they still produce a list?
Although we hope you share this post to educate and inform others, in no way do we want you to conclude or take away from this post that any of these best lakes in Florida on the list don’t belong ranked as is…it’s not about that!