Lake Manatee Fishing
Lake Manatee offers excellent fishing. A variety of species are frequently caught, such as largemouth and sunshine bass, speckled perch, bluegill, shell cracker, and catfish. A Florida freshwater fishing license may be required. Lake Manatee Fishing Info
You pass DeSoto Memorial Speedway, home of the Snowbird Nationals, on your way to Lake Manatee. The drag strip, located in Manatee County near Bradenton, Fla., is home to testosterone and high speed. But when you get to Lake Manatee, it’s time to slow down. Way down. The slower you fish, the better you’ll do on Lake Manatee. The key to success on Lake Manatee and many of Florida’s freshwater lakes and streams is to slow things down, especially in the summer months. And when you think you’re really fishing slow, then you need to slow it down some more. The destination on Lake Manatee is a point just beyond the first island in the lake. You can catch hand-sized bluegill on your first cast. If you’re a fly fishing angler, we use a No. 10 chartreuses popping bug on a 4-weight rod in some conditions. A 7 ½-foot leader with a 7X tippet. We concentrated on that area for the first hour, not moving more than 50 feet. The end result will be worth it, ¾ of a pound to pound bluegill.
Lake Manatee can be fished with a powerboat. Again, most fish far too quickly. You shouldn’t be on the trolling motor continuously, but more of a drift. If you don’t hit your target on your first cast, then hit it over and over again. If you can’t then your fishing to fast. We pull up to a likely spot and fish it slowly and completely. If there’s a pocket in the vegetation, we might make a dozen casts before moving past it. We hit every opening along the way, it’s just that kind of lake. We find when you fish slow, you fish thoroughly. You don’t miss any spots. You cover your area completely, that’s the wonderful thing about fishing slow. They allow you to fish very slowly. And they’re very stealthy.
Lake Manatee is a tough nut to crack. There are those who fish the lake for the first time and never return. The reason is they catch few fish and can’t figure the pattern. Florida anglers are shoreline anglers, or better known a bank pounders. That doesn’t mean they fish from land, it means most cast toward the shoreline vegetation. That’s a very good strategy in most Florida lakes and it works in Lake Manatee – if you know what you’re doing. You can fish some of the shorelines at Lake Manatee, but not all. The reason is that hyacinths float to the shoreline and pile up. Cast to the edge of them and there could be nothing but empty water underneath. The true shoreline might be 10 or 15 feet in the back of the hyacinth jam. So, when fishing the lake, try to find areas void of hyacinth jams. It’s tough, but you can do it if you just open your eyes. When you see a tree on the shore or a fallen tree, you’re in the right area…this is where you should usually concentrate. We often make a dozen or more casts in such an area, again working slow.
When you find fish, don’t leave them. Fish the area until the action stops or you catch the last fish.
LAKE MANATEE STATE PARK
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