There are so many great bass fishing lakes and fishing guides in Florida that it is almost mind boggling to comprehend. The sheer number, size, location and scope of these lakes is overwhleming for the average angler to understand much less know how to target and fish these bodies of water.
But there is one guide and one lake that we recently found and fished that may separate them from the rest of the pack.
Captain Mark Beaver is a renowned bass fishing guide who lives and fishes only one lake in the Sunshine State: Lake Istokpoga. We booked a 4-hour morning trip with Capt. Beaver and set out from the dock on a recent foggy morning just before sunrise around 6:45 AM.
The lake gets its name from the Tribe of Seminole Indians. According to legend a group of Seminoles attempted to cross the lake and were bogged in the mire and swallowed by whirlpools. The name Istokpoga literraly translated means: "Our People Died there."
Long-time Canespace blogger Old Skool and I hooked up with Mark Beaver Guide Services perhaps by chance or maybe by our good fortune. Skool, although he does not post often on the blog, has been on all of our Canespace adventure trips from Florida to Georgia and South Carolina and cooks some mean scallops with linguini if you get my drift.
It was Old Skool that set up this trip on Lake Istokpoga with Captain Mark Beaver. It was a dark and foggy morning when we drove to Sebring to go fishing for large mouth bass and try not to get eaten by alligators.
Hopefully we would catch some fish and even have some fun along the way.
Once at the ramp we met Capt. Beaver, who was friendly and pleasent, but all about the business of catching fish. Mark is not about sunrise sight-seeing trips (we saw a beautiful one) or gator adventures (we saw a legitimate 10 footer) he is all about fishing. And we like that, yeah we like that a lot.
Once on the lake, we caught fish almost immediately, Old Skool was the first to land a 3 pounder on his second cast. It was fun for me to watch so I will let you watch it too:
Then we set up some more live shiners and Judson, or Old Skool as he is known on the blog, nailed the biggest fish of the day. It was estimated at just over 7 pounds and put up one heck of a fight before being boated.
Below is the photo I took of the proud Canespacer with his trophy fish.
Then it was my turn. I was getting a little rattled and upset because when some guy named "Old Skool" or even "Judson" out-fishes you, well it is just a tad embarassing. So I dug deep, got serious and went to work. That was when I landed several BIG bass one after another during the next two hours.
That one was easy. She was big, about 6 pounds, but swam right towards the boat just as just easy as you please. I lost a few others that may have been bigger in the bull rushes that surround the North side of the big, calm, beautiful lake. One even broke my hook and not the 30 lb. braided line we were using to haul the big bass in.
This one was hard (above). She didn't like me or the boat and ran into the weeds and then dove deep before I yanked her out of the water and into the boat. So I decided to throw up "The (half) U" with her before letting her back down gently into the tannin-stained, brackish looking water.
This fatty (above) almost broke my left wrist before I boated her. She was fat as could be with roe after mating and then bedding on the hard, sandy-rocky bottom just away from the weed line and in about 4 feet of water in the Northeast corner of the lake.
As you can see, the bottom line is: Beaver knows bass. And, he knows where they live, what they eat and exactly how to catch them.
We encourage you to book your trip now by contacting Capt. Mark Beaver at (863) 214-9991 or at: [email protected] .
He can also be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mark.beaver or at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Beavers-Guide-Service .