Destination: Lake Tarpon, Fla.

"The Gem of Pinellas County"

Lake Tarpon, Fla.

Lake Tarpon was voted one of the Top 10 bass lakes in the state by the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. It houses some giant bass, and because of the Sunshine State's temperate climate, good fishing can be had year-round.

While there is no one best spot on the lake, bass can be found all year in and around shoreline grass such as buggy whips and cattails. Flipping dark colored soft plastics into the grass works well, as does dragging live shiners around the lake's grassy perimeter or in front of the many boat docks. Larger shiners produce proportional bass. Guides on Lake Tarpon will troll shiners up to a foot long in search of trophy fish.

In the summer months, bass can be found in the abundant offshore vegetation along humps, where bass will school underwater to chase shad. Lipless crankbaits can fool plenty of fish in this season.

For more information about accommodations, history of the lake and guides, visit www.laketarpon.org.

LURES TO PACK: Soft plastics, including 10-inch ribbontail worms; stickbaits; and flipping baits. An assortment of sinkers up to 1 ounce are recommended. Stick with dark, natural colors such as black and blue or watermelon candy. Lipless crankbaits typically clean up on schooling fish in the late summer and early fall. Don't forget the sunblock if you'll be visiting in the warmer months.

BEST TIME TO GO: To fully appreciate Lake Tarpon, spawning season (January to March) or late summer are best. During the spawn, the largest bass of the year will be caught, while late summer and early fall offer the best shot at good numbers of fish.
 

TECHNIQUES: Guides will cater to any level of angler. Artificials as well as live bait can be used successfully. Drop by any of the local tackleshops for a fishing report as well as hot baits. 

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