A couple of years ago I took one of the best bass fishing trips of my life. We were vacationing near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and I wanted to take a guided fishing trip while we were there. I tried to book an inshore saltwater trip, but never found a guide that I felt confident about catching fish with.
I then began my search for a bass guide. Lake Okeechobee was a little too far to drive from our hotel, but the Everglades were very close. I remember talking to Captain Michael Hicks from Bass Assassin Fishing Charters and feeling very confident that he would find good fishing spots.
I met Captain Hicks at a local bait and tackle store, and we drove into the heart of the Everglades. Michael had a new Ranger bass boat and had it equipped with all the tackle I needed to be successful. We mainly fished the canals adjacent to the interstate system through the Everglades. He knew exactly where the fish were located. These canals run for miles, and he had the bass pin pointed to a few highly productive areas.
I caught over a hundred bass in a 4 hour trip. Most of the bass were all over 3 pounds. I caught fish on every lure I tried. I used crankbaits, flukes, buzzbaits, soft plastics. I figured out pretty quickly that the larger bass would eat a Zara Spook. Once I figured out that I could catch 4-5 pound bass on topwater, I never put that lure down.
I even caught a Peacock Bass on this trip. This fish is native to South America and has been transplanted to Florida. We both were surprised to see a Peacock, because we were at the very far northern stretches of this fishes environment. Peacocks need very warm water to survive, and my guide had never seen one this far north.
Another new fish for me was an oscar. Apparently, these fish are very abundant in the Everglades. I caught dozens of oscars while bass fishing. If I lived in Florida, it would be hard not to fish for these all the time. They are very aggressive and fight hard. They were a lot of fun to catch.
I also saw many alligators on the trip. It was really cool to see gators in the wild.
I recommend doing your research before hiring a guide. I like to call around to a few people to see if I get a good vibe. There are hundreds of fishing guides in Florida that will gladly take you on a trip, but finding one that can really take you to where the fish are is what really counts. This was a trip that I will never forget.