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Fishing

Which Lure Should I Use for Freshwater Fishing?

With so many different pieces of equipment to keep track of — rods, reels, and lines — you might get a little overwhelmed when trying to pick the right lure for lakes, ponds, and rivers. While the best choice depends on the fish, cover, and water temperature, you’ll find that you can easily get away with a handful of different lures no matter where you’re fishing. Here are four lures to consider using on your next freshwater fishing trip.

Live Bait

Live bait is the most natural way to attract fish to your line. Many fishermen prefer live bait because it has a texture, taste, and smell that artificial bait can’t quite beat. But keep in mind that live bait does require proper storage, acclimation, and cleanup. If you want to use live bait in a freshwater setting, you’ll need to use bait that would normally live in the area you’re fishing in. Some of the most common live bait options to use in freshwater include:

  • Worms
  • Leeches
  • Insects
  • Minnows

Fishing Jigs

Decorated with either a feather, rubber, or plastic tale, jigs are a top choice for freshwater fisherman casting in water of virtually any temperature. Jigs typically feature a weighted head on one end of the lure and a single hook on the other end. Perfect for catching bass and other freshwater game, jigs are great fishing tools in shallow and deep bodies of water.  

Plastic Baits

Made with lightweight plastic, plastic baits are an affordable option. Most plastic baits are scented specifically to attract fish in ways that other lures can’t. Depending on the location you’re fishing in, you can customize your plastic bait with weights, jig heads, or spinners. Ideal for largemouth bass fishing, plastic baits are molded to resemble live bait such as:

  • Minnows
  • Crayfish
  • Frogs
  • Worms
  • Lizards

Spoon Lures

Metallic, round, and reflective, spoon lures are incredibly popular among fishermen in lakes, ponds, and other freshwater areas. That’s because they effectively catch light and reflect it to attract fish. Shop for spoon lures depending on the type of cover and game you expect to encounter, selecting from small, medium, and large options with either a single or treble hook. Not only are these lures dependable in a number of fishing scenarios, but they’re also offered in a range of colors.

Freshwater Fish Camp in Central Florida

If you’re looking for even more tips and tools to get all the hits on your next fishing trip, stop by Grape Hammock Fish Camp. From boat rentals to on-site bait sales, you can fully immerse yourself in fishing without ever having to leave the camp. To book your trip to Grape Hammock, contact us today.

When Is the Best Time of Day to Fish for Bass?

Some days, it can feel like you’re landing every lunker bass around. Other days, it can feel like there’s no bass in the water at all. Because certain trips to the dock turn out completely different from others, you might be wondering if fishing is up to chance — or up to the time of day.

Let’s take a look at how lunker bass behave around the clock to see which hours are best to bait your hook.  

Early in
the Morning

Morning time can be prime time for fishing because there’s usually little activity in the water. With fewer boats cruising and kids swimming, lunker bass are more likely to be on the search for food. Furthermore, while the sun is still at a low point, there’s just enough light in the water for bass to have an edge over their prey. That’s because bass have a complex sense of vision that allows them easily spot other fish and measure their distance with just a small amount of sunlight.   

Mid-Day
Afternoon

When the sun shines at its highest, both bass and their prey
have the clearest view of the day. Therefore, bright afternoons are not the
ideal hunting conditions for bass. Because they are less likely to be able to sneak
up on or effectively hunt smaller fish, lunker bass aren’t going to be as
active in the afternoon. On days with a lot of pre- or post-storm overcast,
however, a mid-day fishing trip can be just as effective as an early morning
one.

Late in the
Evening

Fishing in the evening is great for the same reasons as it
is in the morning: there’s less traffic and just enough light for bass to have
an advantage over prey fish. While bass are usually active in the evening as
the sun starts to set, they become even easier to catch as the day goes on. In
fact, fishing at night under a full moon gives bass enough light to hunt while
being practically undetectable by prey, which gives them the confidence to jump
at just about anything that crosses their path.

Of course, there are countless other things that can affect how many fish are biting during certain hours of the day: the weather, the season, and the body of water.

But no matter what time of day you choose to let your line loose, you’ve got the best odds when you stay with Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Located right on the waters of Lake Kissimmee, a breeding ground for lunker bass, our family-owned camp has cabins and campsites, so you can turn your fishing trip into a full vacation. For more information, contact us today.

7 Ways to Make Fishing More Exciting for Kids

Fishing is your sport of choice, your favorite pastime, your lifelong hobby — and you want nothing more than to share this part of your life with your kids. But depending on their age and attention span, you could have a hard time getting them interested.

To spend quality time with your children and squeeze in more time doing what you love, check out these five tips that will get them as hooked on fishing as you are.

Buy Them Their Own Pole

You can easily get away with letting them borrow your spare rod for the first few trips, but if you want your kids to take fishing seriously, consider getting them their own poles. Remember, just like a kid’s first bicycle, a kid’s first fishing pole can make each trip more fun if it fits their age, frame, and skill level.

Let Them Lead the Way

Picking the best fishing spots might come easy to you, but you can make the experience way more enjoyable for your little ones by letting them lead the way instead. Feel free to give them some pointers of the kinds of areas fish tend to flock to, and watch as they try to figure out where to cast first.

Show Them Your Skills

As your child’s biggest role model, you can make fishing one of their favorite activities just by showing them how much you love it. Teach them your special baiting tricks, reeling technique, and other unique quirks that you’ve adopted over the years or learned from the anglers you look up to.

Explore the Area Together

Fishing trips can take you to some of the most beautiful bodies of water surrounded by endless amounts of natural scenery. So, anytime your kid gets anxious, fussy, or bored during your outing, you can easily turn the trip into an outdoor expedition that will reel their attention right back in.

Bring Their Favorite Snacks

A day out on the dock isn’t complete without plenty of water and energy-fueling food. Knowing this  ahead of time, you can use break time as an opportunity to pack your kids’ favorite snacks, drinks, and on-the-go meal — so they can see fishing as just as much of a treat as you do.

Have Nothing but Fun

Don’t get bogged down with the idea of bringing home a trophy-sized fish or turning your kids into overnight anglers. Make your day more enjoyable by putting your attention on bringing home the best memories instead.  

Stay at a Fish Camp in Florida

Immersing your child in the fishing experience is a great way to turn an afternoon outing into a full-fledged vacation. Out of the many fish camps in Florida, stay with one built on family fishing traditions: Grape Hammock Fish Camp. With dock and boat access to the bountiful Lake Kissimmee and an on-site shop to stock up on fishing essentials, you’ll have all the ingredients for a perfect fishing trip with your kids. When you’re ready to show them the ropes, reserve a cabin for the family or a camping site for your RV.

Ways Fishing Helps Relieve Stress

There’s no magic trick to make all your worries disappear, but there’s also no reason to spend a ton of money just to get a little relaxation. You don’t need a luxury-priced facial or bank-breaking massage chair to start feeling good; all you need is a few fishing essentials. If you’re thinking about scheduling your first fishing trip or just need another reason to bring out your rods and reels, check out all the ways that Central Florida fishing can help relieve stress.

Natural Medicine

When you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or overworked, a breath of fresh air can really turn your mood around. Stepping outside for just a few minutes will start to clear your thoughts, and fishing for a few hours is sure work even more wonders. You can’t go fishing without surrounding yourself with nature, which means you’re sure to get a healthy dose of outdoor air big enough to lift your mood and lower your stress levels.

Muscle Therapy

Fishing is mostly a game of waiting, but you’re still going to target some key muscle groups while out on the water. In fact, while waiting for fish to bite, you have to keep a healthy posture and stand for an extended time, engaging your abdominal and leg muscles. And, of course, when casting or reeling, you’re definitely going to get your arms, shoulders, and back involved. Because fishing is a sport that can require you to get pretty active at times, it helps you to better lean into the more relaxing moments of your day.

Technological Detachment

There are plenty of gadgets in the sea made just for fishing, but plenty of fisherman have their most successful and stress-free catches with no screen time at all. Use fishing as an opportunity to completely unplug and center your thoughts on winding down. Silence your notifications, put your inbox on hold, and let your voicemail do all the talking. While you’re out on the water, try some breathing techniques or other natural remedies that can reset your mind and body while releasing physical and mental stress.

Total Control

As a hobby, fishing is what you make it. If you feel better clearing your head without having to entertain others, take a solo trip to the dock. Or, if being with friends or family members is what really relieves tension, bring your loved ones on board with you. Because destressing can look a little different to everyone, you should create a fishing environment that helps you relax the most.

Central Florida Fishing at Grape Hammock

Destressing isn’t easy for everyone, which is why picking up a different hobby or taking your favorite pastime to new places can be the change that makes a much-needed shift in your mind. When you’re ready to make relaxation a priority, head to Grape Hammock, a Central Florida fishing camp. Located on the edges of Lake Kissimmee, centered in the one of the quietest parts of the state, Grape Hammock is a prime spot to cast your worries away.

Interesting Facts About Largemouth Bass

You can come across lots of largemouth on any given day, but it can take some time to catch your personal best. If you want a better grip on your favorite game, check out these five interesting facts about largemouth bass.

They Eat Their Own  

Because they belong to the black bass species, largemouth bass are technically a part of the sunfish family. However, up to 40% of the largemouth diet is made of other sunfish—mainly bluegill—which means these fish like to feed on their kind. Other fish, insects, and animals that largemouth enjoy feeding on include: 

  • Trout 
  • Panfish 
  • Shad 
  • Mice
  • Worms
  • Mussels 
  • Frogs 

They Invade Certain Areas

If you’ve ever found largemouth bass less of a challenge to catch, it might be because there’s more to go around. In the U.S., you can find largemouth bass in 48 of the 50 states. And in some countries, there are so many largemouth that certain governments consider them to be an invasive species. 

They Have a Big Reputation 

The largemouth is the freshwater state fish of Alabama and Florida, and it’s the official state fish of both Georgia and Mississippi. Beyond having a big regional reputation, largemouth are just plain large. Largemouth bass are the biggest of the black bass species. Living an average of 10 to 16 years, the heaviest recorded one came in at 29.5 inches and 25 pounds. 

They Have a Sixth Sense 

Largemouth bass don’t usually find your bait by looking. In fact, they sense movement in the water by using an extra sensory system. Their mechanosensory lateral line system uses detectors to understand the flow of water. Although you can find this sixth sense in each fish species, scientists believe that cave-dwelling, night hunting, and largemouth fish are some of the only ones that use it as a main hunting tool. 

They Grow Bigger in Florida 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida bass are “genetically different,” which lets them grow far longer and heavier than largemouth in northern states. For anyone hoping to land a largemouth of record-breaking proportions, a fish camp in Florida is the best place to bait. 

If you’re on the lookout for a largemouth bass, take a trip to Grape Hammock Fish Camp, a Central Florida destination for campers, boaters, and casters. Featuring a newly renovated general store filled with ice, bait, and boat gas, Grape Hammock offers open access to some of Florida’s largest fish.  

Tips for an Unforgettable Largemouth Bass Fishing Trip

Some people book Florida fish camp trips to have an unpredictable outdoor adventure, but there are others who plan their trips with one goal in mind. Because, catching a largemouth bass isn’t just something fisherman hope to do; it’s something they’re determined to do. So, if you’re tired of wasting time on sub-par sizes, here are some tips to help you take home a trophy fish in no time.

Know Where to Look

Bass are attracted to areas with a lot of vegetation, which means you’ll have to aim for cover. Your first instinct might be to simply fish deep to find the biggest catch, but largemouth bass always head for hidden spots to hunt for smaller bait. However, if you’re unable to uncover some cover at your fishing spot, check for any fallen structures like trees or bushes, because bass often use them when they can’t find a dense area to wade.

Bring the Must-Have Items

Even if you manage to hook a largemouth bass, you put your catch at risk by casting without the right equipment. Some of the most important pieces of gear to bring on your trip include:

  • Strong lure – Largemouth bass thrive under dense cover. If your lures aren’t strong enough to handle the brush that comes with the cover, your chances of landing a largemouth are significantly smaller.
  • Fish finder – If you want to improve your chances of reeling in a largemouth bass, invest in some tools to help you find them. Fish finders use sound waves to track movements and even estimate the size of fish, which can help you to cast at the right catches.
  • Multiple rods – Like people, fish have their moods. And when they aren’t feeling as energetic, you can still have some successful casts just by changing up your rod and reel. Instead of lugging around your heaviest rod throughout the day, carry a lightweight option that you can easily hang on to while you wait for the waters to wake up.
  • Extra line – Anything can happen on the water, and you don’t want to miss out because of a broken line. Carrying a surplus of strong line will keep you in the casting, reeling, and catching game for the long haul.

Visit the Right Florida Fish Camp

When you’re ready to lock in on a largemouth, book a trip to the Florida fish camp favored by locals and visitors: Grape Hammock. At the Grape Hammock general store, you can pick up just about everything you’ll need for a full day of fishing. And, our experienced staff can point you to all the thriving spots of Lake Kissimmee. For more information, contact us today.

8 Tips for Catching a Lunker Bass

Florida is known for its abundant waters and exotic fishing opportunities, which is why every fisherman insists on experiencing it for themselves. However, out-of-towners only have so much time to catch a lunker before they have to catch a ride back home, which is why it’s essential to come as prepared as possible. If you’re planning to visit a Florida fish camp to find your next big catch, here are eight tips to optimize your odds.

Fish in Different Places

It’s not impossible to earn a sizeable catch right from the dock, but you can open up more opportunities by casting where others don’t. In fact, the areas that most fishers avoid, like spots with tangled growth or lots of cover, are often the best places to find the greatest hidden catches.

Cast to the Wind

If you want your lure to be the first thing a fish sees on its journey, you need to cast your line against the current. Otherwise, bass may come in contact with your boat, or anything you’ve got hanging overboard, which can put them on alert before they even reach your bait.

Use Your Biggest Bait

You wouldn’t expect an adult to eat the same amount of food as a child, so don’t put the same restrictions on your ideal catch. Small lures aren’t going to grab the attention of large fish, because they’re usually on the hunt for a sizeable dish. So, if you want a big bass, use the biggest bait in your tackle box.  

Sharpen Your Hooks

Attention to detail can make the difference between sinking and sacrificing your greatest catch. If you want to improve your chances with every cast, throw a small file in your tackle box so you can easily sharpen your hooks in between catches. This will make it easier for you to hook and harder for fish to escape.

Choose the Best Time

There’s no right or wrong time of year to sink a lunker on your line, but there are some seasonal signals that can improve your chances. For example, after a long winter of little activity in the waters, fish are often itching to jump back into action for spring. Similarly, during mating and hatching season, fish are almost always posted to their eggs and easy to track down.

Invest in Your Equipment

Whether you’ve set a goal of upping your personal best or are just trying to increase your general big catch record, you can drastically improve your results with the right equipment. Investing in stronger lines, quality bait, and tools to fortify your hooks can make the difference between reeling and losing.  

Remember to Stay Patient

Being patient has never stopped anyone from earning a great catch. Even the most experienced fishers must continue to cast their line before landing a lunker, which means that you’ll have to dedicate a serious amount of time to taking home a trophy-sized catch.   

Pick the Right Location

If you’re searching for the biggest catch in Central Florida, tote your tackle box to Florida’s favorite fish camp, Grape Hammock. Located right at the southern end of Lake Kissimmee, our fish camp is the prime spot to make the biggest catches. For more information or to book your camping spot, contact us today.

3 Reasons Florida is the Best Fishing Trip Destination

If you are hooked on fishing and can’t stop reeling them in, you need to get down to Florida to experience the best angling in the country.

But what exactly makes Florida the “Fishing Capital of the World?” Some might say it’s the abundance of fishing opportunities offered by the state, others might point to all the different types of fish you can catch, and still others might contend that it’s the most scenic and pleasant place to fish.

We say that all three of these factors make Florida the best fishing trip destination in the country.

Water, Water Everywhere

Just pull up a map of Florida and look at it for a few moments. It’s impossible to miss just how much water there is in every direction. As a peninsula, Florida is surrounded on the one side by the Gulf of Mexico and on the other by the Atlantic.

There are over 1,300 miles of coastline to fish for saltwater favorites like tarpon, sailfish, cobia, and countless others. And we haven’t even mentioned the freshwater fishing opportunities yet.

The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates that there are about 3 million acres of freshwater fishing spots in the state. It’d be difficult to cast a line from any point in the state without hitting some water!

Variety of Fishing Experiences

With all that water, you’d expect there to be dozens and dozens of different kinds of fish to catch—and you’d be right. Florida is a bass fishing paradise; from some of the best largemouth bass fishing in the world on the Kissimmee chain of lakes to the lesser-known Suwannee bass on the Suwannee River and the exotic and strange Butterfly Peacock bass in Miami, Florida’s lakes and streams are teaming with different bass species.

The coast is just a short drive from anywhere in Florida, so it’s no trouble at all to pack in a freshwater and saltwater trip in a short vacation. Whether you want to charter a deep-sea boat to track down a coveted sailfish or get out in the flats for some world-class tarpon fishing, you should have no problem finding a trip that’s perfect for you.

Beautiful Surroundings

In Florida, what makes the fishing experiences truly special is the scenic locations you’ll be spending time in while on the water. Sure, Michigan and Texas also have some of the best freshwater fishing in the country, but their settings pale in comparison to the tropical and exotic Floridian lakes and rivers.

Whether you are offshore in the turquoise seas of the Florida Keys or weaving through the mangroves in the Everglades, you are guaranteed to have an enjoyable day on the water even if you don’t catch anything. A fishing trip in Florida is never a disappointing experience.

Central Florida Bass Fishing

If you love largemouth bass or pan fish fishing, Lake Kissimmee is one of Florida’s premier sport fishing lakes, right in Central Florida. Come to Grape Hammock Fish Camp for a rare natural fishing trip experience.

We have cabins and camping sites right on the water for a truly immersive stay, and fishing boats for rent if you want to explore the lake on your own.

What Is a Lunker Bass?

The term “lunker” is used by anglers to describe an exceptionally large fish for its type. You would hardly write home about a 2 lbs. largemouth bass, but a bluegill of the same size would certainly be worthy of the lunker title.

However, you will most commonly hear fishermen speak of lunker bass, because bass are the most popular freshwater trophy fish in America.

There’s no standard length or weight to qualify a bass as a lunker (though the Bassmaster Lunker Club™ has set the mark at any largemouth over 10 lbs.)—it is more of an informal way to talk about an unusually large or fat bass.

Lunkers in Lake Kissimmee Chain

Florida is home to some of the best bass fishing lakes in the world, and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes is never far from the top of the list. The Bassmaster Classic—the Super Bowl of professional bass fishing—has been held in Florida twice since its inception, and both times it came to the Kissimmee Chain.

The two largest lakes in the chain, Lake Toho and Lake Kissimmee, are each renowned for being lunker paradises. It is not unheard of to catch over 30 bass in just one day of fishing on either of these lakes, but the real draw is the number of 10+ lbs. bass you can catch.

Lunker Baits

There are many baits and fishing strategies you can use to catch bass in Florida. And almost any of them can land a lunker in the well.

But, some methods are better than others when you are lunker hunting. In the summertime, the biggest fish tend to stay below the surface and out of the sunlight where the water is cool.

Though topwater fishing is one of the most exciting ways to spend the day, you will want to use a different strategy to target lunkers.

The best bait you can use to catch a trophy fish is a live shiner. Large plastic worms, crankbaits without bills, and swimbaits are all good options as well if you want to use artificial bait, but nothing outperforms trolling hydrilla beds with live shiners.   

Launch your boat at one of Lake Kissimmee’s original ramps at Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Make your fishing trip into a fishing weekend by staying in one of our cabins or sleeping under the stars at our campsite.

For more information about fishing, camping, or renting a cabin, feel free to contact us at 863-692-1500.

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