Where is Florida’s best bass fishing? It might be on Lake Istokpoga.
There are so many great bass fishing lakes and freshwater fishing guides in Florida that it is almost mind boggling to comprehend.
The sheer number, size, location and scope of these lakes is overwhelming 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.
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Captain Mark Beaver is a renowned bass fishing guide who lives and fishes only one lake in the Sunshine State: Lake Istokpoga.
I 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. Located five miles northeast of Lake Placid, Highlands County, this 27,692-acre lake has quality fishing for black crappie (specks) and one of the highest largemouth bass catch rates in the state.
The lake gets its name from the Seminole Tribe. 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 literally translated means: “Our people died there.” I was hoping my fishing luck wouldn’t die there, too.
I hooked up with Mark Beaver Guide Services perhaps by chance or maybe by good fortune. I have been on many adventure trips from Florida to Georgia to South Carolina, but this trip on Lake Istokpoga with Captain Mark Beaver would turn out to be special.
It was a dark and foggy morning when I drove to Sebring to go fishing for largemouth bass and try not to get eaten by alligators on a lake known for some big reptiles. Hopefully I would catch some fish, not get eaten and maybe even have some fun along the way.
Little did I know at sunrise that the fun, and the interaction with some big bass and a few large alligators, was just beginning.
Read more about the trip and the fish we caught (and didn’t) in my next Florida fishing piece.