TO-HO-PEK -I-LIGA. Now there's a mouthful! Locals and
pros just callit TOHO. Actually, it's really West Lake
Toho, as there is another completely separate lake in
this Kissimmee Chain of Lakes known as East
Lake Tohopekiliga or just East Lake!
The most obvious way to get onto the water on Toho is
to launch at Kissimmee City Docks on the north end of
the lake. However, others maller ramps are available at
fish camps and recreation areas lining most of the lakes
in the chain.
| Wind currents exist even on large, open
lakes like Toho. Huge mats of hydrilla and other native and
exotic grasses create calmer waters, while those in-between
areas created by nature and by boaters provide more turbulent
water when winds blow steadily cross the surface. These open
avenues are readily identifiable by the chop and ripple caused
by the wind.
Anglers who know the water, especially local fishing guides
who ply these lakes almost daily, mentally map the ate noting
lanes between matsand grass beds. Some are better than others,
but the regulars learn which ones produce fish consistently,
and they return to them day afterday.
John Leech lives in Kissimmee and guides on Toho and the Kissimmee
several times each week. John knows the lake like the back of
his hand, and he has his favorite spots. Launching at the south
end of Toho weraced to a mid lake area with giant hydrilla mats
and endless boating lanes running between the mats and grass
Arriving at his number one honey hole John was distressed
to find another angler camped out on the best spot - one
side of the down current end of the lane. The anglers
were casting shiners into the lane and catching a few
nice bass in the 3-4 pound range. John elected to anchor
on the oposite side of the lane threading medium sized
wild shiners on weedless hooks and joining the action.
I had the pleasure of sharing Al Laman's boat with him
and his guest, president of Smith Ltd. Lure company, Kunihiro
Kojima. In the second boat, John Leech was accompanied
by Jin-Ichi Suzuki, Managing Director of Smith Ltd., and
Marc Gazeley, USA business associate.
Together we managed to catch 24 fish, most of them small
bass and a few toothy chain pickerel (a member of the pike
family), but on this day, John's boat was to be the lucky
one! Two chunky bass were caught by Suzuki-san weighing 7-6
and 7-8 each! Most of the fish - including the two big ones
- were caught on Florida's wild golden shiners, though several
of the others were caught on Smith Wiggy lipless crankbaits.
Harley Smith is the person who used to write his fishing
articles in Japan's oldest monthly bass fishing magazine,
Basser. The title was called "Harley's Message from the
Sunshine State" for 12 years. Not only reporting Florida's
fishing, he'd covered tourney reports such as Bassmasters
Classic and Redman All American as well. Now he is back and
writes articles for basswave.jp. He will introduce all the
readers his fun fising stories as a weekend angler's view.
Smith website : http://www.smith.co.jp/