Chris asks:

I am coming to Orlando for a short vacation (4/4 - 4/8) while my wife is at a conference for work. My goal is to catch fish. I'd like to fish on a lake for a couple of days and on the ocean for a couple of days. I don't want to spend a bunch of money to go out on a charter if I can help it (because I don't have any). Do you know of a lake around Orlando that has a bunch of big bass and rents boats to get out to them? I would also like to catch other fish that we don't have here at home. Ideally it would be a fairly quiet lake as far as traffic goes but one where I could rent a small fishing boat for a half day and catch a bunch of fish. Our largemouth record (Minnesota) is 8 lbs., 12 oz. and 3/4 and I would love to find something close to that. My favorite method is using a top water lure like a hula popper I just love the moment when they explode through the surface and inhale the lure. Of course that means getting on the water very early - which is my favorite time to fish anyway. Up here we do a lot of drifting on a likely spot and just bouncing it off the bottom. This is more for Walleyes and panfish than for bass but I have a lot of experience doing that and I'm just wondering if that will work down there. From your name, I assume that you mostly fish for striper but I'm hoping that you know something about inland fishing too. Also, I'd like to find a place on the ocean where I could stand on the shore, pier or bridge and be pretty confident that I could catch something. It doesn't even really matter what that something is. I just want the action to be fast and furious. If I could catch something with some size of course that would be a plus. Is there such a place or do you think that I'm going to have to get a charter in order to catch something in the ocean? From reading your articles it seems that maybe the striper (at least a big one) would be too finicky for my liking. I only have a couple of days so I want something that will bite soon if possible. One last question - is there anywhere close to Orlando where I could catch a big shark from shore? I'm assuming that I would have to go on a charter to catch a big shark but I read something about some pier where it's possible. Actually any shark from shore would be a good thing but a big one would be great. Anyway, I know that I'm kinda all over on subjects and that I've asked you a ton of questions but any help I can get will be much appreciated! As a side note, anything that I catch will be released. I release almost everything that I catch up here except for a meal of panfish about 10 times a year.

Thanks much, Chris

Ask-MikeStriper Mike's Answer:

Hi Chris

well let me start here.....Florida, as you well know. is home of the monster bass.....but as in most fisherys.the locals knows the how's and where's. I have fished a lot of great bass land there. and had a nice 5 pounder....On one occasion I took a charter .....fresh water bass. with giant shiners. Within 2 hr we had caught and released 2 ten pounders. Save your money and make use of your time by spending it on a local guide with a know how .research on the web ahead of time.

Striped bass love rivers and feeding in them .specially in the spring. Rhode island has many piers etc.charleston breach way.etc..where you can be very successful from the land. Don't underestimate bridge or pier fishing.........especially at nite..for nice stripers.........

Finally.......yes there are sharks in Florida. and everywhere!!!! will need a boat...and some good suggestion is to wait until fall or early July and wrestle your shark up in new England......They are close ........and big!!!. Rick.....he will get you some sharks and a trip for real men. Tell him striper mike sent you........Your passion for fishing is obvious......may you the catches of a lifetime and the joy of releasing them.