Shore Fishing

May 30, 2024 at 4:21 p.m.


We have fished and kayaked on this lake for years but never camped to enjoy the early morning and evening bite. So, we hitched up our Aliner camper and loaded our kayaks for a weekend of fishing and primitive camping. Because it is so close to Englewood, we decided to take both cars, our old Subaru Forester which serves as our “rolling tackle box and kayak hauler,” and the Highlander to pull the camper. 

Kim shows off her Webb Lake bass.


Camping at Babcock Webb WMA is limited to Friday and Saturday nights this time of year. During hunting season, the camping days are expanded to accommodate the increased demand for space. Now, the weekends are peaceful and uncrowded except for the persistent small arms fire from the very popular gun range during the day. The campsites are available by reservation only, but are free. The facilities are limited to pit toilets and a picnic table, but the sites are level and mostly grass covered. There is no water or power available at the sites. Aliner campers have a gas/electric refrigerator and freezer, so we were only missing the AC and microwave. During the cool nights, we were comfortable and cooked on the gas stove, making the microwave unnecessary.

There are three boat ramps along the western shore of Webb Lake. These represent a good spot to launch a kayak and for shore fishermen to set up shop. There are several spots that could serve as kayak launches if folks are willing to launch into the grass and mud along the shore. Most of the shoreline is covered with tall grasses that make shore fishing a challenge. We lost several fish to tangles in the grass as bass burrowed into the cover and shook off the hook. The lily pads also claimed a few rigs as our “weedless” lures became lodged at the point where the stem meets the leaf. The water level was high, which allowed the bass to range farther into the grass in search of a meal which made fishing slow. 

At dawn on Saturday, we launched at the middle boat ramp and fished our way south along the shoreline. It was absolutely necessary to find the leeward shore to escape the wind which increased to over 30 mph from the east. Fishing was slow with most of our strikes coming from the grasses, often in less than a foot of water. We used 7” Zoom Trick Worms™ in watermelon red, black, and brown colors during the middle of the day and tied on Zoom Horny Toads™ during the low light times. Later in the day we put in at the south boat ramp on Webb Lake and worked our way north, finding leeward spots as the wind continued to dominate the weather. The wind gusts were so strong that we had a hard time paddling back to the launch and we missed exploring some of the side lakes. We found lower water clarity here but still caught and released a few bass. But the most exciting part of the day came when Kimball accidentally hooked into a submerged alligator along the shore and thought for a while that she was about to catch a world record bass. Unfortunately, as line continued to flow off her reel, it became apparent she was hooked up to something much larger than a giant bass. Fortunately, she had just anchored the kayak, so she wasn’t being pulled off to distant waters. By holding the spool, she broke her light wire worm hook and not the line. This is a testament to the strength of 10 lb. test braided line. 

On Sunday as the sun rose, we launched at the marl pond east of the entry. From the road and parking area, this looks to be a single, long pond with good shoreline structure. Once on the water, and at the east end of the pond, we found a passage into a similar pond south of the marl pond. This area is seldom fished as we found it nearly covered by lily pads but there were more hungry bass willing to attack our worms.

After a late Sunday breakfast at camp, at midday we retreated from the wind and our kayaks, and focused on shore fishing in the limited spots that were protected from the wind.

We drove to a protected spot and decided to soak bottom baits in search of the channel catfish in the lake. Instead, using bacon, Kimball caught and released four huge soft-shelled turtles that were too heavy to drag up onto the shore for a picture, but no catfish. 

It was a fun, relaxing couple of days with a few bass caught and released. Then a stop at Brother’s Fish House for a delicious pompano dinner and home to a much-needed shower!

Kimball and Les Beery, authors ofAngler’s Guide to Shore and KAYAK Fishing Southwest Florida, contribute these excerpts from both Waterproof books to promote the excellent fishing available in the Englewood area. They are available locally at Old Florida Gallery on West Dearborn, and for download at &