Conventional anglers can cover a lot of water with paddle-tailed plastic buzzbaits. If you’re fishing a lake that has a lot of offshore vegetation chances are that the majority of the fish are going to be offshore year round only leaving to the shallows to spawn. The idea is for it to work its way back into the cover where the big bass will be lying in ambush, especially on sunny days. Give it a moment, lock the bail and then set the hook hard. During this … Think about it like this: What do you think a 250-pound man would rather sit down to at dinner? Another thing that could influence bass to feed would be a warming trend after a cold front. A great way to target TrophyCatch-sized bass, heavier than eight pounds, or numerous smaller bass in Florida is by casting to isolated cover. I’d say 90 percent of the bass are in one percent of the water. I am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida and have been catching bass all over Florida for over 40 years. A slew of information will come up about the lakes, fishing trends and guide services. Start with an internet search. Tips from the Pros for Largemouth Bass Flipping Tips -- Brian Coleman, FLW Pro. Keep an eye out for it. Grass is the prevailing cover in many Florida lakes and knowing the different grasses and why they grow in certain places will go a long way towards finding fish. Bass in Florida love to bury themselves in and under these grass mats. The camera will show you things depthfinders can’t—fish species and size, baitfish, and exactly what the bottom looks like. Hardcore trophy bass hunters score this time of the year, especially during the pre- and post-spawn when big sows badly need calories. So do your research and then share your catch by posting your Big Catches and TrophyCatch releases at TrophyCatchFlorida.com. Some of the other strains that have faired well over the years for me are Kissimmee grass (knotgrass) and emergent grasses. If you know how to interpret a good sonar unit, you will be able to find areas of the bottom that are harder than others. Some of the tried and true techniques that work in other areas of the country don’t seem to interest Florida bass all that much. Bass anglers should consider two key factors when picking out lures for wintertime fishing in Florida. A real key to success with the wake bait is finding the right speed. To that end, let’s take a look at some of the best places to go bass fishing in Florida, along with a few other tips that can help make your experience a fishing story for the ages. The two most common techniques to catch bass are artificial lures or live-bait, both effectively work around underwater vegetation or moving water.Common artificial lures are, topwater baits like poppers, swimbaits, and buzz-baits can be particularly successful. Swim baits are made of a soft but tough plastic-like material that stands up to lots of cranking and reeling bringing it through the thickest grass. The grass can be anything, including hydrilla, hyacinths, chopped up Kissimmee grass or water lettuce. These are Florida staples that you can never go wrong with and should always have tied on. Lake George, Florida’s second-largest lake after Lake Okeechobee, is a great largemouth bass fishing spot anglers should utilize. Without a doubt the toughest thing about catching bass is finding them. What I. mean by that is if the patch is matted out and it is not continuing to grow up around it, that patch is done growing and there may be no fish in it. I have a lot of success throwing frogs in open water. Be sure to dip your measuring board into the water allowing it to cool first before laying your fish on it for length measurements. Texas rig it with a 3/16 ounce weight on the front and you can drag it like a worm on the bottom, just reel it in, or rip it across the top. If you love the sport as much as I do, you’ll cherish every moment on the water and want to preserve the memories and the opportunities. Great fishing and remember your sunscreen! In April and May, especially on cloudy days, water temps remain just cool enough that fish will sometimes feed on top all day long. If a bass picks it up and starts to move you need to set the hook. I think this gives the fish a better strike opportunity and you get better hookups. A sweet casting 9' six weight with a decent amount of backbone is my personal favorite, closely followed by a 7'11" eight weight when I need the bigger stick. Cranked hard, it will rattle loudly, kick erratically and run barely beneath the surface, pushing out a big bulging wake like a large baitfish swimming right at the top. My favorite two baits for this technique are a Gambler EZ Swimmer paired with a Gambler 6/0 EZ Hook or a Gambler Ace available at Bass Pro Shops with a 1/4 oz weight and a 4/0 Owner hook. 620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL • (850) 488-4676 This is especially true in bass fishing, with changing patterns and depths related to seasonal migrations. With swim baits, it is all about timing. Now again it’s all relative to the lake you’re fishing. Each “contour line” indicates a change in one foot depth. If you are using more than one rod, set the clicker to warn you if a bass hits your bait and starts taking line. One strain of grass that works the best for me is peppergrass (pondweed). It won’t work all the time; the fish must be in an aggressive mode. Then instead of running the hook through the worm, place it through the side of the worm just under the skin. Our parents started my sister and me out with ultra-light spinning gear, slinging Beetle Spins at shorelines. You can elevate your fishing dramatically by concentrating on what your are doing and focusing on the environment around you. It is so unique that even watching videos or reading articles on how to catch bass that aren’t specifically made for Florida can be of no help. Bass can move quickly from deep water up onto the shallows and attack a bait. Basically like a step. Yum! Jerkbaits are one of my favorite all time lures. If there isn’t new fresh growing hydrilla then they’ll be in the older stuff that has stopped growing or if there isn’t a good population of submerged grass then they’ll be up shallower in the maidencane and reeds. Anglers can be extremely productive fishing this revitalized habitat using shiners, if they know what to look for and follow some simple tips. They either go up or down and some are closer or farther apart. Recent Posts. Once the bass engulfs the swim bait—do not immediately set the hook—allow the bass to take the lure for a few seconds (waiting for the “tick” feel) then set the hook with authority. Another great tool for finding these fish is an underwater video camera. To be successful with this technique, be sure you are using proper equipment. And always remember to keep at it. Do not forget if it is over 8 pounds it is eligible for TrophyCatch, so try not to exhaust the fish letting it fight too long. Be patient. Florida is known as giant bass country and Lake Okeechobee is one of the top fisheries in the country. Your email address will not be published. This is a great time to get kids hooked on fishing – maybe the best in terms of sheer action and building a foundation of fishing skills. A medium to medium-heavy rod with 14- to 20-pound test line is preferred, particularly when fishing in areas with thick vegetation or cover. Most fishermen know that Kissimmee grass, reeds, eel grass and pepper grass are good cover for finding fish. Flipping is intended for pinpoint presentation to visible, thick cover between... Punching Mats in Florida -- Rich Howes, a Bassmaster Classic contender, has entered his own catches in TrophyCatch. Then it’s just a matter of fishing these areas and keeping at it, don’t worry if you’re not catching anything. Again, with enough practice, you will develop a feel for just how much pressure you can apply with the big rod to the light line without breaking off. It’s just a matter of getting the muscle memory down. Many of his action-packed and highly informative films are available on DVD along with art prints ready for framing from www.WildlifeFoundationofFlorida.com. What are typical weather conditions and what clothing should I bring? Driving around and spotting ponds works but with thousands of ponds all around the best and most efficient way to do it is on Google Earth or anything like it that shows a satellite view. If you’re more interested in fishing lakes then feel free to skip ahead to the next part. Bass like a hard, firm bottom rather than a silt or muck bottom. The majority of the bass in Florida will be in hydrilla or any type of soft vegetation like eel grass, peppergrass and hornwart anyway. Tighten your drag all the way for increased hookset ratios and when you think there’s a strike, reel down until your rod is in hookset position before setting the hook. On sunny days, I like to throw a black spoon tipped with either a black rubber spinnerbait skirt or an array of dark colored grubs. Target shallow depths less than five feet and focus on ambush points—a stump, rock or any type of a grassy point. This can be confusing to both the bass and the fisherman, as these cold fronts often throw both of our plans to the wayside. When I helped Bob Williams catch the first Hall of Fame bass inducted into the TrophyCatch program in February 2013, it was on Rodman Reservoir with a big wild shiner. If there are a lot of lily pads senkos/ worms are the way to go with maybe a frog for good measure. When I'm fishing the EZ Swimmer, I cast way past the isolated cover and slowly swim the bait close to the cover under the surface. Florida bass are more sensitive to these front, so while the water temps are right in some of the bigger lakes, the fronts and winds cause them hold off. The plastic worm is the most dependable artificial bait for largemouth bass. When going to new waters or areas, unless you have local help, you must be able to read the conditions and available cover to determine where fish are holding that day. A 1/4-ounce head will get it to 10 to 15 feet. In Florida, bass can be caught casting to isolated cover year round, but spring and summer are the best times to catch a trophy because of the spawn. Bass in Florida always feeds early morning, especially when the water is coolest and almost exclusively in the summertime. Use only your wrist, and roll the butt of the rod to the inside of your arm. So, like I tell people that wander into the shop, “If it swims, I’ll throw a fly at it,” making largemouth a large percentage of my yearly catches. Fishing with swim baits can be a little tricky but here are a few tips to get you rigged properly. Most fishermen think that bass strike because they're hungry. Some of these hard bottom spots are shell beds. Ahh good old Florida. An early morning presentation of a ¼- to ½-ounce rattling crank bait (chartreuse, chrome or shad are all effective colors) is a good starter for kids and pros alike. Hang on and do not allow any slack once you start reeling it in. Florida is one of the most popular states to which bass anglers flock and the reason is simple: The bass fishing in Florida is as good as, or better than, the bass fishing everywhere else. On the Big “O” fish relate to these grasses year round and a spoon is the next best thing to live bait for catching these giants that have made Lake Okeechobee famous. Choose lures that closely resemble the bass’ natural food selections and matching the size to the fish found where you’re fishing. Another condition that is very important to this type of surface action is water temperature. The longer rod allows me to make longer casts than more conventional, shorter casting rods and the flipping stick enables me to set the hook faster and harder from a considerable distance. Largemouth are plentiful in Florida, inhabiting just about every lake, pond, river, creek, spring, and mud puddle across the state. Walking plugs work well, as do frog imitations. Now here in Florida you’re going to want to use heavier line. Give your fishing holes more time than usual if you feel you’ve found a spot capable of producing a giant. Search for bass near lily pads in the spring and drop your line in deep holes to lure them out of their hiding spots. I use a 4/0 hook and 20-pound big-game line, with the hook below the lateral line near the bait’s tail. Now how do you find the best of the best of it? The key to finding fish is structure and contours. However, if you want to use artificials, remember it is more work and requires more skill, so make sure the guide specializes in using artificial lures. As long as the water is relatively clear, an underwater video camera will let you see what actually lies beneath the surface. (see video at YouTube.com/TrophyCatchFlorida.). Because I have caught bass on rocks, sea walls, grass, laydowns, and even in open water without any visible cover, I want to put everything in my favor that I can when that strike comes. It’s fun getting recognized for a great catch, and even better to be rewarded for letting your trophy swim in Florida. Get it headed out of the vegetation and reel fast, ensuring that you maintain tension on the line. Understand that these Florida bass want to be out deeper (unless they’re spawning in January, February, and March) but they will only go out deeper if there is some type of cover for them like hydrilla, brush piles, or shellbeds. But just because you found some good looking hydrilla doesn’t mean they are going to be in it. Check a contour map, or if you have a depth finder cruise the lake looking for sudden changes in depth that may provide refuges or ambush points for bass. Cast out to an area where you think there could be fish. When my clients and I submit our catch into the FWC’s TrophyCatch program, we always remember to handle the bass lovingly, by putting it in an aerated livewell in between taking pictures. Found statewide, largemouth bass have excellent growth rates, particularly in the productive waters of central Florida. Because ponds are more accessible for most people I’m going to start with them. Provoke a topwater bite with a plastic frog, and target depths of 2 to 5 feet with a swimming jig, soft stickbait or lipless crankbait. I like a seven-foot four-inch, medium-heavy to heavy action rod with a high speed reel loaded with 50 to 65 lb braided line for frog fishing. Surprisingly, fish aren’t camera shy either. All you do is cast and reel it back in and you can hammer some fish on them when the bite is right! With enough practice, you’ll develop a feel for fishing light line on a big 71⁄2-foot flipping stick with a high-speed reel, for example. 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