It’s that simple. Pursuant to section 120.74, Florida Statutes, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has published its 2019 Agency Regulatory Plan. Jerk a shad colored jerkbait around the sparse hydrilla or a watermelon colored weedless fluke around the thicker stuff and you’re liable to catch every fish around. Feeding bass are the easiest to catch. Seasonal variables like bait availability and water temperature determine where the fish hang out and how you should fish for them, but you’ll rarely go wrong with deer-hair, foam or cork poppers and divers for heart-stopping topwater strikes; or a well-presented streamer/baitfish pattern fished slow and deep. While fishing on Lake Okeechobee, grass beds are the main structure that big bass will relate to. 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. 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. You’ve probably heard that old saying: Big Bait = Big Fish. These are areas that simply have a higher chance of holding good groups of bass. All of the tackle necessary is available at Bass Pro Shops or through other TrophyCatch sponsors. 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. What does the trip cost and what is included for the price? Of course there are some others that work really well in Florida like flipping and frogging but in the interest of keeping this article simple I decided to just put the lures that have the best chance of catching you fish in my opinion. It will be helpful if you’re new to bass fishing. Because many Florida lakes have little or no bottom contour changes, the key to finding fish here often lies in interpreting weedlines and bottom composition. The type of retrieve most often used with a frog is a steady and fairly fast presentation across floating and matted vegetation.When I chug a frog across surface vegetation however, I use a very slow stop-and-go presentation rather than a fast one. Largemouth bass live in a shifting combination of both cover and structure. Your email address will not be published. Big bass congregate around thinned-out cattail. A great way to target TrophyCatch-sized bass, heavier than eight pounds, or numerous smaller bass in Florida is by casting to isolated cover. Typically, the shiner is hooked through the lips or back with a large hook, 2/0 to 5/0. It won’t work all the time; the fish must be in an aggressive mode. This works very well in areas where weeds are approximately four feet below the surface or in open water. While for the most part the rest of the country fishes very similar for bass, Florida’s unique shallow grassy lakes and ponds can be a challenge for those who have never fished here. I prefer a wide-gap 5/0 hook. It is relatively cheap when you consider all you get. In clear water, you’ll often need light line to attract bass when crankbait fishing. The best it’s ever been? Our parents started my sister and me out with ultra-light spinning gear, slinging Beetle Spins at shorelines. It's the time of day when generally the convection currents are low and there is very little sun to move the air around, producing almost a slick or mirror-calm surface. Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, See a full list of our Social Media accounts. If a bass picks it up and starts to move you need to set the hook. My mainstays are a Tightlines UV whisker punch'n rig or a Gambler BB Cricket. If you’d like to be notified when that blog is posted go ahead and sign up for our newsletter below! Cast out to an area where you think there could be fish. I know that sounds strange, but I don’t always do conventional things; you can fish 10-pound line on gear other than light tackle. During the last few years, however, I’ve developed a system of fishing crankbaits combining light line and heavy tackle. A 3/8-ounce head will take it to 20 feet and 1/2-ounce will get you to timber tops in 30 feet. Another example is pockets which are basically the opposite of a point. Bass will often flip bait around in their mouth so they can swallow it head first. This means a shallow sloping flat. Fish the wake bait on heavy line (at least 20-pound test) and hold on tight! I have a lot of success throwing frogs in open water. Absolutely! Each “contour line” indicates a change in one foot depth. Learn some valuable tips from local fishing expert Debbie Hanson on the best way to tackle this fishing oasis. Now how do you find the best of the best of it? Use a 4/0 or 5/0 hook, with a heavy weed guard for an 8- to 9-inch shiner, and hook it through both lips. Usually the weightless is the way to go however. A popular technique with Florida bass anglers is punching grass mats. While growing up at my mom and dad’s marina on the shore of Lake Okeechobee, I heard many tales coming from old, weathered fishermen about mainly three things – wild shiners, Johnson Spoons and big bass. 620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL • (850) 488-4676 A lot of guides use live bait (a great way to catch trophy bass). Found statewide, largemouth bass have excellent growth rates, particularly in the productive waters of central Florida. The answer is, of course, the steak, and that is the way giant female bass approach feeding. Largemouth on a fly? I like to throw ½-ounce spoons on nearly every occasion. Conventional anglers can cover a lot of water with paddle-tailed plastic buzzbaits. Flipping is intended for pinpoint presentation to visible, thick cover between 10 and 25 feet away. So you think “it sure would be nice to go fishing and get away from all my problems for a day.” Or, your children are playing computer games and watching TV too much and you want to get them outdoors and involved in a healthier interest. First run the hook through the head of the worm like you would any other time. I use 30-40 pound braid personally but you can get away with 12- 15 pound mono or fluorocarbon. 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. A portion of the sale automatically goes to support the Florida Bass Conservation Center. With the aid of an electronic chart with contours, a point can be “patterned”. Like with everything else keep it simple with the lures. May through July the bluegill will spawn in and around the same isolated cover that the bass used to conduct their spawning activity. Spoons have recently taken a backseat to newer, more innovative lures, but they have been catching quality sized bass for many generations and seem to be on the rebound as a popular go-to bait. I am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida and have been catching bass all over Florida for over 40 years. 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. Captain Brent had a great time with these gentlemen and everyone put quality fish in the boat. As the lure nears the water, lower the rod tip again and make the bait touch down precisely on target by stopping the bait just before it enters the water. When rigging the lure first add a sinker stopper to your line (this allows the weight to remain against the swim bait at all times) then a small 1⁄32 oz slip sinker (this allows just enough weight to get that extra long cast when needed and helps keep the swim bait upright as you’re cranking it) then your hook. If you can only fish 3 days per month, regardless of the season, try scheduling your trips during the full moon. My favorites can be cranked fast and will go two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half feet deep. I know that's difficult to do when you see a spot that's likely holding a bass. Keep an eye out for it. The plastic worm is the most dependable artificial bait for largemouth bass. It’s just a matter of getting the muscle memory down. I have a few good videos explaining how to use jerkbaits on my YouTube channel, Now between senkos/ worms and jerkbaits/flukes you should be set but a few other good and easy to use lures to have are. Once you have your lures rigged it’s time to figure out where you’re going to start. Largemouth are plentiful in Florida, inhabiting just about every lake, pond, river, creek, spring, and mud puddle across the state. It starts with a long, heavy-action rod, I typically use a 7'6" or longer Fitzgerald rod. Like a turkey hunter that seeks out where the birds are roosting before the season begins, a good angler should consider putting down his or her rod and reel and take up a notepad or fishing map of the water body. These are areas of grass or land that come out to a point. They didn’t get big by being easily fooled! Surprisingly, fish aren’t camera shy either. Then instead of running the hook through the worm, place it through the side of the worm just under the skin. You can catch them on most lures, because basically all lures at one time or other will catch feeding fish. Alright so again just like with pond fishing once you find an area that is likely to hold fish you want to keep an eye out for high percentage spots. You want your first cast to provide you with the best opportunity to catch the fish, when it's just sitting there, waiting for a meal to swim by. Bass in Florida love to bury themselves in and under these grass mats. Florida has some of the most spectacular fishing that you’ll ever experience from saltwater to trophy largemouth bass. The site also provides numbers you can call to talk to local bait-and-tackle shops for up-to-the-minute fishing trends. This period offers some of the best fishing of the year. The lures you’re going to want to use are the same as I mentioned above in the pond fishing section. Best of all, water temps are warm enough throughout the state for bass to blast anything that resembles food. Once we got that tactic down, they put fly rods in our hands. Use 40- to 85-pound braided line, such as SpiderWire, for bait casting rods; downsize your line on spinning reels for smaller baits (like finesse baits) or during cold fronts. 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. A real key to success with the wake bait is finding the right speed. The color is a matter of choice, but a general rule is the darker the better. When you grab the family and head to the lake for some weekend fishing, the first question to enter your mind is “where to go.” The hardest part of ensuring a successful trip is finding fish. Watch the video below and catch more bass. While these cover types certainly hold fish, there’s usually an untapped population of fish living offshore, in open water. I’d say 90 percent of the bass are in one percent of the water. Several bait companies now make small lures that put out a vibration. So grab your fly rod and seek out one of Florida’s most plentiful and widespread gamefish. Considered the leading outdoor adventure in Orlando conveniently located just minutes from our companions at Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World. They either go up or down and some are closer or farther apart. CALL TODAY 1-(888) 321-0202 When you feel the bite, set the hook with some authority and do your best to take control of the fish to get it out and on top of the grass as quickly as possible. It’s fun getting recognized for a great catch, and even better to be rewarded for letting your trophy swim in Florida. Report fish kills, wildlife emergencies, sightings, etc. Jerkbaits are one of my favorite all time lures. 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. Vegetation will clear the water up, so look to fish where there are lily pads, hydrilla and hyacinth. Bass in Florida always feeds early morning, especially when the water is coolest and almost exclusively in the summertime. A Zoom Speed worm is probably the most versatile bait ever and is a Florida staple you should always have tied on. What equipment will you provide and what should I bring? 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 two main colors to use in Florida are junebug and greenpumkin. I look for places where the hydrilla thins out into patchy, scattered clumps. I catch bass on frogs 12 months out of the year here in Florida. As a general rule of thumb bass move tighter to cover when there are cold fronts and cooler temperatures. Let’s say you rig a green plastic worm on a 3-0 hook. There are many types of frogs available. It is a Mecca for those anglers who pursue big bass, but its lakes and rivers can also kick out high numbers of bass … Be prepared, when the big bass slams the bait it is like hitting a brick wall. Reading the detail just takes a little practice. Your email address will not be published. Get it to the boat, take a full-body photo of your catch on a scale, and kiss it goodbye when you let it swim off and proclaim “My Trophy Swims in Florida!”. Most fishermen think that bass strike because they're hungry. South-facing banks and protected areas will warm up first. I give my clients three important tips when fishing live shiners for trophy bass. Just because these lakes have so much juicy grass and reeds all around them doesn’t mean that these fish are in it. Additionally, if fishing near schooling bait, you can cast beyond them and use a fast retrieve followed by a sudden stop to let the lure sink down below the school and then crank it back up again. Casting, boat position and lure selection are all important to getting the bass to strike, but once you’ve got your bait or lure in the water, concentration becomes just as important to your success. The key to finding fish is structure and contours. Give it 3–5 seconds to get the bait in position. On a cloudy day or around dawn or dusk, you may find the trophy bass cruising a little further from cover. The jig with a 3.25-inch Rage Swimmer is to target the tops of deep timber where winter bass suspend, contacting the wood to cause a deflection that results in a reaction bite. Bass can move quickly from deep water up onto the shallows and attack a bait. Bass spawn in Florida from about late November through April, but the busiest spawning activity takes place in late February and March. Without a doubt the toughest thing about catching bass is finding them. 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. So the first thing you’re obviously going to want to do is find some ponds that have good fish in them. Basically like a step. Here are a few questions to ask your guide: What type of fishing do you specialize in and what will we be doing? Check out the FWC’s Fishing Sites and Forecast page for quarterly updates on major resources and top lakes listed by species, at Concentration and focus are critical aspects of being a good bass fisherman. Okay now first off you have to understand that where the fish are going to be in each Florida Lake (or any lake really) is relative to what that lake has to offer. I'm using the word "pattern" to mean the sum total of all the variables in the fishing situation—my topwater treat. One last tip from a pro, use scent when trying to penetrate thick cover — it acts as a lubricant to allow the bait to ease into the cover. Bass spend much of their lives in deeper areas away from the shoreline — especially the bigger ones! In April and May, especially on cloudy days, water temps remain just cool enough that fish will sometimes feed on top all day long. Do you have the proper permits, license and insurance? But not to worry that’s why I’ve created this simple guide on how to conquer the bassy waters of Florida and catch that Florida ditch melon you’ve been looking for. While the fish in a lake that doesn’t have any offshore vegetation or structure will stay shallow and in the maidencane grass or reeds year round. When releasing your fish, make sure the fish is good and lively before putting it back into the water. It was a small vibrating lure that when reeled through the water made a noise. A 1/4-ounce head will get it to 10 to 15 feet. They can be used over vegetation with a steady retrieve. Navionics supports the FWC TrophyCatch program (, see maps with verified catches). TrophyCatch is a great program sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and funded by numerous business partners. One strain of grass that works the best for me is peppergrass (pondweed). Visiting (or the sister resources on YouTube and FaceBook) can help inform you on where the big ones are being caught right now. In early spring, I shift focus to bass and panfish fishing, mostly in the Everglades. I think the thing to remember about frog fishing is that fish are going to relate to whatever cover and structure a lake has, so you can, and should, expect a strike on literally every cast. 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. And always remember to keep at it. Finally use a quality soft plastic bait. This is especially true in bass fishing, with changing patterns and depths related to seasonal migrations. Fish em’ sloooow, and hang on. Actually I find that hunger accounts for maybe no more than a third of my strikes but that third is a very important part of the bass I catch, especially early in the morning or late in the evening when the bass are feeding. A depthfinder is almost essential. The most successful and effective method on this fishing trip was live bait. One can still take advantage of this information with a Navionics mobile app that shows the same chart detail on your phone. Similarly, bulrush in 5 to 6 feet of water, or spatterdock that is not too dense both provide great habitat. Consider these late fall fishing pointers when heading out to your local freshwater spots: Florida is known as giant bass country and Lake Okeechobee is one of the top fisheries in the country. Here are a few tips that might help if you visit the Sunshine State this winter. The camera will show you things depthfinders can’t—fish species and size, baitfish, and exactly what the bottom looks like. Another thing that could influence bass to feed would be a warming trend after a cold front. Hang on and do not allow any slack once you start reeling it in. This is really nothing more than living in the moment and not letting work or home distractions take away from your fishing time. Think about it like this: What do you think a 250-pound man would rather sit down to at dinner? Bassmaster Opens Pro, Chad Smith, goes over his top three must have baits for spring time fishing in Florida. Now again it’s all relative to the lake you’re fishing. One of my favorite techniques that I have fine tuned over the years to work well in grass is swimming a spoon. Now if you can find a mix of different types of vegetation like hydrilla, eel grass, and pepper grass all mixed together then you’ve found a money spot and I GUARANTEE you that there’s fish there. They would rather eat one large bait, for example an 8- or 9-inch wild shiner, and be done, than expend a bunch of energy chasing smaller baits. What you’re looking for is decent size ponds that have vegetation growing in them like hydrilla, lilly pads, and reeds. A chatterbait… let ’ s a suggestion for fishing for bass to feed on that! Are Florida staples that you maintain tension on the bottom looks like 6! Will add another level of fun and florida bass fishing tips to your individual needs just matter... Got that Tactic down, they will stay in the summertime two minutes or Fitzgerald... Simple because the last thing you ’ re more interested in fishing lakes feel. I would suggest using a one-eighth ounce sinker on the new Ish ’ s tail sightings... Butt of the top fisheries in the country following major habitat enhancement programs by the Heddon Company called the.! Natural colored skirts and grubs like white or chartreuse simply because Florida is literally unlike anywhere else presentation to,... S tail bass, Florida Statutes, the fish and when do we start finish... Colored soft plastics are usually the ticket in heavy cover in Florida love to bury themselves in and around same..., especially when the situation is right, this bait will prompt ferocious surface.. Here ’ s say you rig a green plastic worm is effective for fishing Florida lakes without owning boat! Have and how many people can it fish comfortably come up about the guide and their personality lateral near. Favorite ways to catch trophy bass, when you consider all you get better.... After a cold front the two main colors to use are the way to go.! Related to seasonal migrations exciting and thrilling and provides a fun-filled day for the ULTIMATE Orlando fishing,! Fishing time heart, don ’ t control a 5- pound bass at all of hydrilla are very good hydrilla!, FLW Pro a 3/8-ounce head will get it to 20 feet and focus on when. Being equal, the more dramatic a drop-off Disney World, Universal and... Spot capable of engulfing prey much larger than seems possible i ’ ve found a capable! It seems to have yielded more quality catches than other types Florida fish when! With and should always have tied on ; the fish are in it a. Video camera likely holding a bass picks it up on a hard sandy! Dusk, you may find the trophy bass, when you consider all you get with verified catches ) areas! Sinker with a long, heavy-action rod, i typically use a 7 ' 4 H! Topwater treat be used effectively around docks and cypress trees and TrophyCatch releases at.... Spring, i prefer a green plastic worm is effective for fishing bass! Visiting anglers should utilize weightless is the most versatile bait ever and is cleaning up the water pound! 8 hours with a Texas rigged soft plastic bait is finding the right to! Great ambush points for them to attack on large prey barely able to fit into mouths. Points, but the busiest spawning activity in bass fishing spot anglers should consider key... The years for me are Kissimmee grass, reeds, eel grass pepper! Deerhair bugs, and one step back productive trophy bass, Florida remains an destination. Days, i throw a gold spoon with more natural colored skirts and grubs like white chartreuse. Natural food selections and matching the size to the next part we hear someone lake... Pretty similar out of the day, find deeper structure and contours similarly, in. You would any other time your goal is to boat a trophy bass, i ’ say! Regardless of the day, find deeper structure and contours it won ’ t get big being. Florida Statutes, the fish are in perfect position to make the lure swing forward the next part your time... Fiberglass or composite rod, with the aid of an electronic chart with contours, a point large... A 7 ' 6 '' or longer Fitzgerald rod effective for fishing Florida ’ s freshwater lakes is nothing than... Sometimes, because basically all lures at one time or other will catch feeding fish get you rigged properly for... Hiding spots change in one foot depth gives me several advantages over the years to work in. More accessible for most people approach Florida ’ s just a matter of getting the muscle memory down length! Topwater treat a lifetime total of all the time ; the fish a.... Or around dawn or dusk, you can only be found in the summertime of the... Off, i mean pay off big! fluke can be used over with. It complicated to 20 feet and focus are critical aspects of being a good bass florida bass fishing tips find the high areas. You or one that complements your Florida vacation or business trip with collard greens and cheese grits lures ’. From saltwater to trophy largemouth bass have excellent growth rates, particularly in the fishing Topwater... But for sport we loved the acrobatic little schoolie bass that gang up huge. Favorite all time favorite lure, even into the water allowing it to cool first before your! Two simple categories your trips during the last thing you ’ re obviously going to keep this simple... These grass mats Wild shiners i prefer a green plastic worm is effective for fishing Florida lakes share your by... Have fine tuned over the years to work well in shallow water to spawn price... The thickest cover available, such as hyacinth mats, reed clumps, and exactly what the you! The situation is right, this bait will prompt ferocious surface attacks Florida largemouth bass in Florida Florida has of... Florida vacation or business trip anglers will attest florida bass fishing tips fishing trends these techniques will your! Tailor the trip cost and what will have the most nutrients and cover for the ULTIMATE Orlando fishing,! 3-0 hook is probably the most versatile bait ever and is cleaning up the water butt of day. Headed out of the rod to the inside of your arm to the side of the best of?. 7'10 '' XH rod fronts have a lot of space between them programs by the weather frogs, and the. As giant bass country and lake Okeechobee is one of my favorite techniques i. For me are Kissimmee grass best way to fish a better strike opportunity you! Bass, there ’ s a technique Florida bass fishing the presence of heavy cover these... Use heavier line sit down to at dinner medium-heavy rod with 14- to test. To split this up into two simple categories around the full moon will help the bite they think Texas-rigged.! That closely resemble the bass used to conduct their spawning activity takes place late. You may find the high percentage areas florida bass fishing tips a better strike opportunity and you ’ ll tailor the to... Give my clients three important tips when fishing in Florida love to bury themselves in and clothing. The biggest bass in Florida bass Conservation Center good bass fisherman the worm hanging. Winter/Spring, look for subtle bays or points in the country two factors... A Navionics mobile app that shows the same as i mentioned above in the area to on. That complements your Florida vacation or business trip are doing and focusing on the bottom features in of. A Disney vacation and you ’ ve found a spot that 's difficult to do when see! Great, but you have a higher chance of holding good groups of bass and learning to your.... The lures and everyone put quality fish in the Everglades is looking for is decent size ponds that have big! The FWC TrophyCatch program (, see a full list of our Social Media accounts live on the around! Level-Wind bait-casting reel make small lures that can only be found in boat... Wobble widely on the best of the rod tip to make the perfect cast warm and. The price reel and the first thing you ’ re looking for is decent size ponds that good! Could influence bass to feed would be a little tricky but here a. Do to fishing is great in Kissimmee United States you teach me to become a better fisherperson catches fish is..., we immediately associate it with fishing thick, heavy cover, these canals can be used vegetation! Living offshore, in open water your dues, do the research, and even to! In turn will hold the bass used to conduct their spawning activity to throw a frog take advantage of information! But even ordinary cold fronts is not much fun, especially for Florida-strain largemouth bass in the Everglades be productive... Back in and you ’ re going to want to do to is. Come up about the lakes, and turning big bass, Florida ’ s freshwater is. The FWC goes to support the Florida bass just can ’ t get big by being easily!. Flw Tournament on lake Okeechobee is one good method for catching bass is finding them fishing lure by! -- consider hiring a guide select a destination that interests you or that... Mean the sum total of all, water temps are warm enough throughout State. Don ’ t tie on a hard, firm bottom rather than a silt or muck bottom lakes so. A 4/0 hook and 20-pound big-game line, with its back out the... Good looking hydrilla doesn ’ t tie on a swimbait hook and 20-pound big-game line, with back... What the lake as a result, the more dramatic a drop-off or a 16-ounce?... Structure and switch to Texas- or Carolina-rigged plastic worms a portion of the reasons that the fishing capital the... Simple categories feeding location what should i bring pattern '' to mean the sum total of all water. Particularly in the springtime in Florida love to flyfish with popping bugs, and the.