Do you have referrals? Now how do you find the best of the best of it? Visiting TrophyCatchFlorida.com (or the sister resources on YouTube and FaceBook) can help inform you on where the big ones are being caught right now. Wild caught live shiners are always the best way to fish for largemouth bass in Florida. 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. If you don’t own a bass boat or electronic GPS, but bank fish, kayak, canoe, or have a pond crawler, don’t fret! Most fishermen know that Kissimmee grass, reeds, eel grass and pepper grass are good cover for finding fish. Ask these questions face-to-face or by telephone, to learn more about the guide and their personality. Because ponds are more accessible for most people I’m going to start with them. Raise the rod to make the lure swing back close to your body. The answer is, of course, the steak, and that is the way giant female bass approach feeding. Crank baits and spinner baits are other popular choices, but when it comes to heart-pounding action, nothing beats the sight of a big bass banging a topwater plug. 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. Pitching to deep timber is one good method for catching bass lethargic after a cold front. A lot of guides use live bait (a great way to catch trophy bass). Once bass are finished spawning, they will stay in the area to feed on bluegills that are then spawning. Make sure the worm is hanging straight and I would suggest using a one-eighth ounce sinker on the line. While fishing on Lake Okeechobee, grass beds are the main structure that big bass will relate to. Do you practice catch and release? December Lake Toho Fishing Report. 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. Cast the shiner into the thinned vegetation that I described before and let the bait swim with the bail open. 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. There should now be about 7 feet of line past the front tip. See where the locals are fishing and talk to them. As a general rule of thumb bass move tighter to cover when there are cold fronts and cooler temperatures. Some of the very best bass fishing waters are found in Osceola County, not only including famed lakes such as Kissimmee and Tohopekaliga, but also some small local lakes. 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. You will see more fish brought to the boat that way. As the lure moves past the rod tip, continue raising the rod as you feed line with your free hand. Welcome to the #1 rated Orlando bass fishing guide service. 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. Look for subtle bays or points in the lake and key on areas where the fish will move to spawn. I love to flyfish with popping bugs, and throw surface lures on plug gear. Here are a few questions to ask your guide: What type of fishing do you specialize in and what will we be doing? Throw them around and in the pads (or any type of vegetation, you can really throw these anywhere) and let them sink all the way to the bottom, slowly drag them back to you and watch your line jump! Each “contour line” indicates a change in one foot depth. 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. Second, always leave the bail open, so the bass doesn’t feel the line. Then instead of running the hook through the worm, place it through the side of the worm just under the skin. Your email address will not be published. And as most anglers will attest, fishing for bass in cold fronts is not much fun, especially for Florida-strain largemouth bass. Before hiring a guide select a destination that interests you or one that complements your Florida vacation or business trip. A real key to success with the wake bait is finding the right speed. My favorite, most basic pattern for catching feeding fish would be a dawn-and-dusk surface-plug pattern. The grass can be anything, including hydrilla, hyacinths, chopped up Kissimmee grass or water lettuce. If a bass picks it up and starts to move you need to set the hook. If you are a casual angler or someone just getting started in this wonderful sport, consider fishing with Wild Shiners. 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. When we hear someone say Lake Okeechobee, we immediately associate it with fishing thick, heavy cover and “power fishing”. Fish the wake bait on heavy line (at least 20-pound test) and hold on tight! A weedless "Texas- or Carolina-rigged" worm is effective for fishing Florida lakes with heavy plant cover. Later in the spring, the bass spawn big time around the full moon, weather permitting. There are plenty of other factors that influence bass activity but, all else being equal, the full moon will help the bite. Otherwise, take note:A true combination of a crankbait and topwater plug, a wake bait is a hard-kicking, noisy, in-your-face sort of lure that truly is one of the most unique lures that has been introduced in a long time. I give my clients three important tips when fishing live shiners for trophy bass. 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. I believe it has more to do with the bottom composition than the actual grass. 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. I especially like the silver and gold color. Among the most prominent of those is Experience Kissimmee, which is providing a $10,000 bonus for the biggest verified TrophyCatch bass from Osceola County and an additional $2,500 to a guide that helps a customer catch and release it. Vegetation will clear the water up, so look to fish where there are lily pads, hydrilla and hyacinth. 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. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building You need warm water, 70 degrees and up for your best surface-lure fishing. Their behavior is dictated by very basic instincts and a mouth capable of engulfing prey much larger than seems possible. Some of these hard bottom spots are shell beds. Power fishing can be very productive, and one very effective lure is the swim bait. The second key is looking for spots where stained water meets clear water. TrophyCatch is a great program sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and funded by numerous business partners. Recent Posts. What kind of boat do you have and how many people can it fish comfortably? 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 am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida and have been catching bass all over Florida for over 40 years. They can take a little longer to entice. I put these two together because just like, senkos and worms they’re pretty similar. For example, your family is planning a Disney vacation and you heard the fishing is great in Kissimmee. 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. 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. In winter/spring, look for a point that shows contours that have a lot of space between them. The full moon definitely affects bass behavior and catch ability.In my experiences during the spring, the bass become very active from about 5 days prior to the full moon to 2 days after it. The tighter/thicker the lines, the more dramatic a drop-off. Lake George, Florida’s second-largest lake after Lake Okeechobee, is a great largemouth bass fishing spot anglers should utilize. Hardcore trophy bass hunters score this time of the year, especially during the pre- and post-spawn when big sows badly need calories. A heavy sinker with a Texas rigged soft plastic bait is the rig of choice. Anywhere where there is something different going on in the vegetation or bottom content is where you’ll have a higher chance of catching fish. Give it a moment, lock the bail and then set the hook hard. I hope this article helps you fill your Instagram with fish pics. 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. 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. 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. (see video at YouTube.com/TrophyCatchFlorida.). To most people, this means light tackle. With a guide, you may enjoy the trip more because you will often catch more fish, learn new tricks, have proper equipment, and less stress. On a cloudy day or around dawn or dusk, you may find the trophy bass cruising a little further from cover. They should also choose lures that can be used effectively around docks and cypress trees. This means a shallow sloping flat. I like to throw ½-ounce spoons on nearly every occasion. Bass Fishing Gear and Tackle; 3 Basic Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Setups; Best Bass Lures for Ponds; Best Spinning Rod for Bass 2019/2020 Absolutely! Ponds and lakes. In April and May, especially on cloudy days, water temps remain just cool enough that fish will sometimes feed on top all day long. Like with everything else keep it simple with the lures. Typically you’ll want to texas rig them without a weight but a light weight can sometimes work better for getting them in thicker stuff and if it’s windy. Try to locate the thickest cover available, such as hyacinth mats, reed clumps, and heavy hydrilla mats. Florida is known as giant bass country and Lake Okeechobee is one of the top fisheries in the country. 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. So first when fishing a Florida lake look at what the lake as a whole has to offer. The majority of the bass in Florida will be in hydrilla or any type of soft vegetation like eel grass, peppergrass and hornwart anyway. Bass spend much of their lives in deeper areas away from the shoreline — especially the bigger ones! Let it sit there up to two minutes or longer. The plastic worm is the most dependable artificial bait for largemouth bass. One can still take advantage of this information with a Navionics mobile app that shows the same chart detail on your phone. I catch bass on frogs 12 months out of the year here in Florida. Give it 3–5 seconds to get the bait in position. 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. Conventional anglers can cover a lot of water with paddle-tailed plastic buzzbaits. Winning Techniques: Both Texas- and Carolina-rigged plastic worms produce bass in warmer weather; like every lake in Florida, live golden black eyes are the go-to choice for anglers who choose to use live bait. Rig it up on a swimbait hook and just cast and slowly retrieve. Fishing with swim baits can be a little tricky but here are a few tips to get you rigged properly. My arsenal for this style of fishing is a Fitzgerald Rods Stunner HD Series 7'3" Hvy or a 7'3" Med-Hvy both paired with Abu Garcia STX 8:0.1 gear ratio reels. Remember, be ready to take a quick photo of the entire fish on a scale and tape measure, so you can register your lunkers with TrophyCatch! Take a look at the World Fishing Network overview of … These are the type areas the bass prefer when it gets cold. I fish Snag Proof frogs, and am currently working with them on the new Ish’s Phat Frog. They can be used over vegetation with a steady retrieve. Although they certainly work great in the heavy stuff, you really don’t need matted grass or lilly pads—you really don’t need any type of cover at all. Check out the FWC’s Fishing Sites and Forecast page for quarterly updates on major resources and top lakes listed by species, at MyFWC.com/Fishing. The rod tip is down and continually jerking. Well if your goal is to boat a trophy bass, it’s advice you’d be wise to heed! 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. Doing your research before you go fishing can be a key to success. Big bass congregate around thinned-out cattail. 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. With or without the presence of heavy cover, these canals can be bass magnets and great places to throw a frog. 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 best it’s ever been? A high speed 7:1 Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Reel or something similar is necessary to gather in line quickly and use 65-pound braided line or stronger. All you do is cast and reel it back in and you can hammer some fish on them when the bite is right! Florida plays host to a variety of fishing tournaments throughout the year. 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. Give your fishing holes more time than usual if you feel you’ve found a spot capable of producing a giant. Central Florida Bass Fishing aims to stay true to its name and be the primary destination for all your Bass fishing needs. Note: Glen Lau, one of America’s most accomplished bass photographers and cinematographers, has produced an extraordinary collection of award-winning films and still photographs of bass in its natural environment. Surprisingly, fish aren’t camera shy either. Great fishing and remember your sunscreen! Bass spawn in Florida from about late November through April, but the busiest spawning activity takes place in late February and March. A portion of the sale automatically goes to support the Florida Bass Conservation Center. Contours are also important with vegetation lines. 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. 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. Whether you’re a novice angler or someone with years of experience, he’ll tailor the trip to your individual needs. It also requires patience. Same as I went over in the pond fishing section these area’s are points of grass that stick out, pockets going back into the grass, boat cuts, basically anything that stands out in the grass and is different. The lures you’re going to want to use are the same as I mentioned above in the pond fishing section. That is what will have the most nutrients and cover for the bait fish which in turn will hold the bass there. Bass can move quickly from deep water up onto the shallows and attack a bait. Now again it’s all relative to the lake you’re fishing. A 1/4-ounce head will get it to 10 to 15 feet. Flipping is intended for pinpoint presentation to visible, thick cover between 10 and 25 feet away. Retrieved slowly, it will wobble widely on the surface, with its back out of the water and its rattle clicking methodically. 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. 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. 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. What you’re looking for is decent size ponds that have vegetation growing in them like hydrilla, lilly pads, and reeds. Here’s a suggestion for fishing for bass in the summertime. If you are using more than one rod, set the clicker to warn you if a bass hits your bait and starts taking line. First, it’s live bait so once you get it in position let it do the work, don’t reel it or drag it. A depthfinder is almost essential. Catching largemouth on a fly isn’t rocket science and in many cases it’s a whole lot simpler and less costly than carrying a plethora of lures, hooks, and other paraphernalia associated with casting or spinning tackle. Mom wanted panfish for fried fish dinners served with collard greens and cheese grits. 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 known as the fishing capital of the world and for good reason. Crayfish live on the bottom and as a result, the jig and pig should be worked on the bottom. The site also provides numbers you can call to talk to local bait-and-tackle shops for up-to-the-minute fishing trends. 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