The Best Summer Fishing For Bass

The Best Summer Fishing For Bass

The Best Summer Fishing For Bass

Summertime fishing can vary greatly depending on where you are, leaving you feeling hopeless as the fish move to deeper water and wait until the weather cools down. But a few anglers are out there still catching big bass while many anglers wait until the fall or spring. The warmer months make for dramatic changes in the bass behavior; some lakes are on fire while others are ghost towns. So in order to catch bass in the summer, it all comes down to where to go.

The Best Summer Bass Fishing Lakes

Florida: Lake Toho, Headwaters Lake, The Everglades, The Golden Gate Canal, and The Falls Canal System

Pennsylvania: Lake Erie

The late summer is an excellent time to gather the family and travel to some of the best bass fishing destinations because you’ll get the ultimate fishing experience without the crowd!

summer bass fishing drop shot

Where To Catch Bass In Summer

Almost every angler has found themselves asking where are the bass in the summer? Despite the number of big baits or reaction baits you have or how long you keep the bait in a suspected strike zone, some lakes are going to be better than others during the summer season.

The main factor that tends to affect the consistency of a fishery throughout the year, even during the hot times, is vegetation. Of course, many factors can supplement whether a waterway will produce during the summer. Still, it seems to always come back to the quality and quantity of vegetation and the presence of non-deep structures.

If the fish have to rely on going into deep water to find comfort, it is challenging for anglers to know where to cast as the open water is harder to read. But the fisheries that have a lot of structure, whether it be floating vegetation, grass, stumps, or submerged trees, will provide excellent insight on how to spend your day. These structures provide adequate shade and a comfortable ambush point for bass to hide and wait for bait regardless of the outside heat. Below is a list of all the best summer bass fishing spots for anglers of all ages and skill levels to experience.

early summer deep diving crankbait

Best Summer Fishing Spots

Florida

The best summertime bass fishing in Florida from north to south is at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Headwaters Lake in Fellsmere, The Everglades, The Goldengate Canal in Naples, and The Falls Canal System in Miami. 

Lake Toho

Lake Tohopekaliga, commonly known as Lake Toho, is located in Kissimme, about 30 minutes from the theme parks. Its central location makes it perfect for the ultimate summer family vacation to experience the best of Central Florida fishing and other tourist attractions. The fishery itself is also very family and child-friendly as it has walking trails, grills, picnic areas, restrooms, and a splash pad with a playground.

When it comes to catching big fish, Lake Toho is always one of the lakes that comes to mind for our professional guides. This spot is known for constantly producing more big bass than any other fishing lake. It’s no mistake that pro Dean Rojas names Lake Toho “the most consistent lake in the country for producing both numbers and trophy bass” in Bassmaster magazine’s issue of top 100 lakes.

Tips and Techniques

Lake Toho has relatively shallow water, with a max depth of about 13 feet. It is filled with vegetation and holding spots to catch big bass or numbers throughout the year. The area has all the essentials, including shallow grass flats, maidencane, natural bullrush, and hydrilla.

It’s always a good time for a bass fishing trip here; however, it’s essential to know where to go as the summer bass are usually in different spots than other times of the year. Some of the best summer bass fishing areas are Browns Point, Big Grassy, and Lanier Point. The north shore is another excellent spot to catch fish as it’s packed with tall grasses that often conceal big bass.

how to catch big bass in hot months

Headwaters Lake (Fellsmere Reservoir)

Whether you call it Fellsmere Reservoir, Headwaters Lake, Lake Eden, or Lake Headwaters, it all means hot summer bass fishing for big largemouths! This fishery is a 10,000-acre man-made lake in Indian River county that borders Stick Marsh, Farm 13, Blue Cypress, and Lake Garcia. Its numerous underwater features create ideal spots for summertime bass to hide, which means more fish in arms reach for summer anglers!

The average depth of this reservoir is about 6 feet deep, with some parts reaching over 30 feet deep. However, since these aggressive bass have so many spots that provide shade and shelter, they don’t have as much need to hide in deep water where they are hard to find or get to eat.

Tips and Techniques

The thousands of acres of submerged trees, underwater vegetation, and quality hydrilla make it optimal to find bass in the summer. However, this fishery looks so good that it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Typically it’s best to find an area with healthy-looking emerging vegetation, such as spatterdock pads or cattails, and cast near those.

There’s a spot for every type of angler to use their favorite bait, whether your preference is hitting the shoreline, casting under lily pads, targeting submerged trees, or slow-rolling swimbaits through the grass. There are so many fishy-looking spots that this is one of those destinations that needs multiple days to be adequately fished and experienced.

Headwaters has continued to prove to be one of the most consistent bass fishing lakes around. While most spots have strong highs and lows, Fellsmere has continued to produce. Even on the days where there aren’t trophies, there are still good numbers and decent-sized fish around to catch throughout the year.

heavy cover and keep in strike zone longer

The Everglades

Summer bass fishing in the Everglades is the ultimate Florida experience. This fishery, located in southeast Florida, has not slowed down as the warmer months have approached. Instead, the bite has been on fire since early summer and has continued through late summer, likely because of the beautiful area’s heavy cover and thriving ecosystem.

The Everglades covers a large area. Your fishing guide will always recommend the best location to launch based on conditions; however, the most popular spots for summer bass fishing trips are Holiday Park, Sawgrass, and Alligator Alley. Summertime fishing in the Everglades means incredible sightseeing and wildlife viewing by boat while catching Florida’s favorite species, including largemouth and peacock bass.

This fishery is not as much known for having big bass, but it is undoubtedly known for its numbers with many quality-sized fish to hook. An 8-pounder is relatively common while fishing here and considered large for this spot.

Tips and Techniques

An effective fishing method is to use floating lures with braided lines near vegetation or structure such as sunken trees or lily pads. Plastic lures are usually the most effective to catch fish here, especially in the form of a lizard, Senko, or swimbait. The experts generally suggest starting the early morning off with a topwater frog, spinnerbaits, or chatter baits when the wind is blowing harder. Plastic worms will always be a go-to, especially on the hot, calm summer days.

glide bait and wacky rig

The Golden Gate Canal

The Golden Gate Canal in Southwest Florida is conveniently located between Naples and Marco Island, near its pristine beaches and Everglades National Park. It’s a top-notch fishery that provides excellent fishing opportunities to catch largemouth bass, peacocks, and panfish all in one trip. The summertime fishing here has not disappointed; anglers are catching numerous summer bass on every trip, even in the middle of the hottest months. In fact, the summer heat is precisely what the peacock bass love. Some popular saltwater species like snook and tarpon also commonly make their way into this canal system to add to the excitement.

Tips and Techniques

The summer bass fishing is consistent for all species, with peacock bass being the most active and commonly caught during this time. The spring and winter seasons are generally when bigger largemouths will be caught. In general, this fishery is best for its consistency and constant action rather than size, with 5 to 6 pounds being typical for the largemouth bass.

If going after the panfish like bluegills and redear sunfish, anglers can almost always get a bite on a cricket, earthworm, or small minnow throughout the year. A mix of live baits and artificial lures is used on the Gold Gate, with shiners usually the most successful bait for summer fishing, especially for the peacocks.

texas rig and brush pile

The Falls Canal

The Falls Canal System in Miami is the most productive peacock bass fishery in the state. It totals 13.5 miles of navigatable waters, comprising of four sections. The system is home to lots of South Florida wildlife and is the best place to go if your goal is to hook a trophy peacock bass fish. On your summer bass fishing trip at the Falls, you can expect to catch peacocks of good size, along with largemouth bass, the Mayan cichlid, snook, and tarpon. In addition, the various types of fish and other wildlife that call this topical area home dramatically adds to the adventure of being on this scenic waterway.

Tips and Techniques

The Falls is full of coral rocks, which is where the peacock bass usually hold to. The average depth is 12 feet, with many canals having vertical drops and edges reaching up to 30 feet. Many of the lakes found in the system have sand bottoms about 10 feet deep. The thriving environment here makes for a happy, healthy fishery throughout the year.

Live bait is usually the most way to hook a peacock, especially shiners. However, crankbaits, spoons, and topwater plugs are generally the best artificial lures to land a feisty peacock. A topwater lure or hard jerk bait will often produce a solid reaction strike from these colorful fish. It’s best to focus on rocky areas near structures using topwaters, minnow-like crankbaits, or small shiners.

steady retrieve baits and lures

Pennsylvania

Lake Erie

Lake Erie, Pennsylvania, is a breathtaking fishery covering 57 miles at its widest point. Erie contains an abundance of our favorite gamefish, allowing anglers to catch over 15 million fish every year. In addition, the warmer temperatures and shallow water of Erie make it the most biologically productive of all other Great Lakes. As a result, field and Stream chose Erie as one of the top-20 family fishing spots in the nation.

The northern shore of Erie is the international border with Canada, its eastern shores are in New York, and the southern and western boundaries are in Michigan and Ohio. However, its become apparent that the most productive fishing spots are on the Pennsylvania side of Erie.

The fishery is famous for its quality-sized sport fish species like walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie, bluegill, and steelhead. Because of its relatively shallow water, the lake warms up quickly in the spring and summer for its prime fishing season.

Tips and Techniques

While summer fishing in PA, anglers can troll the open water to hook walleye or stick to fishing spots closer to shore. Our favorite spot is Presque Isle, where its warm waters are filled with game fish. The western and central basins often hold some of the larger fish. The baits that attract the most strikes are trolling crankbaits or spinnerbaits with bottom bouncers. This Pennsylvania area really comes alive in the summer, providing anglers with the ultimate summer bass fishing adventure.

deep diving crankbait and glide bait

Planning Your Summer Bass Fishing Adventure

Almost every bass angler longs for the perfect summer vacation that mixes a once-in-a-lifetime fishing experience with memorable visits to new places with their loved ones. There is no better summer vacation spot than almost any part of Florida or Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania. These spots all offer something unique and are producing quality summertime fishing trips. These fisheries can be challenging to navigate or know where to start and best practices to use, but your professional guide is here to support you the whole way while on your private charter. Targeting summertime bass is a challenge that will improve any angler’s ability to read the water and learn where and how to land game fish during any time of the year.

Explore Your Bass Fishing Opportunities here, or check out our pontoon fishing trips for your big group!

Message us or call 888-629-2277 to plan the ultimate summer bass fishing adventure in the world’s top destinations!

drop shot texas rig  summertime bass

How To Catch Bass In Summer

How To Catch Bass In Summer

How To Catch Bass In Summer

There’s no reason to slow down on your bass fishing pursuits because it’s the hottest time of the year! Many anglers can thrive on the summertime bass bite; you just need to know where to look and how to entice them.

The Bassonline guides have created an in-depth guide with tips for summer bass fishing, including where and how to catch fish regardless of the predicted heat index.

Top Tips for Summer Bass Fishing:

Look in deep pockets, especially near structures like ledges, points, and brush piles. Live bait will generally draw more strikes. Skirted jigs, plastic worms, lipless crankbaits, or topwater frogs are usually the best artificial lure choices.

Summer bass still like to eat, but they will put in less effort to do so. So knowing how to find the bass and entice that hard strike that doesn’t require much movement from the fish is critical. Largemouth bass moving less but still eating a lot is a recipe for more trophy bass for the summer bass fishing anglers to enjoy!

deep diving crankbait for big fish

Summer Bass Fishing

How To Find Bass

Summer bass are most likely to be found under overhanging cover, near ledges and drop-offs, near humps, and points, in areas with water currents, and near dense floating vegetation. 

Overhanging Cover

The overhanging cover provides the largemouth bass with shade which is crucial during the hot summer. Look for docks, boathouses, trees, or anything that makes a shady area for the bass to hang out in.

Shady water can be 10 degrees cooler than the water only feet away in the hot sun, so this means there is more oxygen in the cooler water. Bass and the small fish that bass eat both like the oxygen. The shaded areas are also ideal because small baitfish gather in these spots to avoid birds and other avian predators and makes for an excellent place for bass to ambush the bait.

Ledges and Drop Offs

Look for areas where the water drops off from a shallow area into a deeper pool. These are especially common in reservoirs and a great spot to check. During low light times, anglers can start the search on the shallower part on top of the ledge casting down into the deep part and retrieve up the ledge. During times of full sunlight, anglers sit over the ledge and cast parrel to the ledge retrieving straight up. The other option is to sit deep and cast into the shallow area retrieving down the ledge. In general, the big bass tend to stay closest to the ledge, whether below or above it.

Current

The water current brings food and oxygen to the bass, so they will strategically position themselves so the current will bring food and oxygen to them without any need to move. Some of the biggest bass are found near moving water, especially in the summer. Also, the current can be very minor to attract fish; as long as it can move any food, it’s an excellent place to cast.

Dense and Floating Vegetation

It’s always a good idea to look for bass underneath living, floating vegetation, especially in natural lakes. Look for hydrilla, lily pads, and hyacinth, the favorites for largemouth bass. The bass seek shelter underneath these areas for shade and for a good spot to ambush prey. The strategy is similar to the overhanding structure, except the bass generally prefer the floating vegetation since the cover extends into the water, adding extra shelter for them to hide and ambush.

If you find a place where a raft of hyacinth drifted into a bed of lily pads or hydrilla, you may have found a gold mine and should start casting your line. More than likely, there will be bass there and likely the big bass. To catch big bass under the floating vegetation, it’s best to use weedless muck baits such as rats or frogs then drag them over the top. Then, be ready for the hardest strike of your life!

When fishing below the surface under vegetation, small craws are generally the best way to go. Usually, the prey living near matted vegetation are small such as crawfish or sunfish, so using a smaller bait is the best way to match the hatch in this scenario.

big baits to catch bass

When To Fish

Bass ultimately can be caught all day, every day using various techniques; however, when it comes to the overheated largemouth bass, it’s best to avoid the hottest part of the day in the summer. Late evening and early morning will almost always provide anglers with the best opportunities of landing a big bass in the summer.

Night fishing is another great option for summer fishing. As the sun goes down or once it is down, go fishing for some bass that have cooled down enough to be motivated to find their next meal. Topwaters are a great lure choice when night fishing near humps, points, and shallow water near ledges.

fish finding electronics

Depths

Summer bass are generally thought to be in deeper water to cool off, which is often true; however, it usually helps look for water features and structures over depth. For example, fish will often be in shady areas undercover in a water depth of only a couple of feet deep.

Also, the type of conditions on each day will be a factor as well. For instance, on an overcast day, fish may stay active longer, moving from the deep holes if they were in one.

Cloudy and overcast days are your friend during the summertime. These are the days when the fishing is usually best this time of year since the fish will be more in ambush mode and roaming to seek prey rather than holding tight under heavy cover or in deeper water.

bass fishing brush pile

Summer Bass Fishing Lures

Big or Small Lures

The general fishing rule of thumb for choosing a lure will always be to “match the hatch” or use a bait that the local bass would naturally be eating.

When it comes to size, many anglers believe that big baits mean big bass. And that may not be a bad idea especially come mid to late summer when Brim, shad, and other baitfish are generally larger in size. But you will typically get fewer bites if you reach for that giant swimbait, jig, or spoon. For this reason, it’s worth considering the smaller bait since the hot sun in the summer already means fewer bites overall many days. In addition, some of the biggest recorded bass have been caught on small baits under two inches.

The most important things in bass fishing to remember are that bass are unpredictable. Their preference may change each day; if something isn’t working, don’t hesitate to try a smaller than average or larger than average bait.

Best Types of Lures

The best summer bass fishing lures are spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, skirted jigs, topwater frogs, and plastic worms. 

The type of lure to use depends on where you are casting. Reaction baits such as crankbaits, topwaters, and vibrating jigs are excellent for shallower areas.

deep diving crankbait summer bass fishing
Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits can be effective in any condition, but they truly prove themselves in muddy or murky water because of their flash and vibration. Cast it near the edge of grass or drop-offs and use a slow, steady retrieve to bring it back. These are ideal on sunny days bumping it around structures where the bass would seek shade, such as near logs, vegetation, or branches.

early summer bass fishing glide bait
Lipless Crankbaits

Lipless crankbaits can be fished in both shallow water and deep water just with a change in retrieve speed, so these are a good idea, especially during the early summer times when schooling bass may be found at various depths. First, shoot for a crankbait that resembles the local baitfish, then brace yourself for the ultimate hook-up!

summertime bass bait fish
Skirted Jigs

Skirted jigs paired with a heavy to medium fishing rod will prepare you for big summer bass. This jig is one of the most versatile lures an angler can use during summer bass fishing. Flip your lure into heavy vegetation, work along drop-offs, cast out near structure, or drag along the bottom. Skirted jigs have more extensive profiles, which seem to be the key when targeting lethargic summer bass.

early summer texas rig fishing
Topwater Frogs

Topwater frogs are among the best lures to use if you’re fishing in an area with plenty of lily pads. Hopping a frog from leaf to leaf is very enticing to the bass hiding underneath the lily pads. The attention a popping topwater frog draws is hard for an aggressive bass to ignore.

how to catch bass in middle of hot season
Plastic Worms

The plastic worm is excellent at enticing the summer bass in the shady areas near the bottom of a water column. Soft plastic worms that are rigged either Carolina or Texas style are summer bass fishing winners. The Carolina rig is best when used in deep open water as a search lure, and the Texas rig is best when bass fishing shallow spots with vegetation or heavy cover.

Live bait

Live bait will generally produce more strikes from the lethargic summer fish. Shiners, either wild or domestic, and shad are usually the best baits to catch fish consistently. In addition, live bait will usually help attract the big bass that may not have been eager enough to move from their holding spot for a lure. Other popular forms of live bait are crawfish and worms, which both usually work and will attract fish even while it’s hot out.

Are Summer Bass Smaller

Often the bass caught during the summer seem to be smaller fish, this doesn’t mean there aren’t big bass to be caught, but smaller bass are more abundant during the summer season because they can withstand the heat better than big fish since their bodies require less oxygen to function.

Since smaller bass have a higher tolerance for warmer waters, they usually hang out higher in the water column than the big bass.

If there isn’t much vegetation or spots with the cover providing a good amount of shade, then more than likely, the big bass will be in deeper water, and fishing a drop-off or other deep areas will provide the best shot at a big bass in the summer.

Final Thoughts From The Pros

  • Bass are most active around dusk and dawn during the summer or whenever the sunlight is reduced, which puts them at an advantage over most prey. The cooler water temperatures in the early morning or late evening will spike both the prey and the bass activity.
  • Look for and target transition points within the features of the fishery. For example, look for sudden drop-offs with deeper water, heavy cover, brush piles, or current.
  • Largemouth bass will usually congregate into the shady spots to cool off as the summer temperature spikes. So you may have to head deeper if there arent any shallower shaded areas for the fish to gang up in.
  • If fishing deep water areas for big bass, be prepared to get hung up and lose a lot of tackle. This is another reason to look for shady areas or thrive on the small bass that roam closer to the surface.
  • Another pro tip is to keep the bait in the strike zone longer when summer bass fishing. When water gets hotter or colder than usual, there is less oxygen in the water, which slows down the metabolism of the local bass, which means less energy. Therefore, it’s essential to slow down your retrieve and keep the bait in the strike zone longer for a better chance at a bite.

The Ultimate Summer Fishing Adventure

Experience the best summer fishing with a professional guide to take you where the bass hang out to stay cool during the summer. Your guide will teach you all the insider tips based on years of experience, showing you how to catch fish regardless of the time of year. Even on the hot days of summer, most locations can produce if you know where to look. Spend relaxing time on the water catching numbers of bass or hunting to catch big bass that are avoiding the heat.

Challenge yourself and improve your skills in a fun way with a professionally guided private charter in a top fishing destination of your choice! 888-629-2277

freshwater fishing

Bait For Largemouth Bass

Bait For Largemouth Bass

The Best Bait For Largemouth Bass

Choosing the correct bait or bass lure and knowing how to use it will significantly increase an angler’s chances of landing their next big bass in a shorter amount of time. Based on decades of personal experience on the water from our expert fishing guides, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to success for deciding on which bait to use when bass fishing.

The Best Live bait For Largemouth Bass are:

Small to medium size baitfish like shiners, shad, or minnows, as well as worms or crawfish

The Best Artificial Bait For Bass are:

Jigs, Crankbaits, Plastic Worms, Spinnerbaits, and Swimbaits

When bass fishing, anglers want to have a small box of all the necessities to be ready for most situations. It’s a good idea to include weedless jigs, jig trailers, deep to shallow running crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and some topwater lures in your box.

Above is the shortened version of which baits generally are most effective and versatile enough to use throughout the year.

But when it comes to catching bass consistently, anglers need to know which to use based on current conditions and time of year, as well as the best techniques for presenting those baits, whether live or artificial.

best bass fisherman lures

Live bait

Live bait is always an effective method and requires much less presenting from the angler; this guide will explain the best live baits to use when bass fishing and how to rig them.

In general, anglers catch bass most frequently when using bait the largemouth bass would be feeding on naturally. For this reason, using baitfish and crawfish are usually the most consistent types of live bait for catching bass because these are what bass usually eat in many different places. Other popular baits are frogs and worms. Anglers can also use mice, salamanders, and various bugs or larvae for bait to pull bass, depending on where you are fishing.

The best live bait will handle most of the presentation for you by drawing attention without skepticism from your targeted fish. As a rule of thumb, use whatever is prevalent in your local waters as bait to attract a nonskeptic bass. More times than not, a bass will not eat something they have never seen before. Another bonus is live bait often attracts the most trophy bass!

Bass fishing for big largemouth bass

Best Baits

As previously mentioned, there are endless baits to use that will catch fish, but every angler should know the most consistent baits that can be used in most places year-round; these are what the fishing pros consider to be the “best baits” that bass anglers could always use as a go-to. Additionally, using live bait doesn’t require the angler to do any crazy presentations making it more beginner-friendly; an essential thing to stay on top of is whether your bait is alive or not.

Baitfish (Minnows, Shiners, Shad)

There are various ways to rig or hook your baitfish, depending on how you want it to look in the water. The most common way to hook a baitfish when presenting it to largemouth bass is to hook the bait through both lips from the bottom up, so it gives the most natural presentation with the slightest chance of damaging the bait while hooking it. Anglers can also hook the baitfish on its back below the dorsal fin. However, once your baitfish starts slowing down and not moving very much, it’s time to replace it with another one.

Shad, minnows, or shiners are some of the best live baits for bass, hands down. Baitfish come in different sizes and can be used in all types of bass waters, but they are incredibly productive in deeper water to target huge bass. They also work to catch more fish in general since they also attract giant catfish and other species.

Methods

The method you use to fish will depend on where you are, but it’s very effective to cast a shiner near lily pads and other structures, wait for a big strike, and then start reeling in. Most charters using shiners will cast out multiple rods and use bobbers to help keep track of them when they get a bite. Then, when the bobber goes down, the angler needs to set the hook and start reeling in their big catch. The bobber method is suitable because it helps keep the bait off the bottom of the lake, which helps increase the lifespan of the baitfish so you won’t have to change it out as often.

The next most popular method when fishing with baitfish is using a split shot in shallow water near dense cover. In this case, it’s essential to keep your rig tight when fishing shallow in order to keep the minnow from drifting too close to the surface and looking unnatural. Another method to use with shiners involves drift fishing with an egg sinker and barrel swivel.

best bass lure or drop shot

Crawfish

Crawfish, also referred to as crayfish and crawdads, are popular baits for largemouth bass. Many professionals swear by them, saying the presentation is always on point and no bass can resist them.

To set up your crawfish bait, you want to penetrate the tail of the crawfish with a hook of proportionate size to the crustacean.

Methods

It’s best to cast them near rocks and vegetation, or they can be drifted. Then simply drop them in the water and let them present themselves to the bass.

best bass lure on texas rig with professional anglers

Worms

Fishing with live worms or nightcrawlers is a very effective form of bass fishing, and it’s a great technique to use with newbies or kids to get them hooked on the sport. Rig the worm on the hook through the tip and try to keep as much of the hook covered while ensuring that the barb is still protruding enough to set the hook. 

Methods

You will most likely want to go near the shallow areas and fish with lighter tackle when bass fishing with nightcrawlers. In most cases, using a light or ultralight rod, a six-pound monofilament line, and a split shot with the worm on the hook will work great. Usually, worm setups can be jigged, and they can be used to catch various types of fish, including sunfish, crappie, other panfish, smallmouth bass, other bigger fish such as walleye, depending on where you are fishing.

best bass lures to catch largemouth bass

Frogs

Frogs are an excellent option when it comes to choosing a live bait for bass, and frogs usually don’t get the credit they deserve. Frogs work great, especially in dense cover or anywhere with heavy vegetation. Using frogs to catch bass is a little less beginner-friendly than the other forms of live bait bass fishing, but with a bit of experience, you will see that this is one of the best strategies for fishing densely vegetated areas. When rigging your frog, it’s best to use a wide gap hook with a split shot about a foot from the hook. Going through the forelegs with the hook is the best way to rig them, so you don’t hinder their ability to move, allowing them to swim freely and naturally.

Methods

Toss your frog near lily pads and other bass covers; the frog will usually swim to the bottom and immediately draw attention. If you aren’t getting any attention, try making a quick jerk motion with the rod tip, which should get the frog moving erratically and draw more attention from the bass lurking nearby.

best bass lures for when largemouth bass spawn

Artificial Lures

Largemouth bass are predatory animals, so the best artificial lures to use are those that mimic the prey present in the water at the time. Many artificial lures have a unique feature that helps attract bass despite not looking very similar to a real prey animal. For example, they may flash in the light.

Jigs, Crankbaits, Plastic Worms, Spinnerbaits and swimbaits, are all effective bass lures. Most of these are very versatile lures making them practical for largemouth bass fishing in most conditions throughout the year when used effectively.

Best Year-Round Lures

Jigs

Jigs are weighted bass lures that often have a skirt that pulses in the water to attract bass.

When To Use a Jig

Jigs are probably the most versatile bass lure, making them a great place to start when unsure of which lure to use based on conditions. They can be used throughout the year in almost any temperature, whether 50 degrees or 90 degrees.

How

Jigs can work in both shallow and deep waters and work in various environments, including shoreline grasses and steep underwater banks.

best bass lure for shallow water fish

Crankbaits

Crankbaits usually look like a crayfish or small fish with a lip on the front, causing them to dive underwater and wobble as retrieved. However, there are also lipless crankbaits that are just as effective. They get their action from a nose-down altitude made by placing the line on the back of the bait and its slender body, which will vibrate rapidly as the water passes over both sides.

When To Use a Crankbait

Similar to jigs, crankbaits are pretty versatile and can be used in most types of weather and in both deep water and shallow water. Many professional guides have said lipless crankbaits are extra productive during the early spring and late fall, but it’s been proven on many excellent fishing trips that these can work year-round.

How

During times of cold water, the largemouth bass like lipless crankbaits over deep points and dying grass flats. However, during warmer water times like the summer, fishing crankbaits are good to cover areas of water targeting schooling fish.

best bass lures that imitate shad fish

Worms

The plastic worm is popular among bass fishermen because it can be used in various conditions and rigged in many different ways to be fished in both shallow water and deep water. Finesse worms don’t look very exciting on the outside but don’t be fooled because worms can catch largemouth bass all day, every day in many cases. Conventional methods of rigging plastic worms are the Texas rig, Carolina rig, weightless, and drop shot.

When To Use a Plastic Worm

Plastic worms are one of the simplest and most effective year-round lures that consistently catch fish. In addition, these versatile lures can be used in almost any conditions.

How

In cold water, anglers can drag a worm on a Carolina rig or shakey head. In warmer water, anglers should twitch one weightless near the boat dock and vegetation.

Gizzard shad fish bass lures

Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits contain metal blades on them which rotate when pulled through the water. These rotating blades reflect the light, making them look like baitfish to bass. Spinnerbaits also have rubber skirts that flutter in the water to make them extra attractive to bass.

When To Use a Spinnerbait

These can be used in shallow and deep water in various environments. Spinnerbaits are usually most effective during the early morning and when night fishing. However, they can also be good throughout the day during the spawning season for attracting bass over spawning beds.

How

It’s best to use a medium speed when retrieving a spinnerbait. If you reel to quickly, the lure may skip out of the water, but if you’re too slow, the bass will have too much time to look at it and possibly decide to ignore it.

best bass lures for big bass fishing

Swimbaits

Many bass anglers know Swimbaits to have a relatively lifelike action. They have a natural rolling motion, and their tail shakes when retrieved. Combined, these two characteristics create vibrations in the water that largemouth bass simply can’t resist (usually).

When To Use A Swimbait

Swimbaits can mimic various baitfish common in bass waters, making them effective pretty much all year. In the winter, bass anglers often have success hopping them on an umbrella rig or underspin then letting them fall to look like a dying shad for the nearby bass. Swimbaits are most effective on either a jighead in the open water areas or on a weedless hook going through shallow grass during the summer.

How

When bass fishing with a swimbait, be sure to reel in slowly in order to imitate the swim pattern of prey fish. Reeling in slowly makes the lure look like a dying baitfish near the surface of the water. A topwater swimbait is sometimes more effective in the early morning or late evening, during the times the water is usually calmer. Big largemouth bass often think swimbaits are dying baitfish and will strike hard.

best largemouth bass lures for early summer

Other Top Lures

Craw

Crawfish are often found in the shallow weeds and deep rocks of bass fisheries. They are usually most active during most of the year except for any cold fronts.

Tips for Crawfish

Bass anglers can fish plastic craws on the back of a jig, dragged on a Carolina rig, flipped into cover, and fished on a shakey head. Crawfish are one of the most important forage species for largemouth bass, so anytime you suspect some are around, it’s a good idea to give a craw lure a shot.

Jerkbaits

These lures sit on top of the water, and by jerking the rod, bass anglers can give them a lifelike action making it extremely hard to resist to the largemouth bass.

Tips For Jerkbaits

Jerkbaits tend to work best in cold water, clear water, or for active bass feeding on baitfish. Jerkbaits are often most effective during the cooler months, but that doesn’t mean bass anglers shouldn’t give these a shot during the summer months. They have proven effective during warm months too when appropriately fished, meaning not too fast.

best soft plastics for bass fishing

Topwater

One of the most exhilarating moments in bass fishing is getting a hard strike off topwater lures. The adrenaline rush of a largemouth bass coming up from underneath to attack your lure on top of the water is like no other, and more times than not, this strike is from a giant bass rather than a peewee. The strikes on a topwater lure are often extra aggressive because the predatorial largemouth bass is doing more than just grabbing its next meal; it’s trying to kill the frog, baitfish, or rodent that is struggling on top of the water. Topwater bass lures come in all shapes and sizes that bug, pop, and burble across the water, from small bug imitations to giant cigar-shaped baitfish that anglers can “walk the dog” or zig-zag across the surface.

Tips for Topwaters

Topwaters can be fun to use in many different conditions, but some of the best times to use them are when the largemouth bass seem to be dug deep into the vegetation or roaming the flats in the shallow water of about two feet deep. Another good time to use them is to entice a bite from a spawning bass. A few of the most effective topwaters to attract big bass are the Hula Popper, the Arbogast Jitterbug, the Heddon Zara Spook, the Lunker Lure Buzzbait, and the Snag Proof Frog. Frogs seem to be the most effective fish lures when casting around lily pads and mats. Make sure you let the largemouth bass eat the lure for a second or two before you set the hook!

green pumpkin lure

Assessing Conditions To Catch Bass

Bass fishing can be done in various ways, and in order to have the most success, bass anglers must assess the current conditions in order to choose the best bass lures and techniques throughout the day.

Understanding their lifecycle, habits, and the ideal bass habitat will also be beneficial for anyone largemouth bass fishing. For example, understanding that largemouth bass are usually found roaming closer to the shore during the spawning season, summer mornings, and winter afternoons. During these times, anglers can usually catch bass near different types of vegetation or deep structure like fallen trees and boat docks. During other times, largemouth bass tend to be in deeper water, especially the big largemouth bass.

Water Temperatures

During times when the water temperatures are cooler, largemouth bass tend to be more lethargic, and anglers should use a slower retrieve to catch them. Conversely, when the water temperature warms up, largemouth bass become more active and are more likely to bite a lure or bait moving more quickly.

General Tips For Any Conditions

In general, largemouth bass favor the areas that offer any form of cover where they can easily ambush their prey. So when bass fishing, anglers generally have the best luck when casting near or into cover, meaning the best types of bait or bass lures to use are ones that can easily be fished in cover.

The good news is there isn’t a single correct way to catch bass, and the fact that they are ambush predators makes it so that they will often strike at the bait or bass lures even if they aren’t actively feeding. Therefore, when bass fishing, the best thing to do is to analyze your local area, the environmental and water conditions around you, then adjust your tactics accordingly to entice a strike.

Steady retrieve bass fishing

Spawning Season

The spawning season for bass is one of the most exciting times for bass fishing; this is when the Bassonline guides love seeing clients catch their new personal best or a newbie catch a seven-pounder as their very first fish that leaves them hooked for life.

Our top guides have created a list of their most effective baits and how to present them to the bass hanging out in or around their spawning beds for their client to land a giant spawning bass.

Baits For Spawning Bass

In general, when largemouth bass spawn, they aren’t usually actively eating, but they do turn into extra aggressive fish in order to protect their eggs, so the goal when targeting bass laying up in their spawning beds is to entice a reaction strike.

Some of the best bass baits to entice a strike from a spawning fish are the Strike King 4 inch Game Hawg, the Berkley Powerbait Maxscent, The General Worm, Bagley Bang O Lure Spinetail, the Dirty Jig No Slack Swim Jig, and the Googan Baits Bandito Bug.

Tips For Spawning Fish

Many topwater baits can effectively land a spawning largemouth bass, but the Berkley Bang O Lure Spinetail has proven to be one of the best ways to get a bite from the giant females that are usually hanging off the beds out of sight. A tip from the pros when using this bass lure is to cast it in an area where the beds are present, then let it sit until all ripples have settled, then start to retrieve it with tiny downward twitches of your rod, mixing it up between one and three at a time. This motion will cause the lure to dive 3 to 8 inches deep and create a lot of commotion in the water.

The methods will be similar for almost any lure you choose to use when targeting a spawning bass. Many times, texas rigged is the preferred method regardless of other techniques used when presenting the bait. Regardless of the lure you are using, if you are going after the largemouth bass sitting in the bed, then you want to get the bait right in the bed and either shake it in place or snap it up in the bass’s face when they look at it to entice a reaction strike. If you are going after the females outside of the bed, then it’s best to use the method explained above by casting near the bed rather than in it and wait before retrieving.

There are endless routes to take when going after a spawning fish, but there will always be times when they just aren’t going to eat. Good anglers can usually learn to read the mood of the fish they are after, and one common occurrence is if the largemouth bass stays close to its bed, then usually you will be able to catch it. But if the bass stays away for a while or swims in big circles, then it may be best to move to another fish after a few tries.

Best lure category to catch bass

Final Tips From The Pros

In general, you want to spend your time fishing your bait or bass lure around any potential largemouth bass hideouts. It’s good practice to vary your retrieve, this way you can adjust to any conditions. Some days bass may prefer a faster retrieve, while other days, it may take a slower action to trigger a strike. Jigs, Crankbaits, Plastic Worms, Spinnerbaits, and swimbaits are excellent bass lures that will work in many conditions throughout the year when casted near bass cover and presented properly.

If fishing with live bait, nightcrawlers are generally the simplest method and almost always produce a bite of some kind. This is an excellent method, especially for beginners and kids. Otherwise, baitfish such as shiners or minnows are usually the best live bait method because they have a high chance at producing a quality-sized largemouth bass and are relatively simple to get and use. Frogs are adequate but a little more challenging to set up and use.

Learn And Practice With The Experts

The best way to improve skills in any subject is with hands-on practice with someone whose been doing it for years. Fish with a pro on one of our fishing charters at a destination of your choice so they can teach you some insider tips and tricks to take home with you and apply to your next fishing adventures. Whether you’re a first-timer who wants a general overview of the essential things to know when learning to catch bass or if you’re a seasoned angler looking to improve on techniques and presentations, a fishing charter will help get you where you want to go. The best part about the Bassonline booking process is that we will pair you with a guide specializing in what you want to learn!

Call 888-629-2277 to set up your private fishing charter with a professional guide and take your bass fishing skills to the next level!

Lures for spawning bed fish and shallow cover

Polk County Freshwater Fishing Report

Polk County Freshwater Fishing Report

Polk County Freshwater Fishing

 Around Lakeland, bass up to 25 inches this week at Tenoroc, about 8-9 pounds, in lakes 4, Fish Hook and Tern on Junebug worms and spinnerbaits, reports Brian Fleming. Several limits of bluegill and shellcracker in lakes 2, C and Hydrilla at Tenoroc on crickets and red worms. Anglers wading along cattails at Lake Parker catching 10-15 hand-sized bluegill, reports Stacy Roberts at Phillips Bait and Tackle at Saddle Creek Park. Bluegill bite slowed down at Saddle Creek. Speckled catfish biting after rains at Saddle Creek. And lakes 4, B, and Legs producing catfish at Tenoroc.

BLUEGILL

Limits of bluegill and shellcracker were commonplace over the weekend. Crickets and red worms were hot sellers. “I’m about out of crickets. They’re catching limits of bluegill just about everywhere,” said Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box. “Pick your favorite lake.”

TRENTON BENNETT of Fort Meade, 4, reeled in this 12-pound, 4-ounce bass fishing with his grandfather, Joe Bennett, on Lake Kissimmee on July 12. Joe, from Camp Lester, hooked up with a topwater plug and handed the rod to Trenton. “Joe said he had to hold the back of his life jacket to keep him from going out of the boat,” said Joanne Cosce at Camp Lester. PRO BASS FISHERMEN and top local anglers are switching to fluorocarbon lines for casting soft plastics – worms, Flukes, and Senkos. Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon is a popular choice in 10-, 12-, 15- and 20-pound strengths, said Brent Howlett at Stone’s Outhouse. Fluorocarbon sinks, unlike monofilament.

Central Florida Hot Lakes

At Auburndale, super week for bluegill and shellcracker just about everywhere reports Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box in Lake Alfred. Shellcracker bite continues on Lake Rochelle, where bank anglers using half-ounce egg sinkers to cast red worms over the ledge in spots where there’s no shoreline grass near the boat ramp. “There’s been hundreds of people going down there. It’s been great,” Schelfo said. Also, limits of shellcracker on red worms and grass shrimp in lily pads at Lake Mariana, reports Stacy Roberts. Easy limits of bluegill at lakes Haines, Alfred, and Ariana, said Schelfo. Bass was very tough this week, but Telly Smith boated 7 1/2-pounder to win Ron’s evening tournament on Lake Alfred last Thursday with teammate Alex Holmes.

In Winter Haven, bluegill creating some excitement on small city lakes and south chain, with lots of limits on crickets. Lily pads in south end of Lake Eloise one hot spot. Bass action tapered off with high heat and break in thundershowers.

Lake Hamilton, bluegill, and shellcracker “absolutely great” over the weekend with red worms and crickets, reports Gary Parramore at Chain O’ Lakes Bait and Tackle in Dundee. But only small boats can launch at public ramps. Bass up to 4-6 pounds perked up on medium-large wild shiners (6-7 inches long) on area lakes.

As well, as Lake Marion near Haines City, limits of bedding shellcracker and bluegill drew a crowd over the weekend with full moon on Friday, reports Ray Chase at Bannon’s Camp. He said 21 boats launched Saturday. Shellcracker moving back to deep shell bars between new and full moons. Lily pads “thick” with panfish, which are hitting grass shrimp, red worms, and crickets.

Lake Pierce, daily limits of bluegill and shellcracker in lily pads on red worms and crickets at North Cove and around islands near the fish camp, reports Jennings Camp. Bass decent, especially when it rains every day.

Even Lake Hatchineha, a couple of shellcracker beds located over the weekend with a full moon, and anglers pulled in limits on red worms.

Old Reliables

Big Lake Toho, giving up big stringers in tournaments on Saturday, but Sunday as bad as Saturday was good. Took about 24 pounds to win the Xtreme Series tournament. Fishermen casting topwater lures (chrome/black Boy Howdy or Devil’s Horse) around crisp hydrilla patches until the sun comes up, said Brent Howlett at Stone’s Outhouse. Water level up 8-10 inches in the past week, and anglers struggling for bites this week.

Always Lake Kissimmee, bluegill carried the weekend, although bass made good showing Saturday. There were two or three stringers over 20 pounds in tournaments on Saturday, but on Sunday, bass took a “nosedive,” said Leo Cosce at Camp Lester. Took just 13 pounds to win on Sunday. Cosce said there’s a lot of bass being caught on crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps. Trenton Bennett of Fort Meade, who’s 4, landed a 12-pound, 4-ounce bass fishing with his grandfather, Joe Bennett of Camp Lester, on July 13. Joe got the bite on a surface lure and handed the rod to Trenton. “That’s kid’s going to be hooked for life now. It’s great when you see that happen,” said Cosce. Limits of bluegill mixed with shellcracker around full moon in lily pads at Gobbler Ridge, Philadelphia Point, Lemon Point, and Brahma Island. But panfish bite tapered off since Sunday with half-limits at best, Cosce said. Early risers catching 20-25 specks in North Cove with jigs (chartreuse/white, white/white) along hydrilla edges. Water level up 4 inches in the past week, but off-colored.

Unforgotten Lake Walk-in-the-Water, the lake is usually overlooked for bluegill, but panfish have been active in lily pads. Bass is not worth the trip.

Crooked Lake at Babson Park, extra-large speckled perch cranked up last week and still going at night on minnows in open water, reports Cindy Ritchison at Bob’s Landing. “Some of my anglers said they were catching ‘hellaciously’ big specks they said had to be a pound and a half or 2 pounds, easy,” Ritchison said. Mark Collier and his crew bringing in 20-25 per trip, as is Gary Earnst of Plant City. Bass up to 2-3 pounds more common.

Frostproof, panfish anglers loading up on bluegill at Lake Reedy, reports Ron Schelfo. Lake Arbuckle is also good for bluegill in lily pads.

In the phosphate pits south of Mulberry and Bartow, things are about as quiet as they get with dog days setting in.

From Staff and Wire Reports
BassOnline.com

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Florida Peacock Bass

How To Catch Bigger Bass

How To Catch Bigger Bass

How To Catch Bigger Bass

Bass fishing, in general, is relatively beginner-friendly and a great way to get newbies hooked on the sport. But this article is for those who are ready to take their skills to the next level and track down big bass consistently. It’s one thing to stumble upon a large bass once in a while, but the goal is to find bigger fish consistently and intentionally.

Catching big bass involves knowing where to look, which equipment to use, and how to find them in any body of water.

How To Catch Big Bass

Where To Find Big Fish

Bass anglers know to look for a fishing spot that provides all the things a bass would look for, such as structure, cover, vegetation, and baitfish. The same rule applies to the biggest bass in the fishery, except they generally will find their spot deeper or in a hard-to-reach area. Therefore, the main difference between catching big bass and a smaller bass is the water depth or strategy. To start, an angler’s best bet is to look around 10 feet in depth for the giant bass, but this can vary. Generally, the shallow fish are the smaller males, and the fish at the deepest parts are too lethargic to chase, so the perfect targets are the fish at about 8-12 for depths. An important note is that a big bass of ten pounds can also be found in the same spots or depths as two pounders; the difference, in this case, would be the equipment and strategy used.

Fish near vegetation, banks, and dams like normal but use a bigger lure that will mainly attract big bass since the small ones typically won’t mess with it.

big bait for reaction strike to catch big bass
Fish Difficult Spots

One of the best big bass fishing techniques is to simply look for the hard-to-reach spots. Duck under trees, go through bushes, and anything else in the way, whether on land or a boat, to reach spots likely holding a huge bass. Big largemouth bass tend to lurk the dirtiest looking sections of water rather than the clear open water.

Big bass drive many anglers crazy because they will hide out in the middle of thick cover, not along the edge like some one to two-pounders. Therefore, anglers can’t be afraid to cast deep into the thick cover and vegetation to hook a larger fish. Anglers should throw a slow-moving lure when casting into dense coverage.

Your next trophy bass is likely hiding in the heavy vegetation near the edge of the pond or lake where most anglers don’t dare to go.

Location and Water Depth

Although anglers may catch larger bass in deep water, they are also commonly caught in the shallower water of your small local pond. A weedy, mucky pond in the middle of nowhere is probably holding some quality largemouth bass. Underfished areas leave plenty of time for fish to grow large throughout the year; this means the exact water depth won’t always be crucial. Overall, when trying to catch giant bass in your home waters, the location is the last thing to change. The first things to adjust are equipment and strategy to get a bite. That being said, some fisheries have all the right stuff for largemouth bass to grow large in good numbers and make for excellent fishing vacation destinations.

Trophy Bass Fishing Equipment

When trying to catch big bass and only hooking small ones, the gear is likely too small. There are times when the bigger bass will strike smaller baits, but using big bass baits will produce more consistently. This is often because big largemouth bass are wise enough to know that they should only waste their energy on baitfish that are worth it; in other words, they don’t want to expend more energy than they will take in. Anglers need to have the right lure, reel, and line size if they plan on catching their next trophy.

Lures

Best lures to use to catch big bass: Topwater frogs, plastic worms, crankbaits, jigs

The same techniques apply to bigger bass as they do for the smaller fish; the only difference is a larger lure. Using a larger lure means you will scare away the smaller fish. The little bass will leave the big bait alone because they know they can’t match up with it. When finesse fishing, most anglers use smaller lures to avoid spooking the fish, but in this case, anglers should use a larger bait to spook the smaller fish and target the bigger bass.

When fishing the dense vegetation, anglers will want to use a topwater frog or Texas-rigged worm, which are weedless and won’t get caught or drag too much in the cover. Using a big jig or crankbait and dragging it is the most consistent way to catch big bass.

The general rule of thumb, use a larger lure to catch larger fish. Big fish want to get a full meal if they are going to use their energy.

Rods and Reels

Anglers will likely have a tough time landing a big largemouth bass on a spinning reel since they won’t be able to size up the line enough. For this reason, a casting rod and reel are recommended when targeting largemouth bass over five pounds. This rig allows for a larger line and a better drag. Though, it’s important to note that most snapped lines or a broken rod tip are caused by human error. Regardless of your setup, make sure your drag is set correctly and not panic when you feel a nice fish at the end of your line.

Line

When targeting big bass, it’s best to use a heavier line; however, it’s essential not to aimlessly size up and use a line that will only lead to frustration. The best strategy is to focus on line quality and maintenance. In most cases, anglers shouldn’t need a line heavier than a 10lb test when fishing for bass. Most professional guides will recommend using a monofilament line since it has a bit of flex and makes for a better hookset. A proper hook set is essential when dealing with big largemouth bass. Braided lines will usually work too, but may have an issue with visibility since they are denser. In general, most anglers should try whatever they will be able to fish confidently.

Other Pro Tips

Fish During The Day

One of the most known statements when it comes to fishing is anglers should fish during the early morning or evening. But fishing during these times may not be the best strategy when targeting the big bass. Some of the best professional bass anglers suggest fishing near the middle of the day. This isn’t a proven habit but is a hunch that larger bass tend to strike during the day while the smaller fish are most active during the early morning and evening. Since every fishery can have different outcomes and fish feeding at different times of day, it’s best to sample any time that works for you to get a feel for the area.

Slow down Your Presentation

Largemouth bass are opportunistic feeders who will sit back and wait for the right opportunity to strike bait fish. Also, big bass are not as fast and are in control, meaning they don’t have to take every opportunity to feed that comes their way.

For best results, it’s best to stay away from fast-moving baits such as spinners and opt for more in control and slower lures such as crankbaits, frogs, and heavy jigs.

Slowing down your presentation allows the bass more time to feel out the situation. Using big baits with a slow presentation is a recipe for success that draws strikes from big fish. However, that doesn’t mean fast-moving lures won’t ever produce a reaction strike from a quality-sized bass.

set the hook on big bass

Key Points To Land Your Biggest Bass

  • Use larger lures and present them slower than usual. You’ll generally want to avoid spinnerbaits and swimbaits and go with topwater frogs, worms, crankbaits, or jigs.
  • Anglers may have success in their usual spots using big baits and a slow presentation to attract the bigger fish in the area.
  • Don’t be afraid to go in the hard-to-reach areas, thick vegetation spots, or murky-looking water.
glide baits and big swimbaits for big bass

Best Places To Catch Bigger Bass

3. Lake Fork

Lake Fork is the most known lake in Texas, and for a good reason. Records show that a majority of the top 50 biggest bass in Texas come from this lake. This is a great reservoir that provides a thriving habitat for bass to grow large.

2. Lake Okeechobee

The Big O is the most known big bass body of water and provides fishermen from around the world with a top-notch fishing experience throughout the year. The size of this lake can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar, but it is a place every bass fisherman should experience. The quality and quantity of fish produced here are legendary.

1. Lake Toho

Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Florida, offers some of the best trophy bass fishing in the country. This lake is known for its consistency and producing more big bass than any other fishing lake. According to Bassmaster magazine, Lake Toho is “the most consistent lake in the country for producing both numbers and size of largemouths.”

Florida-strain largemouth bass generally grow larger than their counterparts in the north. Check out the complete list of top Big Bass lakes in Florida for a fishing adventure of a lifetime.

big baits for big bass-gizzard shad
Kissimmee Lake State Park

Kissimmee Lake State Park

Kissimmee Lake State Park

Lake Kissimmee State Park is the perfect place to take the family or explore the abundant plant life and wildlife inhabiting the area through its numerous hiking trails and lakes. There’s also a shaded picnic area with a pavilion and picnic tables. Visitors can get the full experience by spending the night at Lake Kissimmee State Park, which offers both primitive campsites and full-facility campsites. There are tons of stuff to keep the family entertained in the State Park and nearby in the Lake Wales area.

About

Lake Kissimmee State Park is a scenic state park located 15 miles east of Lake Wales in Central Florida. The state park covers 5,930 acres and contains tons of wild flora and fauna, creating a thriving ecosystem. Lake Kissimmee State Park surrounds Lake Kissimmee, Lake Rosalie, and Tiger Lake. 

The Central Florida state park is known for its vast floodplain, prairie, forest, hammock, and Pine Flatwoods. In addition to the plants, numerous animals such as white-tailed deer, incredible birds, bobcats, and more call Lake Kissimmee State Park home. Visitors can enjoy countless outdoor activities such as boating and fishing in the picturesque lakes in the state park.

What To Do At Lake Kissimmee State Park

Lake Kissimmee State Park provides visitors with the ultimate outdoor experience. It’s the perfect place to go boating, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing in the nearby Lake Rosalie, Lake Tiger, and Lake Kissimmee.

Enjoy over 13 miles of hiking trails and bike trails winding around freshwater marshes and pine forests for beautiful wildlife viewing. Lake Kissimmee State Park also has six miles of equestrian trails.

Interesting and entertaining living history demonstrations take place on the weekends at Lake Kissimmee State Park.

Lake Kissimmee State Park showcase white tailed deer
Lake Kissimmee Cow Hunters Camp

The Lake Kissimmee Cow Camp is open during the fall and spring and involves and cracker cow hunter, as the pioneers were called, who stays in character while giving a tour of his campground and answering questions. The cow hunter has a pot of coffee over an open fire, an outfitted wagon, and a herd of cracker cattle. The cracker cattle are descendants of the cattle first brought to Florida by the Spanish in the 1500s and are a fun sight for visitors with their big Texas-style horns.

Lake Kissimmee State Park cow camp
Kayaking and Canoeing

Lake Kissimmee State Park makes it easy for visitors to rent canoes or kayaks and paddle along the shoreline of the nearby lakes. Kissimmee State park also has a challenging 11-mile paddle, known as the Buster Loop Trail, which combines a canal, two creeks, and three lakes all in a loop.

Fishing Kissimmee State Park

Lake Kissimmee State Park is on the shores of the beautiful Lakes Kissimmee, Tiger, and Rosalie, offering some of the best bass fishing in the state. A boat ramp in Lake Kissimmee State Park provides direct access to the famous Lake Kissimmee. Anglers can catch all of the most popular fish species in Central Florida here, including largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and chain pickerel.

Lake Kissimmee State Park two loop trails

Lake Kissimmee

Lake Kissimmee is surrounded by the beautiful Lake Kissimmee State Park and is the fourth lake of the Kissimmee Chain. Central Florida is known by anglers around the world for its incredible bass fishing, and Lake Kissimmee doesn’t disappoint. Lake Kissimmee has a strong reputation for its trophy largemouth bass due to its expanse of thriving vegetation. Lake Kissimmee and other lakes in the Kissimmee Chain attract visitors worldwide to experience its incredible fishing on a charter with a professional captain throughout the year.

Florida Fishing Kissimmee

Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie

Tiger Lake covers 2086 acres and has three main trails which provide access to pine Flatwoods, oak scrub, sandhill, and hardwood swamp. The lake has plenty of healthy vegetation holding fish and a loop trail to explore. Tiger and Rosalie lakes both specialize in largemouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill.

Lake Rosalie is a hidden gem covering 4,578 acres with excellent cover. This lake has its fair share of trophy bass and has relatively little fishing pressure adding to its incredible fishing opportunities. The area is known for its excellent bass fishing in the spring and top-notch crappie fishing in the winter.

Chris Davy

Bank Fishing

Visitors without a boat can still enjoy the same fishing opportunities of Lake Kissimmee State Park through its numerous canal banks, dam, and marina.

Techniques and Tips

Look around bridge pilings for largemouth bass using deep diving crankbaits or plastic worms. When crappie fishing, look for deep cool water, especially when the temperatures are warmer, using minnows or jigs. During the bass spawning season in the late winter and spring, anglers often have luck in the shallows with plastic worms, spinnerbaits, jerk baits, or craws.

Wildlife

This Central Florida area is a favorite state park for many reasons, and its abundant wildlife is undoubtedly one of those reasons. The site has so much wildlife thriving in its natural habitat for the family to experience. Visitors may come across bald eagles, sandhill cranes, white-tailed deer, turkeys, snail kites, crested caracara, and even bobcats in Lake Kissimmee State Park. Lake Kissimmee State Park has 12 natural communities holding over 30 listed species of fauna and flora. Some of the botanical bounties in Kissimmee state park include butterfly orchids, sawgrass, delicate mosses, fetterbush, gallberry, colorful fields of lotus, and pickleweed.

Things To Do Near Lake Wales

After exploring all there is to do and see in Lake Kissimmee State Park, visitors can experience some of the other adventures the Lake Wales area has to offer nearby. Lake Wales is close to both coasts for its beaches and is nearby the Central Florida theme parks. Some of the less known but exciting things to do in the Lake Wales area include visiting Bok Tower Gardens, Spook Hill, Hollis Garden, Wonder House, and the Polk Theatre. Lake Wales has something for everyone with tons of golf courses, museums, and outdoor parks to explore.

Camping At Lake Kissimmee State Park

Lake Kissimmee State Park provides some of the best camping in Florida. All campsites in Lake Kissimmee State Park are shaded by oak hammocks and separated by vegetation for privacy.

The sprawling live oak trees provide perfect shade and shelter to the campsites, and its secluded location also offers beautiful starry skies.

Full Facility Camping

Lake Kissimmee State Park has 60 campsites with electric and water hookups. Sewage hookups are not provided, but there is a dump station nearby. The full-facility campsites are located in the area with the oak hammock, making it one of the most scenic camping areas in any of the Florida state parks.

Primitive Camping Facility

Lake Kissimmee State Park has two campsites that are a part of the primitive camping facility. These campsites are located along the 13 miles of hiking trails in the state park. Those who prefer primitive tent camping need to backpack everything in, including water.

RV Camping

There are beautiful campgrounds within Lake Kissimmee State Park with electricity, water, and shade. Most of these sites are surrounded by natural buffers in the state park for a bit of seclusion. There are no septic hookups, but there is a dump station at the entrance of the campground.

Youth Camping Area

Lake Kissimmee State Park offers a youth camping area that can accommodate up to 50 people. There are two primitive campsites, both holding 25 people for youth camping at Lake Kissimmee State Park. Most of the camping areas are shaded by beautiful live oaks off the beaten path. The camping area has restrooms, cold showers, and a fire pit.

visitors enjoy boating and so many trails Lake Kissimmee State Park
Lake Kissimmee State Park  cow camp and cow hunters
lake wales park entrance and lakes kissimmee

Kissimmee State Park History

The Europeans arrived in Florida in the 1500s but didn’t have their presence felt until the 1800s. During the Civil War, the park area was used for raising cattle which were traded with Cuba for supplies or shipped to the Confederate Army. The cattle became the primary industry after the war, which has continued to the present day. The state of Florida purchases the 5030 acres of land in 1969 to use as a State Park. Lake Kissimmee State Park became open to the public in August 1977. In 1997 an additional 900 acres of the park was purchased and added to the western boundary.

Lake Kissimmee State Park sandhill cranes
Lake Kissimmee State Park dark skies and oak hammock

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