Fishing For Fall Bass

Fishing For Fall Bass

The Guide To Fishing For Fall Bass

Fall bass fishing can be an exciting adventure while you target the hungry bass that are becoming more active after hiding in deeper water all summer. However, fall fishing can be difficult, especially early Fall, as it’s essentially a transition period with changing water temperatures and daylight times.

The Best Fall Bass Fishing Tips
  • The bass are where the baitfish are
  • Look for areas of running water near structures or points
  • Shad baits or shad imitation lures are most effective

Overall, Fall is an excellent time for catching bass. This is the time they are looking to feed and prepare for the cold winter ahead. Unfortunately, the primary reason anglers miss the opportunity to catch Fall bass is because they don’t understand the fish’s habits or how to catch them during the Fall transition period. This post is a guide for those on the hunt for some fall bass, including where to look, the best lure to use, and how to use it.

baitfish bass in the fall clear water

The Fall Transition

As the Fall season begins, the water temperatures cool, and the days become shorter; this is the Fall transition. If you understand this process, you will be able to take advantage of it and catch bass more consistently.

In general, largemouth bass and any other predator fish species will be where the baitfish are. 

Baitfish prefer the areas with a lot of oxygen, which in the summer are the deeper waters not under direct sunlight.

In the Fall, baitfish migrate upstream or in areas of lakes and canals that are oxygen-rich. During this time, as the water temperatures lower, the shallower areas become more oxygen-rich, accommodating the baitfish. As the baitfish move to shallower water in early Autumn, the bass follow.

In late Fall, the baitfish slow down and start preparing for the winter. Late Fall is usually when the baitfish will head back into deeper hiding spots where they spend the winter, especially in colder regions where the surface can freeze.  But in general, the same principle applies. The general rule is the bass are where the baitfish are. The best part about fall fishing is the bass are usually more concerned about finding food than finding cover to hide.

fly fish in light chop

Early Fall

Fish, including largemouth bass, are cold-blooded, so their patterns and habits change as the weather changes. For this reason, the most successful bass anglers are the ones that change their methods with the water temperature.

Where To Look

As the Fall season approaches, bass tend to make their way into the shallow water more often. Bass in the Fall are frequently found around ledges and drop-offs of canals, lakes, and rivers. Look for areas where bait could potentially be drifted past an ambush point, meaning any moving water flowing past any vegetation, structure, or point.

The most important thing for an angler to look for when Fall fishing is any changes in the ground. Look for structure changes, drop odds, points, and intersections where two waterways meet. Any healthy-looking vegetation edges are also good areas to cast.

medium diving crankbait

Best Fall Bass Fishing Lures and Baits

Fall bass tend to favor crawfish and shad in most areas, but using what is most prevalent in your waters is always key. Therefore, the best baits to catch bass in the Fall are either live or artificial forms of these creatures. Bass are feeding heavily in the Fall to fill up before the winter and spawning months.

Jigs

Jigs are always a great option when trying to draw bass and cover as much water as possible. However, when using a jig, be sure always to keep it moving.

On sunny days go for bright colors such as oranges, yellows, and greens. On cloudy or overcast days, go for natural tones like brown, white, and black.

Crankbaits

Since bass are constantly feeding on shad in the Fall, crankbaits make for an excellent lure choice during this season. Lipless crankbaits are usually the best and more effective for these hungry bass. Rip through vegetation with a lipless crankbait to hook a bass that was lurking in the shallow grass for shad.

Also, a squarebill crankbait with a shad pattern is ideal for casting into stumps and logs along the shallows that are full of shad baitfish. A square bill crankbait is excellent at getting reaction strikes from fish hiding in cover. Any blade bait can help get a reaction strike from the nearby bass, potentially even the inactive bass.

Jerkbait

If you see a fish actively leaping out of the water trying to strike shad, then it’s a good time to grab your jerk bait and cast it into the action. Realistic soft jerkbaits will almost certainly have you catching bass during these active hours. Work a twitch-twitch pause movement in the shallow water with less water clarity until you feel a hard strike.

Swimbait

No lure imitates a fleeing shad baitfish like a swimbait cruising in front of a school. Swimbaits generally work best in the shallow spots when Fall fishing. If you spot a school of shad in the water a few feet deep, there is likely a bass nearby ready to bite. Use a steady retrieve and cover a much of the water column as possible.

Spinner Baits

Spinnerbaits are also great shad imitators during the Fall transition. Anglers can slow roll their bait around docks and other structures, which will likely trigger hard strikes.

Topwaters

Since fall bass fishing is all about fishing the shallows while bass are feeding on top of the water most of the time, Buzzfrogs can be a great addition to your Fall tackle box. You can drag through thick vegetation or near other structures to entice some exploding topwater strikes. A buzz bait and other topwater lures can be great at getting active bass to strike hard or even get the inactive bass or still lethargic bass to become intrigued with this potential meal.

zara spook - fall when bass

Different Areas Mean Different Tactics

Every fishery has different water depths, temperatures, and characteristics. By learning the general rules and paying attention to your specific area’s uniqueness, you can have success bass fishing anywhere.

When fishing shallow areas, look for fish feeding on the surface. The shallow areas are the best in Fall when bass are actively cruising there and feeding heavily. Using a shallow squarebill, football jig, or any shad-looking swimbait will be effective.

When fishing mid-depth areas, a crankbait in constant motion will likely be effective. Try to cover a lot of water, ensuring that you don’t drag the bait. Fall is known for relatively clear water, so it’s best to keep your presentation looking tidy.

When fishing deeper water, test the area with jerkbaits and crankbaits to find schools of bass, use a swimbait when going after big bass, and be sure to present with the right head.

Water Temps

Overall, it’s critical to keep in mind the water temperature of where you are fishing. The Fall season means different things to everybody and can be warmer or cooler. When water temperatures drop around close to the ’50s, it’s time to adjust your tactics with these styles. This may happen at different times, some locations will transition in early Fall or late summer, and other areas may transition in late Fall or winter. Once the actual cold front hits, you want to slow down your retrieve and start using Autumn and Winter tactics.

threadfin shad late fall fish

Fall Fishing Overview

All fish react to meteorological conditions and seasonal water temperature changes. The Fall season means air temperature decreases and shorter days, and the fish are aware that it’s time to prepare for the winter. Early fall fishing conditions are similar to late summer, while late fall fishing is similar to winter in many areas. However, every time of year has its unique characteristics for anglers to adjust to. The main things to pay attention to are the water temps and baitfish; bass will always follow the baitfish.

Plan Your Fall Bass Fishing Adventure

Bass fishing is excellent year-round in many of the world’s top locations; however, our expert guides all agree that the Fall and Spring are the best bass fishing seasons. As the water temperatures cool, big bass are becoming extra active and aggressive.

Your professional guide will take you to all the best fishing spots holding some Fall bass; whether your goal is numbers of smaller bass in the shallows or potential trophies in slightly deeper waters, your guide will work with you to provide the trip of a lifetime. In addition, you will learn invaluable skills and information to help you with your next bass fishing endeavors by fishing with an expert.

The Falls Canal – the peacocks are still biting!

The Golden Gate Canal – peacocks and largemouths are on fire!

The Everglades – multiple species in significant quantities, the largemouth bass fishing is especially hot!

Headwaters Lake – the bass are feeding and some are growing to incredible sizes at this lake!

Lake Toho – a famous and scenic lake known for its consistent bass fishing in size and numbers!

Lake Erie – Smallmouth bass are still biting hard in Fall, preparing for a cold, icy winter! 

The same spots that were thriving during the late summer are still producing as we transition into Fall, but with even better results! The fish have moved around and found new homes in these waters, but the local guides have adjusted to the season changes and are crushing it.

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 Fall bass fishing adventure in the world’s top destinations!

fall bass fishing in creek arms

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. Remember the fishing hook sizes matter, 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 a 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

Best Florida Bass Fishing Destinations for 2021

Best Florida Bass Fishing Destinations for 2021

Florida Bass Fishing

Top Florida Bass Destinations

Florida has hundreds of lakes and rivers full of fish, but some consistently produce good quality and quantities of bass, earning them a spot on the list of best bass fishing lakes in Florida.

  • Considered the best bass fishing lakes in North Florida are Rodman Reservoir, Orange Lake, The St John’s River, Lake George, and The Harris Chain of Lakes.
  • The best bass fishing lakes in Central Florida are Lake Tarpon, Stick Marsh, Fellsmere Reservoir, Lake Toho, The Butler Chain, Lake Kissimmee, Lake Istokpoga, and Lake Okeechobee. 
  • Look at as best bass fishing lakes in South Florida are The Golden Gate Canal, Lake Ida an Osborne, The Everglades, and Miami Airport Lakes.
Florida big bass lakes

All of these offer incredible fishing opportunities but also have something unique to offer.

Florida weather and healthy vegetation have promoted incredible fisheries throughout Florida all year. They range from North to South with exceptional bass fishing that is worthwhile to experience. Our adventure through the state will start in the North and move further South. Each stop along the way will provide you with a new perspective of what the sunshine state can offer you.

Whether your goals are to catch big bass or large quantities, there is a Florida fishery for you.

Here are the details on your Top Florida Bass Destinations to experience and explore while visiting the tropical state of Florida.

Florida trophy largemouth bass fishing

North Florida

The Rodman Reservoir

If you are coming to Florida and are looking strictly for a trophy largemouth bass, North Florida is the place to visit. Cooler water temperatures promote a slower metabolism for the bass, allowing them to grow larger. The Rodman Reservoir in Putnam County covers 9,500 acres and has been one of the most productive fishing destinations in the state for big bass. It is a consistent fishery that promotes daily catches of over 8 pounds.

Rodman has registered 348 trophycatch fish to date. If you are looking to fish a top-ranked lake in the country, the Rodman Reservoir would be an excellent choice. Experience this 19 miles long lake while enjoying the wild nature of North Florida near Gainesville with high chances of landing your dream largemouth bass.

Rodman reservoir big largemouth bass fishing

Orange Lake

Orange Lake is in the southeast of Gainesville designated fish management area with 20 miles of shoreline. Orange Lake has extensive aquatic vegetation of lily pads and hydrilla, providing prime bass habitats. The thriving habitat allowed Orange Lake to get on the list of many bass anglers for having the best trophy largemouth bass fishing in Florida. Along with its big bass, Orange Lake holds black crappie, redear sunfish, and bluegill in good size and numbers.

The only public boat ramps are located at Heagy-Burry.

Florida fish management area

The St John’s River

The St. Johns River is a unique waterway with some of the best largemouth bass fishing in Florida. The river begins in Vero beach and winds through 12 Central Florida counties before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Johns River is known for consistently holding trophy largemouth bass. The best big bass fishing here is done by wild shiner fishing. Along with its big bass, the St. Johns River is also known for its top-notch pan fishing for crappie and bluegill. The river consists of three basins that all offer some unique angling opportunities.

The upper basin of the river is the most unpredictable and becomes best after widening up near Titusville. The middle basin is the shortest and is more navigable. This basin has access to Lakes Monroe, Harney, and Jesup, which all thrive as excellent bass fishing lakes. The lower basin starts before Lake George and runs north through Jacksonville before reaching the Atlantic. This basin is home to both freshwater and saltwater fish species.

Bass fishing in Florida

Lake George

Lake George is the second largest lake in Florida after Lake Okeechobee. The lake spans 46,000 acres and stretches 6 miles at its widest point. This fishery is relatively shallow with an average depth of eight feet and is very brackish for a lake in this part of Florida. The lake is best known for its big bass, striped bass, and sunfish.

Lake George does not have vegetation along its shoreline or on the bottom, making it more difficult to find fish than the other heavily vegetated Florida lakes. Despite the lack of foliage, there are still plenty of spots to catch big Florida bass, including the remnants of an old bombing range throughout the lake. There is also a sunken ship in the middle of the water that will be the home of a large panfish population.

Great Bass fishing lakes - Lake George

The Harris Chain of Lakes

The Harris Chain of Lakes is one of the most prolific bass lakes in the state. The Harris Chain is nutrient-rich and filled with large shad, bluegills, and golden shiners to feed the enormous trophy fish. The Chain of Lakes consists of nine lakes and covers about 76,000 acres. The Chain of Lakes used to host several bass tournaments twenty years ago. The bass fishing declined and got a bad reputation for several years; however, the fishing is back and stronger than ever. Numerous big bass are caught on the Chain of lakes every day while on a fishing charter.

Today, the Harris Chain of lakes is exceptionally fertile with mostly dark stained water. This freshwater lake is primarily covered in Kissimmee grass, lily pads, eelgrass, and bulrushes. Fishing the Chain requires stout tackle and power techniques for its robust and healthy bass population.

Florida chain of lakes bass fishing

West Central

Lake Tarpon

Lake Tarpon is located about 10 miles west of Tampa in Tarpon Springs, Florida, United States. The lake covers 2,500 acres and stretches almost nine miles long. Its surrounded by houses and resorts with tons of fishing opportunities.

This fishery offers some of the best big bass fishing in Florida on the west coast. Lake Tarpon is renowned for its trophy-size bass and supports a healthy population of crappie, bluegill, blue tilapia, sunfish, and catfish.

The lake’s bottom has deep-water holes and shallow edges with grass beds for the thriving populations of various fish species. Two county parks border the lake with boat ramps, east John Chestnut Park and west A.L Anderson Park. Because of its location, Lake Tarpon hosts numerous bass tournaments.

Central Florida lakes

East Central

Stick Marsh (Farm 13)

Stick Marsh, also known as Farm 13, is a 6,500-acre impoundment a part of the St Johns Water Management Area. Stick Marsh lies near the Treasure Coast of Florida and is one of the nation’s most abundant and natural big bass fisheries.

The Farm 13 water depths average 4 to 8 feet, but navigating the area can be difficult with its numerous underwater stumps. Stick Marsh holds prime waters for trophy bass, with many catches being in close to double digits. Live bait is the most effective method for catching trophies, but artificial lures can often produce as well. It’s best for an angler new to the area to fish with an experienced local captain to safely and efficiently get the full experience of this trophy bass lake.

Stick Marsh Bass Fishing - Fishing In Melbourne Fl - Central Florida

Fellsmere Reservoir

Fellsmere Reservoir, also known as Lake Eden, Headwaters Lake, and Lake Headwaters, is a world-class human-made lake in Indian River County, covering 10,000 acres. Fellsmere borders Stick Marsh, Blue Cypress, and Lake Garcia.

The underwater features and structural habitat of Fellsmere lake provide an exceptional experience for a visiting bass fisherman. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation stocked nearly 1,000,000 sport fish in the reservoir along with bluegill, crappie, and redear sunfish. Fellsmere is one of the lakes a visiting angler must experience when freshwater fishing in Florida.

Fl trophy fish

Central Florida

Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho)

Lake Toho in Central Florida is an 18,810-acre bass fishery southeast of Kissimmee and is the uppermost lake in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

Lake Toho is full of vegetation, including lily pads, cattails, weed mats, bulrush, and Kissimmee grass, all supporting a healthy bass population. In addition to its vegetation, Fish management practices improved the bottom of Lake Toho by allowing extreme drawdowns to its water level. During the drawdowns, deposits of muck are removed by bulldozers from the shoreline areas imitating a natural drought, making the shoreline of Lake Toho prime for bass spawning success.

Lake Toho is home to numerous annual bass fishing tournaments, including Bassmaster opens. Lake Toho also supports healthy populations of bluegill, crappie, redear sunfish, pickerel, gar, and catfish.

Lake Toho trophy fish - lake tohopekaliga

The Butler Chain

As we travel further south into Central Florida, you land yourself through a maze of a chain of lakes. There is one particular Chain that stands out from the rest: The Butler Chain of Lakes. This interconnected Chain of 11 lakes promotes one of the most unique Florida bass experiences. It is considered relatively deep for a Florida lake with 20 to 40-foot holes. One of the most incredible aspects is its deep vegetation structures in some of the clearest fresh water in Florida that the bass love.

Bass fishing on this lake can get very exciting. It has a large quantity of largemouth bass that causes them to school regularly, making Butler Chain of lakes fishing guides best known for catching numbers, but the place has size as well. This allows for some of the best action you can explore here in Florida. As you are fishing these schools, enjoy catching quality 4 to 5-pound bass throwing artificial topwater baitfish. Springtime is when the bass truly begins to school up and produce what you are searching for. Explore the R.D. Keene Park for a great trophy bass adventure.

Central Florida big bass fishing lakes

Lake Kissimmee

Lake Kissimmee is the southernmost lake in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. It covers 34,948 acres and is located 18 miles east of Lake Wales and 40 miles south of Orlando. Lake Kissimmee is a fertile environment making it a top trophy bass fishery. Lake Kissimmee has produced over 497 TrophyCatch fish, including 1 Hall of Famer, 87 Trophy Club, and 409 Lunker Club.

The fertile soil of Lake Kissimmee creates a healthy abundance of food sources such as zooplankton, insects, and forage fish. The rich food sources allow the Lake Kissimmee bass to grow fast. Along with the food abundance, Lake Kissimmee has an excellent habitat consisting of a diverse combination of emergent and submerged vegetation ideal for bass spawning.

Lake Kissimmee bass - central florida

Lake Istokpoga

Lake Istokpoga in Highlands County is located five miles northeast of Lake Placid and is the fifth-largest natural lake in Florida, covering 27,692 acres. It has numerous boat ramps on the North, Northeast, and Southwest sides of the lake.

Since a significant restoration effort in the 2000’s, Lake Istokpoga has consistently cranked out quality-sized bass. Lake Istokpoga had 329 trophycatch fish.

Lake Istokpoga has an average depth of 6 feet, offering a vast amount of shallow vegetation, including spatterdock, hydrilla, Kissimmee grass, bulrush, lily pads, eelgrass, and cattails. According to Bassmaster Elite Bobby Lane, bass anglers will likely get 10-15 quality bites a day any time of year when fishing on Lake Istokpoga.

Lake Istokpoga great bass fishing lakes - Lake Placid

South Central

Lake Okeechobee

Moving further on our Florida Bass Fishing Tour, Lake Okeechobee is our next stop. Okeechobee is an enormous 730 plus square-mile freshwater lake in Florida known for its legendary largemouth fishing throughout the year. Spring Bass Fishing has been truly heating up every year, especially in the southern destinations on the lake. You can experience fantastic fishing across the whole lake, but the South has been producing the best. Clewiston and Belle Glade will be the best locations to fish this spring. Anglers can experience big numbers and great-quality largemouth bass this time of year as the bass are still in their spawning process.

Lake Okeechobee has one of the most vibrant and abundant largemouth bass populations in the state of Florida. You can fish there your whole life and never see the same fish twice. One of the best parts about fishing Lake Okeechobee is that wherever you are traveling from, there is a destination near you. If you are coming from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Belle Glade or the southeast side of the lake would be your best bet. If Fort Myers or Naples is the vacation or home destination, Clewiston would be the best location. When coming from Central Florida, make sure you experience Okeechobee City to provide you with a truly unique perspective on the lake.

Lake Okeechobee fishing

SouthWest

Golden Gate

The Golden Gate Canal is centrally located between Naples-Marco Island’s beaches and The Everglades National Park, Big Cypress Preserve, and Collier-Seminole State Park.

Popular exotic fish such as the peacock bass and Oscars have found their way into southwest Florida from Miami. These fish are now extremely abundant here, making the Golden Gate a top peacock fishing lake in the state. The fishing is excellent year-round for peacock bass, largemouth bass, and panfish. The big bass are most often caught during the colder months when they are actively feeding during their peak spawning time. In addition to these popular freshwater fish, anglers can also catch snook and tarpon in these canals.

Sunshine state bass

Southeast

Lake Ida and Lake Osborne

The Lake Ida Chain of Lakes starts in Boynton Beach and ends in Delray Beach. The lake to the North in Boynton is Lake Osborne, while to the South in Delray is Lake Ida. Lake Ida and Osborne both offer some of the best south Florida lakes for largemouth and peacock fishing. The lakes have some good-size largemouth and peacock bass, sunshine bass, bluegills, Mayan cichlids, and other exotic fish species like the clown knife fish.

These Florida lakes in Palm Beach are the furthest North in the sunshine state that an angler can experience a peacock bass fishing charter. The Chain of Lakes has convenient access points allowing anglers to start searching for big bad and beautiful peacock bass within minutes.

The endless canals of the Chain of lakes provide the high opportunity to catch peacock bass in good numbers. The numerous structures, including docks, bridges, cuts, and seawalls, are good focus points for largemouth and peacock bass.

Boynton Beach peacock bass & Clown Knife

The Florida Everglades

When you think of Florida Bass Fishing, the Florida Everglades or “the river of grass” should hopefully ring clear. Cruise through the miles of canal systems that dominate South Florida while uncovering untouched waters pristine for largemouth fishing. If you are looking for extreme numbers of largemouth bass and some peacock bass, the Florida Everglades is the place to explore. The Everglades covers a large area with many access points; some of the more popular areas are Everglades Holiday Park, Sawgrass Rec Center, and Mile Marker 35 and 41. Every cast can yield a fish during these fantastic spring conditions. Another unbelievable feature of this incredible fishing destination is the abundance of wildlife.

Enjoy your fishing experience while listening to the birds, alligators and many other inhabitants create a song before you. We would also recommend this location for young kids and family members that love to be in the outdoors and have not yet experienced what Florida fishing is all about. Come enjoy catching 100-200 largemouth bass in a trip for memories we genuinely believe you will not forget.

Everglades - the river of grass bass - frog fishing

Miami Airport Lakes

This Miami destination stands out from the rest. It is a location that you can experience the total abundance of Florida exotics and largemouth fishing to its fullest. The Miami Airport Lakes is an excellent location to catch the hardest fighting bass in the state, the peacock bass. Blue Lagoon or Airport Lakes is home to the Florida Peacock Bass and some quality largemouth bass fish. It was one of the first locations they stocked this incredible species of bass. When it comes to fishing for peacock bass, domestic shiners are most productive, however artificial lures especially topwater lures can often produce. Your Bassonline fishing guide comes with all artificial fishing tackle needed for success. One of the significant aspects of fishing the Miami Airport system is the ability to catch saltwater species.

When the locks open to release water, many species, including snook, tarpon, and jack crevalle, travel through and get trapped in when they close them. These species can live in this water which provides you ample opportunities to hook one as well. Don’t count out catching some quality largemouth bass along with your adventures in the heart of Miami.

South Florida best peacock bass
bass fishing lakes florida

Best Time For Bass Fishing

Bass fishing in Florida is incredible throughout the year, contributing to it being the “Fishing Capital of the World.” However, the springtime is when largemouths spawn and provide anglers with their best opportunity to catch a double-digit trophy. Typically the spawn starts when water temperature becomes optimal as early as December and goes into June, varying slightly throughout the state.

Springtime here in Florida is the perfect time to take a vacation. As the northern states are still experiencing cold fronts, Florida is beginning to warm up. The characteristics of this spring have been considerably different than the many before it. Colder weather throughout the whole United States has made for exciting fishing conditions.

Freshwater fishing in Florida often gets overlooked, but has really heated up with the warming trends.

Late Spawns at our Top Florida Bass Destinations

One of the main reasons our fishing has been so fantastic here in Florida is the extreme weather. The cold fronts that have pushed through changed the water temperatures dramatically throughout our season. As temperatures change, the Florida largemouths pushed off spawns that they are now engaging in. During these new moon phases, our professional captains and experts have been catching largemouth bass filled with eggs and preparing for their spawning process. April will most likely be the last time they spawn, but it will also be one of the best months to catch excellent bass at all our top Florida bass destinations.

Florida Fishing Experience

Don’t miss out on our Top Florida largemouth Fishing Destinations across the whole state. Action will be consistent all year long. Each month will provide new challenges, different techniques, and great fishing. Florida is the best destination to catch that big largemouth bass or peacock you are looking for. We would love to create a memory worth a lifetime while you reel in that fish that will make you smile!

If you enjoyed this post about our Top Florida Bass Destinations, you might also enjoy this fishing report from the same area.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Name
Review Title
Rating
Review Content

Harris Chain Fishing Update in Central Florida

Harris Chain Fishing Update in Central Florida

Harris Chain of Lakes Fishing Update

The Harris Chain of Lakes is still open for fishing. We are open but are not urging anglers to embark on our fishing trips. We just wanted to share some of the recent catches from our customers. The bass fishing has been fantastic across the whole chain. As we still urge everyone to take precautions, getting in the outdoors can be a good way to keep your sanity. This Harris Chain fishing update can help put a smile on your face!

Utilize this time to learn more about the local lakes and plan your next outdoor adventure when social interactions are allowed again. We hope you enjoy this fishing update with our local experts and professional fishing guides.

Fishing with Captain Gino Losi

Harris-Chain-Fishing-UpdateOne of the most exciting ways to catch bass here in Florida is sight-fishing. Spotting a fish in shallow water and pitching bait to them, watching them eat, and then setting the hook is a thrill you will never forget. Never worry, all fish are handled properly and released quickly after a photo.

“It was awesome to get the chance to explore the Harris Chain of Lakes with Alex and his son. Leesburg, Florida is a wonderful destination to land some giant largemouth bass. Each trip can be so uniquely different as you can get the opportunity to fish a variety of different lakes.

Alex and his son spent their day on the water at Lake Griffin. It has been a productive lake this time of year. We started out fishing in the canals and catching bass on beds. Once the day warmed up, we moved to some offshore structure.

The bass were in both pre and post-spawn patterns. Targeting fish in deep water hydrilla was a blast for these guys. When it comes to fishing offshore grass, catching bass on lipless crankbaits is the most effective pattern. Slow move the bait through the grass and hold on as you rip that bait through the grass.

Alex and his son had an absolute blast catching over 30 largemouth bass on their fishing trip. Breezy and sunny conditions promoted a strong bite they surely capitalized on. Tight lines until next time!”

Second trip of this update:

Harris-Chain-Fishing-Update“The Harris Chain continues to be a great place to catch large numbers of bass all trip long. It was fun to fish with Adam and his good friend. While they were here in North Central Florida, the Harris Chain always intrigued them. It showed them a great time with plenty of action with artificial lures.

Just like the last trip, the fish were pre and post-spawning patterns. We focused mainly on the fish in post-spawn patterns. Adam and his friend enjoyed catching fish on the mouth of the canals on Lake Griffin.

When it comes to fishing these areas, you can target bass either with a slow presentation or moving. Most of the bites came yet again from a lipless crankbait. The Harris Chain is notorious for its offshore structure and we explore it as the day heated up.

It was awesome to see Adam and his good friend double up on several occasions. Most of the fish caught were in the 1-2 pound range with some quality mixed in. They caught over 30 fish on this trip and are looking forward to coming back soon to cash in on some bigger bass!” – Captain Gino Losi

Explore these waters soon!

We hope you stay safe during this time and hope this update puts a smile on your face. When looking to plan your next adventure, we hope you keep us in mind. Fishing is what we love to do and we want to share that with you once we can. I hope to see you on the water soon and you enjoyed this Harris Chain fishing update!

Pin It on Pinterest