February 7, 2020
Largemouth Bass in Florida are about to enter spawning season, and the fishing will be off the hook. Well… actually on the hook!
You may refer to them simply as “bass” or “lunkers”, or maybe even “bucketmouth” – but whatever you call them, largemouth bass are a great species to fish. Their olive-green or green-brown coloration are often marked with dark markings along their sides. They differ from other bass with their low slung jaws; their upper jaw extends past their heads and gives them a largemouth, hence the name. During the rest of the year they may weigh as much as 8 pounds, but during spawning season, when the females are carrying eggs, they can weigh as much as 13-15 pounds.
The grassy areas or shoreline with lots of vegetation is the perfect spot to look for your next trophy catch. Especially during mid-February to April when the females are locating their spawning beds. The key ingredient is water temperature. As the water warms up going into spring months, the bass head closer to the shallow waters. If there is an unexpected cold front (as it often happens in Florida) then finding your trophy may be a little more difficult. This is also why South Florida lakes, such as Okeechobee, will see spawning season start earlier than Central or North Florida lakes.
Finding the right conditions in Florida to fish for bass isn’t difficult. But finding the fish during those just-right conditions may not be as easy as expected. And then you’ll want to discover what gets them to the line. And that, dear reader, is what makes fishing for bass during spawning season so exciting. Let’s take a look.
Largemouth Bass in Florida is a catch-and-release species. Which means that the fish you’re trying to lure to the line has probably been there and done that. This makes catching adult bass much more difficult, especially in certain lakes. The lakes of Kissimmee, specifically, are notorious for having a healthy fishery, but having a guide will almost guarantee a successful outing.
Going where the fish are first means understanding what exactly they are looking for during spawning season. The females are full of eggs, looking for a bed with hard surfaces. Fishing the shallows means you’re in water less than 4 feet with a clean, hard bottom. Although lily pads in areas of mucky bottoms can also home spawning beds. The submerged roots make great spots for the bass to hide out that many anglers don’t know about.
During spawning season you can either fish for the bass pre-spawn (when the females are nice and fat carrying the eggs), or after (when the males are guarding the bass fry). Once spawning occurs, the male will hang around to protect the fry… for a few weeks anyway. Then they get distracted by food and are off chasing shiners. For the trophy lunkers, the pre-spawn female is what you’re looking for.
For less experienced bass anglers, fishing with shiners almost guarantees a successful outing. This is what the 10+ pound bass feed on, and will appreciate the offering. If you prefer artificials, worms, chatterbaits and jerkbaits are good choices. Whatever you opt for at the end of your hook, drift your line just outside of the grass line or structure and you’re sure to get a strike. If you do opt for jerkbaits, you may attract more than just the bass; local crappie also enjoy this offering.
As we said, the ingredients of a successful bass fishing trip during spawning season are not difficult to discover. Water temperatures are your main concern. Depending on where you are in Florida will determine if spawning season has begun. The real test is where in your local lake the bass are hiding. And this is where a professional guide will be the key ingredient. These guides know the lake you’re fishing on, where the fish are hiding, and what brings them to the line.
Find a local guide today with FishAnywhere.com – you can reserve your spawning season trip today with as little as 10% deposit. Book today, the season is almost here and these guides will have a full schedule soon!
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