Central Florida Bass Fishing

Friday, January 19th, 2018

It is January 19th and we have been back in the Sunshine State for over two months. Central Florida is a wonderful place to spend the winter for a hard core bass fisherman. The water levels are quite high and the bass are active. Mixed baits worked on our first serious fishing trip and we look forward to expanding our knowledge about the current conditions. It appears that some spraying of weeds has taken place and the hurricane seems to have worked its magic. Some weedy areas are quite barren compared to our last visit in April. Usually there are more weeds, but not this year.

The Fall season was quite warm but winter has taken over, as we have had multiple days and nights of below freezing temperatures. Bass fishing has slowed but the specks are starting to really turn up in the shallows. This past week, I fished two bass tournaments and managed to do quite well. Lake Marion was a test for my wife and I as we lost several bass in the pads and grass. This was very unusual for us and we are planning to make some changes in how we fish the heavier cover. We will definitely upgrade to braided line in cover and use mono for the open areas. Several baits have worked; bladed jigs, creature baits, lizards and swim baits. Match the colors with the water clarity.

Weather patterns should be changing and with warmer temperatures, the spawn should be on soon. Now through the end of April is a good opportunity for anglers to catch a trophy bass. Please take measurements and have a fiberglass replica made. Release the bass and bring a smile to someone else in the future.

Florida Update

Friday, December 4th, 2015

My wife and I left New York for the Sunshine State of Florida on October 23. The trip went smooth until I had a trailer tire problem when we were just south of Jacksonville. I noticed a bulge in the side wall and figured the tire was separating. A quick tire change in a rest area put us back on the road and to our winter home in Lake Wales.

October 29th, I fished a night tournament with my friend, Dale Johnson. We fished on the North Winter Haven Chain of Lakes where we normally do quite well, but not having fished there for several months, conditions had changed and we did terrible. My friend was running a Triton that he had recently purchased, and it was not getting up on plane very well. I contacted Triton Boats and they gave me the height measurements that the motor should be mounted, which holes to use, and the best prop for this set up. We adjusted the motor height and ran some other tests. Now the boat planes great, with the rpms, top end and water pressure excellent. If you are experiencing problems, call your boat manufacturer for the right set up. Make sure to have your motor, jack plate and prop information ready when you call them.

November 8th, we fished a tournament on the same Chain of Lakes. We managed to catch a few good fish on toads, chatter baits and plastics. By mid morning the bite had slowed, so we moved to another lake in the Chain, culled all of our fish and upgraded our weight. Zoom trick worms worked on this lake and our total catch for the day was 15+ bass.

November 16th, we fished the South Winter Haven Chain of Lakes. Our idea was to fish a few lakes we hadn’t tried before. We managed four bass in a six hour day, which was not going to help us on tournament day. Tournament day, the 22nd we went to Lake Winterset first and spent the majority of the morning washing baits. Four bass were boated with one making the 14″ size limit, so we made the run to Lake Summit. It took only a few minutes to dial in the bite, and we caught another 20-25 bass. Our problem was the lack of one big fish, but we did cull up several times. A fun day anytime you manage to catch that many bass. A mix of plastic baits worked, but Zoom Finesse Worms outfished the other baits.

December 1, we went to Kissimmee at the new park by Grape Hammock. Six hours of fishing produced four boated bass and a few missed opportunities. Our presentation and bait selection changed to target bigger fish. Some adjustments are still needed, but the overall result was encouraging. Swim baits and 10 inch Berkley Power Worms both worked.

Water temperatures are dropping and the crappie bite is picking up fast. Bass are quite aggressive and willing to bite. If you are not getting bit, change lures, and if that fails, change locations. Grass offshore has been holding good fish.

Trophy time is approaching fast, so book a trip (centralfloridabassinwithfrank.com) early to lock in your date.

Be safe, wear your life vest, and maintain a proper lookout.



Central Florida Bass Fishing Conditions

Monday, February 9th, 2015

We have been fishing several lakes in the Kissimmee to Lake Wales area with mixed results. Weather has been both friend and foe as we’ve ventured out in pursuit of those “little green fish.” Although we are in our shirt sleeves enjoying the warmth, it is winter in Sunny Florida, and the bass act accordingly.

A guide trip to the South Winter Haven Chain of Lakes produced several nice bass for two folks from Nebraska. They averaged over one per hour, each using artificial baits. Zoom trick worms, bass bones and a creature bait were the plastics used to tempt the bass to bite. We used a mix of colors, due to changing conditions, starting with watermelon/red, then red bug/red, motor oil and Okeechobee craw. The weather was warm and sunny, but we had a pretty strong wind most of the day, which made the bite harder to detect. The clients did very well for the conditions and being out of tune after not being able to fish for several months due to cold weather in their home state..

The North and South Winter Haven chain of lakes has been slow  to warm up, and as a result the bass are lethargic. The water will start to warm and then a cold front takes it back to 60 to 61 degrees. Sunny days will add a couple of degrees, but the wind will not let the water warm, so once again the cool night removes whatever temperature increase was gained. This has worked very well for the Crappie anglers, but the bass fisherman are frustrated. As soon as the water temperature climbs 5 or 6 degrees, the bass will hit the beds to spawn. Some of the lakes with stained or dirty water have a higher temperature, so try them first for pre- spawn/spawning bass.

Fish slow and work the area very good. The bass are not moving far to hit a bait, but when hooked, put up a nice battle. Be safe, wear a life jacket and maintain a proper lookout while underway.

Central Florida Bass Fishing

Monday, January 5th, 2015

We have been fishing several different lakes in the Lake Wales/ Winter Haven area and getting ready for the winter/spring season. Early cold weather this past fall set the crappies into a feeding mode and slowed the bass activity. Frequent fronts have plagued the fisherman and tested his or her ability to pattern those little/big green fish. As an example, a day on Lake Parker found the water temperature at 61.5 degrees and the bass completely turned off, while a few days later, the water temperature had risen to 70 degrees. The change in conditions warmed the bass and increased their activity level, resulting in several bass being caught and released. All fishing is being done with artificial lures. When customers book a fishing trip, we go to the same area with wild shiners to try for a trophy after we’ve located the bass with artificials. We urge folks to practice CPR; catch, photograph, and release to preserve the genetics on a given body of water. With good photos and measurements, a beautiful fiberglass replica can be made, leaving the trophy bass to reproduce.

Many different baits have been working, but the Zoom trick worm has worked the best of us. We have also done well with the Zoom brush hog, both regular and baby sized. Vary your colors according to the water conditions. On clearer lakes go with watermelon or watermelon/ red and in stained or dirty water, use green pumpkin, black, junebug, or redbug. These are guidelines, but do not be afraid to experiment.

Toho, Johns Lake, Winter Haven Chain, Easy

Monday, May 5th, 2014

I have fished Toho, Johns Lake, The Winter Haven and Lake Easy with good results. The biggest bass recently was in the 8# category with several in the 6# range. Toho has been producing good numbers on shiners and the last two young men I guided did well. They boated 15 bass, two pickerel and missed several bites.

Easy is a good name for the lake just north of Crooked lake. Although the sizes of the bass are not huge, they are scrappers. The last three outings on Easy produced catches of 30 to 35 boated bass. They ranged from 1 1/2 to 4 # and are  a joy to catch and release. Wacky rigs and Carolina rigs will usually make for an exciting trip. These were all half day trips.

The Winter Haven Chain has been very good using shiners. I usually start on Summit and then move to Winterset. The smaller of the large sized shiners work best with the medium-large size also working. When using large shiners, you don’t want the huge shiners and when using mediums, you don’t want extremely small shiners. Trolling the shiners has worked best, but if you locate bass, anchor up and fish with a cork for a while.  These lakes have clearer water and are very productive when using artificial baits. Wacky rigs work well and for some of the weedy areas, a Texas rig will put the bait where you need it without many hangups.

We will be back in the Fall and look forward to guiding customers on the various lakes in Central Florida.  If you are coming North, consider a fishing trip in the New York, Finger Lakes area. We guide on several of the lakes and enjoy having folks visit the upstate region. Visit our New York site at mudlines.com


Good fishing.


Toho, Butler Chain, Winter Haven Chain, Kissimmee

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

We have been very busy on various lakes. Toho has been typical for this time of year. The bass are on the move, and when you locate areas holding them, the fishing is good. Gar and pickerel have been a casual problem so far, and we have caught a couple of bowfin. Shiners have been the big producer. Some former areas are still not accessible due to weed growth, but the bass are close by and just a little harder to target. The majority of our fishing has been on the north half of the lake.

The Butler Chain has been producing good numbers of bass, but not the lunker size that some people want to catch. This is a fun place to fish with lighter line and tackle while trolling shiners. The lakes on this chain are not over crowded and usually, there are places to get out of the wind. It is always fun to show clients how and where the wealthy have chosen to build.

The Winter Haven chain has been both good or slow, depending on at the weather. The past 3-4 weeks, the activity level has spiked and the bass are very active. Wacky rigged trick worms, Texas rigged creature baits and various crank baits are all working. A day trolling shiners can be very rewarding. Summit and Winterset are good along with some of the northern parts of the chain.

Kissimmee is working and several big fish have been caught in the last month. Shiners are producing, but if you want to fish artificial, fish slow. The mats and grass clumps have been productive. When you get bit, anchor or slow down and fish the area thoroughly.

Good fishing,


Bassmaster Classic 2014

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

BASS has hit a grand slam. A special THANK YOU to BASS and especially the anglers for supporting the interviews as they come off the water. The professional way the anglers handle interviews after a tough fishing day will give the average angler renewed confidence to fish hard as they see the best fisherman struggle. This coverage has stripped away the wrapped boats, fancy shirts, and media hype, giving the viewer an opportunity to experience, both, the highs and lows of the competing anglers.
As a footnote, my wife and I, have struggled in the past to get good coverage, and through some additional cable purchases and investigation on how to connect our computer to the television, we had a front row seat for several hours.

Thank you.

Frank and Melody Tennity, Longtime BASS member

Central Florida Bass Fishing Updates

Friday, January 31st, 2014

I have been on several different lakes in the past two weeks, chasing those green fish. Summit and Winterset have been good and tough. The bass were very active on Winterset, taking wacky rigs and creature baits. Summit produced a couple of good fish, but then conditions changed and fishing became difficult.

Fishing on Rochelle and that section of the chain was off for me as the water had cooled. We managed a few keeper bass, but not the quality fish that had been active on a prior visit.

The Butler Chain was good last week, although no big fish were caught. We managed to have a good day trolling shiners. Two other boats, with anglers using artificial baits, reported one bass per boat.

Toho reared her nasty side and only small bass were on an active pattern, however, one of my friend’s customers managed a 7-8 pound toad.

Cold and rain again this week, makes it hard to get excited about guiding on such poor days. Warming trends should get the bass back on track and in a spawning mood.


Central Florida Bass Fishing Tips

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Lake Toho is in a state of transition, but still producing some good fishing. The bass are moving, and at times it can be difficult to pinpoint their location. Cold nights have dropped the water temperature across the region, slowing the bite. Shiners are the best bait to use in order to have the opportunity for a big fish.

The Winter Haven chain of lakes is similar to Toho. We caught bass using small creature baits on the outside weed edge in six foot of water. Move in and out until you locate the bass and remember to fish slow.

Lake Tarpon, north of Tampa, provided a real challenge. The water temperature was 59 degrees and the wind kept the main lake rolling all day. We managed to catch a few bass with most being on the small side. Weather had a huge impact on the fish activity. Most bass were caught using a wacky rigged Zoom trick worm.

Remember, we are comfortable when fishing, but it is winter to these Florida strain bass. Fish slow, then slow down more. Pick an area where the fish should be, and work every inch of that area, slow and methodical.


Central Florida Bass Fishing

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

We have spent several days fishing, both, the northern and southern sections of the Winter Haven chain of lakes and Lake Toho. This has been over an extended period of time, so all of the information is not current, but the methods have worked during all of our visits.

The North chain produced fish using creature type baits along the outside edge of weed lines. Baits were rigged Texas style using a light gambler weight and worked slowly along the bottom.

The South chain gave up some nice fish by wacky rigging a Zoom trick worm.

Keep changing baits and fish slow. The water has cooled and the majority of the fish are not aggressive. Last week on Lake Parker, wacky rigged Zoom trick worms produced about a dozen bass, with most being just under legal size. As I tell my clients, the bass are all fun to catch, but some are a little more fun than others. When that big fish hits, it is “FUN”.

Each year when we return to Florida in the fall, one of the most interesting sights is how much Toho has changed from our last fishing trip in April. We have never been disappointed. This presents a challenge and we enjoy being able to try new locations, searching for these cherished green fish. We start by trolling shiners, mark the spot when we get a bite, then return and look the area over and try to determine why the bass chose this spot. Usually we anchor and fish for a while to check for more bass. The next step is to find other similar areas, check for bass, and develop a pattern. Toho has been very good, but recently, with cooling water and spraying of weeds, the fish have started their transition. Challenging. Are you up to the test?