The Challenge “Florida Bass”

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

Many of you folks read ads from different guides claiming thousands of bass over 10 lbs. In some areas and with some guides, double digit bass happen. Usually folks who do not fish all the time have a hard time controlling a six to seven pound bass on the end of their line. Fortunately, Florida is a land of opportunity and she produces several great bass each season. January, February, and March are the prime times to catch a giant bass. This is when they will be at their egg laden heaviest and located shallow where the spawning takes place. If you happen to be blessed with one of these trophy fish, take good photos and measure the length and girth. Release the bass and have a replica made to hang on the wall.
A big challenge for me in Florida is the changes that take place during my six months while up in the Finger Lakes region of New York. In October when I return to Florida, the areas I fished in April, are either choked with weeds or are devoid of cover for the bass. This will cause the bass to relocate, and I have to start a learning process for that body of water to determine where the bass have gone and what they are feeding on now. Although it can be frustrating, the rewards are worth the effort when you hook up and boat a nice fish.
We are in a cold snap right now which should cool the water and help get the crappie bite get going.
As always, be safe, wear your life vest and maintain a proper lookout. See you on the water.

Honeoye, Conesus and Canandaigua Lakes

Monday, July 30th, 2018

It has been very busy the past two weeks on local Finger Lakes. I spent five days on Canandaigua Lake and it was quite good for largemouth bass. Most were caught on wacky rigged Zoom baits with colors being changed throughout the day.  Trick and finesse worms worked well and when conditions changed we used some salty centipedes AKA French Fries. Bass were anywhere from right on shore to almost twenty feet deep.

Conesus was a test and then we either figured out the right location, the right bait, or they just decided to eat. The quality of the bass was very good. We did best at the South end in six to fifteen feet of water.

Honeoye has been about the same as normal for this time of year. The water has some color and most bass are on the thin side. We have not caught many large fish, and it appears that the large amount of fisherman and the ice fishing may have reduced the overall bass population. Many areas that held quality sized fish for years now yield one or two bass and those are on the small side. Studies have shown that for a bass to reach 4-6 lbs., it would be 7-9 years old. These are also the genetics for continuing the production of larger bass. When a majority of these bigger fish are harvested, you are basically killing the lakes ability to produce a new resource. There is nothing wrong with a fish fry, but take only what you can consume fresh. Do not waste this precious resource. Next time you keep a good breeder to eat, think about the future bass you have just filleted.

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

New York Bass Update

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

We have been very busy the past week guiding people from all over the country. Normally in the spring up North, the bass move shallow and it is toss a bait and hang on for the fight. This year we had a slight problem pop up. The water temperature was in the mid seventies on May 30th and it had dropped to 60 degrees on June 6th. These were the conditions on Honeoye Lake. Normally northern bass are not too bothered by a few degrees change in the water temperature, but this was huge. We had been catching lots of the bass from a few inches to five feet of water. The big change in temperature made them go deeper and quite inactive, but as the day warmed they moved shallow and the bite was good. Many years ago a friend told me that purple works well in cold water and we broke Zoom trick worms in half which was just the right color and size to tempt the fish to bite. It was close to a dead stick presentation, using a wacky rig and just a small movement of the bait. Keep checking for NY news and we will be back to FL in October.

Back in the Finger Lakes @ Honeoye Lake

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

We arrived back in Honeoye on April 27th, a moderate day with nice weather. After unloading the suburban and having the water meter installed, we found that none of our heat sources were functioning. We fired up a little electric heater which is the equivalent to striking a match in a windstorm. It wasn’t much, but we made it do. Melody and I went to work on the heat pump and repaired a bad wire in the unit. That fixed the problem, and the heat pump warmed us up into the mid sixties. Then we tackled the fireplace log set and the Vermont Casting stove. By Sunday afternoon we had the old place warmed up to 84 degrees, and we felt like we were back in Florida.

Several trips for groceries and supplies filled the cupboards and we were officially open. Now the real work started with the changing of boat covers, getting the lawn mowers running and putting the docks in for the season. I finished the docks yesterday, and now we will go through the Ranger and put her in the water for the summer.

Conesus Lake was very cold last Thursday. The water temp was 46.5 to 47.5 degrees and the fish were really turned off. I was quite surprised because when we installed the docks the day before on Honeoye Lake, the water was cool but not bone chilling cold like usual.

This brings us to the issue of safety. With this early season water so cold, remember to wear your life vest and maintain a proper lookout. Be safe and we will see you on the water.

Central Florida Bass Fishing

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

It is February 6th and the weather is improving each day. Water temperatures are on the rise which is having a positive effect for the bass angler. A trip to the Butler Chain in the Orlando area Saturday was windy and quite cool, slowing the bite down compared to the previous Thursday. The water stayed between 61 and 62 degrees so the bass were a little slow to bite. The following day on Toho, part of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, conditions were better, but good shiners were not available.  Some bass got caught early and then the high winds put a damper on things.

Monday dawned with a slightly overcast sky and then sunshine later on. It was a nice warm day and not too hot. Water temperatures rose during the day and the bass at the Winter Haven Chain were on the bite. Customers boated 15 and lost or missed at least 8-10 bass. Several of the bass had big egg sacks but were not fully developed yet. For the next three months, February, March, and April, fishing will be the ideal time to catch a trophy bass. If you can’t make it to the Sunshine State this year, start planning ahead for a visit next winter.

Good fishing, be safe wear your life vest.


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 ( 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 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?