If you are one of the many thousands of holiday makers that visit central Florida each year, some of the best bass fishing that America has to offer can be found right on your doorstep. Orlando and the surrounding area are not just famous for theme parks and Walt Disney, they are a hotspot for largemouth bass.
When you target largemouth bass in central Florida, you can either hire a professional bass fishing guide who will take you out onto one of the larger lakes, where you will probably use both live and artificial baits, or you can go it alone and target one of the many smaller waters in the area.
On my fishing trip to Florida , I met up with my old friend Robert Ceran, chief editor at Sport Fishing Buddy. Robert showed me some of the best bass fishing spots in the area, and helped me with his insider tips on choosing the right fishing bait and tactics for various locations.
My favorite hotel to stay while fishing in Florida
One of my favourite hotels to stay at is the Hyatt Grand Cypress located in the Lake Buena area of Orlando. Nestled in the grounds of the hotel lies Lake Windsong which has an even depth of 5’ or so and has a good head of largemouth bass, bluegill and carp.
There is also a small pond situated at the front of the hotel which, according to the concierge desk, does not hold any fish. After a successful three hours on Lake Windsong one morning where I caught bass to around 3lb, I thought I would have a walk over to have a look at this little pond.
As I approached the pond, I could clearly see a shoal of around 20 bass sitting in one corner. I carefully crept around and kept about 12’ back so I would not be seen and unclipped my weightless senko from the eye of my rod and gently swung it out. As the lure hit the water with the slightest of splashes my line suddenly pulled tight.
After a quick battle I lifted out a bass weighing around 2lb. I slipped him back, re-rigged my senko and gently swung it back out into the shoal. I managed 3 bass in less than 5 minutes which was very satisfying considering the pond was not supposed to hold any fish.
This proves what my friend Robert told me earlier: where there is water in Florida that doesn’t dry up, there will be bass.
How to fish for bass in Florida
The largemouth bass is undoubtedly the most popular freshwater fish in the whole of North America. Known for its fighting ability and mid-air acrobatic skills, it is clear to see why this is the most sought after fish amongst anglers in the United States.
Bass can be found in many different bodies of water, from tiny roadside ponds, rivers, or creeks, and all the way to the biggest lakes that amass hundreds of square miles such as Lake Toho which lies in central Florida. And in case you’re wondering, largemouth bass are good to eat too.
There is nothing special or scientific in catching largemouth bass. When you arrive at a pond look for features such as weed beds, bridges and boat docks, all of which could potentially hold fish. Keep mobile and if an area has not produced any fish after a few minutes, move on. Bass love first and last light so fishing for them at this time of day will generally produce the best results, although plenty of fish can still be caught throughout the day.
One of the most common ways to target largemouth bass is by using artificial lures. There are a vast range of this type of bait on the market but the most popular are senkos, worms, flukes and craws/grubs which are made from soft plastic.
Senkos are a cigar shaped bait that are generally around 5” or 6” in length. These are best fished weedless and weightless and left to sink naturally on a slackline once cast out, although rigging them wacky style is also an option.
Soft plastic worms come in a range of sizes from a few inches to over a foot in length and can be fished either weedless and weightless, wacky style or by adding a cone weight to the line so it can slide down to the eye of the hook. These can then be slowly bounced or dragged along the bottom.
Flukes imitate a small fish which form a large part of the diet of the largemouth bass. They are generally between 4” and 6” in length and replicate an injured or dying baitfish which the bass see as an easy meal. For the best results when using this type of lure, rig it weedless and weightless and let it sink through the water column on a slack line, giving it random, darting flicks which will induce a strike.
Craws and grubs are designed to be fished along the bottom and they replicate natural food sources such as crayfish and crickets. This type of lure can also be used as a trailer on the back of jigs. For more information on the best baits and tactics for catching Florida bass, check out this guide.