Weather plays a huge role in South Florida, especially this time of year. As more cold fronts bring cooler temperatures our way, big trophy bass begin to move into shallower water to spawn. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to catch them. Florida bass are extremely sensitive to weather changes and are some of the most finicky. Cooler weather can cause them to get lockjaw and they will not bite. This is when you really have to think like a fish. When it gets cold, we bundle up to keep warm. Bass do the same. One of the best techniques for this time of year is flipping with a heavy action rod and reel with strong drag. Look for heavy cover with different types of thick vegetation exposed to the sun. They will also be around rocks as they hold heat. A lot of times the fish will bury themselves in the cover and you’ll have to pull your boat into the thick stuff and dig it out. It is very physical fishing, but this is flipping. Now on to the December hot spots.
#1 – Lake Okeechobee: Flipping and pitching are a good way to get big fish right now. I also like to swim a jig with an Easy Swimmer, throwing the Big Easy and both hollow belly and soft plastic frogs. Swim them through the grass. The big girls are moving up to spawn so if you’re in search of a monster bass now is a good time.
#2 – Mile Marker 41 or 35: If you head west on I-75, aka Alligator Alley, watch the markers carefully as you head west. Fishing here has been some of the best in South Florida with the fronts blowing through. Gambler Aces and Gambler Fat aces fished Texas or wacky worm style with the hook centered. Swimming flukes beneath the surface will catch some monsters as well.
#3 – Holiday Park: All of the above techniques are what you need to be doing.
#4 – Urban Canals: These waterways are loaded this time of year. The State Road 84 canal, Griffin Roadcanal, I-75 canal system, the Airport canals and lakes and the turnpike canals will all produce. The culvert pipes and rip rap hold heat and shelter for these fish to get out of the weather. The easiest way to catch them all day is with live bait. This time of year, live bait is my first and very easy choice to catch a big one. Peacock bass are everywhere and continue to impress. Largemouth bass, snook, tarpon and clown knife fish are biting as well.
Remember, if you’re not going to keep your fish get them back in the water as soon as possible.
Keep in mind the big largemouth and peacock bass are breeder fish. They should be released to preserve the future of our sport. Not to mention, fishing can only get better if these fish are released to reproduce. Let’s work together to keep our waters and shorelines clean. Pick up your garbage and dispose of discarded fishing line properly. If any of our readers ever have any questions, feel free to contact me and I will try my best to answer them.
Tight lines and bent rods,
Capt. Neal Stark
Fishing with America’s Finest, Inc.
“Changing Lives One Cast at a Time.”
501(C)(3) Non-Profit Organization, FEIN #45-5494005
American Everglades Guide, Inc.