Central Florida Inland


It’s finally here, forest fishers!  For most freshwater anglers, March is the best month of the year.  We all have stories of the one that got away, and these memories keep us chasing after redemption.  Well, this is it.  Get your heavy tackle ready.  The bass spawn is on.

I’m writing this report in February, and I can already see the first wave of bass beds showing up.  During the full moons (March 1st, and March 31st), bass move to the shallows for their yearly mating ritual.

There are a couple ways to search for bedding bass.  The first is to sight-fish them on calm, sunny days.  In clear water, beds are easy to spot.  You’re basically just looking for a large white circle of sand, amongst the dark sediment of the bottom.  If the water is too stained, you’ll have to search for them with lures.  Weedless swimbaits are great, because you can make long casts easily.  Keep it moving until you spook something or get a reaction strike.   When you find one, there will be more close by.

Once you’ve located the bedding area, the hard part is done.  A lively shiner will usually draw an instant strike.  As far as lures go, most people use creature baits with a bullet weight; to imitate panfish that feed on the eel grass and fry.  Cast or pitch past the bed, and drag your lure onto it.  Bumping your rod tip will trigger the bite.  Big female bass may pick up your lure and carry it off several times, before they actually eat the hook.  Be patient and keep trying.  Note: Practicing catch-and-release on spawning bass will encourage a healthy population for years to come.

Lake George and Rodman Reservoir are famous for trophy bass, but the smaller lakes out here have “lunkers” in them also.  “Pond hopping” is a great way to catch lots of fish, if you don’t have a boat.  Tip: Your phone’s map will help you find new lakes and areas.

We’ve had a great season of speck (crappie) fishing, but it will get harder to target them as we come into spring.  Take advantage of our tastiest fish, while you still can.  Troll live minnows, close to the bottom, in 10 to 15 foot depth.  Lake Bryant is the most dependable for good numbers.

There’s a lot of water out here now.  I’m seeing minnows in areas that used to be bone dry.  Low elevation lakes have flooded into the prairies, so a lot of big fish will be caught in shallow water this year.  Warmouth, especially love the shallows.  A little exploring can lead you to “honey holes” you never knew existed!