Start the year off right – go out and catch some fish! The bass are finally schooling due to the recent cooler weather and are chasing shad in the lakes and fattening up for the spawn during January and February moon phases. The bass in the Harris Chain of Lakes have been a little slow due to the recent cold fronts moving in and out, but that should be changing soon with the several moon phases of January including a Blue Moon (2 Full Moons in the same month). Try chatter baits, bright orange or chrome blue back rattle traps, June bug or black with blue tail trick worms, senkos or speed worms worked slowly along the deeper Kissimmee grass close to deeper water or ledges. The bigger fish will be staging close to mouth of canals, creeks or the Dead River in the surrounding cover. Areas with several different types of cover like Kissimmee grass, reeds, cattails, eel grass, hydrilla, and lily pads in the same area will hold the better fish. Slow trolling a large live wild shiner under a cork or balloon will always pay off. Lake Harris, Lake Dora and the Apopka Canal will be the best places to look and hunt for the first wave of bedding bass.
Southern Tackleworks in Tavares is selling a ton of minnows and says that the crappie is really starting to show up both in numbers and size on Lake Dora, in Lake Eustis and Lake Griffin. They are catching them on Zip jigs, Roadrunners and minnow rigs. Look for them to move up in the shallows on the next new and full moon phases. If you are going to fish for crappie be sure to get registered and enter your fish in this years’ Shad and Crappie Derby – it only takes one fish to win! Take a kid fishing with you and start the New Year off right, good luck!