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 and fattening up for the spawn during January and February full and new moon phases. The bass bite in the Harris Chain of Lakes has been a little slow due to the recent cold fronts moving in and out, but that should be changing soon with any slight warming trend in January.
Try Chatter Baits, bright orange or chrome blue back Rattle Traps, Junebug or black with blue tail trick worms, Senko’s or speed worms worked slowly along the deeper Kissimmee grass close to deeper water or ledges. The bigger fish will be staging close to the mouths of canals, creeks or the Dead River. Areas with different types of cover such as Kissimmee grass, reeds, cattails, eel grass, hydrilla, or lily pads in the same area will hold the better sized fish. Slow trolling a large live wild shiner under a cork will pay off. Lake Harris, Lake Eustis and their canals as well as Lake Dora and the Apopka Canal will be the best places to look and hunt for the first wave of bedding bass.
Lakeside Bait and Tackle in Tavares near the Buzzard Beach boat ramp is selling a ton of minnows and says that the crappies are really starting to show up both in numbers and size on Lake Dora, in Lake Eustis and Lake Griffin. Anglers are catching them on Ron’s Zip Jigs, Roadrunners (small jig with a spinner) and minnows floated at various depths drifted under a cork. Look for female crappies to move up in the shallows on the next new and full moon phases in January and February. If you are going to fish for crappie be sure to get registered and enter your fish in the 10th Annual Shad and Crappie Derby. Lakeside Bait and Tackle plus Noble’s Marine are both sign-up locations – it only takes one fish to win! Take a kid fishing in 2019 and make future lifelong memories.