Harris Chain Fishing Forecast – July 2023

June rains brought our lake levels back up to give the fish better access to the heavy cover they love during the summer months. The afternoon rainstorms produce running water, so find some current and usually the bait and bass are nearby. July is not only a hot month in temperature, but for bass fishing as well. If you love to catch them flipping – now is the best time of year to catch a giant largemouth up in heavy cover. Grab your flippin’ sticks! Pitching small profile soft plastic creature baits like the Zoom U Vibe Speed Craw or the Gambler BB Cricket Sweet Beaver at the base of cattails, flat lily pad pockets, deeper edges of Kissimmee grass, matted vegetation or shaded docks will usually produce a bite in the hottest parts of day. Wind blow backs will also produce current and helps produce oxygen rich areas and may cool the water temps just a degree or two. What’s best is big fish tend to group up this time of year, so when you catch one slow way down and work the area thoroughly.

Early morning gray skies or late evening have been producing better than average bites. Try fishing in dense cover using a frog type bait or a swim jig with a boot type trailer. Keep a lookout for schooling fish and have a topwater bait or rattle trap tied on to throw at these aggressive eaters. Cast to the middle of the school and retrieve very fast, usually they will compete to chew on it. Later in the day deep water grass edges and the old river channels in both Lake Harris and Little Lake Harris are good. Check the brush piles and man-made fish attractors. Find the eel grass or offshore hydrilla near hard bottom in Lake Dora or Lake Beauclair. Try throwing large deep running crank baits, soft plastic swim baits or the old standby Carolina rig to produce bites from bigger fish. Find the bait and you will find the bass.

Bluegill, shellcracker and red ears are on the last of their spawning cycle and are still very productive. Target them with grass shrimp, red wigglers, or crickets under docks or near a flat close to the lily pads in shallow. Watch out for the afternoon storms.