As the days continue to get shorter and the daytime temperatures cool, the bass all throughout the chain are starting their fall transition. The first of the years’ fronts are soon to be here along with the northern winds. The bass will be heading towards the pre-spawning and staging areas over the next few months of moon phases. The areas to look for are near the mouths of the canals and rivers, grass lines close to both deeper water and adjacent to shallow flats and deeper points or edges of Kissimmee grass. The fish will be more active as the water temperatures cool down and the shad start grouping up. Look for schooling bass chasing the shad and match their size with your baits. Smaller soft-plastic swim baits or flukes, shallow running crank baits or lipless plugs will become the staple for multiple bites. Top water plugs like a pencil popper or Zara Spook Jr. will work best early and later in the day. The younger and more aggressive buck bass will be headed to the shallows with the coming Full and New moons searching for areas for the big females to join them to spawn. The bigger females will be close to these areas staging near deeper water or in heavy cover and feeding – getting ready for “Mother Nature’s” calling. Look near mouths of the Dead River, Haines Creek, Apopka and Dora canals for bass beds. Try the 9th Street Canal system and areas in Big and Little Lake Harris with offshore hydrilla close to spawning flats. Once you get a bite slow down and fish the area thoroughly.
The crappie bite will also be getting better as the temps get cooler. The bigger females will follow the males to shallow water by the end of the month. Shallow flats with grass and lily pads and wood as well as docks all throughout the chain will be areas to check. Try different depths for your baits until you start getting bit. Try jigs in different colors tipped with a minnow or a live minnow under a cork until you see what they want best. The 14th Annual Shad and Crappie Derby starts in November, you can register at Lakeside Bait and Tackle in Tavares or Nobles Marine in Leesburg, it is “FREE” to enter. Crappie are a great fish for youth anglers to catch so take a kid with you when you go and make a memory that lasts forever!