This is one of my favorite times for fishing Florida. The day’s are becoming cooler and the fish are fatter than ever! While some fish have begun to spawn in their hidey holes. The majority of the bass are still on pre-spawn grass edges gorging themselves to get ready for the winter and their time to spawn. In the last article I went over how to find these pre-spawn areas. You can find that article here. In this article we’re going to go over how to catch these fish!
- Worm/Senko – I put these two together because I essentially use them interchangeably for the same situations. Flipping a classic ribbon tail worm or a Senko into the grass, reeds, or pads of these pre-spawn area’s is deadly at this time of year. Typically a Junebug or Black/blue color works best in most Florida situations. Using the lightest weight you can get away with while still getting the worm to the bottom is key. In my experience the fish at this time of year prefer a slow fall and subtle action. If the grass your fishing is thick than you’ll want to slowly move along flipping, but if you’re fishing sparser grass than worming is the go-to method. Worming is when you cast a distance back into the grass and slowly pull your bait up over the grass then let it fall again. Rinse and repeat until the bait is back to the boat. You’re essentially flipping but covering more water and you’re bait is more subtly falling as apposed to the little splash caused from pitching every cast. If the fish are more aggressive that day I’ll use a worm and if they’re being a little more finicky I’ll switch to a Senko. Many big fish are caught at this time of year doing this.
- Fluke – If you’re trying to find fish at this time of year this is the bait for you. Flukes flat out catch fish in Florida throughout the year and they work now too. The watermelon red color is the go-to. Work this bait along grass edges and even over top of sparser grass and if there’s fish there you’ll catch them. I always try to switch up my cadence with every cast between fast jerks and slower pops until I get a bite to find out what the fish want that day. Flukes in my opinion tend to be smaller fish baits, and are best for finding groups of fish or if you just want to catch some numbers. If I want to catch bigger fish I’ll switch to flipping or one of these other
- Prop bait – For all you top-water fans this is the one for you. A prop bait like a Devils Horse can be a lot of fun at this time of year. Work it slowly with short pulls and pauses around pre-spawn areas and even over spawning flats, and if it’s a top-water type day for the fish you can get some awesome explosions on this bait!
- Swimbait – Slow rolling a swimbait such as a Gambler Big EZ is one of my favorite things to do. Throw it over top of scattered grass or pads or down a grass line and just reel it back slow until a big one jumps on it. It’s that simple. The feature that makes the Gambler Big EZ so good in Florida is the fact that when you reel it back slow it makes the head on this bait wiggle back and forth which makes it look like a injured bait fish. This has proven to be deadly for Florida
bass and it is the go-to swimbait for most anglers here in Florida.
- Weightless Senko – A Texas rigged or wacky rigged Senko is probably the best bait for when the fishing is tough in Florida. Throw this thing out around Lily pads, grass lines, or reeds in pre-spawn or spawning flats, and just let it sink to the bottom. Give the rod a little lift to feel if something has it in there mouth and if not then
just reel back up and repeat. If this thing falls in front of a fish most of the time they can’t resist it. Little fish all the way to the biggest bass in the lake have been caught on these basic straight worms. Depending on the water color I’ll either use a black blue/Junebug color or a green pumpkin. If the water is dark or murky the darker colors are the way to go, and if it is clean and clear use green pumpkin. It’s that easy. A weightless Senko has probably caught more bass around the world than anything else and it works just the same here around the spawn.
Those are the top 5 baits for fishing for Florida bass during the pre-spawn. So if you’re going to be fishing Florida anytime soon give a few of these a try and see what happens.
AJ Jackson From Freelancer Bass Guide Service