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.
December in Central Florida, is a special time of year for the bass. The water temperatures are slowly falling, the day’s are at their shortest, and it’s making all the bass friskier than ever. Yes, that’s right. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the start of the spawn. While northern bass are hunkering down for the winter, Florida bass are getting it on. And as a bass angler it’s time to take advantage of natures most wonderful event.
While the spawn down in South Florida and Okeechobee is already underway. Central Florida’s bass (being a little farther north) are later to the party. But they are ready for the party now. The big girls have been spending the last couple of months fattening up so they look nice and pretty for the male bass(and of course for us anglers). They are filling up with eggs and are grouping up in pre-spawn staging area’s. (more…)
Thanksgiving is the beginning of our peak season for catching trophy sized bass here in Kissimmee Florida on West Lake Toho. This is the time of year where we catch more bass in the 10-pound plus range than any other time of year, and to make it even better Hurricane Irma was a big benefit to the bass fishing on Lake Toho. Water levels rose three to four feet after the hurricane and it flushed out the lake and cleaned up the grass fields and water. Which has already made for some fantastic fall fishing and will make this winter peak season one for the record books!
Why are the winter months so much better than any other time for catching giant bass in Florida? It’s because these are the spawning months. It begins in late November and goes all the way through till late April. Big egg filled females stack up into groups in pre-spawn staging areas. Which make the numbers of trophy sized bass that are caught at this time of year increase dramatically. (more…)
Our fall season on West Lake Toho here in Kissimmee Florida has started with a bang. Hurricane Irma came through early September and raised the water level on Lake Toho nearly 4 feet. Because of this the water has been flowing from one leg to another which has made for some of the best fall Florida bass fishing that we’ve seen in years. Lake Toho bass have been bunching up in groups on the outside edges of hydrilla where the water has been moving down the lake. Wild shiners have been the best way to get big numbers of bass in a short period of time. Also we’ve had quite a few bass up over 10 pounds caught in the last couple of months. Artificial baits have been producing good if you have the right kind of weather. The days before a cold front are always the best. While wild shiners have been producing good catches throughout.
Catches of Lake Toho bass on our 4-5 hour trips have been anywhere between 15-30. Large Golden Wild Shiners are always the best way of producing trophy sized bass on a consistent basis. So either way, wild shiners, or artificial lures the bass fishing has been very productive. So if you’re here in the Central Florida area give us a call at AJ’s Freelancer Bass Guide Service and we’d be glad to get you out on Lake Toho for your chance at a trophy bass of a lifetime.
This is Captain Jackson owner and operator of AJ’s Freelancer Bass Guide service with a short update post hurricane Irma. If you haven’t seen our first update the Orlando fishing has become very active since the hurricane. It was actually a benefit to the lake and the Corp of engineers in the state of Florida have opened the locks up dumping water out of all the lakes which has created fast moving water down by the locks at the South end of the lake. The Orlando bass fishing has become extremely active in these areas of moving water with great numbers of fish being caught there.
A few other things have happened because of the hurricane that I am sure without a doubt is going to make for one of the most productive winters that we’ve had in quite some time. Hurricane Irma came right across the lake with winds of 100-120 mph for close to 12 hours. Because of this the grass fields that have been matted out and difficult to fish have been cleaned out. Now what we’re left with is clean un-matted untangled grass fields like the lake used to be back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. This is going to open up new options for Orlando fishing and should make for some very exciting bass fishing charters on Lake Toho. (more…)
Bass fishing on Lake Toho post hurricane Irma has been unbelievably productive. The hurricane did nothing but help the bass fishing become as active as I’ve seen it in over a decade. The key to this fast action is the high water levels. The state of Florida and the department of engineers are dumping water from one lake to the next. So even though they have the locks wide-open on Lake Toho the water level is staying up higher than we’ve seen in years. East Lake Toho is being dumped into West Lake Toho and West Lake Toho is being dumped into Lake Cypress. Because of this fast moving water at the south end of the lake bass are congregating by the thousands in front of the locks in the moving water.
Numbers of catches range between 20 to 50 bass per day for our shiner and artificial trips. Plastic worms have been producing well and free lining Lake Toho’s large golden wild shiners through the current are catching the bigger bass. The canal that leads out of the south end of Lake Toho and flows into the north end of Lake Cypress has the same type of action happening. (more…)
Thankfully the Central Florida/ Orlando area didn’t get hit as bad as some other parts of Florida. But it did still affect Lake Toho’s fishing. Lake Toho initially only rose about a foot after the storm. But with all the nearby creeks continuously draining into West Lake Toho over the following week, the water quickly rose another 3 feet. While many docks were flooded no houses lucky were affected by the high water. But this sudden rise quickly scattered the fish, and the extreme amounts of new, oxygen low water, made the fish sluggish.
Luckily though the states locking system that connects the Kissimmee chain of lakes is steadily sending the extra water down to Okeechobee where it will then flow into the Everglades and back into the ocean. Lake Toho is steadily dropping each day and it will be back to normal in no time.
Flukes, flipping, and drifting shiners are catching most of our fish. As a general rule when the water rises the fish tend to rise with it. So starting shallow and on top of what once was matted vegetation with a fluke or drifting shiners is your best bet for finding biting fish. Keep moving and keep an eye out for any signs of fish in the area.
The many creeks that are still flowing into the lake are producing fish but not consistently. Fishing the flowing water around the locks on the south end of the lake and in “Goblits Cove” with worms and flukes is a better bet.
While the fishing has had a lull in the last few weeks this ultimately will help the lake in the long run. The high water has cleaned out the grass fields and the heavy waves from the storm have cleaned up a lot of the bottom which will make Lake Toho’s fishing better than ever.
With hurricane Irma on the way I’m sure many people are wondering how it will affect the bass fishing and if you’re a fishing freak like me you’re not going to let the storm stop you from fishing the week after. The two main problems that every hurricane brings are it’s extreme winds combined with extreme amounts of rain. Numerous amounts of debris will be blown into the lakes. Along with the debris, the water will be stirred heavily from the winds and will become extremely muddy. This will be at its worse on the wind blown sides (areas where the wind is blowing directly into the bank) of the lakes, and less on the sides where the wind is coming from. With all the rain the water levels will rise an unpredictable amount but this will also cool down the lakes a moderate amount.
Lets talk about how this all affects the bass and then go into how to fish it. The bass fishing will slow down significantly for the first few days after the hurricane comes through, with it steadily picking back up each day after. What will hurt the fishing the most will be the muddy water all around the lake. The fish will have a tougher time locating food but they will still need to feed. How fish adapt to these changed conditions will depend on the usual water clarity of the lake before the storm. The clearer the water was, the tougher time fish will have adjusting to the dirtier conditions. But if the water clarity was already murky before the storm the fish will not be affected much because they are already used to those conditions. With the water temperature dropping from the rain the fish will become more active after things calm down and may ever start schooling even in muddy water.
While Disney, Universal, and Orlando’s many other attractions are the main focus for most people who make the trip to Central Florida. Orlando’s natural attractions, specifically Orlando’s fishing is often overlooked. But for those who step onto a boat with an Orlando fishing guide the event quickly becomes the highlight of there trip. While Disney and Universal are fun some have realized that Orlando’s fishing is its true main attraction.
While Orlando houses many lakes, Lake Tohopekaliga, or Lake Toho for short is the creme of the crop. Lake Toho is home to some of the best bass fishing in the world and many bass fishing records have been set on the lake with Dean Roja’s Bassmaster record for the 5 biggest bass ever to be weighed in at a tournament being at the top of the list.
Orlando’s Lake Toho has produced a lot of big bass over the years but it has also produced a lot of big smiles. Many people who have fished there whole lives and others who have never fished a day in there life quickly become hooked on Orlando’s fishing. People from every spot on the globe make yearly trips to Toho just to experience it one more time with our Orlando fishing guides. (more…)
The fluke, it simply gets the job done. From Florida all the way to the northern smallmouth impoundments a fluke will catch you fish day in and day out. It’s versatility makes it one of the greatest lures ever invented. From using it as a fast action top water bait for schoolies or working it slowly when the bite gets tough the fluke covers it all. Here in Florida our Lake Toho fishing guides always have one rigged up. Through the years our guides have refined fluke fishing down to an art. Here are some of the tricks that we’ve learned.
Searching for Fish
When searching for fish nothing beats a Texas rigged watermelon or white fluke quickly jerked below the surface. Jerking it as fast as you can without making it break the surface seems to always get more bites. Putting a small rattle behind the head of the fluke will weigh it down and keep it from jumping as much. I have found countless groups of fish around grass and on flats doing this and I’ve probably caught more fish using this technique on Toho than I have any other. (more…)