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Seasonal Patterns of Florida Bass

Lately I have been reading books on the subject written by some of the top pros on tour (KVD) as well as asking many local anglers who are consistently successful on the water and here is a guideline I have compiled. It still needs a little work but will do for now. Let me know if you guys know anything that should be added.

NOTE: There are several ways to dissect the various patterns during the fishing season but I divide them by the seasons. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. However Spring must be broken into Pre-Spawn, Spawn, and Post spawn patterns. Most anglers put way too much emphasis and detail into what they believe to be the seasonal pattern when they should simply use it as a guideline to follow before they get to the water.
SPRING (Pre-Spawn, Spawn, Post Spawn)
Spring should be divided into 3 categories. Pre-Spawn, Spawn and Post Spawn
SPRING – you can bust pre spawners on lipless crankbaits around spawning flats early in the season. Spring bass will suspend around shallow cover so choose lures that fish the appropriate depth zones.
Whenever there is a full moon coming and the water temperature is rising toward 60 degrees or more bass will begin moving onto spawning flats regardless of what the conditions are in the lake.
PRESPAWN – for example during the prespawn I look for break lines attached to large spawning flats. Once again the biggest flats in the lake are my primary area of concern when scanning a map for major pre spawn areas. As I work along the drop-off outside the flats im watching for any points and inside turns as they are bass magnets.
PRESPAWN keep in mind that in early spring such as the pre spawn period the forage is a its largest size because nothing has spawned more importantly that’s when the big females shallow to spawn and big bass eat big baits. I adhere to that philosophy all through the post spawn period because those big females are still feeding after they deposit their eggs. You can certainly catch a lot of bass on little baits but your chances of catching big fish are better on a bigger lure.
If you encounter a sharp turn outside a spawning flat fish it thoroughly ive seen bass school on a spot no bigger than a bass boat in these turns.
Spawn Mid December to as late as May depending on the weather - You are looking for water temps above 65 degrees. You will have Pre, Spawing, and Post in the same area at the same time. I pick specific areas with satellite photos/navionics map and start picking it apart from the first outside grass line and work all the way to the bank.
Spawn Mid December to as late as May depending on the weather - You are looking for water temps above 65 degrees. You will have Pre, Spawing, and Post in the same area at the same time. I pick specific areas with satellite photos/navionics map and start picking it apart from the first outside grass line and work all the way to the bank.
SPAWN- Bass will be on those flats in the shallower water closer to shore. The depth can vary a lot depending on water clarity of the lake. The clearer the water the deeper the spawn look for sand, gravel or rocky areas.
POST SPAWN- when bass move into the post spawn they do the same thing that reservoir bass do – scatter out from the inside of the flat to the deeper outside edge. Natural lake bass can be found just about anywhere after the spawn.
POST SPAWN don’t ask why bottom changes concentrate fish – but I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Perhaps one of the most unique and special bottom changes occurs in reservoirs and some natural lakes where mussels or other clam beds exist. These are truly gold mines especially during the post spawn period when bass move to offshore structure. Shell beds are lively eco systems that attract the key elements of the food chain to bring in the bass.
Summer
Dog days of summer are June thru September. If your lake of choice has deep holes or running water then a trap or crankbait it the way to go. If not then the only rod you need is a flipping stick and flip the thickest nastiest crap you can find.
SUMMER – bass begin relating to main lake structure humps, points and ledges. That doesn’t mean they are always deep but they are somewhat deeper so you need a lure that gets down quickly and covers the appropriate depth zone and cover.
SUMMER one of the biggest misconceptions among fishermen is that bass go deep during the hot dog days of summer however, a lot depends upon the amount of oxygen in a lake. In the south when the weather turns stifling hot and windless there isn’t much oxygen water moving through the reservoirs so oxygen levels in the shallows depreciate. In natural lakes that have a lot of aquatic vegetation even though water temperatures rise into the 80’s and 90’s you can catch fish shallow. Abundant vegetation = MORE OXYGEN
SUMMER- summer is probably the one time of the year when fish are the most spread out. You can find bass on all types of offshore structure yet there are still some fish on the spawning flats. I tend to key on the outside edge in the main lake but theres really not a bad place to fish on a natural lake during the summer.
Shad live deep during the heat of summer.
Fall
October and November - the water temps are finally back out of the upper 80s and the fish are more aggressive and the fishing gets fun.
Fall – the water starts to cool and baitfish begin to migrate to creeks and move shallower. I start on main lake creek points and work in the back concentrating on channel drops little flats and banks on which the channel swings nearby.
FALL flats become key areas in the fall. Generally speaking the large concentrations of bass are going to be somewhere on the flats, along inside weed edges, outside the weeds or even in the weeds.
FALL – as it gets closer to winter bass move into those same deeper drop offs outside of those flat areas. So as you can see in natural lakes seasonal movements revolve around the flats in the lake.
Winter
WINTER – during the winter the steepest edges usually concentrate the fish.
I don’t believe that bass in most natural lakes venture much deeper than the deepest growing vegetation because of the lack of forage away from cover.
WINTER bass tend to stay deep
Cold Fronts
Cold front – keep in mind that if given a choice to fish a river or a lake in the midst of cold front conditions I think youll find river fish more cooperative
Cold front- if you got some deeper areas that were productive before the front they will probably be your best bets under the front conditions
Cold front – fish will relate more tightly to cover
Indeed a cold front will slow down fishing action most of the time but you should never assume that it will until you’ve proven it.
The Florida strain of largemouth bass is very sensitive to cold fronts because it is a different breed of bass
Bass in clear lakes are more aggressive in cold clear water than bass in cold muddy water

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