The Time for Spinnerbaits
For most people, Christmas is their favorite time of the year. Trimming the tree, decorating the house, shopping and family get togethers are all part of the holiday season. But to a Lake County bass fisherman, Christmas is even more special because it is the beginning of the annual bass bedding season.
In Florida, this is the time of the year when the biggest bass in the lake head into the shallows to spawn. The move starts right after Christmas and continues on a monthly cycle well into April.
There are many methods you can use to catch spawning bass, but the easiest and most reliable is by slow rolling a spinnerbait. I throw these baits on a heavy-action casting rod with a 5 to 1 reel and 20 pound test line. Any good spinnerbait will work but my favorite is a white tandem 3/8 or ½ oz. Terminator. The Terminator is a premium Titanium spinnerbait that costs a little more than most, but it’s worth the price. The Titanium wire will hold up under the strain of the largest bass and the ball bearing swivel allows a very slow retrieve, which is the key to winter bass fishing.
The key to catching bedding bass at this time of the year is to know when and where to fish. If possible, fish during the week when fishing pressure is light. Fish the backwater areas like the Ninth Street Canals, Haines Creek and the Dead River looking for clusters of pads in 2-4 feet of water. Cast beyond the pads and slowly crank the spinnerbait as close to the pads as possible with the blades just barely moving. Try a few more casts from different directions. Make sure to hang onto your rod because the strikes will be hard and the fish could be big. It’s nothing to catch a 6 or 7 pounder and you might get the fish of a lifetime!
The best fishing will be about a week before the full moon. Last January, I entered the Sunday Palm Gardens Tournament on the Harris Chain. It was a rainy dreary day with a slow cold front moving in. The fish were on the beds and biting everything you would throw at them. I caught fish all day and weighed in 5 fish that totaled a little more than 19 pounds. I wasn’t even close as it took 5 fish totaling over 25 pounds to win that tournament!