far as Lake County bass are concerned, there are only three
seasons; Spring, Summer and Fall. Our fish usually spawn so
early that the winter season is not really a factor except during
severe cold fronts.
Our Spring season usually starts right after Christmas on the
first full moon in January. In colder years or during severe
cold fronts, the spawn can be delayed. This is the time of
the year when the biggest bass of the year start moving shallow to
bed. A week before the full moon in January right up to the
full moon is your best chance at a fish over 10 pounds. Some
years, spawning activity continues until well into May.
During the spring, winning tournament weights are commonly in
excess of 25 pounds for a 5 fish limit. April is the best
overall fishing month for numbers of fish.
Winter and Spring
temperatures in Lake County can range from the high 30s (very
rare) to the high eighties (also rare). The average Winter
and Spring Central Florida day starts in the mid fifties and gets
up to the mid seventies by 1:00 PM (it's paradise!).
I consider the summer season to have two parts; starting with
post-spawn dog days followed by the summer flipping season.
June and July can be slow. You can catch fish, but it's hot
and the midday sun can drain your energy. The best way to
catch bass at this time is of the year is to fish early and late
in the day. The morning bite is usually over by 9:00 AM.
In summer, most tournament anglers drag Carolina Rigs on deep
ledges, flip boat docks, or fish man-made attractors and spring
holes during the heat of the day. In recent years the lakes
have begun to clear and deep cranking offshore structure is
beginning to win tournaments. Winning tournament weighs
around this time of the year usually average around 10-15 pounds
for 5 fish.
The summer flipping
season starts when lake levels rise due to consistent afternoon
thunder showers, which is usually by August or September.
The fish follow the water up and good sized bass can be found
cooling themselves in dense grass beds or under boat docks.
You normally don't catch a lot of numbers this time of year but
the bass you catch flipping will be fat and healthy.
in Florida can range from the seventies to well over 95 degrees
with the humidity at 100%. It's very hot by 3:00 PM, when
the summer thunder storms start rumbling through. After the
storms have done their thing the evening is generally nice and we
usually have a another period of good fishing just before dark.
Night tournament anglers routinely weight 15-20 pound 5 fish
October through mid December)
The fall season usually starts within a week of the first real
cool snap in mid October. The Harris Chain is full of shad,
shiners, blue gills and other forage. When you find the bait
you find the bass. The bass start moving shallow this time
of year and begin to feed actively, preparing themselves for the
spawn. This is my favorite time to fish as the lakes are
mostly deserted. The tourists and snow birds don't really
start to arrive until after Thanksgiving. The fall bite
continues and runs right up to Christmas where the whole process
in Florida can vary greatly. It cools down into the sixties
for a few days and then runs back up to 85 degrees. It's
really very nice considering how hot the summers are.
If you have any
questions or comments about Harris Chain bass fishing seasons,
please contact me.