We’ve observed lots of schooling Bass lately, chasing bait both early and late in the day. On Sunday, 11/24, I spotted several buck (male) bass fanning out beds for the upcoming spawn.
Yes, Sir, the spawn is on. On a recent trip we caught and released ten Largemouths in about 2 hours. The total weight was over 40 lbs.! This is the best time of year to catch that Bass of a lifetime.
One of my favorite techniques for taking Largemouths is to freeline live bait in and around the heavy cover. Wild shiners are without a doubt the best bait when fishing the River. I typically hook the shiner in the tail with a 1/0 Kahle hook, and allow the bait to run several feet up under the heaviest cover I can find.
I recommend a medium to heavy action rod with a minimum of 15 lb. test mono line. Be prepared to lose a few hooks, and yes, even a fish or two, but this technique will pay off if you have the patience to stay with it.
The most important part is keeping fresh bait on your hook. No self respecting Largemouth is going to hit a half dead shiner with no scales. With a little patience and a lot of hooks and bait, you will be landing that once in a lifetime Bass sooner than you think.
The Bass bite on the Ocklawaha River near Ocala has continued to improve over the past couple of weeks. We’ve caught our limit of “keeper” Largemouths on the last few trips, as well as several huge females fat with roe, and I expect the bite to improve as we approach the first spawn of 2012.
The St. Johns River Management officials are conducting a drawdown at the Rodman Reservoir. Expect extreme low water levels on the Ocklawaha River, from Lake Griffin to Rodman Dam, until the draw down is complete. As always exercise extreme caution when boating, especially during these low water conditions.
I expect the Largemouths to be in full spawn mode by our next full moon, around the 10th of January. Don’t miss the action.
Pictured below are a few examples of our most recent outings.
‘Til next time…Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!