Tips, Tricks and Tactics From the Pros
Editor’s Note: Shaw Grigsby lives in Gainesville, Florida, a bass fisherman’s paradise. While most of the country is shoveling snow and trying to find their cars in giant snow drifts, Grigsby is catching lunker-sized bass on the bed. That’s right – Florida’s bass start bedding in December and will bed through February and March. We’ll learn more about Florida’s bedding bass and how to catch them this week with Grigsby. If you’ve turned-up your heat and plugged-in another electric heater or you’re dreading going outdoors to get more wood for your fireplace, take your fishing tackle, a pair of blue jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt and head to Florida to catch bass. If you decide to leave the ice and snow and head to where the big bass are biting right now, Grigsby will be your guide this week. He’ll tell us more about Florida’s bedding bass and how to catch them.
Part 1: Short Sleeves, Big Bass and the Strike King Rage Lizard with Shaw Grigsby
Right now, Florida’s weather’s nice. Occasionally we’ll get a cold-front coming through our area, it usually won’t last more than a couple of days. Here in Florida, we can fish year-round. Florida’s bass spawn starts in late October or November at Lake Okeechobee. Around the section where I live, we get some spawning activity in December, but the main part of the spawn starts in January. I’ve caught bedding bass in January, February, March and even as late as April. One 4th of July weekend, I found a bass spawning.
Because of the moderate weather we have in Florida, you often can locate spawning activity taking place at any time of year. January is the best time of year to catch really-big bass in Florida. It’s the best month to see big bass females bedding in shallow water. If you have the opportunity to travel from December to March, come to Florida to fish for really-big bass. The chances of catching a giant (the biggest bass you’ve ever caught in your life) are very good this month.
A couple of years ago, I caught a 13-pound, 6-ounce bass on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes at Lake Tohopekaliga in a tournament in January. The most-productive places to catch really-big bass in January will be in central Florida along the Kissimmee chain – the central band of Florida lakes, because that’s where the giant bass live. My number-one lure to use when fishing for those big bass is the Strike King Rage Lizard. Lizard and creature baits are great baits to coax big spawning females into biting.
My favorite colors are Junebug or any of the darker colors. I prefer to use either a No. 5/0 or a No. 6/0 TroKar TK130 hook. Most of the time I’ll be fishing 20-pound-test Stren Original monofilament line. If I need to get a bite, and the bass are being finicky, I’ll change to either 20- or 25-pound-test Stren fluorocarbon line. I use a 1/4-ounce slip sinker. The secret is to throw the lizard well past the bed and then drag it slowly back to the bed. Generally by the time the lizard reaches the bed, the bass will eat it. Fish slowly and steadily. Don’t get in a hurry. You want the bass to think that lizard is about to get in their beds and eat their eggs.
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