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Big bass bonanza on the horizon

Posted Jan 30, 2012 by The Tampa Tribune

Updated Jan 30, 2012 at 01:02 AM


By MARK COOK

Signs of spring are slowly beginning to show.  The azelea blooms are beginning to peak out, cardinals are starting to bounce through the trees each morning and female bass are heading into staging areas ready to deposit their offspring in their earliest form. The bass spawn is right around the corner and in some areas south of the Bay area it has already begun.

With water temperatures approaching 70 degrees it is just a matter of time before the local waterways in Central Florida start reporting bass in the double-digit weight class. I have already heard several reports of smaller male bass in the spawning areas of some phosphate pits and even small roe in the bass that were kept by some local fishermen.

Look for harder bottom areas near cover to find the spawning fish. Until they move into the shallows they can usually be found just off the bedding areas in the first cut of deeper water. These fish are usually hungry and somewhat agitated and will strike fairly easily if a bait is presented to them. With water temperatures still cool they may not be in a chasing mood so it is best to slow your retrieve down from your normal pattern. Dragging a texas-rigged dark plastic lizard slowly is one of my favorite prespawn tactics I like to use.

Once the bass are on the beds a white jig dropped just over the bed then slowly twitched in the middle of the bed will eventually drive the big females crazy. I like jigs better when sight fishing as it they need to grab the whole bait, as opposed to the tail of a plastic worm. I’ve seen females, and even the protective males, literally pick up the tail of a worm and move it repeatedly off the bed making it nearly impossible to get a hook set.

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