February Florida bass fishing

February 6, 2024 by lbailey

February Florida bass fishing can be characterized by trophy catches and the spawn. Water temperatures have hit the right temperatures to initiate the spawn. Now is the time to cash in on some big bass fishing here in Florida.

Lee Bailey with an 11 plus largemouth and Jeff with a 6 plus. Caught in February Florida bass fishing

February Florida bass fishing water temperatures in the 50’s is considered really cold!

Wondering where you can catch your next personal best largemouth bass? Central Florida is the ultimate destination to search out some giant bass. This is a bass fishing paradise for all anglers. Getting outdoors is a must when visiting Florida and the beauty these fisheries can bring to your vacation will be unforgettable. Enjoy this February Florida bass fishing in search of trophy largemouth bass!

This is my favorite time of year for bass fishing here in Central Florida. The weathers nice but more importantly the bass are biting and they’re biting allllll day. That’s right, it doesn’t really seem to matter what time you go out you’re gonna catch them. I’ve been averaging 10 to 20+ fish a day on my guide trips! Some days more than that. Even after cold fronts. It’s unbelievable.

Central Florida is a bass fishing paradise for all anglers.

To begin with the fish are in all stages right now. There’s pre-spawn fish, spawning fish, and post-spawn fish. As always it doesn’t seem to matter what time of year it is the best concentration of big fish (and I’m talking real big fish 8 pounds and up). Central Florida’s lakes are absolutely full of maiden-cane, Kissimmee grass, lily pads and reeds. It ALL looks good and it looks like you can just go down any grass edge and catch them.

But if you do that you’ll quickly find out that’s not the case. When February Florida bass fishing what you have to look for is the best OF the best. What I mean by that is you have to find areas of mixed types of vegetation with cleaner water. Area’s with lily pads mixed with Kissimmee grass and reeds maybe with a little bit of submerged vegetation on the bottom with good water clarity.

Anywhere there is an edge of either weeds and/or shell beds will attract fish.

February Florida bass fishing water temperatures in the 50’s is considered really cold! Normally during December and January, you find it in the 60’s. In fact, it is not uncommon to find bass spawning as the New Year rolls in. Weather really dictates the patterns of the fish. 60-degree water is the pre-spawn time. When water temp hits the 70’s, the spawn will get heavy, but that is dependent on the weather. If it is a gradual climb in temperature, the spawn comes slowly. But if it reaches the 70’s with an obvious warming trend, then the spawn kicks in real fast; especially if a full moon coincides.

Bottom composition is key to finding productive fishing areas. A hard bottom is tricky to find because they are constantly being silted over. However, that is also what makes them so special. While 10 feet is considered deep on most Florida waters, five feet is mid-range. That mid-range is where to look for key structure. Seek out offshore grass flats at this depth, Hydrilla is a common weed, but reeds, lily pads, pencil reeds, and cattails also hold fish.

Anywhere there is an edge of either weeds and/or shell beds will attract fish. The edge can be a depth change, or just the edge of a weedbed.

Depth changes can also be great places, “Anywhere the bottom has been dredged can be a hot spot. The deeper water stabilizes, which is a big deal because so much of shallow water fluctuates. Fish can stack up here and hold all winter.”

Florida Bass Fishing Guided trips in Central Florida

See You On The River

This CT River Fishing Guidebook is the most comprehensive compilation of maps, Lees Lures and river Fishing Factors I have ever put together.

See You On The River 2nd addition by Lee Bailey Jr.

Strategies For Bass

Strategies For Bass paperback has the most impressive collection of up-to-date information, anglers will learn everything they need to know to catch more bass.

Strategies for Bass a 228 page book by Lee Bailey Jr.

Wintertime River Smallmouths

January 10, 2024 by lbailey

Angling for Connecticut’s wintertime river smallmouths is a paradox. The cold weather period is perhaps both the best time to catch trophy bronzebacks and the most likely time for fishermen not to even receive one bite. Here are tips from Lee Bailey Jr (Three time Bassmaster Classic Qualifier) on how to experience more of the former and less of the latter.

Wintertime River Smallmouths on the Connecticut River

“How many writers even suggest fishing for wintertime river smallmouths. Water temperatures are near freezing. Ambient temperature is so cold that you have to dunk your rods into the water to thaw the ice from the guides. Or when the water is so muddy that you can’t see the bottom half of a brightly colored 6-inch soft bait as you hold it at the surface of the water.”

Jigs, Tubes and crankbaits are excellent for Wintertime River Smallmouths.

Most river smallmouths need deep water to winter. In Connecticut and Massachusetts I have conducted tagging studies which revealed that smallmouths migrate up to 60 miles from summer to winter habitat. In many cases, the trip is much shorter, sometimes nonexistent, but a migration of some length is the rule. Most wintering sites on rivers are at least 5 – 20 feet deep up in the North sections of the Connecticut river.. Down the South end of the Connecticut, smallmouths tend to migrate shorter distances and sometimes stay in creeks all winter. They seek deeper water, but a wintering site doesn’t necessarily have to be 20 feet deep.

The Connecticut River doesn’t freeze everywhere during winter, active smallmouths tend to rise up and feed in shallower water. This is usually between 2 and 10 feet deep. Rock bars, gravel points, boulder fields, and shallow flats immediately adjacent to a wintering hole become activity sites. In high water, smallmouths will be on these same spots where they extend up onto the flood plain. The closer to shore, the slower the current becomes. In high, cold water, slack areas become key.

“Deep” is relative to latitude. “On the Connecticut River, ‘deep’ water can vary from 5 feet to over 10 feet,” “Just find the deepest water and scout the entire vicinity around it. Some great smallmouth rivers have long stretches of nothing but shallow water. Smallmouth will travel as far as it takes, sometimes miles, to find water deep enough to satisfy their comfort and safety zones. And they remain in these areas for weeks (up north, make that months).

A wintering site doesn’t necessarily have to be 20 feet deep.

“In winter, deep holes near a shoal or falls are perfect trophy smallmouth areas. In high, muddy water, concentrate on eddies formed by islands that end abruptly. Those ending in a gradual slope are usually too shallow and too swift to be comfortable for larger smallmouths. The holding area for smallies at the ends of these islands is much smaller underwater than they appear to be on the surface. Islands that end abruptly form the bigger, deeper, and slower holding areas trophy bass prefer. They remain in areas like these until river conditions return to normal.

“The Connecticut is an excellent destination for winter smallies because it has such diversified habitat and plenty of it,” “Fish don’t have to move long distances to winter. I typically locate new winter holes during the low water months when you can see the content of these areas better. Then I will go to them in the winter and check them out. Some work out, some don’t. Only time on the water will tell.”

Lastly, please be sure to always wear a lifejacket while wintertime fishing and check river gauges to make sure water levels are safe.

See You On The River

This CT River Fishing Guidebook is the most comprehensive compilation of maps, Lees Lures and river Fishing Factors I have ever put together.

See You On The River 2nd addition by Lee Bailey Jr.

Strategies For Bass

Strategies For Bass paperback has the most impressive collection of up-to-date information, anglers will learn everything they need to know to catch more bass.

Strategies for Bass a 228 page book by Lee Bailey Jr.
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