Fishing with live shiners is one of the most popular, and most effective, ways to catch bass in Florida. This is especially true for big bass. Live shiners are most effective late in the winter and early in the spring when big female bass move into the shallows to spawn. Anglers fish live shiners under floats around vegetation. Another method is to impale a live shiner on a hook and then let it swim around. The minnow will swim in and out of vegetation and is especially effective in heavy vegetation, where a float might get hung up.
Casting soft jerkbaits
Soft jerkbaits are among the most weedless of lures because they are hooked in such a fashion that the point of the hook does not protrude to the outside of the bait. As such, soft jerkbaits are especially effective in hydrilla and other heavy near-shore vegetation. Cast the jerkbait and slowly twitch it back so it stays under water, or speed up your retrieve so the soft jerkbait is more like a topwater lure. The bass should tell you which retrieve they prefer.
Casting and retrieving spinnerbaits
Spinnerbaits are particularly effective in the waters of Florida when there is some wind disrupting the surface of the water. Cast spinnerbaits around standing timber or scattered vegetation and vary your retrieve speed. The bass may prefer a spinnerbait retrieved quickly near the surface, but other times will prefer a spinnerbait that is retrieved slowly, closer to the bottom. Spinnerbaits also should be casted into areas of heavy cover and retrieved quickly to prevent them from getting hung up. When the spinnerbait begins to get caught on the cover, give your rod tip a sharp jerk. This will cause the spinnerbait to rip through the cover and cause a reaction strike from nearby bass.
Throw a lipless crankbait around hydrilla
Many Florida lakes have vast hydrilla beds and it can seem like the bass are in random places. One of the best ways to find these scattered fish is to cast and retrieve a lipless crankbait. These lures, because of their flat sides, can be cast long distances. As you retrieve them over beds of hydrilla, allow them to touch the stalks and use your rod tip to rip them off the stalks. This will cause a reaction bite in bass that are nearby. Lipless crankbaits are an especially effective bait to use when you are searching for bass.
Pitch and flip
Many of the largest bass in Florida can be found in thick vegetation. In many cases, short, precise casts are necessary to reach these fish. Jigs and pigs and Texas-rigged plastic worms are the most effective baits to use when targeting these fish. Simply flip or pitch your bait into holes or other openings in the heavy cover, and be prepared to set the hook, since bass will often hit soon after these lures fall into the water. Be sure to use braided line and heavy tackle for this technique.