Drift a Live Shiner
For anglers who want to catch a big bass, few baits are as effective as drifting a live shiner in vegetation such as hydrilla. Some fishermen dangle their shiner under a float, while others simply impale the shiner on a hook and let it swim freely. The best areas to fish live shiners are around heavy cover. Use heavy line and heavy baitcasting gear for shiner fishing, since you are in heavy cover and very well may tangle with a bass that is larger than 10 pounds.
Cast Lipless Crankbaits
Lipless crankbaits weigh 1/2 oz. or more and their flat sides allow them to be cast long distances, even into the wind. As a result, casting lipless crankbaits is a great way to cover vast amounts of water, especially in Florida, where there is an abundance of shallow water with vegetation. Use a medium-heavy to heavy-action rod. A long rod also will help you propel lipless crankbaits long distances. You want the rod to be sturdy enough to rip the lipless crankbait off vegetation, but limber enough to not pull the hooks, which are small on lipless crankbaits, out of the mouths of bass.
Make Short Casts
Florida is home to some extremely heavy cover, whether it is fallen timber, hydrilla, or some other kind of vegetation, and bass spend a lot of time in it. As a result, you sometimes need to go in after them. This is especially true on sunny days and is best accomplished by flipping or pitching a jig and pig or Texas-rigged plastic worm. Target any holes in the cover that you can work your lure into and be ready for a quick strike. Because the fish you are targeting are in heavy cover, they cannot see for long distances. As a result, they tend to attack potential prey when it enters their vicinity.
Fish Early and Late
While bass are warm-water creatures, the waters of Florida can get quite warm, especially on sunny days when the sun beats on the water and warms it up. As a result, fish tend to be more active in the early morning and evening, when the water in the shallows is not quite as warm. These fish will be away from cover, so casting quick-moving baits like spinnerbaits, topwaters and shallow-running crankbaits is particularly effective. As the sun warms the water, these fish will move into areas with shade.
Do Not Forget Deep Water
Since many of the lakes in Florida are relatively shallow and have abundant cover in the shallows, anglers tend to want to stay shallow. But there can be good numbers of bass off-shore, too, and these fish often do not receive nearly as much pressure as their shallow-water relatives. Cast deep-diving crankbaits, Carolina-rigged worms, and plastic worms around deep weedlines and along the edges of off-shore structure. These fish also are more likely to be active throughout the day, since the sun and warm air temperatures do not have as big of an effect on deep water as they do on shallow water.