With the state containing over 7,000 freshwater lakes, Florida is not short on areas to go bass fishing. The largemouth is the most common species of bass found in the state's freshwater rivers and lakes, along with the spotted, Suwannee, smallmouth, sunshine and white. Lake Okeechobee, Little and Big Lake Harris and Lake Monroe have hosted events on the Bass Masters, American Bass Anglers, Fisher of Men and Florida B.A.S.S. Federation tours.
The largest lake in Florida, Lake Okeechobee encompasses over 730 square miles and possesses an average depth of nine feet. The lake, known to the locals as "the big O," produces an average largemouth bass catch in the 10- to 12-pound range, according to Florida Sportsman Magazine. The lake is part of a large watershed that includes the Kissimmee River and Everglades. Bass fishing is good in the lake year-round; the cooler months through early summer are the best. Anglers using live bait should try wild shiners, a natural food source throughout the lake. Artificial lures bringing the best catches of bass are top water plugs. Other species inhabiting the lake are bluegills and black crappie. Anglers will find many public boat launches in the area, as well a various fish camps, marinas and fishing guides.
Lake Monroe is located in Central Florida, and anglers will find a boat launch in the town of Enterprise. This 9,406-acre lake is part of the St. Johns River system. Its channels, grassy areas, bulrush patches, as well as a power plant located along the lake, offer many areas where bass hang out. Bass spawn in January through February in the channels and coves; soft artificial lures such as plastic worms, as well as crawfish bring in the best catches. In the spring through the summer,--when the bass are moving out--minnows, shad or menhaden work well as do artificial baits such as jerk and spinner baits, shad and menhaden imitations and top water plugs. Species anglers will find in the lake are largemouth and sunshine bass, black crappie, bluegill and striped mullet.
Little and Big Lake Harris
Little and Big Lake Harris are connected and are part of the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg. Combined, the two lakes encompass over 15,500 acres. Anglers commonly catch 9- to 10-pound largemouth bass. With its deep holes, canals, ledges to 17 feet in depth, as well as the grassy and reedy shorelines, the area holds a variety of areas to fish for bass. With an occasional largemouth catch of 13 pounds, anglers are best-suited using heavier tackle when fishing this lake. Anglers will find their best catches of bass in the cooler months through early summer around the various docks and grass lines edges. Those fishing in the lake's deeper areas should use a deep running crank bait. Artificial lures such as topwater plugs, crankbaits, swimbaits and jerkbaits will produce a catch. Live bait such as minnows and shiners also work well. The lake houses largemouth and sunshine bass, as well as a large sunfish population and bluegills.