Shade Is Key
Florida can be extremely hot and the water temperature can climb to levels that are not especially comfortable to bass. When that happens, bass seek cooler water, meaning shaded areas, which also provide good places from which to ambush their prey. Boat docks and vegetation both provide shade, and both are abundant and hold bass throughout the day, but especially when the sun is high. A jig and pig or plastic worm flipped around boat docks and vegetation is a good way to target bass. Make sure to use heavy equipment so you can get the bass out of the heavy cover as soon as they bite.
Wild Shiners Equal Big Bass
Wild shiners are one of the most effective baits to use, especially if anglers are targeting big bass. Shiners are most effective when the bass are in the shallows and spawning during the spring, but they can be used to take fish throughout the year. Hook a wild shiner just behind its dorsal fin and cast it into the water. The shiner will swim as far as you will allow it and is likely to cross paths with a bass. Some anglers, especially if fishing in sparse vegetation, put their shiners under a bobber. In thicker vegetation, anglers hook their shiner and let it swim around. The best areas in which to focus are weed lines and other points from which bass can ambush their prey.
Thick Is Good
Hydrilla and peppergrass are two of the most common types of vegetation in Florida waters, and both grow thick and can tangle fishing lures with ease. As a result, some anglers choose not to fish in them, which is a mistake because these types of vegetation are good places for bass to find shade and a meal. Cast a spinnerbait if the vegetation is not too thick, or if there are lanes through which you can retrieve it. But keep it moving to so the vegetation doesn't foul it. If the vegetation is too thick to move a lure through, flip or pitch a plastic worm into openings of the vegetation, and be prepared for a quick, hard strike.
Open Water Options
Most bass anglers who fish in Florida automatically fish the heavy cover in shallow water since it is easy to spot and they know it holds fish. But there also are bass in areas of open water such as weed lines and main lake humps and reefs. One thing about fishing these areas is they are less likely to receive heavy pressure, so the bass may be more inclined to bite. Crankbaits are effective lures for finding schools of bass in open water, then slow down and fish with a plastic worm or jig once you find a school.
Boat Docks Hold Bass All Day
Boat docks hold bass all day, since they provide cooler water temperatures because of the shade, and because they are good places from which bass can ambush their prey. The best boat docks have complex, elaborate structures and are located near deep water. Spinning equipment will work if you plan to skip plastic worms or tube jigs underneath docks, but using light equipment increases the odds that you will lose a large bass. To reduce the risk, pick a heavy-action rod and baitcasting reel that is spooled with 15- to 20-pound test line. Then tie on a plastic worm or jig and pig and begin pitching and flipping lures around the dock posts and as far beneath the dock as you can. Try to get the bass out from underneath the dock as soon as it hits so that your line doesn't get wrapped around a dock post.