Hit a Variety of Places
One of the nice things about fishing small lakes in Florida is that it often does not take long to check out the cover that is likely to hold bass. Anglers should target the visible cover first--edges of emergent and submerged vegetation, boat docks, standing or fallen timber, for example--and then, if they haven't caught much or want to keep exploring, look to deeper water. Areas such as the deep edges of submerged weed beds, drop-offs, and humps all can hold bass. And even though bass in Florida's small lakes receive less pressure than those that live in large lakes, the bass in deep water of small lakes likely receive the least pressure of all.
Hit the Shallows Early
The Florida sun can be intense and can quickly increase the water temperature. While bass can handle warm temperatures, they are more active when the water is cooler. As a result, early and late in the day are prime times to hit the shallow waters of small lakes in Florida. Cast topwater baits like buzzbaits and poppers, or shallow-running, search-type lures like lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits to locate actively feeding bass. While bass will be around shallow cover early and late in the day, they will not be tight to it, and, instead, will be roaming in the open water around it.
Try a Live Shiner
Some of the biggest bass taken every year in Florida are caught by anglers using a live shiner. While lakes like Okeechobee are synonymous with hot shiner bites, the minnows are no less effective in small lakes in Florida. The only difference is the weed beds in small lakes are not as large as those in large lakes. The technique, though, is the same. Hook a live shiner just behind the dorsal fin. If you are fishing heavy cover, it probably will work best to just let the shiner swim around on its own. If the vegetation is sparse where you are fishing, rig a bobber a couple of feet above the hook. Make sure to use heavy equipment and thick fishing line when you are using live shiners, since you stand a good chance of hooking a large bass.
Holes in cover
Many of the small lakes in Florida are ringed by emergent vegetation, including cattails and reeds. While the latter are more likely to hold bass, the former will, too. One of the best ways to fish this type of cover is to pitch and flip jigs and pigs or plastic worms into it. Target areas where there is something different. Look for spots where grass grows among the reeds, where the vegetation forms a point, or where there is a change in the bottom composition. Make sure to use stout equipment that allows you to drag the fish out of the cover quickly, since it is easy for the fish to wrap the line around the vegetation, which often results in a missed opportunity to catch a fish.