My wife and I left New York for the Sunshine State of Florida on October 23. The trip went smooth until I had a trailer tire problem when we were just south of Jacksonville. I noticed a bulge in the side wall and figured the tire was separating. A quick tire change in a rest area put us back on the road and to our winter home in Lake Wales.
October 29th, I fished a night tournament with my friend, Dale Johnson. We fished on the North Winter Haven Chain of Lakes where we normally do quite well, but not having fished there for several months, conditions had changed and we did terrible. My friend was running a Triton that he had recently purchased, and it was not getting up on plane very well. I contacted Triton Boats and they gave me the height measurements that the motor should be mounted, which holes to use, and the best prop for this set up. We adjusted the motor height and ran some other tests. Now the boat planes great, with the rpms, top end and water pressure excellent. If you are experiencing problems, call your boat manufacturer for the right set up. Make sure to have your motor, jack plate and prop information ready when you call them.
November 8th, we fished a tournament on the same Chain of Lakes. We managed to catch a few good fish on toads, chatter baits and plastics. By mid morning the bite had slowed, so we moved to another lake in the Chain, culled all of our fish and upgraded our weight. Zoom trick worms worked on this lake and our total catch for the day was 15+ bass.
November 16th, we fished the South Winter Haven Chain of Lakes. Our idea was to fish a few lakes we hadn't tried before. We managed four bass in a six hour day, which was not going to help us on tournament day. Tournament day, the 22nd we went to Lake Winterset first and spent the majority of the morning washing baits. Four bass were boated with one making the 14" size limit, so we made the run to Lake Summit. It took only a few minutes to dial in the bite, and we caught another 20-25 bass. Our problem was the lack of one big fish, but we did cull up several times. A fun day anytime you manage to catch that many bass. A mix of plastic baits worked, but Zoom Finesse Worms outfished the other baits.
December 1, we went to Kissimmee at the new park by Grape Hammock. Six hours of fishing produced four boated bass and a few missed opportunities. Our presentation and bait selection changed to target bigger fish. Some adjustments are still needed, but the overall result was encouraging. Swim baits and 10 inch Berkley Power Worms both worked.
Water temperatures are dropping and the crappie bite is picking up fast. Bass are quite aggressive and willing to bite. If you are not getting bit, change lures, and if that fails, change locations. Grass offshore has been holding good fish.
Trophy time is approaching fast, so book a trip (centralfloridabassinwithfrank.com) early to lock in your date.
Be safe, wear your life vest, and maintain a proper lookout.