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Jon Morris

Do bass ever really "turn off" during winter down south?

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Planning on moving to the Jacksonville area of Florida soon from the Pittsburgh area.

 

Up here bass basically shut down from late November to maybe late March or early April. But was wondering if this happens, and if so....to what degree, in the South?

And if so, how long does it usually last?

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Welcome to the forums!

The coldest 2 months in N.Florida are Jan/ Feb.Most often,there will be a cold front for a few days,then it can warm up into the low 80s.The cold weather ( Pittsburg people would think its warming up ! ) will slow the bite,but you just fish slower.C aught my Personal best on Dec.31st.The fish was an early  bedding fish.It had been warm all fall so the fish were already bedding.

I hunt some too,so I try to do that when it's cold.But the weather will usually warm up in a couple days and the fishing improves.I consider it a really cold day here when the temps don't get out of the 40s.

I usually use a lot of the same baits in the winter that I do throughout the year.Just try to fish em slower.For me,a big worm is often the ticket in winter here.

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No not really!

During the winter months there are certain conditions one must pay attention to if one wants to be productive.

It is fairly easy to catch bass in cold water, if you can find them and if you use the right techniques. This means putting a lure in front of a fish that looks right, sounds right, and smells right. The colder the water, the slower the bass's brain operates so the slower you must present the bait or it's gone before the bass's brain tells it to bite.

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Jon, both southern ladies and southern large mouth bass ladies do not shut off at anytime down south.

Come on down and see for yourself. :wub:

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They don't chase as much, they don't move as much, they don't hit as hard, but shutdown the way you're asking? No. 

Living "Down South" is a whole different life style in more ways than one..and fishing down here is just one of the perks. Keep in mind there will be fish on beds in the winter here.

Case in point...there's a reason why there are more tounament's from Oct to June than any other time of the year. 

 

Mike

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9 hours ago, Jon Morris said:

Planning on moving to the Jacksonville area of Florida soon from the Pittsburgh area.

 

Up here bass basically shut down from late November to maybe late March or early April. But was wondering if this happens, and if so....to what degree, in the South?

And if so, how long does it usually last?

Bass do not "shut down" in the north either. They are catchable all year round, even through the ice. Of course you have to adjust your expectations. Essentially you can leave the buzzbaits at home. :)

This was one of several caught during a mid-winter (Feb) thaw.

Ice%20Break1.jpg

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I went to  Eufala in Alabama and the Dead Lakes in Fla one Feb. and caught fish both places .

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Lowest water temperature I recorded last year was 52-55F. Ended up catching a lot of pickerel that day. The bass do seem to move out deeper, but deep in my areas is like 8-13 ft. I'd say winter fishing is probably easier than the hottest part of summer (late July-September were slow for me), but we did have a warm winter last year.

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17 minutes ago, HeavyTwenty said:

I'd say winter fishing is probably easier than the hottest part of summer (late July-September were slow for me), but we did have a warm winter last year.

I was going to say the same thing for FL in particular, due to how common it is for Floridians to bemoan mid-summer on the message boards. I didn't mention it bc I don't live there. Glad HeavyTwenty mentioned it.

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According to Bobby Lane Florida strain LMB are affected by the water temps cooling off from cold fronts in Florida and he would know. The reason being FLMB are shallow water fish, very few deep water lakes for bass.

Jan and Feb can be the spawning cycle in Florida.

Tom

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You can catch your biggest bass of the year in February, but it might be the only bite of the day. A days-long warm front will usually increase the bites as the big girls are feeding up for spawn.

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I catch fish year round in North Dallas. Smaller lures, slower presentation. I actually prefer it.

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February is the middle of the winter, isn't it ? Well, it's the pre-spawn in southern Texas .... :whistle:

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51 minutes ago, Raul said:

February is the middle of the winter, isn't it ? Well, it's the pre-spawn in southern Texas .... :whistle:

My definition of winter mid-December through mid-February after that it's pre-spawn!

Doesn't mean the cold is over ;)

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As a comparison, last year year in Southern California, the coldest water temperature on my my home lake was 54 degrees.  The first week of February was the last time it dropped below 60 degrees and ended up topping 70 degrees by the first week of March (it fluctuated between 67 & 72 during March).  So to answer your question, no, they don't ever really shut down (unless the Florida strain act different than the Northern large mouths we have)

For us, fish begin moving up in January, some are on beds in February and I start noticing large schools of fry in early March.

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Florida bass will get lock jaw for a short time after a real cold front moves through from the north.  Once it passes through and the temps adjust they will go to feeding again but not actively chasing baits.  You may need to slow down and place a bait in their face to trigger a bite.  They eat all winter but a lot more sluggishly.  The last thing a pro wants to see is a Florida tournament and a nasty cold front on the same day.  They will often flip heavy mats because the thick vegetation works like a blanket for a while.  Big cold front and Florida Strain Bass = Lock Jaw!:(

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Have caught plenty of bass in sub 45 degree weather(right after a big cold front),which is very cold for South Florida...

5 hours ago, frogflogger said:

Bass never quit eating no matter where they live.

^This^

Find out what the bass want and you will be catching them long after most people quit fishing because it's "too cold" in the South for bass to bite. 

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Cold weather doesn't affect the FLMB in SoCal because they have acclimated to our deep structure reservior and cold fronts have little affect on the core water temps. I prefer fishing in the winter here, fewer boats to deal with and the trout plants are going on. Very different than Florida were lakes are shallow the core water temperature changing quickly is the problem there.

Tom

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2 hours ago, WRB said:

Cold weather doesn't affect the FLMB in SoCal because they have acclimated to our deep structure reservior and cold fronts have little affect on the core water temps...

Plus our "cold fronts" are when the air temp dips into the 50's...Brrrrr!!  :D

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It is a common misconception to think that Florida only has shallow lakes.Down here we have many bodies of water that are  40-60 feet deep,with some lakes much deeper(both natural and man made lakes).The temperatures in these lakes is relatively stable and is one of the main reasons why many exotic species of fish thrive.Water temperatures rarely drop below 60 degrees, even on days where the air temperature is below 40 degrees.

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   Although I have no experience down south in the winter. I sure would like to try, no matter how warm or cold you all may feel it is outside. Air temps in the low 40's are welcome in my eyes during winter. I have some friends down in southern Fla. and maybe someday we will head down to visit, and I will be able to fish some. Only trip down there was to Ft Myers for a wedding in September, and I was itching to head over to the Big O for a guided day to take a shot at those giants. But, alas my efforts were sidetracked, I had a blast down there, just with no fishing going on. Cold front? warm front? wont bother me at all.

  I fish as long as there's open water to cast into. Im one of those yankee bass anglers that gets turned away at the doorway of the New England Aquarium in the dead of winter cuz I'm carrying a fishing rod,...lol,..only to be found (10 minutes later) on the docks fifty feet away dropping a small swedish pimple into Boston's Harbor looking for a smelt or two. Long winters can drive one nuts, and often does.

 Next trip down to South Fla., I wont let such a haneous, brutal, evil, and slow form of torture take place again,...lol

 Yeah,..okachobee (sp?) is on my bucket list

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