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What are the four best lures for Florida bass fishing? That’s debatable. Very debatable. In fact – ask any two South Florida bass fishing guides what the four best lures for Florida bass are and you have probably just started an argument!
That’s because every good bass fisherman has his or her personal preference… and bias. And, as one of the best South Florida bass fishing guides, John “King of the Everglades” Pate always says, “It ain’t the lure… it’s the fisherman that catches bass. Put any lure in my hands and I’ll catch bass with it.”
Ain’t the the truth. I’ve seen Mr. Pate take a piece of white shoe string… put a hook on it… try it on his line and catch bass all day with it. No, I’m not kidding. But if you put that shoe sting i the average bass fisherman’s hands – he will get skunked!
So, what four lures does professional bass fisherman David Walker think are the best? Here are his thoughts from Bassmaster:
His biggest piece of advice: keep your selection simple and focus more on location. “The biggest key in Florida is depth,” Walker said. “Since you are fishing shallow, natural lakes, the bank has just a minimal drop, which is different from what people are used to on reservoirs. When you come to Florida, you are going to fish shallow and you are going to fish grass. You need to bring lures that are conducive to those conditions.”
Walker loves throwing a jig, but it doesn’t factor into his Florida fishing plans as much as it does back home. The timeless plastic worm is instead, a must-have. “Things like Texas-rigged worms have been popular here for years and continue to be,” Walker said. “Soft plastics are huge, more so than jigs. At home I throw a jig most of the time, but when you come here you have to lay down the jig and worry about what kind of soft plastic you are going to use.”
Walker uses a variety of worm styles and changes based on the conditions. “Let the fish dictate what style plastic you use,” Walker said. “I’ll use a 10-inch ribbontail worm, then a 7-inch, then a straight tail. A general rule to use is: the colder the water, the less action you want the worm to have.”
Aside from a plastic worm, Walker’s next top technique is flipping. He likes a Z Man Punch Crawz, which despite its small size, will hold a big hook. “When I’m flipping, I change styles and use a heavier weight,” Walker said. “Sometimes up to 1.5 ounces. When you get to heavy cover, that weight and small lure will punch it through.”
Heavy cover requires heavy gear, and Walker encourages beefing up your tackle selection when tackling Florida matted grass. He takes the Punch Crawz and rigs that on a 5/0 hook and 65-pound braided line. “Use as big a hook as the bait will allow you to and you want a heavy wire hook because you never know when you will get into a short-line match with a 10-pounder.
Whether casting a worm or flipping soft plastics, Walker keeps his color selection basic. “For the most part, I like to use a darker profile, like junebug or Okeechobee craw and that probably has something to do with the tannic water color.”
The next lure Walker recommends is a swimbait. Not the umbrella-rig variety that has been making headlines all around the country lately, but the simple, single paddling variety. The bait was practically made for Florida’s shallow grass. “In the last few years, swimbaits have really become popular in Florida,” Walker said. “The Florida swimbaits really morphed from paddletail worms. You have to rig them weedless. The paddle tail has a lot of kick even when you reel it slowly.”
Many people have seen the hooks with a keel weight on it to help the bait run straight in the water. Walker tends to shy away from those, in favor of a much simpler approach. “Generally, when I rig these, I use a big offset shank with a big hook and little to no weight,” Walker said. “I like to use a small 1/8-ounce Texas-rig weight on the front sometimes. You don’t need to get it down to the fish because the deepest you will be fishing is 4 feet.”
The last lure Walker wouldn’t leave home without when traveling to Florida is a lipless crankbait. “I can make a long cast with it and use a steady retrieve,” Walker said. “When it gets in the grass, I’ll rip it free and that’s when most of the bites will happen. It’s really ideal for searching around in practice to find a good area before you slow down and cast your worm.”
What Are The Four Best Lures For Florida Bass Fishing?
Walker has picked four great lures to catch bass in Florida. But here’s what I will add to his picks…
Walker mentioned texas rigged worms. If you really want to catch BIG TROPHY bass in South Florida and the Florida everglades fish big plastic worms weightless. Swim them on the surface with a slow, steady retrive. And hold onto your rod!
Walker also mentions using straight worms for cold weather and worms with more action like ribbon tail for warmer wether when the bass want more action. This os not always the case. We have caught MONSTER bass with 10-16 inch straight worms in the hottest parts of the summer.
Try three types of big worms in Florida: Straight, ribbon tail and paddle tail. Pull them all across the surface on the edge of cover like lily pads.
Here is a video of John “King of the Everglades” Pate showing some of the best lures to catch MONSTER bass in South Florida and the Florida everglades:
Here is the video on youtube: South Florida Bass Fishing Guides – Lures For MONSTER Bass.
John Pate and his clients catching big bass – VIDEO
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