The Sunshine State offers world class fishing, including some excellent bass lakes. If you want to pick up some real hogs I suggest you load up on crank baits. If you want to keep from losing your investment I suggest you follow these simple tips.
Florida bass fishing is unlike that available almost anywhere else. First, the bass are BIG. Second, some of the best waters are far smaller than what you would equate with prime bass waters. Even the larger lakes tend to be shallower than you would expect, primarily because you are not dealing with reservoirs like those in other states. Crank baits are still a go to lure for these bass, and they will pull in a steady supply of respectable fish. But you need to tweet you technique a bit.
Why the crank bait?
The reasons for using a crank bait are universal. They allow you to cover a lot of water. This allows the angler fishing a new water to quickly locate where the bass are so they can turn to focusing their attention on the prime spots. Once the fish are found a crank bait’s vibration & wobble will draw out bass and entice a strike, often when nothing else will. Finally, because they can be tuned for more precise presentation you can fish just the right depth for repeated success.
What you need
If you are going to effectively fish crank baits in Florida lakes and ponds you may need to adjust you gear a bit.
Be prepared to fish shallow- many of these waters are less than 25ft deep even in the channels. Most of the time you will be fishing even shallower so deep divers are not always necessary.
Square up - square bill cranks react differently when they encounter an obstacle they are likely to tip tail up allowing hooks to avoid debris.
Heavy tackle - hydrilla and coontails are as common as mosquitoes so heavier line will let you muscle your way free when you get hung up (just accept that it will happen), 16-20 lb. test is a must if you want to do this.
Lure retriever- many of these waters include lots of stumps. This is great habitat but rough on lures. Unless you want to spend a lot of time diving for your divers, or can afford to loss a few expensive lures invest in a lure retriever.
How to do it
The key is learning how to fish these conditions properly so you (a) avoid snagging as much as possible and (b) avoid pulling the lure away from hungry fish.
Start with a normal crank bait retrieve. When you encounter an obstacle stop, allow the lure to rise above it. In most cases this will prevent a snag but using a square bill crank bait will increase the odds in you favor. Once the lure is above the obstruction you can resume reeling, but i recommend waiting for a few seconds as this is when bass are likely to strike. If fishing near heavy vegetation snags are going to happen. This is when using heavier line will allow you to muscle the pure free. You can also bang crank baits off structure, when you hit something, don't hesitate to reel faster and often times that will trigger a big strike.
In those incidents when you can not avoid a snag, and are unable to work it free, a lure retriever is the only answer. Although they can cost as much as $25 you can easily make this money back by saving a handful of crank baits.
Checkout this video footage of us cranking in a personal best bag on crankbaits:
Good luck, good fish!