Live bait bass fishing in Central Florida can be an absolute blast!. The best live bait to use of course is the wild golden shiner. These shiners can range anywhere in size from as small as four inches to what feels like 2 pounds at times. Winter time down here is a great time to use the wild shiners, as they will trigger some very aggressive strikes from bass and it can also be one of the best ways to catch that trophy bass of a lifetime.
When we get hit here is the south with a cold front, yes we do get them, and out water temperatures dip into the upper 40’s to low 50’s, sometimes bass just don’t want to chase their food. Don’t get me wrong, spinner baits and Strike King Red Eye Shads will still catch bass, as well as Senkos and worms, but to keep that bite steady for my clients we sometimes use wild shiners.
This is the perfect bait to catch some great numbers of bass, and yes you will catch your fair share of those two pound bass like in this video, but you will also stand a much better chance at the lunker bass. Most of the time we are free lining the wild shiners, hooking them thru the lower jaw and out the nostril and just pitching them to the edges of the grass beds or lily pads.
With the cooler water temperatures the bass will generally head to two areas on a lake. The first would be deeper drop offs and the other of course is tight to cover. One of the easiest ways to locate bass along the grass lines is to rig up two rods, one free lined and one with a float and just slow troll along the grass, staying about 2 foot from the grass and just move very slowly. This tactic has been very good for us as it is found us several places where we can then just slide our anchor into the water quietly and catch a ton of bass.
Remember that when the bass are feeding aggressively, hang on to those shiners that have already been hammered, as they will still catch bass for you. Just rig them thru the nose again, pitch them out there and slowly twitch them back to the boat.