Some people complain that “There’s no change in seasons in South Florida.”
The seasons do change significantly, although the signs of impending changes are subtle.
Like the one I noticed walking outside recently -- the first feeling of cool, dry air on my skin in three months, courtesy of a northeast breeze. A little front went off the coast, dragging in some high pressure behind it. I call it the “bass breeze,” because such winds will get the fish out of their summer torpor.
Summer’s a great time to bass fish, but the best fishing takes place early and late in the day, or at night. The water is just too warm and low in oxygen for bass to prowl around on the feed during high-sun periods.
Come the fall breezes, however, the bite could fire up throughout the day. The wind whips oxygen into the water column, and cooler temperatures initiate what’s called “lake turnover.” Air temperatures cool the surface water causing its density to increase. The heavier water sinks, forcing the lighter, less dense water to the surface. The waters merge, becoming much more of an equal density, and thus are more easily mixed by wind.
The point of that little science lesson is: Break out your bass rods.
Change up your tactics as well. Florida-strain largemouths will move out from heavy cover to feed along cover or even in open water during the summer months, and then retreat back into the thickest cover they can find, in search of shade and oxygen. In the fall, especially on breezy days, they’ll stick to the edges and stage in ambush position along points. Pay close attention to currents and present your lure so that it looks like hapless prey flailing in the current. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and swimbaits are often the ticket this time of the year, but don’t leave home without a couple of trusty topwaters, including your favorite frog.
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has about hit the nail on the head with its ratings of top bass lakes. If I had to limit myself to three bass trips this fall, I’d hit the north side of Lake Okeechobee, out of Okeechobee City or Moore Haven, Lake Toho, and Rodman Reservoir. Come let a big bass show you how seasons change in Florida!