Bass Fishing From the Banks of Florida
This is where we set the stage, in the great state of sunny Florida. Florida has the reputation as one of the best places to bass fish in the world, including catching peacock bass in Miami if you have the chance; and its widely known for Lake Okeechobee which is ranked number four on the Bassmaster’s Top 100 Lakes Southeastern list. With over seven thousand lakes, eleven thousand miles of river systems, and an almost infinite number of ponds; you can bet on the bank fishing being pretty good.
Anglers in Florida who are aspiring to become professional tournament anglers, social media superstars, or just looking for a reason to get out on a lake all have one thing in common. We all love catching bass! For those of us without boats, we have slowly worked on the art of bank fishing. From shores of lakes, docks on a river, or the fresh cut grass bumping up against a pond on a multi-million-dollar golf course; Florida anglers have figured out bank fishing through trial and error.
Bank Fishing Talent in Jacksonville, Florida
Some of the biggest fish and greatest social media content comes from Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook super stars who have caught monster bass from the bank. There are many cities and towns with endless opportunities for bank fishing in Florida, but Jacksonville is where I spend the majority of my time on the bank.
In the last year some major Instagrammers have made history and helped change the game of bank fishing in Florida.
Robbie Mendez who has caught four bass over eight pounds since January this year. The Florida and Wildlife Conservation Commission label a bass over eight pounds as a Florida Trophy Catch.
Then, there’s Tim Kidwell, who knows bank fishing so well he can throw any new bait and land a solid bass seemingly every time!
I even, went ninety consecutive days through the spring and summer and only had three outings where I didn’t catch a three-pound bass.
There is a lot of talent and extraordinary potential in the anglers of Jacksonville, but it is not easy, and these bass anglers did not get their success overnight. Bank fishing in Jacksonville takes practice, timing, studying, and a lot of patience.
Bank Fishing the Dog Days of Summer
During the fall and early spring, you can consistently land some big bites if you know the bodies of water you are fishing in Jacksonville, but when the summer hits, and the heat of August is hitting you in the face; the real talent and experience comes out to still get those big bites.
The term gauntlet means to go through an intimidating or dangerous crowd, place, or experience in order to reach a goal; and that’s exactly what these anglers do. Even the early morning and evening bite is tough. Normal tricks don’t work in the dead heat of August, you will still be sweating and struggling to get those big fish to open up their mouths. Night fishing can even be daunting and slow…
The month of August is a Jacksonville anglers biggest foe and consistent rival. From figuring out where to go, what the weather will be like, what bait to use, how much water has been dried up from the August heat, and keeping up with the water temperature; it’s a never-ending job.
The month of August brings some of the hardest times to catch big bass. I’ve even seen some local bass anglers switch over saltwater fishing just until the weather cools down, towards the end of September. But not for the avid bass guys, and that’s why I took it upon myself to seek out and have the pleasure of interviewing Tim Kidwell.
Tim Kidwell Breaking Down the Bank
During our interview, I asked him what his opinion was about bank fishing during the month of August in Jacksonville.
“Basically the bass are sitting very deep on points, and they are very finicky right now which is a terrible reputation Florida has about bass fishing this time of year. When you fish and want to catch a big bite, you have to know what time of day you want to go, and what times your most comfortable with. My two most productive times are the morning, and the early evening. My go-to bait for the early evening is the Motion Fishing black and blue round head 3/8oz jig. During that time, the water is still warm, and the big bass are sitting deep, but the fish are starting to get hungry and roam as the sun starts headed to the horizon. My go-to bait for the early morning is the Rapala Skitter V when the bass are chasing baitfish in the top of the water column. These two baits seem to make these warm water bass fire up!”
My Bank Fishing Background
With my fiancé being gone to Utah for a few months for business, and representing seven companies through my sponsorships, I fish about four to five times a week, and I aspire every day to become a better role model and leader for the community of bass fishing. Every day I go out and touch the water my goal is to not catch a monster bass, but to have fun and learn something new.
I spend a lot of time at our local lake, which is more like a really nice river system through a high-end neighborhood. It’s labeled as a lake though and is the closest thing I have to practicing and fishing on a real lake. I have made friends with some of the locals and shared some of my sponsored equipment with them, therefore I have never been run off when I am fishing the curbside, golf course, or bridges of this lake. Making friends with people around the banks of waters you plan on fishing is a huge key to success!
When I approach this lake I watch the weather, then I watch the water for a minute when I get there. I use my Hawkeye Electronics DT1H handheld depth finder to tell me how deep the water is thirty yards out in front of me and what the water temperature is. Then I use my Hawkeye Electronics Fishtrax 1C fish finder to throw from the bank and tell me if there are any large bass lurking anywhere.
After I let my electronics tell me what is going on beneath the water, and mother nature above the water, I go to work and figure out what the bass want.
Bank Fishing Bait Selection
One of my go to baits right now is a jig. Tim gave me a green pumpkin jig made by KK Baits that has landed me a few solid bass just last week during the middle of the day working the bottom slowly. My second go-to bait during these hot August days is a 6.5 inch Zoom Pumpkin Chartreuse Trick Worm. When the sun begins to set and it’s almost dark, I use the new Machete Worm by Reaction Innovations, and it dominates!
Bass fishing in August isn’t all daunting and awful, but after you have walked and stood trial through the gauntlet and have learned to have patience when fishing this time of year, you’ll find success. Remember when you’re out fishing, your fishing, nothing else matters. Enjoy your time on the water, always learn, and master what your good at; perfect it.
Remember, catching a giant can happen at any time, you just have to put your head down, stand up tall, hone in your confidence, and fish the gauntlet.