What do Bass Like to Eat in the Winter in Florida?
Florida water temps are dropping. What baits (or lures) are the best?
What do bass like in the winter?
Before we address the question, know that we're live bait people. When we can - and if it's appropriate - we use live bait. For largemouth bass that can be small live minnows, worms, or even crayfish if they're around. But all in all and day-by-day, largemouth bass are lure fish. You will catch just as many of them and as often and under as many conditions as live baits will perform as well or even better than smelly dead or almost dead live baits.
As far as lures, we love plastic worms, we love them with torpedo leads and we love them all by themselves (they sink slower and are best in really shallow afternoon waters when the fish might come up into the warmer water). They will catch largemouth anywhere in the country anytime of the year. In the winter the fish are slower, so fish them slower.
The second best baits in the winter are soft plastic baits fish slow. That's not to say that a fast-fished spinner bait moving fifty miles an hour across the pads won't get some suicidal bass to hit it, but we like slow-fished soft baits when the water cools. The fish seem to cooperate more. We also tend to use longer (fluorocarbon) leaders in the winter, too.
And don't forget - use two wet hands for pictures and hold that fish's ass up. You let it hang for the picture you break its jaw structure and its chances of living go right out the window.
They do a great job of imitating dying baitfish and are a key way to catch winter bass. Soft-plastic baits fished slowly on a drop-shot rig are another top choice in the winter. Fish these slower than you would other times of the year and experiment with both the size of bait as well as your leader length.