Largemouth Bass Hot Spots
|I have included these maps to assist anglers and provide insight into general areas where bass may be located on the Harris Chain. Of course these spots are just one part of the fishing equation. Bass migrate seasonally, moving with forage, and with weather patterns. I'm fishing these lakes almost daily, so I have an advantage following these migrations. Florida strain largemouth bass are challenging fish to catch on the artificial baits that I encourage my clients to use. Like tournament fishermen we enjoy the challenge, but we understand the fish aren't always jumping in the boat. There's always some luck involved, but it takes knowledge and skill to catch them consistently. The various lures we use, along with their applications and presentations are also critical elements of that successful fishing equation. It's easy enough to learn more about how we catch these beautiful bass. Simply call me in advance and book a trip. A party of two or three is ideal. The prices are reasonable, especially when split two or three ways. I'm glad to share my many years of experience on both Lake Champlain and The Harris Chain with fishermen of all ages. I'll teach you tactics, tips and skills to expand your understanding of this challenging species and this beautiful fishery. I have an ego and it works in your favor because its my job to put you on fish! I hope to hear from you. ~ Captain Mick Maynard|
Hot spots by the number:
1 - The Buzzard Beach boat ramp hosts tournaments weekly and many fish are released on site. These retreads don't typically venture away immediately. Fish can be caught along adjacent shorelines on both sides of the ramp's parking lot outcropping. A small canal about 400 yards to the west holds bedding fish during the spawn and some resident fish year round.
2 - The mouth of the Dead River, its delta and the larger bay to the north are well known revolving door areas. All shorelines and off shore vegetation including the grass island hold great potential. A slight current flows into Lake Eustis from the river. There is a deep hole just to the south of the grass island about 20 feet in depth. Hybrid striped bass and the occasional catfish are caught in this area as well. A short distance up river on the right you'll find Palm Gardens. The venue serves food daily and hosts a popular seafood raw-bar on weekends. Further up river the bridge and several small adjacent canals are good areas to dissect. Just beyond the bridge on the right is the Hurricane Grill, another popular restaurant. Large fields of pads beyond the bridge also hold bass and crappie.
3 - A long residential canal leads out into the small bay in this region. Fish spawn up in the canal and like all these passages, they are high percentage areas.
4 - The Bassville Park canals line up in a series along this western shoreline. These canals hold robust females laden with spawn during the winter and spring months. The canals are interspersed with many boat docks where fish also take shelter at various times. This is a great shoreline to fish completely and thoroughly!
5 - The mouth of Haynes (aka Haines) Creek has a few nearby canals, plenty of moving water and vegetation to hold fish. As one makes their way down the meandering waterway toward the Eugene J Burrell navigation lock they'll find passages leading off the main creek to backwater areas and small lakes like those of the Mid Florida Lakes Housing Association where Shaw Grigsby won the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament sightfishing several large bedding bass. Fishing below the lock and its adjacent spillway is productive as the moving water makes for fertile fishing grounds.
6 - This bay and backwater area is known as the Gator Hole. There is a series of clear water canals to the west between Haynes Creek and this location that also deserve mention. Waters on the north shore of the lake tend to get more direct sun and warm up earlier than other shorelines in spring. Some of the earlier waves of spawning fish appear along the north shore, its canals and bays.
7 - This nook or bay leads into a significant residential canal. Shorelines adjacent to the canal mouth and the docks and grasses along the banks can be productive. Spawning fish make their way back into the small "lake" at the end of this canal.
8 - The shallow often hidden cut at this point on the shoreline goes under a small bridge and beyond into Trout Lake. Water here holds fish that move in and out of this small spawning lake. Down the shore line to the west is the sailing club with many sailboat moorings that provide hard structure otherwise lacking in this area. To the east are the city of Eustis docks which also provide good vertical structure and cover for bass.
9 - Located here is another small canal that leads back into the modestly sized Eustis boat launch, yet another spawning area. Water outside the canal drops off to a considerable depth.
10 - This location is less about the shoreline and more pertaining to the deeper water in the area. In 2017 Bassmaster Elite pro Jesse Wiggins won the first Southern Open in this area catching staging fish by throwing a shaky head worm on top of the shelf, and along the drop off sloping into this deep hole. He also employed a citrus colored Jenko CD20 crankbait on the steep slope and along the bottom of the drop.
11 - Small, short backwater residential canals in this area can produce surprising fish of quality during pre-spawn and spawning periods.
12 - Yet another clear water passageway is located here with all the fish attracting attributes of a typical residential canal.
13 - A small lagoon marks this corner of the lake. Fish spawn here and stage here, moving in and out of its thick vegetation. Lakeside Bait and Tackle is accessible in this lagoon by boat.
14 - The mouth of the Dora canal is a busy location for boat traffic and for fish. Like any waterway that connects the lakes, it has moving water making it significantly more fertile. This is why fisheries managers have constructed a public fishing pier here and placed man made fish habs in the water to attract and hold fish. Tour boats move through the canal daily often coming out into the delta, circling, and quickly returning back up stream toward Lake Dora. Don't be too discouraged by the seemingly perpetual flow of boats because some fish have come to recognize the turbulence as a dinner bell. The kayos of the flotilla oxygenates the water, stirs up grass shrimp and other organisms, and activates feeding patterns in fish. It takes patience to fish withing this narrow canal among the myriad of vessels, but once in the beautiful meandering waterway its easy to see why Hollywood producers chose to film scenes here from early Tarzan movies, and from the 1951 adventure film The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.
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