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Top 5 Baits for Florida Bass Fishing | Tharp’s Simple Approach

Keeping it simple (KISS) is how Florida-based bass pro Randall Tharp likes to operate. We sat down with Tharp to break down his top 5 rod setups and techniques for catching Florida bass in nearly all situations. Beyond discussing core tackle, Tharp talks some technique specifics that, taken together, will enhance your efficiency and fish-catching success in this land of grass. *Tackle links at the bottom.

Tharp’s top 5 bass fishing setups for Florida bass:
  1. Flipping and pitching setup. It’s no surprise that flipping and pitching reigns supreme in this land of dense vegetation, and it happens to be Tharp’s favorite way to catch bass. Straight braid, heavy tungsten and a big rod is the best way to penetrate the cover and extract big Florida-strain bass from dense mats of grass.
  2. Topwater prop bait. An iconic lure in Florida yet surprising to some, a trebled topwater prop bait pitched into pockets excels at calling bass from a distance and triggering vicious strikes. Tharp prefers throwing it out in calm and protected areas then working it with alternating twitches and pauses.
  3. Swim jigs. Swim jigs get the nod when you need to cover a lot of water and work different depth zones, all with a single bait. Swim jigs allow Tharp to cover 1- to 4-feet deep with a simple 3/8-ounce swim jig and trailer. His preferred setup (linked below) resembles a fleeing golden shiner.
  4. Swimming a worm. A Texas-rigged worm with a light tungsten weight excels around lily pads or when needlefish are in the area. It’s a subtle presentation that can be fished clean through grass. Choose your weight based on the depth you’re fishing — a 3/16-ounce sinker is the best all-arounder.
  5. Bladed jig. What bass lure listing is complete without a darn ChatterBait or other bladed jig option? Tharp prefers bladed jigs when targeting bass around submergent hydrilla. He has the most success with dark colors like black and blue and green pumpkin.

Check out all of the Florida fishing license info here before planning your trip.