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While some of you may still be shoveling snow and daydreaming about open water, bass anglers in the extreme south are already plucking big female largemouths off beds in places like Florida, South Texas, and southern California. And one of the best days to bed-fish in this region, according to our expert, is just a few days from now, on March 1st.

If you’re lucky enough to live in this part of the country, then it’s past time to your bass rods and bait boxes ready. If not, then it may be time to stuff that gear into the car and make a road trip. Bass are moving shallow in these waters, and the females are stuffed with eggs and as big as they’re going to be all year. To cash in, you just need to know when to be on the water and which baits and techniques to use. And we’ve got just the person to tell you.

The Expert: Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Scott Martin 

Bassmasters Elite Series pro Scott Martin lands a largemouth bass at boatside
Martin lands a nice largemouth on his way to a tournament win on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. Dalton Tumblin / Bassmaster

Few anglers have more experience fishing south Florida—or a more esteemed bass-fishing lineage—than Scott Martin of Clewiston, Florida. Martin is a world-champion angler, having won the Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, as well as many other titles, while amassing over 3 million in tournament winnings. He is also the son of fellow famed Floridian, Roland Martin.

We sat down with Marin to discuss the best day of the spawn for the southernmost regions of the United States, including south Florida where he does so much of his fishing. Martin kicked off the conversation by laying out the need for stable conditions. 

Regional Spawning Conditions for March 1st

In many parts of the country, anglers keep a close eye on the moon phase for ideal spawning conditions, but Martin says that this is less important in the extreme south. “Around here, good spawning conditions are more dependent on water temperature and rising stable conditions than they are on the moon.”

Since the water is primarily shallow from central to south Florida, the weather can have a big effect on water temperatures, and because the fish are predominantly Florida-strain largemouths (which are notoriously temperamental and do not like cold water), unstable weather can put them down. In December, January, and early February, cold fronts often push through every week or so, Marin says. As a result, the fish’s main push into the shallows and onto their beds doesn’t happen until mid-February to early March, after that rough weather sorts itself out. “I would assume that all the southernmost fisheries (in the US) are more water-temperature and weather-condition dependent for the spawn instead of the moon.”

Martin recently put all this knowledge to the test on Okeechobee, and it paid huge dividends as he punched his ticket to the 2025 Bassmaster Classic with an Open win on his home waters. A prolonged cold front lingered in the area for two weeks prior to the even, which held a huge wave of bass up from spawning. 

Pro bass fishermen hold of fish at the podium of a recent Bassmasters event
Scott Martin at his recent win at Okeechobee, with his famous father, Roland, left, helping to show off the day’s catch. Dalton Tumblin / Bassmaster

“The water temperature was still pretty chilly. It was like 62, 63, 64, 65 degrees all through practice. But, it warmed up just enough through practice that those fish started moving back in, which was one of the reasons I caught so many big ones.”

Bass should already be up on the beds as far south as Okeechobee. But moving towards the Kissimmee Chain, Marin pointed the first of March as a great time to look for spawners in that part of Florida and all along that latitudinal line across the country.

Top Spawn Baits and Tactics for March 1st

Standing in a boat, Pro bass angler Scott Martin hooks a bass as a cameraman films him
Start by looking for bass beds around vegetation in shallow flats, bays, and coves. Bassmaster

The first key is to find spawning bass. The best spots will often have beds you can locate with the naked eye by looking for light-colored ovals left after bass fan their tails to clear an area—or make a bed—to deposit eggs into. Or you can look for other visual indicators, such as certain types of vegetation. For example, arrowheads, lily pads, and pencil reeds all grow better in areas with hard bottoms—which is the type of bottom bass prefer for making beds.

When you find beds, or areas where you think they should be, you can visibly look for bass on the beds and pitch your soft plastics to them, or blind cast to where you believe a bed to be. Then slowly work your bait to try to tempt the bass into biting. 

A blue-and-black ChatterBait of left, and brown Bandito Bug bass bait or right against white background
Two of Martin’s got-to baits for spawning bass are the original Z-Man ChatterBait and Googan Baits’ Bandito Bug. Bass Pro Shops

As for bait selection, Martin has a few favorites from Lake Seminole all the way down to his home waters of Okeechobee. He likes to throw a swimbait or ChatterBait when covering water in search of spawners. Once he finds them, he says, one of the most productive ways to pester big shallow spawners into biting is to target isolated reed clumps and other cover near a bed with a twin-prop bait. When he wants to slow down to fish a bed more thoroughly, he goes to a Fluke-style bait or straight-tail worm for casting, or he’ll pitch a Texas-rigged Bandito Bug. 

Whether you’re looking to fish in south Florida, like Martin, or any of the lower parts of Texas and California, you’re going to want to be on the water the end of this week and into the weekend to catch the hottest action. It’ll still be a little while for many of us, but the best part of the spawn is about to be underway in the extreme south, and if you live there, or can get there, you won’t want to miss it.