Fish of the Week
Largemouth Bass — The bass bite remains good for area anglers, but the fish are starting to move out to deeper water with the warming temps.
Strike Zone1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Around Polk County
1 Around Lakeland, at Tenoroc, bass fishing was best on lakes Derby, Fish Hook, Hydrilla, 2, 3, A, C and F. Lakes Coronet, Horseshoe, Legs, 5 and B also had high catch rates. This past week, 44 large bass over 19 inches were reported, with eight fish measuring over 22 inches. Speck fishing was best at Lake Horseshoe. The best lakes for panfish were Cemetery, Derby, Horseshoe and 5. Catfish were biting best at lakes Cemetery, Derby, Legs, Picnic, 5 and B, reports FWC biologist Paolo Pecora. At Saddle Creek, good numbers of bass are biting around the islands on shiners under a float. Junebug color Texas rigged worms and trick worms are producing bass on the rock piles and ledges. Bluegill and tilapia are biting red worms along the banks. Around town, Lake Parker is producing bass on chatterbaits in the hydrilla and while flipping creature baits in the cattails. Good numbers of bluegill and shellcracker are biting there in the pads on red worms and grass shrimp. Lake Crago has a good bluegill bite on grass shrimp up against the cattails, along the banks. Lake Hollingsworth is producing bass around vegetation on shiners under a float, reports Kyle Stafford at Phillips Bait and Tackle (863-666-2248).
2 At Auburndale, the bluegill bite is decent at Lake Ariana. Around Lake Alfred, lakes Haines, Alfred, and Rochelle are all producing good numbers of bluegill on red worms and crickets. Shellcracker are also biting red worms at Rochelle. All three lakes are producing bass up to 8 pounds and shiners are getting the best numbers, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box (863-956-4990).
3 At Winter Haven, lakes Eloise and Howard have a good bass bite around the offshore brush piles on deep running crankbaits and 10-inch worms. Artificials are producing bass along the deeper grass edges at Lake Cannon, reports Capt. Jackson Williams of Action Bass Guide Service 863-326-3232. The canals around the south chain are producing bluegill and bass are chasing the panfish around the mouths, reports Schelfo.
4 At Lake Hamilton, bass are biting early and late in day along the grass lines on flukes, swimbaits and topwaters. Structure in deeper water and the shell bars are producing through the day. Bluegill are biting around the lily pads on the big lake, reports Matt Ingram at Hoppy’s Marine (863-439-7616).
5 At Lake Marion near Haines City, running water is starting to produce some bass up around Marion Creek. Plastic worms in the Kissimmee grass and the little bit of hydrilla left on the lake are also producing a few bass. Some bluegill are biting around the pads along the east shore, reports Ingram.
6 At Lake Pierce, bluegill and a mix of shellcracker are biting on crickets and red worms around the edges of the grass and pads. Bass are biting shiners along the edges of the grass lines, reports at Jennings Resort (863-439-3811).
7 At Lake Hatchineha, bluegill mixed with a few shellcracker are being caught inside the grass lines across from Port Hatchineha. The bass bite is starting to pick up. Throw a white color popping frog along the pad lines early in Gator Cove. Then later on, “get out the flipping stick and work the grass lines with a Bass Assassin Woopah Craw creature bait,” reports Charlie Wynperle at Bridgemaster Fishing Products (863-676-1009).
8 At Lake Toho, bass are being caught in the running water around the lock going into Lake Cypress. Topwater lures such as a frog or a Zara Spook are producing during the early mornings. Later in the day, chatterbaits are getting the bite in areas with hydrilla scattered around the lake. Bluegill are spawning in the Kissimmee grass right now and the grass lines are a good place target big bass while flipping. Shellcracker are biting in pads on red worms, reports Grady Johnson (407-205-6719).
9 At Lake Kissimmee, the mayfly hatch is going on and the bluegill are “tearing up” the grass lines. Try the area around Sturm Island and 27 Palms for good action. Bass are hitting frogs and swimbaits around scattered grass and pads early in the morning. Look for bluegill in the grass and then target the bass while flipping a green pumpkin color jig with a junebug color trailer. The north side of Brahma Island and Lemon Point should be good areas to target, reports Wynperle.
10 At Lake Walk-in-the-Water, throw a Gambler Baits EZ Swimmer in Houdini color at first light for bass up to 5 pounds. The bluegill action is heating up. Drop a cricket in the pads and “hold on,” reports Wynperle.
11 At Crooked Lake at Babson Park, plenty of schoolie size bass have been caught this week on junebug color 10-inch plastic worms. One angler had 30 fish in two hours on Monday, but none of the bass were over 4 pounds. Red color creature baits and worms also produced good numbers of bass over the weekend. Some bass up to 4 pounds were caught along the grass lines on shiners. A panfish angler had decent numbers of bluegill off of Wirts’ Point, late one afternoon on red worms and crickets, reports Cindy Ritchison at Bob’s Landing (863-638-1912).
12 At Frostproof, bass are biting at Lake Clinch on trick worms and Carolina rigged worms on the brush piles. Drifting shiners is also producing there along the west shoreline. Bluegill and some shellcracker are biting at Clinch on red worms on the bottom in 8 feet of water. Lake Reedy is producing bass up to 6 pounds on crankbaits and shiners along the edges of the grass. Bluegill are biting at Reedy on red worms on the bottom at 6 foot. Lake Arbuckle is good for bass on big, dark color worms and shiners around the pads. Bluegill are also biting in the pads on red worms and crickets. Some bluegill are also biting around the Cypress trees at the south shore, reports Jim Childress of Big Bass Bait & Tackle (352-207-7520).
13 In the phosphate pits near Mulberry, the bass have moved out to deeper water rock bars and sandbar points. Anglers should target deeper water for the bigger fish, as most of the fish up shallow are schoolie size. Watermelon red color, 10-inch ribbon tail worms are producing bass up to 8 pounds. Panfish action is pretty slow, reports Danny Hamm of Bull Bay Tackle Company. (863-937-3292).
Compiled By: Michael Wilson / Ledger Correspondent