Sea bass bite slows down, speckled perch bite steady

Around Polk County

1 Around Lakeland, in Tenoroc, bass fishing was best on Fish Hook, Halfmoon, Shop, 2, 5 and A lakes. Horseshoe, 3 and B lakes also had high catch rates. Last week, 14 large bass over 19 inches were reported. The largest bass measured nearly 27 inches. Speck fishing was best in Cemetery, Halfmoon, Hydrilla and 4 lakes. Halfmoon, Picnic and 5 lakes had the best bite of panfish. The catfish bite was better in Derby and Picnic lakes, reports FWC biologist Paolo Pecora. At Saddle Creek, bass bite is quite good on minnows under trees and around brush along the banks. Spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps are produced in eelgrass. Some bluegills sting red worms along the banks. Around town, Crago, Hollingsworth and Parker lakes are good for flies on deep-caught minnows. Rat-L-Traps and Zara Spooks produce bass around offshore grass and submerged hydrilla. Flip cattails with a Gambler Fat Ace senko-style bait also produced on area lakes, reports Kyle Stafford of Phillips Bait and Tackle (863-666-2248).

Fish of the week

Speckled Perch: Cooler weather this week has slowed bass bite, but speckled perch fishing remains stable.

Strike area: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,

2 In Auburndale, Lake Juliana produces minnow spots around riparian vegetation. Around Alfred Lake, Haines and Rochelle lakes produce a good number of spots with some limitations. Chartreuse-colored minnows and jigs get bitten while drifting in deeper water and fishing this shallow, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box (863-956-4990).

3 In Winter Haven, the grass off Cannon and Mirror Lakes produces bass on chatterbaits, lipless crankbaits, and 10-inch worms. The edges of the Kissimmee grass and the mouths of the canals also produce bass. Deeper holes on the chain, about 15 to 20 feet deep, produce spots. A few spots also bite into pads and grass, reports Capt. Jackson Williams of Action Bass Guide Service (863-326-3232). Cannon, Howard and Shipp lakes are good for spotting minnows along the shoreline and while drifting deeper water, Schelfo reports.

4 At Lake Hamilton, speckles bite minnows and jigs on all three lakes. The fish were shallow, but moved deeper with the cooler weather. A good number of bass were caught, but that bite also slowed down a bit from the front, reports Matt Ingram of Hoppy’s Marine (863-439-7616).

Ken Sharpless, left, and Jacob Eaton had 21.00 pounds and Eaton took a big bass with an 8.20 pounds to win the Bass Bandits of Brandon tournament Jan. 22 on the Kissimmee Channel.

5 At Lake Marion near Haines City, before the front the points had started to come up shallow and most of the males were caught. The bass bite was decent while the plastic worms worked slowly. This week’s front, however, slowed the bite, Ingram reports.

6 At Pierce Lake, a few dots bite, but the numbers are low. Some of the spots bite into the pads, but some are still caught while drifting in open water. Weather fronts slowed bass biting, but a few fish were caught on plastic worms, reports Jennings Resort (863-439-3811).

Solo angler Andrew Hall had 22.02 pounds to claim first place in the Xtreme Bass Series Kissimmee Division tournament Jan. 23 on Lake Kissimmee.  PROVIDED BY BRIAN STAHL

7 At Lake Hatchineha, speck anglers should try a chartreuse and white colored Shinee Hineee Jig in the pads at the back of Gator Cove. The bass is shallow in the reeds. Flip a creature bait for the best action, reports Charlie Wynperle of Bridgemaster Fishing Products (863-676-1009).

8 At Lake Toho, the cooler weather slowed the bass’ bite. Anglers should try to return carpets of hyacinth around Whaleys Landing or the area inside Browns Point. Offshore hydrilla still produces bass on jerkbaits and Rat-L-Traps. The south end of the lake offers the best action. Speck anglers still drift with minnows in deeper areas of the lake, reports Jay Turner of Jay’s Bass Bustin Guide Service. (407-908-4739).

Shane Walls took a big bass with an 8.10 pounds at the Xtreme Bass Series Kissimmee Division tournament Jan. 23 on Lake Kissimmee.

9 At Lake Kissimmee, spots bite into the pads mixed with grass. Anglers must keep moving until they find the correct group of pads that hold the fish. Bass fishing is picking up again. Fish are spawning all over the lake and several bass over 8 pounds have been weighed in the past week. Anglers should concentrate in shallow waters, reports Wynperle.

10 At Walk-in-the-Water Lake, the spots moved shallow. “Drop a minnow into the pads and hold on.” Before the front, the bass had moved shallow. As it warms up, anglers should start by covering the water with a white-colored Zoom Horny Toad. When you locate the fish, switch to a Senko and slow down the presentation, reports Wynperle.

Polk County Freshwater Fishing Map

11 Crooked Lake at Babson Park, day or night speck fishing is good on minnows at a depth of 20 to 25 feet. The fish are of good size, but there were no limits. Bass lay on the US 27 side, but most males, male bass bite, and not too many big females yet, reports Cindy Ritchison at Bob’s Landing (863-638-1912). Bass weighing up to 7 pounds have been caught drifting minnows in open water, reports Jim Childress of Big Bass Bait & Tackle (352-207-7520).

12 Frost proof, the cooler weather pushed the spots deeper and Arbuckle, Clinch and Reedy lakes are all producing while drifting in open water with minnows. Lake Reedy was the best for bass while drifting with minnows. The bass’ artificial bite has been slow this week, reports Childress.

13 In the phosphate mines near Mulberry, the weather fronts really slowed down the fishing. There was low bedding before the week time. Some of the fish were biting soft plastics, like a Christmas tree-colored Bitters Baits 10-inch ribbon worm. A shad red-colored Zoom Ol monster, worked very slowly, was also producing, reports Danny Hamm of Stones Bait & Tackle (863-940-4898).

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