Trophy-sized bass caught in Polk County lakes

Around Polk County

1 Around Lakeland, in Saddle Creek, bass bite along the banks with minnows, Rat-L-Traps and swim jigs, but the bite was hard. Bluegill and tilapia are pretty good on red worms. Around town, Lake Parker is good for bass on chatterbaits and Rat-L-Traps around submerged hydrilla. Flipping creature bait into cattails also becomes biting. Bonny Lake is good for bass on shallow plastic worms around pads and grass. Gibson Lake produces bass on ribbonworms around the structure at a depth of 5 to 6 feet. Crago and Gibson Lakes are good for spotting offshore minnows in 5 to 8 feet of water, reports Kyle Stafford of Phillips Bait and Tackle (863-666-2248).

Fish of the week

Largemouth Bass: Bass fishing is really good in the area. A good number of trophy sized fish have been caught this week and the fish are moving shallow.

hitting area, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

2 In Auburndale, Lake Juliana is good for bass up to 5-6 pounds and there are plenty of sleeping fish there. Creature bait, plastic worms, and live minnows all produce. Some shells bite red worms and dark-colored jigs there. Lake Ariana produces a good number of small bass on lipless lures. The speck sting is decent there. Around Lake Alfred, Haines, Rochelle and Alfred lakes have a good bite of bass. Some 8-9 lbs have been caught on minnows and lipless crankbaits. All three lakes have a good speck bite, and Rochelle also produces good-sized shell breakers, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box (863-956-4990).

Chris Speary, left, and Jessie Mizell had 28.28 pounds to win the Xtreme Bass Series Kissimmee Division tournament Feb. 13 on Lake Kissimmee.

3 In Winter Haven, the bass begins to rise less deeply around the southern range. Watermelon red plastic worms and chatterbaits occur around shoreline vegetation. A few are also still holding grass offshore, reports Capt. Jackson Williams of Action Bass Guide Service (863-326-3232). Channels produce stains and bass chase them around vents, Schelfo reports.

4 At Lake Hamilton, the bass bite activated in all three lakes but the big lake was the best with a good number of 4-5 lbs caught there. The bass starts to rise shallow. All three lakes also have a good speck sting and fish are starting to spawn, reports Hoppy’s Marine (863-439-7616).

Dylan Trevarth then grabbed that 6.90-pounder to win a big bass at the Polk County Bass Anglers Open Tournament on Feb. 12 at Lake Parker.

5 At Lake Marion near Haines City, speck anglers do well drifting minnows and fishing under a float in the early morning and afternoon. The spots are scattered all over the lake and some are starting to come up shallow, reports Eileen O’Leary at Bannon’s Fish Camp (863-422-1223).

6 At Pierce Lake, they start to catch a better number of bass in shallow water on the worms. The fish are fairly good sized, up to 6 lbs. A decent number of spots bite the minnows, mostly in the morning. The stains were deep, but are moving shallow toward the edges of the grass, reports Jennings Resort (863-439-3811).

Drew Carter, left, and Ed Stephens had 21.43 pounds and a big bass with an 8.09 pounds to win the Fishing Misfits tournament Feb. 12 in Lake Reedy.

7 At Lake Hatchineha, the speck bite is good and the Hourglass area is loaded with drifting boats with minnows. The bass moved shallow around the pads. Throw in a Houdini-colored Skinny Dipper early, later slow down with a watermelon red Senko with a ¼ oz. weight, reports Charlie Wynperle at Bridgemaster Fishing Products (863-676-1009).

8 At Lake Toho, water temperatures this week should push bass into shallow water. North Steer Beach and the area inside Brown’s Point should be good areas to target. Throwing a black and blue Senko at the flags and grass of Kissimmee will get the best bite. Speck anglers are getting good numbers in the deeper water offshore at the north end of the lake, reports Jay Turner of Jay’s Bass Bustin Guide Service. (407-908-4739).

David Harris had a big bass with that 10.32 pounds to help him and his partner Erik Tilson to a total weight of 23.61 pounds and a third-place finish at the Xtreme Bass Series Kissimmee Division tournament on Feb. 13 on the Kissimmee Lake.

9 At Lake Kissimmee, “giant slab” spots are captured on templates inside grass lines and around pads. Try a pink and white Muck City Jig for the best bite. Bars “marched” to the bottom with the next full moon. Cast early to any isolated cover with a white bait and trailer and you’ll find the fish. Then later run a junebug colored speed worm and work it slowly. A bass weighing more than 10 pounds was weighed in at the Xtreme Bass Series tournament over the weekend, reports Wynperle.

10 At Walk-in-the-Water Lake, speck anglers limit while drifting offshore minnows. Bass fishing is still slow. A local tournament last weekend produced a winning weight of just 12 pounds, Wynperle reports.

Kip Lehman, left, and Chad Lehman had 6.37 pounds and big bass with a 4.39 pounds to win the Freedom Bass Anglers Tournament Feb. 12 at John's Lake.

11 At Crooked Lake in Babson Park, the bite of the bass has really taken over. One of our anglers caught 29 fish on junebug colored Senkos on a trip this week. The largest weighed 6.5 pounds. Another local angler, Steve Ater of Babson Park, caught a 10.3-pound bass on a swim bait on Tuesday. On Saturday, the Zephyrills Bass Club tournament produced a big bass of 9.15 pounds and a winning weight of 15.13 pounds. Good sized spots bite around a depth of 26 feet, but the numbers are low. They should be moving to spawn, reports Cindy Ritchison at Bob’s Landing (863-638-1912).

12 Frost proof, Lake Clinch produces bass on minnows around the edges of the grass. The speck sting is passable in deep water on minnows. Lake Reedy produces a good number of spotting while drifting open water minnows and some also bite into the pads. Bass bite is best there on minnows and plastics around the edges of the grass along the south shore. Lake Arbuckle has a decent bite on open-water minnows, reports Jim Childress of Big Bass Bait & Tackle (352-207-7520).

Polk County Freshwater Fishing Map

13 In the phosphate mines near Mulberry, bass lie in the hydrilla, but with constant fronts fish move in and out. Look for fish in 2 to 8 feet of water around sandbars with a clean bottom or around hydrilla. Black Senkos with blue tail color and junebug red vibe tail worms get the best bite. A few dots bite, but no big numbers, reports Danny Hamm of Stones Bait & Tackle (863-940-4898).

Comments are closed.