Warmer weather picked up bass bite in the area

Fish of the week

Largemouth Bass – Warmer weather has picked up bass bite in the area. Good numbers and a few trophy sized fish were reported this week.

Strike area1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Around Polk County

1 Around Lakeland, at Saddle Creek, bass bit surface frogs early, then Rat-L-Traps and spinnerbaits around island tips and along grass lines. At Lake Parker, a good number of bluegills and shellfish bite, especially on herbivorous shrimp. Blazing junebug-colored Googan Baits worms are productive for bass, reports Phillips Bait and Tackle (863-666-2248). In Tenoroc, bass fishing was best on Butterfly, Cemetery, Fish Hook, Horseshoe, Hydrilla, Legs, Tern 3, 5, 10, A, and C lakes. Halfmoon, Lost Lake East, 4, B, and F lakes had also high catch rates. . Last week, 57 large bass over 19 inches were reported, including 10 fish over 22 inches. Speck fishing was best in Horseshoe, Legs, Picnic, 10, A, and B lakes. The best lakes for sunfish were Derby, Horseshoe, Legs, Picnic, Pine, and 5. Catfish were better in Cemetery lakes. , Derby, Legacy and A, reports FWC biologist Paolo Pecora.

Freshwater fishing

2 In Auburndale, Lake Juliana produces good sized bass weighing up to 8 lbs. The lipless baits and the northern minnow colored Bass Assassin Vapor Shad are the hot baits. Lots of bowfins still biting there this week. Around Lake Alfred, Lake Haines produces a decent number of bass and a few bluegills. Lake Alfred produces good sized bluegill sunfish and a good number of bass weighing up to 5 pounds. Lake Rochelle is much the same, but also produces a good bite of shellcracker, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box (863-956-4990).

3 At the Winter Shelter, Lake Summit has been good for bass. A 10-pounder was caught this week, as well as some good numbers in the 5-pound range and also a lot of school kids. Lake Cannon produces shellcracker and bluegill from the public wharf. Lake Shipp is good for bluegill and catfish. Running water around the range also produces good numbers of catfish, Schelfo reports.

4 At Lake Hamilton, bass bite is pretty decent on the Hamilton chain on plastic worms and swimming baits along the outer edges of the grass. Topwaters produces some early bass. All three lakes produce bluegill sunfish and shellfish in the pads of herbivorous shrimp, crickets and red worms, reports Matt Ingram of Hoppy’s Marine (863-439-7616).

Josh Whitchard, left, and Jacob Shou had 15.33 pounds to win the Thursday Night Open Series tournament on March 31 on the Winter Haven South Chain.  Whitchard and Shou also tied with the team of Tanner Pope and Kevin Pope for big bass at 6.71 pounds.

5 At Lake Marion near Haines City, a few good bass stringers up to 4 pounds have been caught on plastic worms around the Kissimmee grass this week. Good mix of shellcracker and bluegill bite grass and pads, Ingram reports

6 At Pierce Lake, the bass action picks up, but it’s mostly “schoolies”. The sting is spread around the lake and the plastic worms along the grass lines produce the best numbers. A few points still bite deep and anglers get around 10 fish per trip. Not as many shellcrackers were caught this week. The fish came out of the pads to submerge a little deeper, but they should come back shallow the next full moon, reports Chris Beasley at Jennings Resort (863-439-3811).

7 At Lake Hatchineha, a few local anglers still catch spots on minnows at first light in Gator Cove. Bass still bites into scattered pads and grass. “The fish are mostly small buck bass, but the occasional big fish will surprise you. Try the new junebug colored Bass Assassin Woopah Craw bait,” reports Charlie Wynperle of Bridgemaster Fishing Products (863-676-1009).

Mark Kummelman, left, and Keith Katrien had 16.75 pounds and big bass with a 6.65 pounds to win the Bass Bandits of Brandon tournament April 2 on the Harris Channel.  PHOTO WITH COURTESY/LINDSEY ENGLISH

8 At Lake Toho, offshore hydrilla still produces bass in many areas around the lake on chatterbaits, jerkbaits and Rat-L-Traps. With the recent rainy weather, the flowing water areas are home to a large number of fish. Bass also bite on the outer grass lines along the west side of the lake. Rigs near and around Whaley’s Landing produce Senkos and Moats. Bluegill are also caught in pads there. Stains are caught in running water and around offshore structures such as shell bars and brush piles, reports Grady Johnson (407-205-6719).

9 At Lake Kissimmee, Bluegill, and shellcracker always bite just outside the pads on redworms at a depth of about 3 to 4 feet, reports Loel Johnson of Dr. Crappie Outdoors (863-853-0299). Shellcracker are still thick in the pads. Try the shallows from Lemon Point to Sturm Island for the best numbers. The water current “rips” along the river. For good bass action, try Carolina crankbaits and rigged worms at Cypress Canal’s “Goal Posts” and at the mouth of the canal that empties into the lake, reports Wynperle.

10 Lakeside Walk-in-the-Water, bass feed on shad in the grass in the morning. Throw a white-colored Zoom Horny Toad and keep it on the surface. Bluegill sunfish and shellcrackers are always caught in the pads and grass of crickets and red worms, reports Wynperle.

Charles Stephens and Nate Agliano had 16.60 pounds to win the Happy Hookers Bass Club Tournament on April 2 in Lake Reedy.  PHOTO WITH COURTESY/SCOTT JACKSON

11 Crooked Lake at Babson Park, a local tournament this week produced a big bar of 7.9 pounds and a winning weight of 15.14 pounds. Most of the fish were in the 5-6 pound class and many male bucks were caught as well. Many of the larger bass were caught at the south end. Good numbers were caught in the creek around the marina and many school children on the US side 27. The docks at the north end also produce a good bite. Creature bait and shallow frog bait produced the best action. Many shells and bluegills sting the west shore opposite Wirt’s Point. The shoreline around Wirt’s Point and to the north produces good numbers of bluegills. A few spots bite while drifting at a depth of 20 feet, reports Cindy Ritchison at Bob’s Landing (863-638-1912).

12 frost proof, Lake Clinch produces bluegill on red worms in 15 feet of water at the bottom. The specs there are still quite good while drifting open water minnows 25-30 feet deep. Bass action is good on the west side on plastic worms, swimbaits and shiners. Some bass still spawn along this side as well. Reedy Lake is good for bass while minnows drift along the edges of the grass at the south end and some bass still spawn there in the grass. The bluegill sting there is pretty good on crickets under a mid-depth float in about 5-6 feet of water. Red worms on the bottom also produce. Lake Arbuckle is producing bluegill on crickets in the pads and a few biting spots there in the moving water around Reedy Creek, reports Jim Childress of Big Bass Bait & Tackle (352-207-7520).

13 In the phosphates near Mulberry, the bass are of course biting on just about everything and the fish are feeding “like crazy right now”. Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and red shad or junebug colored plastic worms are all in production. Water banks about 3 to 4 feet deep and open water about 8 to 10 feet deep, around bars and islands produce the best numbers. Danny Hamm of Stones Bait & Tackle (863-940-4898) reports Danny Hamm of Stones Bait & Tackle (863-940-4898).

Compiled by Michael Wilson / Ledger Correspondent

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