Largemouth bass—The bass bite is good for anglers in the Polk County area. Moving water from hurricanes is especially productive and fish are actively feeding for the next spawn.
Around Polk County
1 Around Lakeland, in Saddle Creek, bass are biting the grass on chatterbaits, and live shiners are producing a few fish on island points and along the banks. Good numbers of catfish and tilapia are also biting on the banks. Around town, specks are biting the grass color on Fearless shrimp jigs in Lake Parker and Tenoroc. Minnows and prawns also produce spots. The deeper waters of Lake Hollingsworth are also good for spotfish, reports Phillips Bait and Tackle (863-666-2248).
2 In Auburndale, Lake Ariana is producing bass on lipless crankbaits, but no big fish. Most are school size. Ariana is also producing spots at night as she drifts pieces under the lights. Around the Lake Alfred area, Haines and Rochelle lakes are good for spots, both day and night on fish. Chartreuse colored jigs also produce a few fish. Haines Lake, however, produces larger fish, and Haines also produces good-sized bluefish. Lake Alfred has a good bass bite on live shiners and there is a good speck bite at night, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box (863-956-4990).
3 In Winter Haven, since the hurricane, the water running around the south chain is producing good numbers of bass. Channels are also good for bass and spots. Both Cannon and Shipp lakes are producing good numbers of speck while drifting in open, deep water, Schelfo reports.
4 In Lake Hamilton, bass are forming and this pattern should continue into the next generation. Rat-L-Trap style crankbaits and spinnerbaits should produce the best numbers. Spots have been pushed to the deeper water ledges and hard bottom. Minnows and machines, with fish tips, are producing on the bottom. Drifting fish higher in the water column are also producing a few.
5 At Lake Marion, near Haines City, both the bass and speck bite is best around areas with hydrilla and clear water vegetation. Hydralla and heavy cover are especially productive for bass. The mouth of Marion Creek is producing bass with runoff from the recent rain. Areas within the creek are producing largemouth bass, spotfish and panfish. When you find a decent bite, focus on that area and some decent numbers can be caught, reports Barberree.
6 At Pierce Lake, good numbers of spot are biting from the island in front of the resort south to Trout Point. Live fish while moving in water 4 to 5 feet deep produce the best bite. The bass bite is still slow since the storm and not many anglers are targeting them, reports Jennings Resort (863-439-3811).
7 At Hatchineha Lake, panfish anglers are still actively drifting the hourglass for crumbs. Moving water flows faster after Hurricane Nicole. Cast a chrome and blue Rat-L-Trap, or other crankbait-style lures, in creek mouths for the best bite, reports Charlie Wynperle of Bridgemaster Fishing Products.
8 And Lake Toho, bass are biting shallow in the upper waters along the shorelines in the early morning. As the day progresses, the offshore hydrilla is producing a good bass bite on Carolina rigged plastics and crankbaits along the grass edges. Bass are still biting in the running water around the lock and in Shingle Creek, reports Grady Johnson (407-205-6719).
9 On Lake Kissimmee, speck anglers are catching good numbers on Muck City Tackle machines along grass lines. The bass are starting to move into the bass. Throw a Christmas-colored speed worm down the kicker paths for good action and big fish up to 8 pounds, Wynperle reports.
10 At Walk-in-the-Water Lake, the speck bite is picking up after this past full moon and shorter days. Take advantage of the windy weather to cross the lake with live fish for good action. The bass bite is good at first light and early morning on white and chartreuse spinnerbaits, Wynperle reports.
11 At Crooked Lake in Babson Park, the bass bite is picking up now that conditions are settling in after the storm. The bass bite is consistent on both artificial and live bait. The biggest bass since the storm have been 7lbs and there are plenty of school size fish biting 1-2lbs.
There is a good bite for shellcracker on red worms and some limits have been spotted. Some good sized fish have been caught this week as well, only 13 inches. The bite is starting to pick up again since the storm. The best bite has been at night, but still no limits. “Hopefully this next cold front will really turn them on,” reports Cindy Ritchison at Bob’s Landing (863-638-1912).
On Monday, an 8-pound bass was caught on a live shiner off US 27. Spots are biting during the day in deep water to about 25 feet around Wirt’s Point. Little Crooked Lake is producing good-sized walleye while drifting in 8 to 10 feet of water, reports Jim Childress of Big Bass Bait & Tackle (352-207-7520).
12 Frost proof, Lake Reedy is producing bass in the moving water coming in with squarebill crankbaits, Carolina rigs, spinnerbaits and live shiners. Clinch also have a good bite during the day as they drift mid-depth, in about 10 to 12 feet of water.
Bluegill and shellcracker are still biting there around the town dock on red worms on the bottom. Cinch Lake is good for early morning bass in moving water on the west side with crankbaits, Zoom Horny Toads and live shiners. Spots are biting on it while drifting in 20 feet of water. The public boat ramp at Arbuckle Lake remains closed until further notice, Childress reports.
13 At the phosphate pits near Mulberry, some bass are still biting the topwaters, but the morning bite has shifted more to plastic worms. Plastics are also produced throughout the day. The worm bite is best inshore and around island points. Black and blue Senkos or red, ribbon and vibrating tail worms are producing good numbers. A few fish are also surprising lipless lures, as bass also chase the bait as they feed for the next spawn, reports Danny Hamm of Bull Bay Tackle Co. (863-937-3292).