Fish of the week
Largemouth bass – The bass bite is good and will only improve as many fish stage and prepare for the next spawn.
strike zone, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Around Polk County
1 Around Lakeland, in Saddle Creek, bass are starting to show up around the park and plastic worms, rigged with no weight, are producing along the banks. A good number of tilapia are also biting red worms in the park. Around town, Lake Parker is producing good numbers of bass on shiners and live lures. Lakes Hancock and Parker are both producing smallmouth bass in the grass. Lake Hollingsworth is also producing walleye in the deeper holes, reports Jacob Eaton at Phillips Bait and Tackle (863-666-2248).
2 In Auburndale, Lake Ariana is good for specks while drifting in deeper water in the middle of the lake. A few fish are being caught during the day, but there are better numbers at night. Around the Lake Alfred area, Lakes Haines and Rochelle are producing good numbers of whiting as they drift close to shore during the day. Rochelle is also producing a few smallmouth bass and some bedfish are starting to stage for the next spawn, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box (863-956-4990).
3 In Winter Haven, Lake Summit is producing good numbers of bass up to 6 pounds on crankbaits and live shiners. A good number of specks are biting in Lake Howard as they pass through the lake and also from the dock. Shipp Lake is also producing a good bite, reports Schelfo.
4 In Lake Hamilton, a few spots are shallow on the buggy whips around the chain and want to show up. Minnows and cabinets are getting the bite. The large lake has the largest number of fish. Slipping black and blue creature baits is also producing bass around buggy whips on the big lake. Plastic worms on pads produce bass in both medium and small lakes. Peppergrass is attracting bass preparing to spawn in all three lakes, reports Kyle Brewer of Hoppy’s at Crossed Industries (863-439-7616).
5 At Lake Marion, near Haines City, fish are producing spots on the backside of Kissimmee grass, mostly on the east side of the lake. Some spotfish are also biting fish on the south side of Bannon Island. Spinning Carolina rigged plastic worms is good for bass around shell bars and deep grass lines. The Kissimmee grass around Bannon Island is also producing some bass, Hoppy’s reports.
6 At Pierce Lake, anglers are catching specks, but not as many with the cold weather. An angler caught nearly a limit of good sized fish on fish in the early evening this week. Day anglers report smaller sized fish. Not much to talk about on the low end this week. Most anglers are fishing for spot. Jennings Resort will be holding its 95th Birthday Fish Fry Celebration this Saturday, January 21st from 1-3pm. The event is free and open to the public, reports Chris Beasley at Jennings Resort (863-439-3811).
7 At Hatchineha Lake, speckled anglers are catching them with rigs in the Gator Cove pads. White Jack Em Jigs with a pink head are producing the best numbers. Bass are on the pad beds and rods, but not too many big fish have been caught yet. Cast a watermelon-red Senko for the best action, reports Charlie Wynperle at Bridgemaster Fishing Products.
8 And Lake Toho, fish begin to move up and spawn, slowly in shallow water. Target these spawning areas and throw topwater and moving baits to locate the fish. Punching the mats with critter baits is also a good method to produce good numbers of fish. Grady Johnson (407-205-6719) reports Grady Johnson (407-205-6719).
9 On Lake Kissimmee, tip anglers are catching good numbers around the hydrilla in the North Cove pads on jigs and minnows. Bass move to flags to spawn on Brahma Island. Not too many big fish out there yet, with the cold weather last weekend, Wynperle reports
10 At Walk-in-the-Water Lake, spots in 6 to 8 feet of water are being caught on fish off the front of the Nalcrest channel. Bass anglers should look for fish beds in the channels on the east side of the lake, Wynperle reports.
11 At Crooked Lake in Babson Park, good numbers of specks are biting at night while anchored with fish in 25 to 28 feet of water. A few fish are also biting during the day while drifting on rigs with fish tips. Bass action is picking up, but most are school size. The best numbers are hitting along US 27 and north by the college. Anglers catch 15 to 20 fish per trip, but most fish are in the 3-pound range, with the occasional fish up to 6 pounds. A decent number of specks are biting Little Crooked while drifting in 8 feet of water, reports Jim Childress of Big Bass Bait & Tackle (352-207-7520).
12 Frost proof, Lake Arbuckle is producing specks, no limits, but 10 to 12 fish per trip, mostly on minnows. It is best to drift slowly in deeper water about 6 to 8 feet deep. Live shiners are producing a few bass, most schooling size up to 4 pounds. A few specks are biting at Reedy Lake, but fishing is slow due to the cold water. The bass bite is also slow there. Most of the fish are biting live jigs against the grass. The jig bite is a little better in Clinch Lake on fish in deeper water about 20 to 25 feet deep. The bass bite is pretty good there on live shiners in deeper water on the west side. Squarebill crankbaits, fished slowly, are also producing bass along the West Coast, Childress reports.
13 At the phosphate pits near Mulberry, There have been a few bass caught in the pits this week, but the water is very cold. As the water warms, search the shallower areas and look for bed fish. Throw dark or bright colored jerkbaits, black and blue Senkos and red Junebug worms to sandbars and island points, or anywhere fish may be bedding, for the best action. The speck bite has been slow, but the fish are starting to move shallow looking to spawn, reports Danny Hamm of Bull Bay Tackle Co. (863-937-3292).