Speckled perch numbers continue to improve in Polk County

Around Polk County

1 Around Lakeland, at Tenoroc, bass fishing was best on Butterfly, Derby, Pine, B, 4 and 10. Lakes Legs, Picnic and 5 also had high catch rates. Last week, 19 big basses over 19 inches were reported, with six basses measuring over 22 inches and the largest one measuring 24 inches. Hydrilla, B, and C lakes had the best speck bite. Lakes Cemetery, Derby, Picnic, B and 5 had the best bite of panfish. The catfish bite was better at the Lakes Cemetery and Derby, reports FWC biologist Paolo Pecora. In Saddle Creek, bass bite is felt on surface waters at dawn, look for bass at school. On the panfish, it is mainly bluegill on crickets and a few spots have been caught. Around town, Hollingsworth Lake produced some limit spots over the weekend and Crago and Parker also have some good minnows. Parker also produces school bar on surface water and rattling bait, reports Kyle Stafford at Phillips Bait and Tackle (863-666-2248).

Fish of the week

Spotted perch: The speck fishing gets better every week for anglers in the Polk County area. Better numbers were reported again this week.

Strike zone, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

2 In Auburndale, Lake Juliana produces spots when drifting minnows. Around Alfred Lake, Haines, Rochelle and Alfred lakes produce good-sized spots while drifting deep-water minnows. The three lakes are also good for bluegill and some crackers. Bass weighing up to 7 pounds have been caught on a variety of baits, including minnows, lipless baits and plastic worms, reports Ron Schelfo of Ron’s Tackle Box (863-956-4990).

3 In Winter Haven, the canals and their mouths produce spots, crackers and sea bass around the South Range, Schelfo reports. The mouth of the north side of the canal between Howard and May Lakes produced a 5-pound sea bass on Tuesday afternoon, reports Jeremy Cooley of Caribbean Bay Bait & Tackle (863-292-9755).

4 At Lake Hamilton, bass bite is good on all three lakes. Black grape and red shad colored worms occur, both early and late, on the outer edges of the grass. Some bluegill and a few crackers bite herbivorous shrimp around the string. A few spots were caught while trolling minnows in the deeper holes of the large lake, reports Matt Ingram of Hoppy’s Marine (863-439-7616).

5 At Lake Marion near Haines City, Shad red plastic worms produce bass around hydrilla patches. Marion Creek produces a few bars, but the runoff is slowing down. A few bluegill fishermen still work around Bannon Island, Ingram reports.

6 At Pierce Lake, a few school-sized bass were caught “here and there” early along the grass lines. The early morning speck bite is good on deepwater minnows. Anglers catch about a dozen fish per trip up to 12 inches, reports the Jennings Resort (863-439-3811).

Tina Gonzalez from Lake Wales shows off her first kayak fishing bass that she recently fished at Lake Rosalie.

7 At Lake Hatchineha, local fishermen catch hourglass and Gator Cove spots on minnows. Fish the shell bars early for the bass school. Throw a Carolina rig worm or lipless crankbait for the best bite, reports Charlie Wynperle at Bridgemaster Fishing Products (863-676-1009.

8 At Lake Toho, bass took a good bite at the south end of the lake. The grass line on the east side of the lock produced good-sized fish on junebug-colored worms and white chatterers caught in the Kissimmee grass. Limits of bluegill and crackers are caught while fishing on the hard bottom off marker 24. Spots are jigs caught on the outer edge, grass lines off South Port. Water in the 8 to 9 foot range produced the best bite, reports Captain Brent Kirkendall of Horizon Fishing. https://horizonfishing.com

9 At Lake Kissimmee, some spots are caught at night at marker 9. Anglers always catch limits of bluegill on wigglers in grass and pads. Bass begin to congregate at the mouths of the kicker tracks. Throw a Carolina rig worm with a 1 oz. round lead to “feel the shell”. When the sun rises, flip a creature bait inside the grass lines for the best action, Wynperle reports.

10 At Lake Walk-in-the-Water, with the fall season more and more anglers are looking for drifting open water spots. Bass wander early in the shallows. Cover the water with a chartreuse white buzz bait for the best action, Wynperle reports.

Bill Barlow grabbed a 6.40 pound largemouth bass to win the Big Bass Shootout tournament September 25 on the Winter Haven North Channel.

11 At Crooked Lake in Babson Park, flipping watermelon red plastics in the grass and pads produced a winning weight of 10.89 at a local bass tournament last weekend. Another fisherman caught a 9-pound this week while dragging a diving lure deep in 8 feet of water around Wirt’s Point, reports Rick Ritchison at Bob’s Landing (863-638-1912). The south end of the lake produces bass along the grassy edges on the minnows and the American side 27 has a good bite on the white spinnerbaits and bluegill colored squarebill crankbaits. Bluegill sunfish have been captured on red worms on the bottom around Wirt’s Point. A few spots bite the minnows on the long, deep-water point in front of Wirt’s, reports Jim Childress of Big Bass Bait & Tackle (352-207-7520).

12 Frost proof, Reedy Lake produces spots while drifting minnows in 8 feet of water. Some spots are also biting on the city park’s public pier. Bass bite minnows at about 6 to 8 feet. Carolina pumpkin seed-colored rigged worms are good for bass along grass lines. Clinch Lake produces bass while drifting minnows along the grass lines on the west shore. There are some spots that bite minnows in water about 25 to 30 feet deep. Lake Arbuckle produces bluegill on crickets on the edges of the pads, Childress reports.

13 In the phosphate pits near Mulberry, junebug color vibe tailworms produce bass in 5 to 10 feet of water around hydrilla. The best bite was mid-morning around 9:30 am. Anglers catch 10-20 fish per trip and the fish are a good size, reports Danny Hamm of Stones Bait & Tackle (863-940-4898).

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