Fishing Around Polk County (Feb. 21)


Strike Zone Areas: 1 , 3 , 8 , 9

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 11:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 11:57 p.m.

1 | Around Lakeland, Casey Prave caught a 13-pound bass at Saddle Creek Park on a watermelon red Zoom Magnum Ol' Monster worm, reports Stacy Roberts at Phillips Bait and Tackle. Mark Soligny of Winter Haven released bass weighing 7 pounds, 15 ounces and 7 pounds, 9 ounces, and three more in 5-pound class at Saddle Creek Park Sunday flipping 3/4-ounce green pumpkin Booyah jigs along outer cattails. Bass up to 7-8 pounds picking up again after last week's cold spell at Lake Parker and Tenoroc. At Tenoroc, bass up to 21 inches on junebug worms and lipless crankbaits on lakes Derby, 3, 5 and Tern, reports David Frazier at Tenoroc. Nice bass at private Skyview pits. Decent catches of speckled perch at Tenoroc on 2, 3, 5 and B, with highest catch rates on 5. Specks active at Saddle Creek while it was cold on Ron's Zip jigs and gold or regular minnows, and size good, Roberts said. Hollingsworth good for specks, Roberts said, and a lot of specks and bluegill on Wood Lake. Specks and catfish fairly good on Lake Crago. A few specks and bluegill in afternoons at Colt Creek State Park. Panfish fair at Tenoroc on Cemetery and 5. Lakes B and 3 best for catfish.

2 | At Auburndale, lot of nice specks this week in grass/cattails/lily pads with minnows on Rochelle and Haines, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron's Tackle Box in Lake Alfred. Trolling jigs not so good for specks. A few nice specks off public pier at Ariana at night. Bass 3-4 pounds picking up on Haines, staging and moving in and out of bedding areas, but nothing large reported. Shellcracker perking up on Rochelle off bank and pier at boat ramp, with anglers flinging red worms on 1/2- or 3/4-ounce weights to drop-off about 40-50 yards out. One fisherman had a bucketful of shellcracker over 1 pound this week.

3 | At Winter Haven, good numbers of bass up to 6-7 pounds on south chain, reports Ron Schelfo. He said Summit, Shipp, Howard and Winterset producing on white or chartreuse spinnerbaits, creature baits, lizards and frogs (white good color).

4 | At Lake Hamilton, bass up to 5 pounds in Sunday Open tournament, but primarily 12-15 inches. Willard Combee said bass looked like they had already spawned. Flipping, topwater and twitch-baits were most effective.

5 | At Lake Marion near Haines City, Eileen O'Leary at Bannon's Fish Camp reports there is "absolutely nothing going on'' since last week's cold front came through. Specks were biting good before the front.

6 | At Lake Pierce, bass 2-5 pounds starting to pick up on artificials and wild shiners, reports Mark McDonough at Jennings Resort. Specks running 8-10 inches, with 10-15 per trip on minnows.

7 | At Lake Hatchineha, fishermen starting to get more specks in bulrushes, with Marion Creek area good for perch 10-11 inches, reports David Glenn, the Port Hatchineha campground and boat ramp caretaker. The largest specks, with a handful up to 14 inches, at night trolling hourglass area with Hal Flys, Beetle Spins and minnows. But no limits reported, and Lake Kissimmee is better. Bass decent in lily pads and reeds, with Catfish Creek area producing, but not much size.

8 | At Lake Toho, mid-range bass have really improved on wild shiners, but the artificial bite is still fairly tough for most. Matt Henderson won the TBF Florida Bass Federation qualifier Saturday and Sunday with 34.93 pounds on 10 fish over two days. John Guttuso landed a 9.29-pounder Sunday. Bass 3-4 pounds common on shiners, with guides like Capt. Skip Campbell releasing 20 per day with an occasional 7- to 8-pounder, reports Cody Detweiler at Big Toho Marina. Detweiler said shiners are hard to get right now, with the tackle shop selling out every day. Best lure options are 10-inch junebug worms and Senkos worked very slowly, and topwater before sunrise. Water temperature 63-64 early up to 68 in afternoons. Specks quiet with warmer weather. Some bluegill starting. Construction at lakefront interfering with bank fishing.

9 | At Lake Kissimmee, big bass are in full swing this week on live bait and artificials, with several 8-10 1/2 pounds, reports Leo Cosce at Camp Lester. The Enick crew out of Camp Lester released a 10 1/2-pounder and 9-pounder Monday and Tuesday on guide trips with Jim Wirtz. Bobby Beasley of Knoxville, Tenn., released a 10-pounder on an AC Shiner (Bangolure-style surface lure) and a 9-pounder on a frog Friday. Bass "great'' in the south end, with a 10 1/2-pounder over the weekend, reports Grape Hammock. Bass up to 9.10 pounds for David Perry in Lakeland Bassmasters tournament Sunday, with six fish over 6 pounds in event. Cosce expects lot of 10-pounders this weekend casting worms and Senkos to isolated lily pads with full moon Monday. Water temperature was down to 60 after last week's cold front, but back to 63 on Tuesday and rising. Specks "going bananas'' in 3 feet in lily pads at Grassy Island, Philadelphia Point, Eagle's Nest, south end of Bird Island and North Cove, where west side is best but also on east side from 7 Palms south around isolated lily pads inside grass lines, Cosce said. Frank Kees and Rick Shepherd brought in a limit of specks by noon Tuesday up to 15 inches on 1/32-ounce chartreuse Bass Pro jigs (pipe-cleaner style similar to Laker jigs). Wally Medlin had limit of specks by 11 a.m. Wednesday on minnows, all gold/black males, and Cosce said larger females could come in on full moon. Rumors of shellcracker moving into lily pads, Cosce said, with Philadelphia Point a likely spot. Speck fishermen in south end getting 15-20 per trip, said Grape Hammock.

10 | At Lake Walk-in-the-Water, bass of size should be looking for wild shiners around the fish attractors, but none reported.

11 | At Crooked Lake at Babson Park, no big bass have shown up yet, but it's time. Bass mostly 12-16 inches, reports Cindy Ritchison at Bob's Landing. It took less than 6 pounds for Jim Sellers to win Clearwater Bass Club tournament Saturday, with the largest fish 1.80 pounds for Malcolm Herre. Specks sporadic number-wise but size excellent at night on minnows, with some 14-inchers.

12 | At Frostproof, there were 17 boats on the water at Lake Arbuckle Wednesday morning going for specks, reports Vereatha Lee at the county campground, but she hadn't heard how they did. Specks have been very slow, but could be picking up. Bass up to 5 pounds on Arbuckle.

13 | In the phosphate pits south of Mulberry and Bartow, this could be the best weekend of the year for trophy-class bass, with warm weather and ideal water temperatures.

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