1 Around Lakeland, bass fishing was best at Tenoroc on lakes Legs, Lost Lake West, 2, 3 and C. Lakes Lost Lake East and A also had high catch rates. This past week 18 large bass over 19 inches were reported with the largest fishing measuring 25 inches. Lakes Fish Hook, Hydrilla, Legs, Picnic, 3 and 4 had the best speck bite. Panfish action was best at lakes Cemetery, Picnic, Shop and 5. The catfish bite was best at lakes Derby, Legs, 2 and C, reports FWC biologist Paolo Pecora. At Saddle Creek, shiners are producing good numbers of bass around the park. Bluegill and tilapia are biting red worms from the banks. Around town, lakes Bonny, Hollingsworth and Parker are producing good numbers of specks in deep water on minnows. Lakes Bonny and Parker have a consistent bass bite on Rat-L-Traps and while flipping, reports Kyle Stafford at Phillips Bait and Tackle (863-666-2248).
Fish of the Week
Speckled Perch: Cooler weather has picked up the speck bite for local area anglers. Some lakes are starting to report limits.
Strike Zone, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, Around Polk County
2 At Auburndale, both lakes Ariana and Juliana are producing specks, mostly on minnows while drifting deeper water. Around Lake Alfred, lakes Haines, Rochelle, Swoope and Alfred are producing limits of specks at night on minnows in deep water. Lakes Haines and Rochelle have a pretty good bass bite for fish in the 3 to 4-pound range, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box (863-956-4990).
3 At Winter Haven, Lake Jessie is producing limits of specks on minnows. The speck bite is also decent at lakes Cannon, May, and Shipp, reports Schelfo. Lakes Summit and Winterset still have a good bass bite on artificials around hydrilla and the offshore brush piles, reports Capt. Jackson Williams of Action Bass Guide Service (863-326-3232).
4 At Lake Hamilton, anglers are catching 4 to 6 bass an outing while “slow worming” on the grass edges and casting swimbaits on the shell bars. A few specks are biting while drifting minnows on the big lake, reports Micky Ingram at Hoppy’s Marine (863-439-7616).
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5 At Lake Marion near Haines City, “they sprayed the lake again for hydrilla and it has directly impacted and slowed the fishing,” reports Ingram.
6 At Lake Pierce, the speck bite is decent on minnows in deeper water. There’s been no limits and the fish are scattered. The bass bite has been slow, reports Jennings Resort (863-439-3811).
7 At Lake Hatchineha, tournament bass anglers caught fish bedding in the pads on the north side of the lake this past weekend. Some specks are being caught in the hydrilla in Gator Cove. “Drop a chartreuse and white color Muck City Tackle jig in the deeper holes and hang on,” reports Charlie Wynperle at Bridgemaster Fishing Products (863-676-1009.
8 At Lake Toho, bass are biting good on the south end of the lake. Flipping the Kissimmee grass outside of South Port has been producing big bass on black and blue color Bruiser Baits. Shellcracker and bluegill are biting good at the mouth of Shingle Creek on red worms rigged with a split shot on the bottom. Specks are biting both jigs and minnows on the hydrilla patches outside of Browns Point in 8 foot of water, reports Capt. Brent Kirkendall of Horizon Fishing. https://horizonfishing.com.
9 At Lake Kissimmee, speck anglers are setting up on the outside grass lines early in the mornings. Put out as many poles, rigged with minnows, as you can. Try the area around Lemon Point and the south side of Bird Island for the best results. Bass are starting to show up on the outside grass lines. Cover a large area of water with a flipping stick, reports Wynperle.
10 At Lake Walk-in-the-Water, bass are starting to feed for the upcoming spawn. Cover water with a lipless crankbait for the best results. “Water temps are dropping, but the speck bite is heating up. Drift minnows at various depths until you find the fish,” reports Wynperle.
11 At Crooked Lake at Babson Park, the speck bite is pretty good on minnows in 28 to 30 feet of water. The area around Wirt’s Point is best and some of the fish are pushing 16 inches. Good numbers of bass up to 4 pounds are coming in on red color plastic worms along the west shore, reports Rick Ritchison at Bob's Landing (863-638-1912). Bass up to 5 pounds have been caught on shiners towards the north end of the lake. Shiners also produced an 8 pounder along the U.S. 27 side. Limits of specks have been caught on jigs in 26 feet of water, reports Jim Childress of Big Bass Bait & Tackle (352-207-7520).
12 At Frostproof, Lake Reedy limits of specks are biting minnows under the lights at a depth of 8 to 10 feet. Some specks are also biting in the pads to the south during the day. The bass bite is decent on white spinnerbaits and shiners around the pads. Lake Clinch is good for specks on minnows around the brush piles in deep water. Bass are biting there along the west shore on shiners. Bass are also biting Carolina rigged worms around the brush piles. Lake Arbuckle is producing limits of specks on jigs in deep water. A few specks are also biting minnows in moving water coming in from Reedy. Black and blue color 10-inch worms are good there for bass in the pads, reports Childress.
13 In the phosphate pits near Mulberry, pits with hydrilla are producing the best bass bite around mid-morning on junebug and junebug with red glitter color speed worms in 5 to 8 feet of water. A few bass are also taking hard baits such as a Rat-L-Trap. Drifting minnows under a cork at a depth of 10 to 15 feet is producing specks. Drifting in open water around drop-offs between patches of hydrilla has been producing the best bite, reports Danny Hamm of Stones Bait & Tackle (863-940-4898).
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Cooler weather allowing anglers to feast on speckled perch