Stay shallow to catch breeding bass
1. In Lakeland, the bass continue to spawn, so stick to shallow water, and try to flip baits with dark-colored critters. If you can find them, try bass polishers as well. Spots continue to strike minnows, and they try to drift in the open water and jump into the pads, Phillips Bait and Tackle (863-666-2248) reports.
2. In Auburndale and Lake AlfredOn Lake Juliana, minnows are being caught in quite a few spots. Some 6- to 7-pound bass are also being caught on local shiners. Lakes Alfred, Rochelle, and Hines are producing good sized spots on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing has produced some catches, with a 9-pound catch reported in Lake Rochelle using a purple lipless crankbait, says Ron Scelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box (863-956-4990).
3. In Winter HavenAnd in Sheep and Cannon lakes, specks are being discovered everywhere, including docks, according to Scelfo. In clear water lakes, use a power bait on submerged grass, rat traps and small swimbaits, says Capt. Bill Judy. Shiners are a popular choice under floats in submerged grass as well. For a guided fishing trip with Captain Judy, contact Bass Online (888-629-2277).
4. In Lake Hamilton, on Big Lake Hamilton, a lot of bass are being posted. Use white or black and blue swim gear in less than 4 feet of water. Speed worms in Junebug or Junebug red also work for bass. Spots are still present around the deep edges on minnows and jigs. In central Lake Hamilton, bluegills and shellfish are being caught anywhere around the pads using crickets and worms. Try flipping a half-ounce dark critter bait for bass in shallow water. In Little Hamilton Lake, try using minnows in 6 feet of water around brush piles or at the edge of grass lines, reports Kyle Brewer at Crossed Industries (863-439-7616).
5. On Lake Marion near Haines CityIn less than 5 feet of water, white fluke have been good for bass. You can also try medium green and green colored crankbaits. Fast worms were common. For specks, the bite has been choppy and sporadic, but the north side has had the best minnows diving in the Kissimmee grass in the shallows. For bluegills and nuts, the north side produced better, but the southeast side was also active on crickets and worms, dependent on temperature, Brewer reports.
6. On Lake PierceSpots are good drifting minnows, but a few are using minnows and jigs in the pads. The bass bite is still good as it is shallow in the weeds. Try early topwater lures and spinnerbaits on the edge of grass and weeds, reports Jim Childress of Big Bass Bait & Tackle (352-207-7520).
What’s biting: Bass
While the winds have taken some away from the lakes, bass are still being caught throughout the county. Try wild shiners, if you can find them, or home shiners in shallow water while spawning.
Strike areas: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12
7. On Lake HachinhaBass fishing was decent around the harbor and north side of the lake. Try using a swim jig and swimbait in shallow reeds. Spots have also been good trolling in about 6 feet of water with a road runner, according to Bridgemaster Fishing Products (863-676-1009).
8. On Lake TohoIt’s been a little slow due to the cold fronts, but the bass keep coming. Artificial baits, especially speed worms, have been good, but wild baits are still your best bet. Bass are found in shallow water, but some emerge after spawning. There could be spots of drifting minnows in deeper water, according to Mike Groshon of Bass Online (888-629-2277) for updates.
9. On Lake KissimmeeBass fishing is already on the rise. The fish are caught in shallow water while spawning around pads and flags. Try throwing a Senko swim jig and a glide bait. Spots have also been very good on the outside of grass lines on minnows in the morning and shaking shallow pads during the day, according to Bridgemaster Fishing Products.
10. On the lake walking in the waterThe bass fishing has been a little slow but a few have been caught casting wild shiners in the morning and afternoon around the mouth of the creeks. For specks, try drifting minnows at night in 5 to 7 feet of water, Bridgemaster Fishing Products reports.
11. On a crooked lake, at Big Crooked the wind was holding back some of the water, but spot fishing was good at night or with lights. The daytime bite has been good too, stick to drifting minnows. The bass bite on live bait has led to catches of up to 6 pounds. If you are using artificial lures, stick to Carolina lures on some sea jigs and spinnerbaits near the grass. At Little Crooked, the speck bite has been mostly drifting minnows in open water, Childress says.
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12. In the coldOn Clinch Lake, the speck bite is still good. Float the minnows in 18 to 20 feet of water for best results. The bass bite has been good, but better on the west bank. At Reedy Lake, the spot bite is still good on open water minnows, but check for the lily pads as well in the northwest corner. The bass bite has been good drifting live bait. Early Topwater baits continue to be productive. At Lake Arbuckle, spots are found in lily pads and in open water. Use of minnows, Childress reports.
13. In berriesThe fishing has gotten better but the bass are trying to sleep. Fish are slow with Senkos worms or black and blue Junebug worms. If you catch a young male, keep casting because there will likely be a female laying around. Look for them in shallow water. Spots are also starting to get caught in the shallows in 2 to 4 feet of water dropping jigs or minnows into holes in the hydrilla, reports Danny Hamm of Bull Bay Tackle Company (863-937-3292).