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Fishing: Around Polk County


1. Around Lakeland, bluegill fishermen catching plenty for the frying pan at Tenoroc, Saddle Creek Park, Lake Parker and Lake Bonny on red worms and crickets. At Tenoroc, lakes 2, 4 and C producing best for bream, reports Brian Fleming. At Saddle Creek, pits in the back of park yielding good-sized bluegill with a few shellcracker mixed in, reports Phillips Bait and Tackle. Bluegill in grass lines, bedding around new and full moons. Bass running smaller now, and summer pattern taking effect, with fish on deeper vegetation near outside edge, usually 5-7 feet. Flipping Gambler Ugly Otter or Netbait McDaddy Craw, or casting junebug and blueberry worms, producing bass up to 5 pounds at Lake Gibson and Lake Parker, reports Big Fish Outfitters. Lakes 4, F and Hydrilla yielding bass up to 24 inches, said Fleming. Topwater baits (Pop-R, Bang-o-lure, Super Fluke, Shad Assassin) working early and late. Bass bite tapering off by 9:30 a.m. on 90-degree days.

2. At Auburndale, bass up to 7 pounds in Sunday tournament on north Winter Haven chain, with several 2-4 pounds. Bluegill and shellcracker just off grass lines in 6-8 feet at Lake Haines and Lake Rochelle, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron's Tackle, with a few anglers catching limits. Bass continue hitting watermelon red and junebug Jethro Booger Bug off city beach at Lake Alfred, said Schelfo.

3. At Winter Haven, Eagle Lake has come on strong for bass, with fish up to 63/4 pounds in night tournament. Bob Stone at Stone's Outhouse reports that trick worms, Senkos and Carolina rigs producing at Eagle Lake in blueberry, watermelon candy, watermelon seed and black sapphire colors. Limits of bluegill and shellcracker at Lake Fannie, reports Chain O'Lakes Bait and Tackle.

4. At Lake Hamilton, limits of bluegill mixed with shellcracker common in grass lines and lily pads on crickets and red worms, reports Chain O'Lakes Bait and Tackle (863-439-3885) in Dundee. Bass only running 2-3 pounds, but numbers good on Zoom Horny Toad and Zoom Brush Hog (watermelon candy).

5. At Lake Marion near Haines City, bluegill good for some anglers, but not real consistent. Just a few spots producing on red worms. One angler caught 75 bluegill with a few shellcracker over two days (Monday and Tuesday) around grass, lily pads and brush, reports Ray Chase at Bannon's Camp. Bass up to 3 pounds on red shad worms and white spinnerbaits.

6. At Lake Pierce, bass perked up over weekend, with fish up to 6 pounds hitting plastic worms (Yum black/ blue flake), reports Jennings Camp. Not much on bluegill and shellcracker.

7. At Lake Hatchineha, bass on outside edge with water level dropping slightly. Work topwater early, then points of bulrushes with plastic worms (junebug red, black/blue). Bluegill not as good as last week, moving out of lily pads. Still getting specks very early at Gator Cove jigging hydrilla edges. Port Hatchineha Restaurant and Marina closed shop on Sunday.

8. At Lake Toho, excellent bluegill and shellcracker bite at city pier on grass shrimp, reports Marc Detweiler at Big Toho Marina. Limits fairly plentiful. Also catching a few specks off pier. Tommy Hatfield released 81/2-pound bass on junebug worm practicing for Gator Division tournament this Saturday. Biggest bass in Military Team Tournament last Wednesday through Friday was 7.54 pounds. Detweiler said anglers casting worms to outside grass lines where there's submerged hydrilla.

9. At Lake Kissimmee, Joe Bennett Jr. netted 9.65-pound bass in Stratos tournament Saturday, but weekend was a blowout with 20-25 mph winds howling Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Winners averaged less than 3 pounds per fish, far below 6-pound average for past month. Leo Cosce at Camp Lester expect bass action to be outstanding up to full moon next weekend. Even bream slowed down, with cane-polers struggling both shallow around lily pads and out deeper, said Cosce. Specks have been bright spot, with early morning bite (6-8 a.m.) off grass edges at Grassy Island, Philadelphia Point and Gobbler Ridge, said Cosce. Water level dropped 4 inches since last week, likely moving bass to 5-7 feet near edge of grass lines around lily pads. More anglers flipping worms, craws and creature baits in black/blue, junebug and Christmas colors.

10. At Lake Walk-in-the-Water, nobody out over weekend with gale-force winds sweeping lake. May usually good month for big bass, with best chance on wild shiners.

11. At Crooked Lake at Babson Park, good numbers of bass 2-3 pounds in Mosaic club tournament Saturday, but none over 31/2 pounds. Fishermen casting plastic worms (junebug, watermelon red, blueberry) around sparse grass in 8-10 feet. Specks perked up, with 12-15 per boat, reports Cindy at Bob's Landing.

12. At Frostproof, topwater baits producing medium-sized bass early at Arbuckle and Reedy. Zoom Horny Toads, Super Flukes and Shad Assassins effective, along with Bang-o-lures, Chug Bugs and Devil's Horses.

13. In the phosphate pits south of Mulberry and Bartow, 10-pound bass caught at Lake 1 at Hardee Lakes Park on homemade 1/2-ounce spinnerbait Saturday. Bass up to 21/2 pounds flipping watermelon lizards at Lake 2. Nature Fest event at park on Saturday, with clinic by Bill Dance and fishing tournament (call Walter Williamson at 863-773-0766).

COMPILED BY DEL MILLIGAN

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