1. Around Lakeland, Alex Hall of Lakeland released an 11-pound, 2-ounce bass at Saddle Creek Park Monday casting a white Spro frog along cattails mid-afternoon before showers and storms moved in, reports Stacy Roberts at Phillips Bait and Tackle. Bass mostly 5-7 pounds at Saddle Creek, best early and late on crankbaits around open-water sand bars, mussel bars and rock piles. Bass are “on fire” at Lake Gibson flipping docks and heavy cover with black/blue Bug Tussles, reports Bob Woodard at Big Fish Bait and Tackle. Gene Hodgekiss of Lakeland released 18 bass up to 7 pounds, 2 ounces at Gibson casting a Charlie’s Worm (JW black grape) off grass edges, Roberts said. Woodard said there’s also schooling-size bass 1-3 pounds at Gibson early and late casting dark-colored plastic worms and topwater plugs. Bass up to 6-7 pounds very active at Tenoroc, with overall 0.84 fish-per-hour average and lakes B, G, Shop and 3 best, reports David Frazier. Bream in very good numbers at Tenoroc with limits at 5, B and Horseshoe by boat and from the bank at Cemetery, Derby and Picnic. Bluegill limits outside entrance to Lake Crago on crickets, Roberts said, and cattails on Parker good as well but size not as good. Colt Creek, Tenoroc and Mud Lake hot spots for bluegill and shellcracker, Woodard said. Small to medium bluegill at Bonny on grass shrimp. Catfish good everywhere, Roberts said, including Parker, Hunter and Gibson. Fewer specks at Tenoroc, but 4, 5 and B tops. Fisherman at Saddle Creek brought in eight specks over 10 inches Monday morning trolling minnows on tandem rigs (Blakemore, Slab Daddy).
2. At Auburndale, bass active early and before and after showers, with bass up to 7 pounds on Rochelle, Haines and Alfred, reports Ron Schelfo at Ron’s Tackle Box in Lake Alfred. Doug Yutzy and Sean Phelps weighed in a 28-pound, 10-ounce stringer on north chain (Rochelle and Haines) April 13 in Polk County Bass Anglers tournament, including 6-pound, 10-ouncer for Yutzy. Schelfo said there was a 7-pounder Saturday on Lake Alfred with an 8-inch red shad ZetaBait Gillraker worm. Lot of shellcracker and bluegill at Rochelle and Haines on crickets and red worms, Schelfo said. Catfish good at Simmers-Young Park, reports Stacy Roberts. There’s a free kids fishing derby there Saturday morning.
3. At Winter Haven, Tom Linson produced a 10-pound, 1-ounce bass on Lake Summit last Thursday evening in Ron’s tournament on south chain. Schelfo said the bite was on with quite a few bass 4-5 pounds and red shad stick-baits and Flukes producing. Jacob Rogers caught a 5-pounder Saturday and teamed with Gabe Gelb to win with 17 1/2 pounds in BHS Fishing Team tournament out of Cannon — Tammie Ferguson reports the 14 teams headed to Spring Lake for the most bass 3-5 pounds in team history that had “camera phones blazing.”
4. At Lake Hamilton, bass 3-5 pounds are feeding actively around the grass lines on a variety of lures and wild shiners. Bluegill are improving.
5. At Lake Marion near Haines City, bream slowed down after the full moon. Two boats out Tuesday caught a total of six, reports Eileen O’Leary at Bannon’s Fish Camp. O’Leary said shoreline vegetation withering after being sprayed last week.
6. At Lake Pierce, bluegill anglers catching enough for a mess, with a few shellcracker mixed in, reports Jennings Resort. Bass 2-3 pounds fair.
7. At Lake Hatchineha, Lake Cypress remains hot spot for bigger bass around open-water hydrilla on soft plastics, lipless crankbaits, swimbaits and spinnerbaits, with boats lining up from center marker to “Hole in the Wall” on south shore, said Leo Cosce. Shellcracker bedding in lily pads to the left of Cypress Canal entrance, just beyond No. 10 Marker, and around Catfish Creek, said Cosce. Still some specks along deeper hydrilla edges in Cypress.
8. At Lake Toho, team of Woods and McDuffie won Crackerboys tournament out of Southport Park Saturday with 9.84-pounder and 26.08 pounds, but no word of which lake they were on, and 19 bass 5-8 pounds. Cody Detweiler at Big Toho Marina said the artificial bite is coming around on Flukes, Senkos and 10-inch worms around open-water hydrilla, with a lot of shad moving around but no schooling activity noticed yet. Guides averaging 20 bass per trip up to 7-8 pounds on wild shiners. Ton of bluegill and shellcracker in grass/lily pads. Specks slowing down.
9. At Lake Kissimmee, Wayne Yohn and Kenny Vann busted out a 44.69-pound stringer of six bass Sunday in Camp Mack Team Tournament. Ryan and Mike Hoover had biggest bass at 10.26 pounds. J.W. Watkins won Toho Marine Elite One-Man event Saturday out of Camp Mack with 30.54 pounds, and there were eight bass 7-9 pounds. Matt Faneuf boated 8.44-pounder in Outcasts tournament Saturday and combined with Scott Finnell for 27 1/2 pounds. Bigger bass moving to open-water brush piles and mussel bars, while there’s mostly keepers inside grass line edges and around lily pads, reports Leo Cosce at Camp Lester. Good numbers of bass 6-7 pounds on wild shiners, reports Grape Hammock. Shellcracker took three-day break from bedding in lily pads late last week, but came back in force on Saturday, Cosce said. Grape Hammock reports plenty of limits of shellcracker mixed with bluegill on beds around Brahma Island on red worms and crickets. Cosce said there’s also beds at Philadelphia Point, Lemon Point and Bird Island, with anglers filling coolers with limits. Early morning specks on outside edge grass lines and open-water brush piles, with a limit for Larry West Tuesday.
10. At Lake Walk-in-the-Water, bluegill really good most days when it’s warm, dry and calm, said Stacy Roberts, but not 100 percent consistent.
11. At Crooked Lake at Babson Park, big bedding bluegill are giving small bass a run for their money. Nine-year-old Jessy Smith of Valrico caught six 10-inch bluegill on red worms, and together with four adults they iced down a total of 26 in grass and lily pads, reports Cindy Ritchison at Bob’s Landing. Bass up to 4 pounds in Sunday Open tournament, but only 7 pounds to win, on 7-inch worms and deep-diving crankbaits. Speck boats getting 18-20 per trip averaging 12 inches at night on minnows.
12. At Frostproof, good numbers of bass 3-7 pounds on Reedy and Arbuckle in weekend tournaments. Don Smith and Ricky Timmerman had almost 4-pound average on Reedy in Lake Wales Po’ Boys event, and Mark Browning and Johnnie Renner netted 17.65 pounds on six bass at Arbuckle in the Mosaic tournament.
13. In the phosphate pits south of Mulberry and Bartow, bass 5-7 pounds active in mornings with frogs, swim-baits or plastic worms and Senkos.