PBD Fish Reports
While this article is on fresh water bass fishing. you might be interested in the Beery's excellent guide books to shallow salt water fishing in SW Florida. Check them out at:
Webb Lake in the Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area, southeast of Punta Gorda, FL, is designated as catch and release for bass but other species may be kept. There is a fee station at the entrance that is open to the public from 1 ½ hours before sunrise to 1 ½ hours after sunset. This shallow manmade lake is about 3.5 miles long. It has been developed as a quality bass and bluegill fishery and the scenery here is beautiful with plenty of wildlife. From myfwc website, “The 395 acre Webb Lake has record sized bluegill, huge freshwater snook, and largemouth bass. Marl ponds 1, 2, and 3 are located on either side of Tucker Grade Road. They are each about 2 acres in size and provide excellent opportunities for bank fishing. Fish have been stocked and feeders installed on Webb Lake and the ponds to help fish reach maximum size in the shortest time possible. Surveys by biologists indicate that bluegill 8 inches or longer are common and that some in the ponds exceed 11 inches in length.”
Turn right onto the road that goes south on the west side of Webb Lake. There are three boat ramps along this road that make excellent kayak launches. The water here is remarkably clear because of the lack of inlet water from the nearby area.
The northern ramp is popular with boaters. It gives access to the widest part of this lake. For kayakers the open water here can make paddling hard on windy days. If you look at this area using Google maps, you can see the deeper channels dug during the dredging. These channel edges create deep structure that holds fish during the colder months and when it gets hot in the summer. We usually catch the most fish along the grass shorelines early and late in the day using weedless soft plastics like Zoom Horny Toads and worms. These same lures will work near the deeper channels with the addition of a bullet weight at the hook eye. Just let them drop naturally and retrieve along the bottom very slowly.
The middle launch, about 1.5 miles to the south, is our favorite launch. This area of the lake has islands and bays that add to the available shoreline habitat without adding to the paddling distance. This clear, shallow water calls for stealth and some longer casts. We often fly fish this area and have found good action right through the middle of the day on poppers. Weedless poppers are effective and help to keep you from getting hung up in the grass when working the shoreline pockets. After a good pop, which will call in curious fish, let the bug sit still on the water. Of course, big bluegill are always willing to strike. If you paddle to the right [east] from the launch you will find a shallow bay that is productive and sheltered from a north wind.
From the southern launch, paddle north and east to access protected water. The water in this end of the lake tends to be more tannic and darker. By paddling east and then south, you can circle the island that lies directly across from the launch ramp. The shallow, grassy and mossy water here is hard to fish but during high water periods [summer] can be more productive. Weedless lures are a must down here to keep your grass and moss harvest to a minimum.
While bass continue to be our primary targets at Babcock/Webb WMA, lots of folks target the bluegill and catfish. All bass must be released. Other fish may be kept [check regulations]. This spot offers clear water, protected paddling, wildlife viewing and interesting angling opportunities within an easy one hour drive from Englewood.
Take US 41 or I-75 south from Punta Gorda about 7 miles and turn east at Tuckers Grade. The fee station is just east of I-75.