Lake Gibson’s under-the-radar bass fishery
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3852
Lake Gibson, just a half-mile north of Interstate 4 in suburban Lakeland, is locally famous for the fact that country singers George Jones and the late Tammy Wynette once had a home there. In spite of its convenient location and musically related fame, the lake’s impressive bass fishery remains a well-kept secret.
Fishery biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are responsible for monitoring more than 7,000 public lakes in Florida. From this unique perspective, state fishery managers are able to draw comparisons among a significant number of water bodies with great bass fisheries, and Lake Gibson’s largemouth fishery might well be among the best.
Though Lake Gibson is on the small side at 480-acres, electrofishing surveys, which stun fish and allow biologists to weigh, measure and release them unharmed, show its bass fishery excels in terms of both number and size. Surveys this year show bass ranging from a few inches – a welcome sign of successful spawning – to 7.7 pounds. Electrofishing catch rates were also very high: an amazing 5.5 fish per minute. A catch rate of one to two fish per minute is considered good.
Several bass over 8 pounds were tagged last year as part of an FWC study evaluating trophy largemouth bass fishing in Florida. One tagged bass weighing 9.5 pounds has already been caught and released in Lake Gibson by a local angler.
In addition to its top-notch bass fishery, Lake Gibson is also home to quality sunfish and catfish populations.
To get to these fish, the Lake Gibson public boat ramp is on the south side of the lake off Socrum Loop Road and Lake Gibson Drive.
If you would like more information on freshwater fishing opportunities, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing or contact the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management in Lakeland at 863-648-3200.