Big Lazer Creek PFA in Talbot County may be a hidden nugget among PFAs. For most, it’s a little out of the way, but I believe it’s well worth a visit. It’s centrally located on Big Lazer WMA, and it looks like a huge farm pond.
The PFA manager is David Craven, and he runs a good lake. At 193 acres, the lake is one of the largest PFAs in the state, so anglers can spread out and not get in each other’s way.
Joel Milner, a 59-year-old seasoned tournament bass angler, is employed by Hugh Oliver Logging Company. He also shares ownership of the Buzzerbaits company with partner Mike Vosler. Mike is a commercial truck driver, so these partners work hard for a living, but they fish with a passion. They make buzzbaits and spinnerbaits for bass fishing, and their products are available in many sports stores, or you can see them at www.buzzerbaits.com.
Joel has fished the lake regularly since it was first opened for fishing in 1988. Joel was so excited about the lake coming to Talbot County that he often went by and took pictures in 1987 as the lake was being constructed, so he could better pinpoint the structures that would be submerged and later improve his fishing prospects. That effort has paid off for Joel, and in this article he has been very generous to GON readers as he pinpoints some of the best spots for catching bass in March.
Joel has caught three bass in Big Lazer that were in the 9-lb. class. His best five-bass limit weighted 34-plus pounds, and he is strictly a catch-and-release angler.
He said food for Big Lazer bass is very abundant with a strong population of threadfin shad, so the bass look like plump footballs when you catch one.
We fished on Jan. 31, and it was 26 degrees, and the water temp was 49. We expected the fishing to be sluggish, but as the sun got up, we were rewarded for our patience and caught several good bass. Joel’s best bass fishing spot is the easiest to find, so let’s start there.
The main-lake island is a great place to find bass year-round, says Joel. This 1-acre island is only about 200 yards south of the parking lot and is in the middle of the lake. Prime fishing water is where a submerged ridge line runs from the island to the western shoreline. As you approach the island, move to the west side, and cast up to the shallow water, and drag your bait back into the deeper water.
Joel says there is a lot of old timber in the area, and a Texas or Carolina rig will work. He prefers a 4-inch Gary Yamamoto Hula Grub in green pumpkin rigged on a 1/2-oz. stand-up jig. We sat in the deeper water at GPS readings N 32°46.459 W 084°24.652.
We didn’t get a strike, but as we drifted 30 yards south fan casting out from the island, Joel picked up a nice 3-lb. bass. He says fishing will greatly improve in this area as the water warms into March and April. This location holds bass year-round.
Joel says there is a very smart doe in the area, too. He’s seen her swim across the lake to the island with her fawns to get away from predators.
Moving on around the lake, you’ll find 12 major coves to explore and fish. To get a good view of the lake, go to Google Earth.
Joel said that during the early morning hours of the spring, he has good luck working both the east and west shorelines with a 1/2-oz. buzzbait in white or chartreuse. He uses his own Buzzerbaits brand with a clacker blade that really fires up the bass in the early morning.
Once the sun gets above the trees, Joel changes over to a 1/2-oz. Buzzerbaits spinnerbait in white or chartreuse. Cast up near any overhanging branches and to any visible stump that you see under the surface. Keep in mind that Big Lazer has a lot of standing timber that was cut off just below the water surface, so proceed with caution all over the lake.
Expect some bass to go on the bed toward the end of March. As Joel runs across bass beds, he will pull out a rod rigged with a 5-inch fluke in green watermelon. Waiting on a bite from a bedding bass is a waiting game, but once the bed is spotted, you can note the exact position, back off a short distance and try to cast your fluke to the center of the bed. Joel said the key is to keep a tight line and set the hook on the slightest change in your line tension. The bass might strike on the first cast, an hour later or never.
Another prime location in March is what Joel calls his trashpile, which is near the west shore and is a straight line out from the boat ramp. Once you get across the lake, look for the big fallen pine tree bleached nearly white that’s on the edge of the water. Fish about 50 yards up the lake (south) from the pine log and about 50 yards out. Throw back toward the bank, and drag your bait back into deep water. The GPS reading here is N 32° 46.725 W 084° 24.526.
While fishing near this location, we noticed another angler, Rob Craig, a pilot for Delta airlines. Rob was hauling in several bass in the middle of the lake over the old creek channel about 75 yards from the GPS reading above. Rob was jigging a 1/2-oz. Bass Pro Shops XPS Lazer Blade Lure in chrome black. He was jigging the spoon-like bait just off the bottom in 27 feet of water.
Rob was kind and offered to let us borrow a couple of these lures. We all let the jigs hit the bottom and sharply jerked them up about 1 foot to get bit on the fall. With a little effort, a 4- and 6-pounder were caught.
Rob was a master at the technique and pulled in six bass from 3 to 7 pounds, and all were released. This deep-water pattern will hold until about the end of March. From May until October, concentrate your bass fishing at the surface down to 6 feet. There is too little oxygen in the deep water to support the fish during those warmer months.
Don’t overlook the dam area, says Joel. The rocks always hold a few nice bass, and you can work it one section at a time or parallel cast along it. On the west end of the dam, look for the emergency spillway ramp near the martin gourds. This ramp smoothly runs out into deep water and always hold bass. Fish the ramp and down both sides, especially the west side, says Joel. The GPS here is N 32° 46.933 W 084° 24.456.
Two more good March bass locations need your attention. On the east shore near the dam, look for a red clay shoreline with a split rail fence enforced with square-welded wire. The fence is to keep fishermen from falling into the 9 foot deep water at the wall, so it’s best fished from a boat. This is prime crankbait water, says Joel. The GPS reading here is N 32° 46.772 W 084°24.353.
Also about 100 yards out from this red wall is a hump in 12 feet of water surrounded by deeper water. It always holds bass.
In addition to the great bass fishing at Big Lazer, the lake is loaded with bream, catfish and crappie.
Catfish: Steve Long, of Barnesville, says to try raw shrimp or chicken livers along the red clay bank mentioned above or near the rocks at the dam. Due to low oxygen levels, fish it only 3 feet deep in summertime. He has caught a five-fish limit of 50 pounds from here. Try the creek channels or around stumps. DNR Biologist Brent Hess says the lake was just stocked with 5,000 catfish.
Crappie: Ken Urdman, of Byron, likes to dabble live minnows around standing timber, around shore bushes and around stumps. We saw him pull in a 2-lb., 5-oz. crappie. Casting either a Jiffy Jig or Hal Fly will also get them.
Bream: You’ll find lots of bluegills and shellcrackers. Look for bream beds along the shoreline from May to June. Drop a cricket or worm on them, and hold on.
The PFA is closed Monday and Tuesday but open the rest of the time from sunrise to sunset. Gas motors are allowed but must be operated at idle-speed only.