Sam Taylor, of Box Springs, knows something about catching bass and big bass in particular. GON keeps records of the biggest Georgia largemouth bass of all time. To even make it onto GON’s Georgia’s Biggest Bass of All Time list, a bass must have a certified weight of 14 pounds.
Sam Taylor’s name is on that list SIX times with bass ranging from 14- lbs., 4-ozs., to 16-lbs., 9.3 ozs. Many of those lunkers have come from private ponds, but when it comes to catching bass in public water Sam has one favorite: Big Lazer Creek PFA in Talbot County.
The 195-acre lake is full of structure and full of fat bass. During one recent spring, Sam said he caught more than 100 bass over 4 pounds from the lake. His biggest largemouth from Big Lazer weighed 12 pounds.
If there is a secret to his success at Big Lazer, it can be narrowed down to the one lure he uses almost exclusively: a watermelon-seed Zoom Super Fluke. For Sam the Fluke has been a consistent big-bass-producing bait anywhere he fishes.
Sam and I put in at Big Lazer in early April on a beautiful, sunny warm day — and for half the day we were the only ones fishing.
The lake is often crowded on Saturdays, but during the week fishing pressure is usually light. For one thing, the lake is in the middle of nowhere.
From the ramp, we went directly across the lake and started fishing at the point that separates the main lake from a big cove to the left of the dam. We started working the bank with similar rigs: a 2/0 wide-gap Gamakatsu hook on a three-foot leader below a barrel swivel. On the hook was a watermelon-seed Zoom Super Fluke.
There is one last key detail that Sam does to the bait: the tail of the fluke is dipped in garlic Spike-It chartreuse dye.
“The garlic will make them hold onto it long enough for you to set the hook,” says Sam.
As we rounded the point, Sam boated two bass in the pound-and-a-half range on the Fluke. A little farther into the cove he hooked another small bass near a wood-duck box and watched a bass in the 6-lb. range follow the hooked bass toward the boat. A half hour later, in the back of the cove Sam broke off on the hookset, turning a bass in the 7- or 8-lb. range.
Compared to many fishermen throwing a Fluke, Sam is undergunned on hook size but he believes the 2/0 hook is the right choice.
“The 2/0 is a little small, but a 5/0 hook that a lot of people use is too much weight,” he says. “A heavy hook makes the bait sink too fast and messes up the action.”
The swivel, tied in to keep the line twist to a minimum, is all the extra weight he wants on the Fluke.
Sam fishes the Fluke with a twitch-and-pause retrieve.
“All I am doing is making it twitch,” he said. “If you watch, it looks like a darting, dying fish. You don’t have to move it much.”
Sam fishes the Fluke on light line. Normally he fishes 8-lb. P-line Moss, but he also likes Berkley Lo-Vis Green in 8-lb.
“I sacrifice a lot by going light, but big line doesn’t perform as well, and the fish can see it,” he said. “I have seen them come up and look at it and go back down. The heavy line takes away from the action of the Fluke, too.”
Sam pulled a bass from just beyond the tree limb in the center of this slough. By May the weeds will begin closing in on small coves like this and floating worms will become a prime bait to throw along weedlines.
Sam was fishing with a seven-foot, medium-fast spinning rod, hand-crafted from a St. Croix graphite blank and fitted with Fuji guides. It is a rod he built himself. “Sam Taylor” is enscribed on the rod.
As we worked our way out of the cove, bass No. 6 of the day smacked Sam’s Fluke. The fish was deep-green, fat and healthy looking. Unlike most lakes its size, Big Lazer is fertilized. According to WRD Fisheries technician Greg Wade, 100 gallons of liquid fertilizer went into the lake in early April. Another dose of 200 gallons was planned for later in the month. The fertilizer causes a phytoplankton bloom, which enriches the lake and jump-starts the food chain.
In early April we saw some bass beds, but the fish weren’t hard on them.
“Last year the bass bedded in March,” said Sam. “This year it looks like they will be bedding in April.”
Since the bass weren’t holding on the beds, we started concentrating on the slightly deeper water in front of the few beds we could see.
Bass No. 7 would prove to be our biggest of the day, a 3-pounder that hit Sam’s Fluke near a bed.
Sam claims he has no trouble setting the hook through a Fluke using the down-sized 2/0 hook. To improve his odds, he rigs his hook upside-down, bringing the point of the hook up through the back of the bait and then barely pinning the point into the plastic.
There is a small flat just before the rip-rap where the dam begins that often holds big bass, said Sam. We each caught a keeper bass from that flat, but no lunker. As we started down the rip-rap, I cast to the bank, twitched the fluke about twice and saw the line jump sideways. I set the hook on another 1 1/2- to 2-lb. bass. The rip-rap was holding fish, and we caught fish 10, 11 and 12 casting to the rocks.
As you move from a grassy bank near the dam back toward the ramp you will go into the first cove that ends nearly at a road. This is another of Sam’s big-bass areas on the lake. For us it gave up another keeper that hit my fluke then buried up for a moment in a treetop. As we came out of the cove, Sam broke off on a fish in the 4- lb. range, then threw back and caught a 1 1/2-lb. bass from the same spot.
“Other people might throw a jig ’n pig in here,” said Sam. “I like the Fluke because it will pull through the weeds without hanging up too much.”
To complete our tour of the lake, we picked up here, put the trolling motor on high, and went up the lake past the ramp. We fished quickly through the timber surrounding the island — another good spot for a big one — then went farther up the lake.
Before the lake necks down, there is a ditch lined with stumps that runs across a wide flat to the right. This is another of the better places to catch bass on the lake. Sam and I doubled on bass holding on wood structure here.
As we started back toward the ramp, we detoured into a narrow, stump-lined cove on the left. I pulled a bass off a large rock jutting up on the bank; Sam caught one from a stump and another from the far side of a log in the back of the creek.
The bass fishing at Big Lazer will change during May as the grass grows and begins to choke out the backs of the coves and ditches. Crankbaits and other treble-hooked tackle that worked back in February and March will give way almost entirely to Flukes, Trick Worms and other soft plastics that are relatively weedless and can be worked along the weedbed edges.
We ended our day in the cove next to the parking area. The big bass weren’t there, but Sam says don’t pass up this cove because it has produced in the past.
We finished up at about 4 p.m. with 24 bass.
“A little slow,” said Sam. “And usually the fish are bigger.”
Sam will be back to Big Lazer, and when he returns you can bet he will be throwing a watermelon-seed Fluke.
“I don’t know what it is about that color, but I have had some kind of success with it,” he said. “I don’t throw any other color.”