Small Lake Profile: Big Lazer Creek PFA

Recent reports of big bass, crappie and shellcracker!

John Trussell | May 7, 2019

Big Lazer is one of those fishing places we should all visit more often. It’s only about an hour’s drive from my home in Warner Robins, but it’s probably a good thing that it’s not closer. If it were a quick trip, I would feel compelled to fish it every day—and I’d never get anything else done.

On Wednesday, April 10, I met Jay Williams, the PFA manager, and Joel Harris, the DNR maintenance supervisor, at the boat dock to do some fishing. Not 50 yards from us, we watched as Eddie Jackson, casting from his boat, landed several nice bass from the small granite rip-rap area right behind the kid’s pond. The bass were feeding so aggressively that they were knocking threadfin shad up on the bank. 

Eddie had arrived at the PFA just after daylight and was well rewarded for his efforts. He stopped fishing for a few minutes and headed over to the dock to show off his bass, and they were beauties. The bass were chunky, with vivid colors, indicating that they were growing healthy and enjoying the good life in the PFA waters. On this day, Eddie caught 17 bass, with a biggest going about 5 pounds. Eddie rarely keeps a bass to ensure that he can catch some more on his next trip. After showing us his bass, they were returned to the lake. 

Eddie was throwing a Rapala DT6, which is a small 2-inch, medium-depth running crankbait in shad color.  Another similar crankbait that he uses is a Strike King Pro Model Series 5. Both are balsa crankbaits that can turn on the bass bite in this lake.

I jumped in Joel Harris’s boat, and we decided to try for some bream around the banks. We tied on Rooster Tails in yellow and white combos and cast to shallow bank areas for a couple of hours. We did draw some strikes from bream and small bass but did not hook up with anything that was photo worthy. The best bream bite will begin in May and June when the bream move to the shallows and start fanning out their beds. We still had a great time talking about the lake and enjoying the great springtime weather. 

The 195-acre lake is fed by the inflow of Gum and Big Lazer creeks and is on the same property as Big Lazer Creek WMA in Talbot County. The lake is out in the quiet country with plenty of wildlife lurking in the woods. Harris says there are two bald eagles and one 6- to 8-foot alligator in the lake and plenty of deer and turkey that you might see in the woods around the lake.

C.W. Carreker caught this 3-lb. shellcracker on a red wiggler from the bank near the old boat ramp in mid March of this year.

Eddie Jackson has only been fishing Big Lazer PFA a few years and credits local bass expert and tournament angler Joel Milner, who lives nearby on Po Bibby Road, for showing him the best places on the lake to catch bass and best lures to use. Eddie recently retired as a truck driver from Southeastern Freight Lines, so now he has a little more time to fish, and Big Lazer Creek PFA has quickly become his favorite lake.

In addition to the previously mentioned rip-rap behind the kid’s pond, the area right out from the old boat ramp is good for bass, says Eddie. It has a gentle slope that runs way out into the lake, and it’s covered with old gravel rock that bass like to bed and feed around. The old boat ramp is only about 40 yards south of the fishing pier, but it’s worn away and easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. Right next to the old boat ramp are three small fingers of land that jut into the lake that were built to be bank fishing areas, and each has a bench on it. Eddie and Joel Harris both say these fingers of land really attract the bass, and the one on the south end has a large tractor tire that is submerged to serve as a fish attractor. If bank anglers are using these benches, then please give them plenty of space, but cast around the fingers if they are vacant.

Another area Eddie fishes for bass is around the small island in the middle of the lake, and since it’s the only island on the lake, it’s hard to miss. The island has limbs, stumps and other structure all around the perimeter of the lake, but Eddie says the east side normally holds the most bass. 

Caylee Daniel, of Thomaston, displays a whopper crappie that her dad, Rodney Daniel, caught on Feb. 10.  Rodney was drifting a minnow under a cork when the fish hit near the boat ramp. There were no scales available, but the fish was estimated to weight 2 1/2 pounds.

Other good bass spots are the west side of the dam and emergency spillway. The rip-rap rocks along the dam always hold a few bass, as do the overhanging branches and cuts into the banks. 

Near the picnic area, on the east side of the lake, you can spot several pink mimosa trees growing very near the bank. Eddie says there is a sharp drop-off straight out from those mimosa trees, and bass always hang out there.

Eddie says that crankbaits work great, but a Texas or Carolina rig might work better after prime feeding times are over. If you like to work a worm through the structure with a lot of feel on your rod tip, then go Texas-rigged with a green pumpkin or junebug color. 

If you prefer a Carolina rig, try a 1/4- to 1/2-oz. weight. Some anglers just slowly drift and drag the bottom with a Carolina rig, says Eddie.

During the hot summer, or even in the very cold of winter, don’t overlook the technique of jigging a small silver spoon along the old creek channel that runs 20-plus feet deep. On a 19-degree morning in January 2017, Joel Milner says he was jigging deep water in the lake when he pulled in a monster bass that probably weighed around 15 pounds. However, just after the big bass got to the surface, it turned on its side and the hook fell out. Shocked and heart broken, Milner watched as the fish of his dreams slipped back into the water. He has seen many big bass in his fishing career and feels confident in his weight estimate, so maybe that whooper is still lurking in the lake.

According to DNR Fisheries Biologist Brent Hess, the fish in the lake are in great shape, and every year DNR stocks more catfish and threadfin shad in the lake to replace those that are lost. He says that in 2018 a major rain storm put several feet of water over the emergency spillway, but the lake suffered no lasting damage. 

Joel Harris has done much work to keep the PFA in great shape for visitors. Recently he has bush-hogged along the banks to improve access for shore anglers, so you don’t have to have a boat to enjoy this PFA. The DNR is scheduled to put in a new T-shaped fishing pier on the lake, near the picnic area, sometime this summer, which will increase angling opportunity for bank fishermen. 

Harris says bream fishing is good around the fishing pier or in the shallow coves in the back of the lake. C. W. Carreker, a school bus supervisor for Talbot County, recently caught a 3-lb. shellcracker on a homegrown red wiggler, while fishing from the bank near the old boat ramp.

There are 10 old fertilizer platforms spread around the lake, about 8×8 feet, which are about 2 to 3 feet under the water. No longer used because the DNR now uses liquid fertilizer, these pads are now great fish attractors. Some are visible just under the surface, especially on a sunny day.

 Catfish can be caught around the dam’s rip-rap and in the deep water in front of the picnic area with raw shrimp or chicken liver. Crappie are big on the lake, and on Feb. 7, 2019, Rodney Daniel, of Thomaston, caught about a 2 1/2-lb. crappie while drifting a minnow behind his kayak while fishing near the boat ramp. 

Starting May 1, 2019, anglers may fish all night at Big Lazer through Sept. 1. Other PFAs offering night fishing are Dodge County, Evans County, Flat Creek, Hugh Gillis, Paradise, Charlie Elliott and McDuffie.

There is no excuse for not going fishing at PFA this month!

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