Lake Jackson Fishing Report

Lake Jackson 4/01/2019
With water levels higher than they’ve been in years bass have moved to areas only accessible by small watercraft such as kayak or canoe. Water temperatures are now into the mid 60’s, unseasonable low and that is also attracting bass to the shallows. Moon phases should have the big girls up and spawning. Throughout the past three months when bass have tried to spawn cold front after cold front has pushed them back out, some even spawning in a little deeper water. This means there is post spawn activity which also dictates a lure change. Once bass move off the beds to guard fry or recover from the spawn they really aren’t ready to eat but will attack or defend against predators intruding on their areas. Noisy top water baits like kicking frogs or buzz baits really attract their attention and can be responsible for awesome arm jerking strikes. Keep your reels spooled with braid cause most of the action is near heavier vegetation.
Lake Talquin
Weather finally broke and Lake TAlquin is back on track after a month or two of abnormally low temperatures. After dropping as low as 47 degrees in late January, that beautiful Florida sunshine warmed things right back up to where they need to be.
February found bass still waiting nearby spawning areas as many were staging off lily pad points and edges in December. We know the rest of the story with all the cold weather but unlike years past where extreme cold pushes bass out, this time they stayed pretty close and we’re seeing the results in mid February with monster females coming off beds.
Those of you that love to sight fish like myself will be disappointed if you’re never been to lake Talquin as it’s normal water clarity is about a foot. The same drought that has Lake Jackson to the point where you cannot launch a bass boat has also made Lake Talquin the clearest I’ve seen it in 15 years. Although at the time of this writing heavy rains are forecast and that may be a game changer for the clear water. Anyway as I was saying about those that like to sight fish, you can still do it with much success in certain creeks and backwater areas of the lake.
If you love catching bass and lots of them March is the month to do so. Big females up to 14lbs and 5lb bull males aren’t common but do exist. Each year 8, 9, 10, and bass up to 12 pounds are common to see but not always easy to catch. Remember they don’t get that big for a reason.
Even if you’re not a sight fisherman, well let’s say especially those of you that are not sight fishermen Lake Talquin has many places for success. Every creek and backwater area off the main lake will at one time or another hold spawning bass. I wish I could give you some way points but I only get so many column inches. So I guess you’ll just have to find a few spots yourself which is pretty easy this time of year. With so many boat ramps that encompass the lake it makes it convenient to get around without running the big outboard from one end to the other. My suggestion is pick a ramp that meets your needs both logistically and personally. Bathrooms, picknic facilities and even camping are all available at different launch sites. Most are already in or very near a creek that will probably have spawning bass so the rest is up to you.
Once you’re on the water and found the right stuff, (lily pads) a few key baits will help locate and put bass in the boat. Spinner bait, rattle trap and a floating jerk bait will all cover water fast. Male bass are aggressive this time of year and even if you don’t catch one just a bite is a good indication to stay there and slow down. Large plastic worms in Junebug or Green pumpkin work very well in March. Fish them on heavier line with a 1/8th to 3/16 oz bullet weight. Slowly crawl through the pads or swim it back. They will let you know how they want it.
As it stands now you can keep 5 bass, all under 16 inches or one over 16 inches. The other 4 of course would still have to be under 16. Bass are very good table fare but please keep only what’s legal or enough for a fresh fish meal. Let’s take care of this great fishery for youth that follows.
Until next month, be safe, have fun and ALWAYS wear a life jacket while boating!
That being said let’s focus on Lake Talquin.
Water temperatures have fallen into the high 50’s due to the mid month week long cold snap. Just before that bass were getting ready to bed as the full moon found crappie and buck bass in very shallow water. Male bass were “peeing” which is another good indicator of spawning bass. Reports of bass with bloody eggs in them also tells me we’re ahead of schedule again for 2018.
As water temperatures hover near 60, bass move in and around deeper channels or drop offs near banks that face the South. These areas warm faster than most creating the perfect early season spawning area. Of course not all bass spawn at the same time so January is a good time to chase bass in many different parts of the lake including river channel ledges and creeks.
We touched on the places to target bass in the creeks but there’s more. Some deeper creeks like Oklawaha have points and channel swings that also harbor active bass. Bass will be feeding heavily during this time of year looking to fatten up before they spawn, usually in mid March. If you’ve read my reports in the past you’ll know how important it is to find the bait if you want to be really productive. Deeper edges make it easier for bass to move vertically in the water column in case weather conditions change drastically as they often do in January. Cold North winds can blow cooler water from one side of the creek to the other dropping surface temperatures as much as 7 degrees over night. The good thing is Lake Talquin is located in Florida. It’s called the sunshine state for a reason. As the sun gets higher during late mornings banks that face the sun warm quickly drawing bait and other forage to the shallows.
Crappie and bass both like to spawn in early January around the same areas. Make sure if you get a bite or two when using a spinner bait or other fast moving bait you don’t assume it’s a bass. Lake Talquin is known for it’s ultra slab population of Black Crappie. Another tip is bring an ultra light set up with you just to target crappie. They’re lots of fun to catch and even better tasting. Small curly tail grubs with a chartreuse tail fished on 8lb test line is the perfect rig for fan casting an active area with scattered lily pads.
Bass can also be found near the dam. Rocks warm quickly too and that attracts bait as well. Shallow running crank baits or spinner baits fished slowly along the rocky wall is a favorite of mine when they’re there.
Like any winter month, all fishing will be contingent on current weather conditions. With North winds dominating during these months Lake Talquin is a good choice even if you’re just looking to get out on the water and try your new electronics or tune that baitcaster. With boat ramps surrounding both sides of the lake you can find comfortable places to fish without running far.
Until next month, be safe, have fun and ALWAYS wear a life jacket while boating!

November fishing report.

Lake Jackson
November bass fishing on Lake Jackson sees quite a few changes as the nights get cooler and the days get shorter. Grass, lily pads and other vegetation die back and new water appears. Patches of pads and grass now hold leftover pods of baitfish and that will keep the feeding bass nearby.
Techniques change too. Water temperatures will drop into the low 70’s and fish in general will move shallower. Not always a great topwater bite but some mornings are better than others and it’s a good time to have some fun and possibly catch one of those Lake Jackson monsters.
One of my favorite big bass baits in November is the stick bait. Weather it’s a long floating Rapala or a double spinner Devil’s Horse both will attract some awesome strikes. I like to work my top water baits a little different than most, preferring to fish them slow with a very long pause in between each twitch. I use heavy pound test monofilament line and after the initial cast count to as many as 15 seconds before moving. Over the years on clear water lakes such as Jackson, time on the water has enabled me to see first hand how these big fish first approach a casted bait. Like a submarine surfacing, the bass will float straight up with little horizontal movement. Many times you’ll see the water swirl on a calm day and on the next little movement they’ll blast it.
The heavy mono is key for several reasons. It’s buoyancy versus fluorocarbon and ability to keep the hooks from wrapping like braid are a couple. The last of course is the obvious one and that’s to help boat the fish with heavy vegetation nearby.
Swim baits, soft plastic jerk baits and plastic worms all have a time and place during November too. Lot’s of that depends on weather, cover and depth.
Crappie fishing picks up during this month also. Working edges of deeper water that still have grass or lily pads with live minnows is one good way to target these tasty guys. Also large schools of bait will roam the deeper areas like the sink holes so you can drift minnows or troll these spots.
As of this writing water levels were still low but not to the point you cannot access the lake. Small boats and kayaks can be launch in several places but bass and pleasure boats need to use the ramp at Sunset Landing.


August, 2017 fishing report

August is one if not the hottest month of the summer. Though July brings long days and summer heat this year it was accompanied with above average precipitation and that made bass fishing pretty darn good on Lake Jackson. Let’s hope that continues as rain puts much needed oxygen and keeps fish near the surface and on the edges where they’re easier to catch.Typical August heat will keep water temperatures in the low 90’s. Wind provides little relief as surface temps are greater than what lies below. Without the rain bass will hang in the most comfortable areas and that means cover. Lake Jackson is loaded with different types of cover, the main being lily pads. Find the right mixture of lily pads and grass to maximize your chances of success.Three methods come to mind in August for putting bass in the boat. Number 1 is flipping. For those of you that follow our reports you’re very familiar with our method of flipping. Big, heavy duty equipment, thick vegetation and your favorite soft plastic bait. The second is covering water. Anything that makes a point or ambush spot is where you need to concentrate your efforts. Make several casts with a few different lures. For example, first would be a top water like a frog. Probably something you can work quickly for that reaction bite. If no takers try a different frog that floats and pops. Still no interest swim a jig or a worm just under the surface and finally cast or pitch a Texas rigged worm to the edge letting it fall, all the while keep a close eye on your line. Many times the bass will take the worm and spit it right back out. If you see your line jump go ahead and set the hook. The third is go at night. Again, big equipment is needed as I like to throw surface lures that make a lot of noise or attract attention. Another method is a plastic worm fished near deeper lily pads in front of Hgwy 27 ramp, or the edges of the sink holes. Bass will move to those deeper edges at night to feed in the summer. Please be prepared. Flash lights, bug spray and always have a game plan in case of emergency. Be sure and let someone know you’re out at night and an estimated time you’ll be done.

For those chasing bream August offers some great bream fishing, but get out early. That heat is unbearable once the sun gets up. Plenty of sunscreen and water is mandatory with high sun and heat in August. Doesn’t take long to get dehydrated under those conditions.

May, 2017 fishing report;
2017 has been a crazy year so far. With bass bedding since January on Lake Jackson fishing has been pretty darn good. Hard to believe the full moon in April still had a wave of those left. This will make May bass fishing very stable as two major patterns will develop as water temperature will start in the low 80’s and be very close to 90 by months end.
Pattern #1 will include top water early and late in the day. With lots of open water compared to last year thanks to the involvement from Friends of Lake Jackson and their help to control invasive water plants bass can be found schooling on the edges of spray lines. My five favorite top water baits include Pop “R”, Baby Torpedo, Buzz Bait, Devils Horse and Popping Frog. Colors vary so I’m always trying different ones as conditions change. First two hours of the day and the last two work best.
Pattern #2 is flipping. Not so much with the super heavy weight yet as vegetation is still growing but ¾oz to 1oz and 17 to 20lb test flourocarbon line. Feeding bass will be hanging around the edges of lily pads and grass pods. I flip small creature baits and 3” to 4” Fighting Frogs or Beavers. The action on the latter is more left to right versus straight down. Again, this flipping pattern targets vegetation not fully grown but thick enough to create shade and a good ambush point.
Rain will also be a factor. Not so much in helping or hurting fishing but how and where to launch a boat. Recently the county completed construction of the new Hgwy 27 boat ramp located on the North West side of the lake. Small boats and kayaks have little problem getting in and out there but you may struggle with anything bigger.
Sunset Landing will probably be your best bet. Here you’ll find pavilions with tables, restrooms and parking. Conveniently located next to the ramp itself is Shucker’s Oyster Bar.
Bream fishing is also very very good throughout the summer months especially during the moon phases. Concentrate on the Crowder area using crickets or road runners for larger ones. If going on the weekend get out early as this is the pleasure side of the lake.

April fishing report,
March certainly didn’t disappoint with lots of big fish caught. And while looking back over the past several years this April’s fishing report for Lake Jackson will be quite a bit different.
With water temperatures already in the mid 70’s spring is pretty much over and we move dead into post spawn tactics to catch bass.
Besides April showers bringing May flowers it’s also a good month to fish fast. Lots of bedding bass from March have now moved to the thicker edges of grass and are actively guarding fry. This means obnoxious lures like buzz baits, frogs and paddle tail worms fished quickly near old spawning grounds will draw some very aggressive strikes.
Places to look are almost anywhere grass and pads meet deeper water. These vegetative edges create a buffer the bass fry use as a place to grow. Bass are cannibalistic and will eat their own recent hatch. Besides bass, other predators looking to feast on fry include crappie, brim, catfish, grennel, chain pickerel, gar, birds, lizards and frogs. This enables a plethora of different baits to be effective so make plenty of casts and keep moving.
As April moves along and temperatures rise bass will move to thicker cover. Morning bite will be very good and so will fishing on cloudy days. On bright sunny days keep the flipping stick ready for action. Depending on water clarity a good choice for a soft plastic flipping bait includes craws, creature baits and jigs in natural colors.

As for you brim fishermen and fisherwomen, April is a good month to find your fish shallow. Pretty much those same sandy areas you saw bedding bass on will have groups of saucer shaped holes, it is here where the brim are now calling home. The brim bite is definitely better around the two major moon phases which are full and new. Crickets, wigglers and or beetle spins for you that get bored with a cane pole.

One last thing, as the sun stays higher and the days get longer the water in Lake Jackson evaporates quickly. As water levels are normal at the time of this writing, we still need several inches of rain to maintain a good lake level during the summer. Without it, well you know what May happen…

Lake Jackson, March 2017
Looking back over the past several years March fishing reports for Lake Jackson in Tallahassee, FL I see this year, 2017 will be quite a bit different.
With water temperatures already in the mid 60’s in early February bass have been bedding for over one month. In years past March reports have read where bass are in three stages of the spawn. Pre, spawn, and post later in the month. This year with bass already bedding we will start March with only two stages. Spawn and post spawn.
Already there are hundreds of bass guarding small black balls of fry in the same areas you find bedding bass. This makes for some awesome fishing with vicious strikes.
Early in the mornings you’ll want to cover lots of shallow water. Look for any movement. Lots of different baits and techniques work when targeting post spawn bass but there are a couple I like when going after the big ones. This includes throwing a buzzbait or soft plastic frog with kicker or paddle tail legs. Fish these baits quickly around isolated cover on or near bedding areas and hold on. Again, any type of surface activity indicates fish in the area. As the sun rises and the ability to see into the water gets better you’ll want to slow down and look. This is where a good pair of polarized sun glasses comes into play. Even if you don’t spot bass actually sitting on their beds just finding bedding areas will help you catch more fish.
Over the years I’ve found bedding bass aren’t to particular when they are sitting on it keeping egg eating predators away. Some fishermen like to throw White soft plastic baits to bedding bass, others throw neutral colors and still others throw dark colors. For argument sake keep it simple. For Gin clear water try less aggressive colors like pumpkin or watermelon. Stained water will yield more strikes with darker colors like green pumpkin or Junebug. White is actually for the fishermen to see the bass moving or taking the bait. Texas rig all your soft plastics and a 1/4oz bullet weight is a great all around size. A couple other helpful tools include a shallow water anchor devise like a Power Pole or the affordable BOATSTICK. These are very helpful in maintaining boat control and to keep you positioned especially on windy days when targeting a specific fish or area.
I like to compare sight fishing for bedding bass to hunting. Find where they sit, study their habits, wait for the right moment then strike!
For those that prefer not to sight fish or just can’t see them you’ll still want to target bedding areas. Some male bass are using multiple beds so swimming a paddle tail worm or pitching soft plastics to light spots are very effective.
Whatever fishing style you may prefer, or what type of watercraft you may use the month of March is primed to be a very good one on Lake Jackson.

So until next month, be safe have fun and ALWAYS wear a life jacket while boating!
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