Lake Talquin Fishing Report: March 2014

JR Mundinger with 4lb beauty caught on Lake Jackson.
JR Mundinger with 4lb beauty caught on Lake Jackson.

By Capt. JR Mundinger
March, unlike other months, is when Mother Nature “wakes up” here in the Florida Panhandle.¬† Flowers bloom, trees bud and fish begin to spawn.¬† Not all fish spawn, but definitely the ones we’re after do.

On Lake Talquin, bass will bed at different times of the spring depending what parts of the lake you’re on.¬† One thing to look for is isolated banks, coves and clear water that get a lot of sunlight.¬†Other things to factor in are trees, houses or docks that will shield cold North winds from dropping water temps.¬†¬†As water temps do reach into the 60’s, bass will make their move to these areas.¬†But again, not all bass spawn at the same time, so here’s a few tips on what to do when searching for these early season breeders. I like to throw fast moving baits like rattle traps or vibrating baits.¬† Of course conditions are not always conducive for throwing these particular ones, so spinner baits, swim baits and shallow crank baits need to be a part of your arsenal.¬†Pay attention to subtle things like green vegetation, shallow water activity and sunshine.¬†That’s right.¬† Some banks get more sunshine than others at different times, so be on the lookout for those warmer areas.¬†Turtles and alligators are another sign to look for.

Once I locate bass, it’s time to pinpoint their reason for being there.¬† Did I just bring my spinner bait by a male guarding a nest, or was it closer to the drop off where they might be feeding?¬†Nothing wrong with doing a little shallow water research after catching one.¬†Take mental notes like depth, water color and temperature.¬†Also time of day will play a big role.¬†With overnight lows dipping into the 30’s, it sometimes¬†takes that late morning sun hitting the bedding area to move fish back shallow.¬†Here’s an example;¬†Fish were biting a chrome/blue rattle trap very well until around 10:00 a.m.¬†I didn’t get another bite until noon when I switched to a lizard.¬†I threw it near the bank, got a backlash, and when I picked it up I had one on- A nice two pounder.

This is a typical March scenario, and it has even happened to a¬†most of you if you think back. As we “March” to the end of the month, water temps will be as high as 70 degrees in some places.¬†This is usually the peak of¬†bedding season and one of the best times to find that trophy of a lifetime in shallow waters and to be more specific, right around the full moon.¬†If you do come across¬†one of those double digit beauties, you need to be prepared. That means heavy line, big jig and a stiff rod.¬†Oh you might get lucky and pull one in with a good old “snoopy rod” kids pole but I doubt it!
For you crappie fishermen, this is YOUR month. Big females are full of roe, and males are colored like a black diamond with a green tint and they fight like a tiger when hooked. March crappie fishing on Lake Talquin will bring both sides of the spawn with it. Some prefer to troll deeper water to catch both pre-spawn and post spawn, while others hit the banks early and late in the day to fish for the nesting fish.  Either way, there is a better than average chance on Lake Talquin of catching both limits and size when crappie fishing this time of year. Even the novice anglers can move to shallow water and soak a minnow around the lily pads and catch something. Remember, other species are spawning at the same time including catfish, chain pickerel and bowfin.

Capt. JR Mundinger
Professional Guide