Just a short drive north of Panama City, you’ll find a real gem of a lake that reminds me so much of the great Lake Okeechobee. Porter Lake is located in Washington County near several other lakes, like Gap and Hammock, but I believe Porter may be the biggest of those lakes.
It’s filled from one end to the other with bass, bream and crappie-holding vegetation, so pick your species and get to it! The grass in the lake varies in thickness from extremely thick to sparse, and non-existent in some places. I recommend you concentrate your efforts during these cold months in the thickest grass you can find, especially if a cold front has recently passed through. If wrestling grass with big sticks and heavy weights isn’t your thing, I’d recommend casting a suspending jerk-bait out in the deeper areas close to submerged grass.
If the weather gets unseasonably warm this month, you can expect bass to be spawning in the shallows or at least heading that way. Be sure to have a good pair of polarized glasses to spot nesting fish. Either way, casting a Gambler Ace or Super Stud will get you plenty of bites, and these are proven baits for hooking big fish. On sunny days, use watermelon-red or green-pumpkin, and if it’s cloudy go with junebug or black/blue.
On a recent trip to Porter, I took along my friend Johnny who was visiting from Arizona. We immediately started flipping all the thick grass on the north end of the lake, and Johnny caught one that weighed over 6 pounds just 30 minutes into the trip. It took a few more hours, but I managed one a few ounces heavier than his by flipping a green pumpkin Gambler Ace.
From Panama City, head north on either 2301 or Hwy 77. Strickland Rd. north off of Hwy 20 turns into Porter Lake Rd. and takes you right to the ramp. Off Hwy 77, go east on Greenhead Rd. to Porter Lake rd., then turn north to the ramp. If you’re not sure how to find where to launch, go to myfwc.com and use the “Ramp Locator” feature, and there you’ll find a fairly detailed map.
The remote location of the ramp offers restrooms and camp sites, but pack in plenty of food and drinks because the dirt roads in and out can be bumpy at times and make for a long ride to a store.
Be sure to bring a camera too; big fish are possible and beautiful scenery is guaranteed!