Calling Panther Lake

The ramp at Calling Panther Lake is busy during the fishing season. It being one of the best bass lakes in the state, anglers are urged to take home some smaller bass.

Lake record: 15.4 pounds

Slot limit: 20 inches maximum

Daily creel limit – 30, with one over 20 inches

Anglers are being encouraged to keep some bass to eat from this up-and-coming trophy lake.

And the efforts to control the bass population seems to be working: recently the lake produced back-to-back lake records of 14.3 and 15.4 pounds.

Biologists believe the next state record could come from the lake in the near future.

The 500-acre impoundment is quickly becoming a destination for bass anglers across the Deep South.

But be forewarned: It is not an easy lake to fish.

Close to 400 acres of the lake were left thick with standing timber. Much of this has fallen, leaving tons of debris just under the surface.

“Getting bass out of Calling Panther requires a stout rod and a strong line,” MDWFP fisheries biologist Jerry Brown said. “Because there is so much structure, bass tend to head to the bottom as soon as they realize they are hooked.

“I hear regular reports from anglers who had a bass escape by breaking the line or the hook tearing out.”

Tackle is a matter of choice, of course, but Brown said he uses nothing less than a 20-pound fluorocarbon or braided line and a heavy-action 6-foot rod.

“I have no doubt that, since the lake opened, these bass have seen every bait ever made,” Brown said. “Many of the fish over 10 pounds have been caught on live shiners, but that is not to say artificial baits are not bitten.”

He said anglers can help make room for those big bruiser bass.

“The smaller bass — those being less than 20 inches (long) — are the target we’d like anglers to keep,” Brown said. “They readily hit artificial baits.”

The primary food sources in the lake are shad, bream, crappie and catfish fingerlings, he pointed out.

“If I had to make one recommendation to the average bass angler, I’d say fish early and late with a buzz bait or chugger such as a Rattlin’ Chug Bug,” Brown said. “This a perfect place to work a jig-and-pig in the standing timber.

“Just be ready to set the hook: The bass have plenty of cover to retreat to.”

About David Hawkins 195 Articles
David Hawkins is a freelance writer living in Forest. He can be reached at

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