Winter is going to be over soon and those of us who look forward to spring will be on the lookout for new fishing adventures. I’ve got an idea for a trip that you will not regret. Head out to Paradise Public Fishing Area located between Tifton and Nashville in South Georgia and you will be in for a treat. From Statesboro it’s about 140 miles and there are plenty of places to stay in Tifton.
Paradise PFA is located on over 1300 acres in Berrien and Tift Counties. There are over sixty lakes totaling in excess of 350 acres that are extensively managed for fishing. In addition to the great angling opportunities you are likely to see all types of wildlife such as geese, several species of ducks, hawks and bald eagles. Paradise is a pristine place that offers fishing from the bank or from boats and is an ideal setting for the family or individual seeking a relaxing day with nature.
Among the lakes available at Paradise PFA is Lake Patrick (the largest) at 112 acres. If you are not a boater there are three fishing piers and plenty of accessible shoreline for use. The lake is known for excellent catches of bass, bream and crappie. The north end of the lake is dotted with plenty of cover and is one of the prime spots in early spring for largemouth bass. Spring will also be a prime time for bluegill, shellcrackers, and crappie. A quick note: It is illegal to fish in any of the lakes at Paradise with live fish so minnows are out for crappie fishermen.
Another popular lake on the property is Lake Tacklebuster. At seventeen acres it is full of heavy cover and has a reputation for big bass. Tacklebuster is also a high quality lake for channel catfish. If you prefer fishing in smaller ponds you still have plenty of others to choose from that range from one half acre to five acres.
Generally speaking if you are bass fishing Carolina or Texas rigged worms are hard to beat as are crankbaits and jigs. For shellcrackers and bluegills crickets and red wigglers or other live worms are usually the best bet. If you are specifically targeting shellcrackers it is best to fish the worms on the bottom. For channel catfish there is a lot of success to be had on chicken livers, worms, stink baits, and crickets. It is also good to know that if channel catfish is what you are after be sure to visit Lakes Horseshoe 1 and 2. They are heavily stocked with this delicacy and are fed daily in those places. Jigs are the best bet for crappie.
If you decide to make this trip there are some things you need to know so here’s a short check list:
1) If you are using a boat there must be a Coast Guard approved life vest for each person as well as a type IV throwable device.
2) All children under 10 years old must wear a life jacket while in a boat.
3) You will need a valid Georgia fishing license and a WMA license to fish if you are age sixteen years or older. If you have a three day fishing license or a lifetime license you do not have to have a WMA license.
4) Public Fishing Areas such as Paradise have special regulations that are posted on site as well as published in the Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations. Be sure to check them before getting started.
5) If you are using a boat with enclosed areas that may trap gas or vapors a USCG approved fire extinguisher must be on board.
Some other things that ethical fishermen abide by:
— Know and obey fishing regulations.
— Stay within posted limits and release fish you do not plan to eat.
— Leave the area you use cleaner than you found it.
— Do not transfer fish or plants between bodies of water.
— Report violations.
— Dispose of fishing line properly.
— Be courteous to others and lend a hand if someone needs it.
For more information you can visit www.gofishgeorgia.com or call (912)285-6094. You can also go to www.georgiawildlife.com/node/307 and get a printable map of Paradise PFA as well as a guide to fishing on the property. Paradise is located 8 miles east of Tifton off U.S. Highway 82. There are plenty of signs to the area.
Paradise is open year round seven days a week from sunrise to sunset
If you have any other questions concerning this trip shoot me an e-mail and we’ll get it answered for you.
Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.