Lake Fork Report & Pics—March 16, 2011
The bass are moving forward steadily in their progression towards the spawn on Lake Fork. After a cold February that was dominated by a jig bite, bass moved towards the backs of creeks and now bladed Phenix Vibrator Jigs with Live Magic Shads and TX or Carolina rigged soft plastics are dominating. We saw a number of pairs move up shallow yesterday afternoon and the continued warm weather this week should produce the first major wave of spawners. Once that happens, weightless soft plastics will be the primary bait on the flats on the upper ½ of the lake. Or if you'd rather focus on the big staging fish, you can back out a bit deeper or head to the southern end and still catch the April and May spawners.
The prespawn bite has been very good on Fork so far this season and the big fish are starting to come in now with regularity. With the spawn just beginning soon and running into May every year, it's not too late to join the fun. After that, it's topwaters for post spawners and then our best deep water structure bite of the year for big fish with deep cranks, Carolina rigs and football jigs from May into July.
If you haven't caught it yet, I'm a frequent participant and host of "The Big Bass Battle" on Versus. The show also runs on WFN (World Fishing Network), as well as on Time Warner cable in the Dallas area. More new episodes will air in a couple weeks, with trips to Fork, LA, and MS.
As a side note, my March article is now posted and it details how to catch big bass during the spawn with tactics other than sight fishing. For those of you who don't like sight fishing or have trouble spotting the bass, here's how. http://lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles/mar2011.htm
Lake Conditions: Fork's water temps rose considerably this week despite a couple cold fronts. The lake level is currently 399.85' (about 3' 2" below full pool) and a ton of stumps are now visible. The boat lanes are still safe to run in general, but definitely exercise caution when heading out of the clear-cut areas. Water temps were reading 54 to 64 yesterday in the main lake to 66 degrees in the warmest creeks. The main lake is the normal greenish clear color but many creeks and the upper end of the lake are pretty stained due to all of the wind. Apparently because of the low water and very cold water temps, there is currently very little grass cover on Fork.
Location Pattern: For prespawn and staging fish, key on points and along edges of flats or creek channels. With very little grass on the lake this year, bass are relating to the timber. During warming trends, follow bass back into the creeks and check the edges of flats and creek channels. After the fronts, drop back to deeper water adjacent to where the fish were before the front and you'll quickly relocate them. For spawning fish, look for protected bays in the north end of the lake or at the very backs of major creeks. As the water continues to warm and we move towards April, bass will start spawning nearer the mouths of creeks and in deeper creeks. The main lake flats are typically the last areas to spawn, often as late as early-May.
Presentation Pattern: For prespawn bass, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and lipless crankbaits will catch bass, especially on overcast and windy days. First and foremost are lipless crankbaits in ½ or ¾ oz, like the Lucky Craft LV500 and LVR D-7. Red and crawfish colors are most popular and they often work well, although oddball colors often produce better on any given day. ½ oz Redemption spinnerbaits with tandem or double willow blades with white or chartreuse and white skirts will produce some nice bass in the same areas that the lipless cranks work, as will shallow running crankbaits like Lucky Craft RC 2.0 or BDS4 square bills. For big bass, try swimming a 4.5" Live Magic Shad on the back of a ½ oz Phenix Vibrator Jig and fish it in the same areas you'd throw a spinnerbait. White or white/chartreuse vibrator jigs with Sun Perch or Albino Shad Live Magic Shads work well. And for a real prespawn monster, pitching heavy cover along the first breakline and creek channels is the way to go. I go with a 3/8 oz MPack Jig in black and blue or green pumpkin with a Lake Fork Craw or Hyper Freak trailer in matching colors. For the Texas rig, I'll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or Hyper Freak in black neon, Bama Bug or watermelon/red with a 1/8 to 3/8 oz bullet weight and slowly work it around cover. The new Dobyns DX745C Extreme rod rigged with 40 lb HyperBraid has been landing the light biting bass from the thickest timber without fail.
For bass that have moved onto spawning flats, weightless Texas rigged or wacky rigged soft plastic jerkbaits like Magic Shads, Live Magic Shads, and the Hyper Stick become your best option. The Hyper Stick combines the shape of Senko-style stick worm baits with the segmented body action of the Live Magic Shad. The result is a worm with unique action from even the slightest rod movement. Shades of green pumpkin and watermelon are normally top colors, but don't forget Magic Craw Swirl and Blue Bruiser with the muddy water this year. These fish are often spooky, so long casts are key. For weightless soft plastic jerkbaits, I like using the Dobyns Champion 733C with 20 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line. The 7'3" rod whips the baits out there, while it still has enough backbone to drive the hook through thick worms on long casts. The FluoroHybrid Pro line has the feel and invisibility of fluorocarbon, yet it casts well and ties strong knots like mono—it's truly the best of both worlds.
Here's hoping you catch the lunker of your dreams. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at 214-683-9572 or e-mail me through http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.
About The Author: Captain Tom Redington
Company: Lake Fork Bass Guide Service
Area Reporting: Lake Fork Texas
Bio: My mission is to help you learn the skills to catch lots of big fish on Lake Fork—skills that will also help you catch more and bigger fish on your home lake and any other lakes you fish. In addition, I will focus my efforts on your goals for our trip—whether you want to learn a new technique, find fish for an upcoming tournament, learn the current patterns for a week’s visit to Fork, or just have an enjoyable day with friends, family or a client.