Lake Fork Report and Pics—June 18, 2012
Some representative summertime catches:
Fishing a webisode of the "Scott Martin Challenge" on the Chesapeake Bay recently:
Lake Fork bass are well into summertime patterns now and I'm concentrating on deep structure almost all day on most trips. Although the storms and clouds have made for the most temperate week of June fishing in recent memory, the normal hot and sunny summer weather is typically better for the deep bite. The hotter the water gets and the brighter the sun, the more bass group up in tight schools and relate closely to the bottom. Wind, clouds, and storms tend to leave the fish a bit more scattered and often suspended, making us work harder to catch good numbers.
Powerful electronics and gps maps have turned many secret deep water honey holes into community spots. Bass still live in these areas, but pressured fish become very selective and you have to be on your game to keep catching them. This isn't unique to Fork, as anglers on Guntersville, KY Lake, Rayburn, Falcon and other top structure lakes have to figure out how to beat the crowds too. Therefore, a combination of small factors like lure profile and color, type of retrieve, speed, line size, and angle can be the difference between no bites or 30. Use your same old baits in the same old ways on the same old spots and watch your results plummet. To get away from the crowds, Lowrance StructureScan helps you locate schools of fish that are buried in thick timber, so move off the obvious points and humps on your gps maps and find more subtle features that others miss and you'll have some schools to yourself.
While summer is known for deep structure fishing, many bass are still caught up shallow. If you're getting frustrated with the deep water community holes, here's an "old school" option. My June article covers summer bass in the shallows: http://lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles/june2012.htm
A couple recent videos might help you as well. My video on reading sonar, side scan and down scan sonar is available here: And here is an inexpensive product that will completely rustproof your tackle boxes and enitre boat. They aren't a sponsor of mine, but I'm definitely sold on them after a couple years of great results:
Lake Conditions: A few rains have kept Fork in good shape. The lake level is currently 401.03' (about 2' below full pool). Water temps in the main lake are in the low to mid 80s, with creeks running warmer. The main lake is the normal greenish stain of Lake Fork, although creeks are more brownish than normal because of the limited grass.
Location Pattern: Early and late and when it is cloudy/windy/rainy, you can still find bass feeding on points and flats near or in the main lake. Many creeks have flooded shoreline vegetation and you'll find bass holding here too. Some big bass are still shallow but you can find schools of big fish offshore, so I spend most of my time off the banks on structure. Deep structure like points, humps, creek bends, and roadbeds in 8' to 20' are best on the cloudy days, while I look more in 20' to about 33' on brighter and calmer days. Bass suspend over many deep structure spots, but finding places where they are on the bottom usually results in better catches. Most of these schools are relating to a few pieces of isolated cover, so watch your depth finder closely or you'll bypass the mother lode.
Presentation Pattern: Topwaters like Lucky Craft G Splashes, Sammys, and Gunfish are still getting some active fish early and late, as well as schooling fish when they come up during the day. Shad or chrome colors work best. Weightless rigged soft plastic jerkbaits like Magic Shads and Hyper Sticks will catch fish when the sun gets up a bit more. When the fish go down, you can often catch a few more on a TX rigged 8 or 10" Fork worm in the same areas until they start schooling again.
On offshore structure like humps and points, deep diving cranks and Fork Flutter Spoons will catch suspended fish while Carolina and TX rigs will get the bottom dwellers. The key is to first locate fish on your graph, then let their position dictate your lure selection. Lots of bass suspend during the summer and super deep cranks like Lucky Craft's Flat CB D20 are very effective, with Sexy Chartreuse Shad and Chartreuse Light Blue being my favorite colors. Fork Flutter Spoons will trigger a lot of these same fish too as they slowly wobble down through the schools like a dying shad. Try both aggressive rips and small hops with the spoon to determine the mood of the bass. A 7'8" Dobyns Extreme DX784C rod with 20 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line handles the heavy spoons very well and keeps those leaping lunkers hooked up.
When bass group up on the bottom, they are easier to catch. Carolina and Texas rigs are my first choice. I'll try a variety of baits on both rigs and let the bass tell me how much or how little action they want. Hyper Worms, Fork Worms, Fork Creatures, Hyper Lizards, & Hyper Freaks have a lot of action and trigger big aggressive fish. If the bass are more finicky, straight tail baits like Hyper Finesse Worms, Hyper Sticks, and Twitch Worms are normally more productive. The most productive bait seems to change daily, so experiment until you find what they want. Many of the bites are light, so a super sensitive Dobyns Extreme DX744C handles the regular rigs, while the 7'4" Mag Heavy DX745C handles big worms and football jigs better. If the bass won't respond to those offerings, switch to a Hyper Finesse Worm on a drop shot with 12 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line and a Dobyns Extreme DX702SF spinning rod and you can still catch them, although the average bass size will run a bit smaller. In the darker water, June bug, plum and blue fleck have been good, while the various shades of watermelon and green pumpkin have worked best in the clearer water.
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. If you're in the Lake Fork area and need any boat service or want to check out the new line of Ranger boats, stop by www.DiamondSportsMarine.com on Hwy 154 on the East side of Fork, Ranger Boat's #1 dealer for 2011.
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.