Happy New Year everyone! If your New Year’s resolution was to catch a trophy largemouth bass then you are in the right place. Lake Fork is already ringing the New Year in with a bang as Andrew Watson caught the first ShareLunker Program fish of the year out of Lake Fork on December 27th. The fish weighed 13.51 pounds and sets the tone for what should be another incredible year of fishing in 2012. With water levels starting the year off at historically low marks it can give anglers a better opportunity to catch these giant bass condensed into certain areas of the lake. The fishing on Lake Fork will really start to heat up this month and into February for big pre spawn female bass. As these fish begin to develop their eggs and reach their peak weight of the year, it is a great opportunity to catch the fish of a lifetime. Here are some pointers that will hopefully help you in pursuit of a new personal best or your own addition to TPWD’s ShareLunker Program.
The lake is about over 7 feet low right now. This is great for the fishing but treacherous for navigating the lake in some areas so be cautious out there. Water clarity is lightly stained in most areas. The water temperatures are remaining in the low to mid 50’s right now but that could change as the month progresses. It is not uncommon to find water temperatures dipping into the high 40’s if the winter becomes frigid. Water temperature is everything right now and it is important to have an accurate temperature gauge on your boat and monitor it throughout the day.
Main lake and secondary points leading into the major creeks are great areas to target this month. Again, water temperature is very important right now and you will want to target the warmest water available as this will be where the fish are generally most active. I usually concentrate on shallow grass beds in 2-6 foot of water but there is little grass right now with the low water. Do not let that discourage you from fishing these baits though. I found that these fish will still relate well to the bank and key on these same baits despite the lack of vegetation. The best baits to use in search of productive grass are moving baits. Red or chrome lipless crank baits are excellent choices. I like to use the 1/2 oz size in most situations but will often switch to a 1/4 or 3/4 oz size depending on the grass and water temperatures. I rig my lipless baits on the new Abu Garcia Villain 7’ Med Heavy action rod with a Revo MGX high speed 7:1 ratio reel spooled with 17-20 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line. Having the right rod/reel/ line combination is an essential. Making hundreds of casts a day will wear you out if you are not using the proper combination of equipment. The right equipment will also help you keep these baits in the strike zone longer. Lipless cranks are reaction bait and are most effective ripped off the blades of grass that the bait comes in contact with. The bass react most often after you rip the bait free from the grass. Developing a rhythm of retrieving the bait or a yo-yo type retrieve is very effective in drawing strikes from hungry pre-spawn bass. Other shallow running baits like the new Talon 1.5 crank bait or new suspending jerk baits are also great choices for targeting shallow grass beds. Shad or bream colors are great choices.
Creek channel areas in 8-14 foot of water are also a great place to target big female pre-spawn bass during the month of January. The big mamas are preparing for the spawn will be on a heavy crawfish diet. I like to use a 3/8 or 1/2 oz Talon jig in black/blue, bama bug, or dark pb&j colors. I will tip these jigs with a Berkley Chigger Chunk in black/ blue or green pumpkin. A Texas rigged flipping tube, craw worm, or Berkley Power Lizard are also excellent choices for flipping. Make sure and target every tree lining the edge of the creek channel and fish as slow as possible. These big bass will be lethargic but will gladly accept your offering if they do not have to move far to get it.
The deep bite is best on jigging spoons and drop shot rigs. I use a plain old reliable Talon “t-spoon” in 3/8 or 1/2 oz sizes. On the drop shot a finesse worm like a Berkley Wacky Crawler or 4” Power Worm is the ticket. You can find fish on roadbeds, humps, ridges, and pond dams in 20-30 feet and deeper. I am running the new Lowrance HDS Gen2 electronics on the console and bow with Structure Scan on my new 2012 Ranger boat. Having great electronics is a huge advantage to locating these schools of deep fish and with these new graphs it makes it hard for the fish to hide. The deep bass are lethargic as well so fishing slow is important. You will often times have a hard time feeling a bite because they bite it so soft.
If you are interested in coming out for some big bass action this spring or would like to just take an instructional trip to learn about electronics, seasonal patterns, or some new techniques on Lake Fork, contact me anytime. The fishing last spring was great and I know it will be even better this year. I still have a few dates available and want to remind anyone that is considering spring reservations with me to do it ASAP. I book up extremely fast so get your 2012 date now before my schedule is full. You can reach me by phone at (903)736-9888 or drop me an email at email@example.com You can also visit my website for more information about trophy bass fishing on Lake Fork www.officiallakeforktrophybass.com
My new 2012 Ranger Z521 Comanche powered with a Mercury 250 Prop XS just arrived and man I’m excited. These boats are awesome! I am currently rigging it up with all the latest and greatest equipment like the new Lowrance HDS Gen2 electronics as well as the Power Pole Blades. If you get a chance while you are here, stop by Diamond Sports Marine on highway 154 and check out the new 2012 Ranger Boats already in stock. Talk to Ben Hogan or Robert Gilliland and they will be glad to help you find the right boat for your needs. Let them show you why they are the #1 Ranger Boat dealership in the country. Or just give them a call at (903)383-7829 for information. If you would like a demo ride in my new boat, feel free to contact me also to schedule your test ride.
Again, a big thanks to all my sponsors: Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I AM SECOND, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Interstate Batteries, Lowrance, Power Pole, Hamby’s, Talon Lures, Line & Lure Conditioner, BTS Protectant, Navionics, Oakley, and Sure Life.
Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Tight Lines and God Bless,James Caldemeyer