Archive for February, 2011

Advertisements

February is a big month at Lake Fork for big bass! The fish are moving heavily into their pre-spawn patterns and preparing themselves for their annual migration to the spawning grounds. If you are eager to catch a trophy bass before the spring crowds roll in, now is the time to get out on the water.

            The lake has been steady at or near 3 ½ feet low the past couple of months. I’m sure we will get an annual dose of spring precipitation that will bring the lake up some, but until we do you’ll want to be cautious running the lake as there are numerous stumps appearing in areas that we have not seen them in awhile. The water clarity is fairly off colored in most areas on the north end with clearer areas found on the southern end of the lake. Water temperatures are in the mid 40’s as I write this report but you can expect to see them in the low to mid 50’s most of the month unless we see some major cold fronts hit us again.

            Best areas to target these pre-spawn bass are main lake and secondary points at the mouth of the major creeks or creek channel edges, bends, drains, and ditches adjacent to spawning flats. These big fish will be primarily in a “staging” mode this month. The bass will target these areas to feed heavily and wait for the water temperatures to reach 58-60 degrees before moving up on beds. Water temperature is probably the single most important factor this time of year. The bass will be most active in the warmest water available which is generally located on a north bank that is protected from frontal winds. Grass is also a key component to locating the fish right now. You can usually look for the coots and they will point you to the best available grass where bass will be congregating for food and warmth as the spring progresses.

            There are just a few basic patterns and baits that I implement to catch pre-spawn lunkers. My number one favorite is a lipless crank bait over shallow grass beds 2-8 feet of water. There are such a wide variety of these baits it can be overwhelming but I like to stick with reds, oranges, crawfish patterns, chrome/blue, or white shad colors in 1/2 or 3/4 oz sizes. I like to use a very sensitive rod like the new Abu Garcia Veritas rod with a 7:1 ratio Revo reel spooled up with 17-20 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line with my lipless baits. I make long casts over the grass and rip the bait as it tips the top of the grass on the retrieve. Most strikes are reaction strikes and will come as the bait pops loose from the grass. My other favorite for a big fish in February is a jig. I will use a 1/2 oz Talon jig in black/blue, bama bug, or Texas craw color with a matching Berkley Chigger Craw trailer to flip the timber lining the mouth of the creeks. A lot of these big females will be eating crawfish and there is no better imitation to fool big mama than the jig. This presentation is often best during a cold front situation or when you have located a group of fish in a certain area with moving baits. Often times slowing down and dissecting an area will reap big rewards as these fish are often in groups. Another great bait, especially after a cold front or calm sunny days, is the old suspending jerk bait. I will pick this up when I absolutely cannot get bit on anything else. I will fish it over the same shallow water areas as I do the lipless baits with long pauses between jerks. These big bass will come up and eat it when they will not go after much else. Best colors for me are clown and black/gold.

            There are some schools of deep fish to be found in 25-35 feet during the month of February. It is very important to have a great graph like a Lowrance HDS unit to locate these deeper bass. Areas at the mouth of major creeks and spawning areas like points, roadbeds, and ridges are prime locations. Drop shot rigs and jigging spoons are your best bet once you find them.

I hope this helps all you anglers that are headed to Lake Fork this month in pursuit of a trophy bass! If you would like to book a guided trip on Lake Fork, feel free to contact me at (903)736-9888 or email me at lakeforktrophybass@yahoo.com . My schedule for 2011 is filling fast so get your reservations in now for best available dates. I am already in my new 2011 Ranger Z521 Comanche www.rangerboats.com paired with a Mercury Optimax 250 Pro XS www.mercurymarine.com . This new ride is an amazing machine! If you have not checked one of these boats out yet you can go by and see one at Diamond Sports Marine www.diamondsportsmarine.com on Hwy 154 while you are in the area. Test rides are available upon request. Just give Ben Hogan a call at (903)383-7829 and he’ll be glad to help you find the Ranger boat that is right for you! Again, a big thanks to all my sponsors: Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Oakley, Talon Lures, Interstate Batteries, Line & Lure Conditioner, BTS Protectant, Navionics, Sure Life, Power Pole, Hamby’s, and Lowrance.

Luke 6:43,44 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.”

Tight Lines and God Bless,

James Caldemeyer