Archive for December, 2011

Hey everyone! It is hard to believe that it’s December already. Where has the year gone? I know I’m ready for 2012 for a number of reasons but let’s not go into politics and just stick to fishing. I know that most boaters have put their rigs up for the year and are getting ready for the New Year already but those that are still getting out on the water know how great some fishing days can be this time of year on Lake Fork. So if you are one of those like myself that love to fish in the winter or you just have cabin fever and would like to get out on the lake, here are some tips and techniques that will help you land some nice fish or even possibly the fish of your dreams! The lake conditions are considerably different going into winter this year than any other year that we have seen before. With the Texas drought of 2011 the lake is now between 7 ½ and 8 feet low. The water temperatures are in the 60’s as I write this but you can expect water temperatures to dip into the 50’s and remain there for much of the month unless it stays unseasonably warm. With the low water, it is very important to navigate the lake with caution and do not run in any areas that you are not familiar with including some marked boat lanes. One my favorite winter and December shallow water patterns is targeting fish around any shallow vegetation or stumps near main lake or secondary points. Most of these winter fish will move into these shallow grass beds or hug stumps to ambush prey. During the sunny warmest part of the day can be best as water temperatures in these shallow areas is at its peak and the fish are most active. My first lure of choice is a lipless crank bait. My favorite sizes are a 1/2 oz or 5/8 oz but will also keep a 3/4 oz bait handy as well. I like to use shades or red, orange, or a combination of these two colors as well as chrome or gold. I like to use a 7’ medium heavy Abu Garcia Veritas rod with 17-20 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon on a high speed reel like the NEW Abu Garcia Revo MGX. This reel comes in a 7.1:1 or 7.9:1 ratio so you can really burn a bait with this set up or use it to take some of the work off of your arms while you fish these baits all day making numerous casts. I like to use the lipless bait as a search bait and once I get bit I will slow down and work the area over thoroughly. A lot of times you will find the fish in small groups this time of year but may not be able to catch all of them on the same bait or presentation. If you double back and fish something like a suspending jerk bait or jig you may catch a few more fish or that BIG one you’ve been looking for! On the jerk bait I will throw a suspending model in a gold/black, clown, or ayu color. Fishing this bait slowly with twitch and long pause technique is great for a real big fish especially during the sunny calm days. On cloudy days I do better fishing slowly through the area with a jig and I will flip or pitch a 3/8 or 1/2 oz Talon jig tight to every piece of cover available. A jig can be very effective on deeper points at the mouth of creeks and the creek edges inside the creek. With the lake low like it is you can follow the trees that line the channel edge very easily. Best colors for me are black & blue, black/blue/purple, bama bug, or black/brown. I like to tip my jigs with a 3” or 4” Berkley Chigger Craw or Chigger Chunk in matching colors. The action on the Chigger Craw is very attractive to a big fish and they hold onto the jig longer with the Powerbait scent. This is an important advantage as most bites are light and normally fish will not hold onto the jig long during the winter months. The deep water patterns are effective as well during the winter. You can find a lot of bass in the mouth of major creeks, on the bridges, and on structure near open water on the main lake at the mouth of major creeks. I will use my Lowrance HDS unit to graph these deep areas first. If I find bait and shad, I know that the bass are nearby. Once I locate a school of bass, I will usually drop a marker on them. I like to use spoons, Carolina rigs, drop shots, and a tube jig on these deep fish. If you are interested in coming out for some big bass action this winter 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. I am also booking winter trips on Lake Monticello for those that are interested in catching spawning fish in the cold on this great power plant lake. The fishing last winter was awesome there and already starting off with a bang this year. I still have a few dates available and want to remind anyone that is considering making spring reservations with me to do it ASAP. My spring’s 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 You can also visit my website for more information about trophy bass fishing on Lake Fork My new 2012 Ranger Z521 Comanche powered with a Mercury 250 Prop XS will be here any day and man I’m excited. These boats are awesome! 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 Electronics, 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