Posts Tagged ‘bass’

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 . 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 paired with a Mercury Optimax 250 Pro XS . 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 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


Right now is a great time to catch big bass here on Lake Fork. While most anglers have put their boats up for the year, there is still a tremendous amount of excellent fishing to experience with little or no fisherman on the water to compete with getting to your favorite honey holes. Wintertime bass fishing on Lake Fork is an often overlooked season to catch a fish of a lifetime and I expect this December to be better than usual due to the lack of cold temperatures in November that normally drive the fish into their fall feeding frenzy. That means there are still a lot of hungry fish out there to be caught this month. A fish nearly 16 lbs was caught by a crappie fisherman recently as well as several other big bass like 11 yr old Calvin Fease’s 11.04 lb Lake Fork HAWG!

With all the warmer than normal weather this fall, the water temperatures have hung in the 60’s the whole month of November. As the temperatures continue to fall this month and the lake levels maintain themselves at full pool levels, you can expect to find fish that are susceptible to being caught on a number of different patterns both shallow and deep.
In the mornings look for fish on main lake points, secondary points and in the back of the major creeks to be feeding on shad. The presence of baitfish is key during this time of year. These big Lake Fork bass will be congregating around shad for an easy meal. If you find the bait you will find bass! Spinner baits, chatter baits, lipless crank baits and swim baits fished over the shallow grass beds in 2-8 feet are best. With a spinner bait or chatter bait white is best. I like to use a small 1/4 oz. in white or white/chartreuse over the shallowest grass and a 1/2 – 3/4 oz. on the deep outside edges of the grass. As for the lipless crank baits, the same sizes apply but I am varying the colors. Red or any shade of red/orange is excellent from now through pre-spawn but I will occasionally throw a chrome/blue or gold in there on certain days. You would think that with these reaction type baits color would not be of such importance but it is and can change from day to day. More importantly, how you fish the bait over the grass will determine whether you get many bites or not. There is a fine line between working the baits to fast which will not allow it to come in contact with the grass and working them to slow where the bait is continually fouling up with grass. If you can perfect your retrieve where you are able to contact the grass then rip the bait free, this is when you will get most of the bites. Another great way to catch a huge bass this time of year is with a shallow running swim bait fished in these same areas. The 5” or 6” Berkley Hollow Body is an excellent choice in gizzard shad, ayu, or Tennessee shad colors. Simply cast these baits out there and slow roll them back. Coming into contact with the grass is not as important but reeling it in with a SLOW steady retrieve is and when they eat these baits there is no mistaking the bite. It will feel like a truck just ran over your bait!

The wacky worm is still catching numbers of fish up shallow too but I prefer a jig this time of year for the big ones. A black/blue, Bama bug, or Texas craw Talon 3/8 or 1/2 oz. jig with a matching trailer is hard to beat. I grab my Abu Garcia Vendetta flipping rod with a Revo Premier spooled up with Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon and start picking every piece of timber apart in an area with the jig. A lot of times I can locate fish by covering water with moving baits then slow down and start flipping to catch those bigger fish that are slow and lazy. You won’t get many bites using this technique during the winter but the bites you do get will be good ones!

The deep bite is excellent this time of year as well. These big ole bass will be found feeding on big schools of shad and bar fish this time of year. I have been running the new Lowrance HDS8 over points, humps, road beds, and pond dams in 18-32 feet of water to locate these schools of fish. There are also a number of fish to be found in flats at the mouth of the major creeks in 28-32 feet. Once I have located a school of fish I have been targeting them with Carolina rigged soft plastics, jigging spoons, drop shots, or heavy swim baits. On the Carolina rig, I like to use a heavy 1 oz. weight and 4-5 foot leader with a 3/0 wide gap hook tied to 20 lb. main line and a 17lb. Trilene 100% fluorocarbon leader. Best baits have been a 5” Berkley Wacky Crawler, 4” Power Hawg, Centipede or French fry in watermelon red, green pumpkin, or chartreuse pepper. The jigging spoon is deadly this time of year on deep fish and is a great thing to have tied on if you are bringing the family out to catch some fish. I use a Talon Big Dandy in the Lake Fork Maniac color or “t-spoon” in the 3/8-1/2 oz

size. Drop these spoons down to the bottom in an area that is holding fish and pick the rod tip up and let it back down. It is some easy fishing and great for the family. Most bites will come on the fall and you can catch many different species of fish with them including a real big bass! The new Berkley 5” or 6” Powerbait Saltwater Mullet in Silver Mullet or Sand Perch colors is a good choice for catching big bass out deep as well as a drop shot rig when the fish are finicky.

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 or would like to go fishing on one of the two best winter power plant lakes, Monticello or Welsh, feel free to contact me at (903)736-9888 or email me at . I just picked up my new 2010 Ranger Z521 Comanche paired with a Mercury Optimax 250 Pro XS . 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.comon 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!

Thanks to all my sponsors for their support: Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, “I AM SECOND”, Berkley, Abu Garcia, All Star Rods, Interstate Batteries, Oakley Sunglasses, KVD Line &Lure Conditioner, BTS Protectant, Navionics, Talon Lures, Sure Life, and to my Lord and Savior for His forgiveness through His blood on the cross!

We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Tight Lines and God Bless,
James Caldemeyer