With the spawn behind us (well mostly, there were still a few on beds last week!) and the weather turning hot, bass are settling into traditional summer patterns. The hot days with lots of sunshine have been best for me, grouping big schools up on deep structure. These deep fish have been hard to find because they are normally relating to a single tree or two. If you’re good at deciphering your graph and can position your boat correctly, once you find them you can mine bass after bass from a small area though. On the many windy, overcast, and rainy days, bass have been suspending and the deep bite is tougher. Those days, we’ve had better luck by fishing shallow grassbeds and points. All things being equal, the sunny and hot days have been considerably better for me.
The hot, sunny afternoons of summer are prime time to catch these big schools of big fish, and thankfully we have a nice breeze most days to keep us cool. If you’re looking to learn deep structure fishing skills—reading topo maps, setting up your graph correctly & decoding the images on your sonar to find schools, and learning deep water techniques like big spoons, football jigs, drop shots, Carolina rigs, swimbaits and deep crankbaits—now through early September is the time to head to Lake Fork. And not only is it a great time to learn, but you’ll probably catch a lot of big fish as well.
Boat for Sale: My 2010 Ranger Z521 boat is for sale. It is a demo boat through my dealer with low hours and you’d be titled as the first owner. She’s value priced to save you big bucks off the cost of a new boat. For more details and pics of the boat, please check my website (www.lakeforkguidetrips.com) or drop me a note. Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OatBx6KpyJk
Lake Conditions: Lake Fork is full and has finally cleared to its normal water color. The lake level is currently 402.98’ (full pool is 403’). Water temps were reading from 84 to 86 in the main lake yesterday (Tuesday). The hydrilla and milfoil are rapidly growing and expanding in coverage in the shallows all over the lake, as are the lily pads. The grass has not matted up yet in most areas, so you can still work topwaters over it without fouling too often.
Location Pattern: Early and late and when it is cloudy/windy/rainy, I’m finding bass feeding on points and flats near or in the main lake. These fish are mostly in 6’ to 12’, often around the deep edge of the hydrilla or milfoil. Deep structure like points, humps, and roadbeds in 12’ to 30’ are best on the sunny days, producing both good numbers and size. While bass are suspended over many deep structure spots, finding places where they are one the bottom has been the key. 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 have been good some mornings but the bite only lasts until the sun cracks over the horizon. Poppers like the Lucky Craft G Splash work best some days, while walkers like Sammys and Gunfish are better on others. Around heavier grass or pads, throw Fork Frogs and buzzbaits too. Once the topwater action slows, Texas rigged worms and wacky worms have been the best producers on the edge of the grass. We’ve had good luck on blue fleck, junebug, and green pumpkin 8” and 10” Fork Worms (TX rigs) and Hyper Finesse Worms (wacky rigs). Finally, I’ll pitch a 3/8 oz green pumpkin MPack jig with a matching Fork Craw with a 7’3” Dobyns 736C Champion rod and 25 lb FluoroHybrid Pro to shallow cover like stumps, laydowns, and clumps of grass, plus pitch to the deep weed edge. The jig will produce less bites but a good shot at a lunker.
On offshore structure like humps and points, deep diving cranks and spoons will catch suspended fish while Carolina rigs, drop shots, 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 are suspend this summer, often schooling on the surface. Deep diving cranks like Lucky Craft’s Flat CB D20 and RC3.5XD are very effective, with Sexy Chartreuse Shad and Chartreuse Light Blue being my favorite colors. When bass are high in the water column and schooling, I’ll throw them on 20 lb PowerSilk line and use a stop-and-go retrieve to keep my lure running shallower. When they are closer to the bottom, use a small diameter sinking line like 12 lb FluoroHybrid Pro and launch them as far as you can. The hands down best deep cranking rod these days is the 8’ Dobyns 805CB RM—it’s a unique blend of a rod that can cast a country mile, yet has the power to handle a leaping lunker at great distance. Deep cranks are notorious for losing fish and this rod will help you keep them on-line.
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. 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 DX743 spinning rod and you can still catch them, although the average bass size will run a bit smaller. On darker days, junebug, green pumpkin, and Bama bug have been good, while the various shades of watermelon have worked on the bright days.
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[/#800080][/font][font "Times New Roman"] , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.