Can you believe it’s almost September already? What a year on Fork, I’ll say it again, what a year on Fork!!! This has been an unbelievable year for the offshore deep structure bite on Lake Fork. As we move forward and reach the end of summer, though it doesn’t seem anywhere near, we will start to talk more about the backs of creeks and shallow water. I will miss the deep bite, but the flipping bite is just around the corner. September is one of those months where you just catch them, shad bunch up, fish get hungry and the schooling action is just awesome. While numbers are good, size doesn’t slack either, of course it is Lake Fork we are talking about.
I am proud to announce a few new sponsors that have come aboard recently. Santone Lures and Duckett Fishing. Santone Lures makes some of the finest jigs and spinnerbaits on the market. They have been a household name in East Texas as long as I can remember and have become a National favorite of many tournament anglers. They make every style of jig there is and they are always looking into tomorrow with new baits and innovative designs to help us, the anglers. Duckett Fishing, Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Ducketts company, hit the market recently with a rod that has swept the bass fishing rod industry. They have incorporated Micro Magic, the leading micro guide system, into one of the lightest, most sensitive blanks on the market. I was blown away when Lake Fork Trophy Lures CEO Ronnie Parker loaned me one of his Duckett rods, its sensitivity with the strength is unparalleled. These are the lightest and strongest rods I have ever used, and trust me, if they handle Lake Fork fish, they’re STRONG!!!
Now for what’s happening at Fork. I am starting the mornings off fishing for schooling fish. They are coming up on a lot of points, not so much long points, but more sharp drops with tree lines. There are a few ways to target these fish. One way is walking a top water bait i.e. LC Sammy, Zara Spook. I’m throwing these on a 6’6″ Med Duckett and a 6’9″ Med/Hvy Duckett with 15lb Mono. The rod depends on which bait you’re throwing. The LC Sammy truly gets more bites, but is a lot tougher on the wallet. I am also throwing a soft plastic jerkbait and it’s probably the most productive. I’m using the LFT Magic Shad in any shad color. There is a little secret to this. First off I’m throwing it on 20lb Invizx on a 7’3″ Med/Hvy with a 4/0 Mustad Round bend hook. You want to throw past the school and burn the Magic Shad about 8 turns as you twitch your rod tip, kill it for 1 second and repeat. You have to be ready or you’ll pull the bait out of their mouth. Then comes the Big Crank. I’m throwing a DD22 in only two colors, Smokey Joe and Sexy Shad. I have been throwing this on the Duckett 7’11″ Med/Hvy Crankbait rod and there is no rod like it. I’m calling it my AT&T rod cause it will “reach out and touch somebody”. I’m pairing this with a 5.1:1 ratio reel with 15lb Invizx. The Invizx Fluorocarbon line is very important when throwing a crankbait. You are really trying to deflect the bait off everything you feel, so sensitivity is key.
As the sun gets up and the schooling action slows I turn to a few different tactics. I am keying on 8-20ft of water. Points, humps, pond dams, creek bends, and a few roadbeds. A Carolina Rig is really catching them right now. I’m using a LFT 8″ Worm and a LFT Hyper-Stick. Watermelon/Red, Green Pumpkin and Junebug have produced well. I throw my c-rig on a 7’6″ Hvy Duckett with a 25lb Invizx main-line with a 3.5-6ft 20lb Invizx leader, 1oz weight and a 3/0 Mustad round bend hook. Don’t use too big of a hook as it takes away from the baits action. I use the long rod to insure a good hook set on a long cast, a 7’6″ is not a necessity; a 7’0 rod is just fine. If the fish are off the bottom a little, or won’t hit the c-rig I get out old faithful, a 3/4oz Santone Football jig. I am not dragging the jig, I am stroking it by making 2-3ft fast jerks with my rod tip and letting it fall. The bite is fairly subtle so you have to be on your toes. The best colors are PB&J, Mexican Heather, and Bullfrog with a Lake Fork Lures Hyper-Freak in Green Pumpkin. Note: Santone Jigs come standard with two rattles but I am not using the rattles! I’m throwing the FB jig on a 7’6″ XHvy Duckett with 20lb Invizx. The FB jig truly has big fish potential. I can’t start to count how many 7lb+ fish have come on this combination this summer.
Now, in the creeks I’m throwing a couple other baits along with the DD22. I’ll throw a 3/4oz Flipping Jig and a Texas Rig 10″ worm. Key in on the first quarter of a major creek and look for sharp bends, S shape bends or bends that make a horseshoe. These areas will congregate shad and make for an incredible area. I will start with a big crank bait and move to the 3/4oz jig with a LFT Hyper-Freak. Again I’m throwing Bullfrog and I’m also throwing Black/Brown/Amber, as some of these areas don’t have the same clarity as the main lake. I’m throwing the same rod and line as with the FB jig. My Texas rig worm comes out often as it will catch them when the jig wont. The two best colors have been Redbug and Green Pumpkin. I’m using a 3\8oz weight, 20lb Invizx and a 7’3″ Med/Hvy Duckett Rod.
With the McDonalds Big Bass Splash and other tournaments around the corner I will make several more up to date reports with techniques on targeting large unders. A few lures to keep in mind are the Santone Texas Finesse jig, Santone Piglet shakey head with a LFT Zig-zag and a whackey worm. These baits cashed a lot of money for my customers last year and I’m sure this year will repeat the same. Remember, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail, text or a call. I hope this report helps. Keep looking on my website for new reports. “Get there early, stay late, and set the hook hard!”