John Tanner Lake Fork Guide Report 1-1-08

Happy New Year! That’s right folks another one has come and gone. Last year was a good one with plenty of good memories. For one Lake Fork produced a ton of big bass and another, we were blessed with a good amount of rain fall that put the lake level back in good shape. This is key going into the first part of the year and into the pre spawn period which will be here before you know it. Amazingly you can catch some really big bass in shallow water this time of year. One would think that the place to fish would be in deep water but I am here to tell you that once it gets into January you can catch em pretty dog gone good in the shallows. But where in the shallows do you say? Good places to concentrate your efforts would be points. Points are always good going into January. Main lake points and secondary points leading into the creeks and large flats are key areas to find fish especially if the area has good green hydrilla beds present. Also keep an eye on the weather and the air temps, particularly the low temps at night. If you have a week with the day time highs in the 60’s and lows in the upper 30’s or low 40’s you can expect a good drop in the surface temp at night. This will hold a lot of the fish on these points. If you have warmer lows say in the 50’s this will change the way you fish and the location of some of the schools of bass. When you have warmer night time lows this will keep the surface temps warmer. As a rule when the water temps rise and stabilize after some warm nights a lot of those fish you have been catching on points will move back into the pockets or creeks adjacent to the points. Then, when the next cold front comes rolling in back to the points they go. I have seen it happen many times, so keep this in mind while fishing this time of year. How deep? Good depths to concentrate in would be 4 to 8 ft. What baits? Well, probably the most popular would be lipless crank baits. Any shade of red, orange or crawfish colors are standard for this time of year. Good ones to use are the Strike King Diamond Shad, Rattle Traps, Rattlin Milos, etc. Fish these baits over and down the edges of the grass beds with a steady retrieve making contact with the grass pulling it free as you hit it. You can also try the snatching technique. As the bait hits the grass give the rod a quick snap thus making the fish go into reaction mode as the bait deflects as it jumps out of the grass. Slow rolling a spinner bait through the grass is another excellent way to catch the big ones. Go with the ½ ounce Talon Spinner bait in white or white/chart. with double willows. You will be amazed how well this spinner bait comes through the grass. On the lipless crank baits there are some changes you can make to make this style of fishing easier on you. Fishing like this all day can be a lot of work. But the proper rod, reel and line can make a huge difference. I use a Shimano Crucial 7ft. in the cranking series (CRC-C70MH). I even use Gamma Edge flouro carbon line because of its less stretch or even Power Pro braided line if the grass is really thick. On the reel I like to use the Shimano Chronarch. You can still catch some fish (numbers) out deep on the road beds and humps with drop shots and shaky heads. As always look for them on your graph before you even stop. Have you seen the new Lowrance X-38CHD units? They are awesome. My new Ranger Z-520 has one on the console and I tell you it is like playing a video game. You can find the exact spot with your GPS using one of the new Navionics maps with the one foot contour lines (which is awesome by the way) and then you can see the schools of shad and the fish around them. You know exactly where to drop your drop shot or shaky head, it is unbelievable. This a fun way to catch fish, and have a good time while using light tackle. For my drop shot and shaky head rig I use a Shimano spinning reel , usually a Stratic2500 and for the rod I like to use a Shimano Crucial 6-10 Med/heavy spinning rod. On the line I will use 8 or 10 pound Gamma Edge Flouro carbon. On the drop shot try the Tru Tungsten drop shot weights. These weights make a lot of noise down there, thus attracting the attention of the fish. You also have maximum feel with these weights over lead because of the hardness of the tungsten. For numbers check out the deep stuff but for size and quality hit the shallows and work that grass over with the lipless crankbaits, spinner baits, jerk baits and even flip a jig or a tube on the wood along the grass edges. New year bassin can be a blast on Lake Fork and very rewarding.

If you would like to book a trip with us here at Lake Fork call toll free at 1-800-865-2282 or drop us a line at Or for more booking info check the trip info page. From the beginner to the expert we will make your trip to Lake Fork one to remember. Be sure and check out the photo section for a look at plenty of happy folks holding their Lake Fork trophies. While you are in the area be sure and go by and visit our local Ranger Dealer Diamond Sports Marine. They carry a full line of Ranger boats powered by Yamaha including the all new for 08 the Z-520. Go by and schedule a test ride. Tell em Tanner sent ya! If you can’t make it by the dealership you can look at their website at or Yamaha has introduced the new HPDI series 2 engines for 08’. Check them out at Many thanks to my sponsors.

Please pray for our troops and their families as they sacrifice so much for our freedom. Read Romans 16:17-20.

Good fishin and God Bless,
John and Robin Tanner
Visit for more info.
Many thanks to my sponsors.


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