John Tanner Lake Fork Report December 2008

This week here at the great Lake Fork the fishing has made some changes and the winter time patterns are starting to lock in. The water temps have been in the 50’s now for a while and a good population of larger fish have moved to the shallows and will spend the winter there. These fish will hang out in the hydrilla beds that have deeper water close by. Main lake points, secondary points and large flats with healthy stands of the green stuff are good places to fish. This may seem odd to some of you who are thinking most of the larger bass spend the winter months out in deep water. However in lakes like Lake Fork that have a good amount of hydrilla, a lot of good sized bass love to spend the colder months in the comfort of this plush green vegetation that holds such a great amount of food and shelter. The same is true for other lakes that are blessed with weed beds like this. Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend here in Texas and Lake Qauchita in ARK are other good lakes that hold a lot of shallow fish in the winter due to the hydrilla beds. These are great fisheries but do not have the number of monster bass like we are blessed with here at Lake Fork. When the larger fish start showing up in the shallow weeds as the water cools, a great bait and probably the most popular choice is a red or crawfish colored lipless crank bait. These baits cover a lot of water and generate a good number of reaction strikes out of the bass when ran over the top of the hydrilla. Berkley Frenzy and rattle traps are good Or for more booking info click on the trip info section and for a look at some happy folks holding their Lake Fork Trophies be sure and click on all of the photo pages.DSM and see Ben Hogan to schedule a test ride in a Ranger. They are awesome and still built one at a time. Tell em tanner sent ya !Good fishin and God Bless,
John and Robin Tanner

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How do you run a lipless crankbait over the grass with out getting tangled you ask? Well that is the idea. As you are running the bait over the weeds and you feel it start to get hung , rip the bait free with a snap of the wrist and keep reeling. As the lure rips free and deflects off of the weeds , that is when ole big mama will take a wack at your crank bait. It is a blast to say the least! This time of year you may not catch as many fish as you would say in the summer months but every bite you get is usually a quality bite. That’s what I love about fish Lake Fork in the winter months, December, January and February. This time of year is also a good time to fish a jig or even a jerk bait. The jig is good while fish around trees on the edges of the grass and along the creek channels. While flipping the wood I like to use the 3/8 or ½ ounce Talon Jig in black brown or PB&J colors. On the grass edges I like to drag the ½ ounce Talon football head jig in the same colors. On the jerk bait the Lucky Craft pointers are good in chartreuse shad and American shad colors as well as the trusty ole Rogues. Fish the jerk bait over the deeper grass tops and dead stick it as much as you can between rips. Now where is all of this hydrilla you ask? Well there is a ton of places to fish here on Lake Fork that have it. But, here is a little tip. While you are running the lake keep your eyes peeled for big flocks of coots feeding along the shorelines. These guys usually hang out over a weed bed. Stop and if you see them diving down and pulling up strands of the weeds pull in there and start fishing. Turn on your Lowrance and see hoe deep the grass is growing and fish the edges of it. I have found a lot of good fishing holes like this not only here on Lake Fork but on other lakes where I was searching for hydrilla. In last January’s issue of Bassmaster magazine I did a feature article with Wade Bourne on this style if fishing. I know it has been a while back but if you still have that issue on your arsenal dig it out and give it a look. The article was titled pattern of the month. It has some other good info on fishing the grass this time of year. But what about the deep fish ? Well you can still catch some deep ones on spoons, tail kicker type baits, drop shots as well as deep running swim baits. They don’t all move shallow, but day in and day out I like my odds better while fishing the grass this time of year especially when the water temps hit the low 50’s and below and I am looking for big fish. Tackle tip: The best rig I have found for cranking the grass with a lipless crank bait is a 7 ft medium heavy Shimano Crucial Cranking rod along with a Shimano Chronarch reel or one of the new Curados either spooled with Gamma 14 to 16 pound Edge flouro carbon line. Well hopefully these angling tips will help you catch more and bigger fish this winter. While everyone is out there deer hunting you can be here fishing for the big ones. Speaking of big ones you know it is share a lunker time from now until the end of April. That being said the Lake Fork Chamber of Commerce is putting on a fishing tournament that last through the share a lunker season. Go to or for details. Or if you are by Lake Fork Marina go in the bait shop and ask them about it. It is pretty cool ! Remember to dress accordingly this time of year and always wear your life jackets. We pulled a couple of guys out of the lake last year about this time and man it was a close one for both of them. I got my hands on one of them as he was starting to go down. If they would have been wearing their life vest it would have been not such a close call. Gear Tip :For some awesome winter fishing gear go to I have been wearing their gear for a couple years now and I can tell you that they make the warmest and the most water proof clothing available. Good Fishing if you are headed this way. If you are interested in booking a trip with us here on Lake Fork call us toll free at 1-800-865-2282 or drop us a line at

While you are in the area be sure and go by and visit Diamond Sports Marine our local Ranger Boat dealer. They carry a full line of Ranger Boats powered by Yamaha outboards. I just got my 09 model Z-21 rigged with a Yamaha series 2 250 hp recently and I love it. Go by

Please pray for our country and our troops and their families as they sacrifice for our freedom. Also continue to pray for my mom Peggy Tanner and Bobby Renfro as they battle health problems. Thank you for your prayers and remember Jesus is the reason for the season ! Read Luke 2 :1-14.


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One Response to “John Tanner Lake Fork Report December 2008”

  1. jbrown Says:

    Thanks for your information on guiding about fishing in lake fork during winter and about the species of fishes in that lake.

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