Archive for January, 2009

John Tanner 1-30-2009 Report

January 30, 2009

That right folks the pre spawn a thon is under way here at Lake Fork during the month of February. As the spawning period draws nearer and nearer, more and more big bass will be heading towards the shallow water spawning areas. These fish will congregate close by and wait for the days when the conditions favor spawning activity. Then, wave after wave of fish will go on the beds and perform their annual ritual. But until then we are blessed with this time of big bass feeding up and congregating in the typical holding areas. During this pre spawn period look for fish to be ganged up. Good places to find these bruisers are grass beds along secondary points at the mouths of spawning coves, large shallow flats with good areas within these flats being tree lines, grass lines, ditches or shallow creek channels. These type of places in the flats or in the back of large creek channels offer good places for the fish to hold in or even use for migration routes to get to the actual bedding areas once the spawning begins. Traditionally the spawn usually gets underway sometime on March according to the weather and the moon phases which makes February a great month to catch monster sized bass. Now is when the female bass are at their heaviest weight of the year as their body weight builds up going into the spawn period. Most of us have seen photos of these big ole pot bellied bass that were caught in the cooler months leading up to the spawn. I mean they look like they are going to pop!

Well enough about that , now lets talk about how to catch these big mamas! Early in the month the weather is still usually cool or even cold. The water temps can still be running low. Don’t let that discourage you. There will still be a lot of fish in shallow water even though the water might be cold. These fish will attack lipless crank baits like the Berkley Rattl’r in the red craw , fire tiger or even the blue gill color. Jerk baits are a great choice as well like the Berkley Firestick Minnow. Fish the lipless crank bait over the grass beds up shallow after a good warming trend or frontal passage and out off of the deeper edges after the fronts pass through and high pressure sets in.

Keep a jig handy and start flipping stumps and lay downs in the staging areas previously mentioned. This bite should get better and better as the month rolls along and we see some warming trends come into play. I like to use the 3/8 to ½ ounce black and blue Talon Jig with a 4” Chigger Craw for a trailer.

Slow rolling a spinner bait is a deadly technique on these shallow fish as well so keep one handy and don’t forget the trailer hooks. Roll that spinner bait along the grass and stumps or any other cover the area has to offer. Don’t be afraid to bump into the cover with the bait which will generate reaction strikes from less aggressive fish that wouldn’t normally bite. A good spinner bait for this is a 3/8 or ½ ounce Talon in chart/white with double willow leaf blades. If the water is muddy or stained you might try the Colorado blades.

As the month rolls along, watch the weather closely and especially the daytime high temperatures. As the weather warms and the water temps rise you can start using a different bait arsenal. Once the water stabilizes in the mid to upper 50’s the fish will really start to bite the soft plastics on a more regular basis. This is a great time to fish something weightless like the Berkley Power Slug in the red Shad color or in green pumpkin. This bait has been around for years and will catch a ton of bass during the pre spawn period and even when they go on the beds later on.

Another great way and proven method to catching a lot of fish leading into the spawn is to throw a wacky rigged worm. Good choices for this are the Berkley Power Shaky Worm or Wacky Crawler. Good colors are junbug, green pumpkin or even watermelon candy. These are all good ways to catch fish in the pre spawn period. Remember to fish according to weather and the water temps. If the water is still cold spend more time with the hard baits. If it has been warm and the water temps are up mix it up with soft plastics and you will do fine. Be prepared with your equipment as well. You know this IS Lake Fork and there ARE some absolute monster sized bass prowling the shallows just waiting to attack and take advantage of the angler who is should I say, under powered. If you have any doubts about your line or even your knot that hasn’t been re tied in a while get ready. That is when you will get it handed to you most of the time. I can just hear those big uns laughing all the way back to the stump or log that they came from. Spool up with some good line. I like to use the Berkley Trilene 100% Flourocarbon line. I tried it out some last season while fishing some of the FLW Tour events and I really like it. It cast great and is super strong. The price is right too. I will be using it on almost everything except topwater baits and where I would need braid.

On the topwater baits I will use Trilene Big Game and on the braid I will be using SpiderWire Stealth. A good rod and reel combo doesn’t hurt either while hooking up with a Lake Fork Lunker. You need something dependable that will stand the test and is comfortable to use all day. I must say that I have made the switch to the ABU Garcia Revo reels and All Star Rods. Go out and get your self one of the new All Star ASR 7-2” medium heavy action rods and mount a ABU Garcia Revo Premier on it. It is an awesome rig that is plenty stout and very light weight and sensitive. They cast like a dream!

The pre spawn a thon is on so come on down to Lake Fork and lets get busy. It is a great time to catch big bass at the trophy lake of Texas. Speaking of trophies, have you heard about the tournament that the Lake Fork Chamber of commerce is putting on. The lake fork bounty bonanza is a good one. Go to and click on the link. Somebody could hit it big ! While you are here be sure and visit the folks over at Diamond Sports Marine our local Ranger Boat and Yamaha Dealer. Tell em Tanner sent ya!

If you would like to book a guided trip here on Lake Fork call us toll free at 1-800-865-2282 or drop us a line at Or for more booking info check us out on the world wide web at Click on the photo section for a look at a ton of happy folks holding their Lake Fork giants. Also check out the video links on the home page.

Please pray for our country and our troops as they protect us and our freedom so we can live in such a great place.

Also continue to pray for my Mother as she is still fighting her illness. She has been battling it out for a long time and needs your support and prayers. Read John 15:1-4


Comprehensive Lake Fork Tournament List for 2009

January 24, 2009



Feb. 14                        Media Tournament

Feb. 22                        JC Outdoors Individual

Feb. 27,28, March 1    Dallas Bass Anglers for the Deaf  

Feb. 28                        JC Outdoors

March 7-8                    JC Outdoors Super Team Event 

March 14                     Media Tournament

March 22                     Elliot Electric 

March 27, 28, 29         BBT Slot Lake Shootout

March 28                     Media Super Teams

April 4                          JC Outdoors

April 18                        Forney Bass Club

April 18                        Irving Bass Club 60th Annual Open

April 18                        Media Tournament

April 25                        Bass Champs North Region Tournament  

May 2                          JC Outdoors

May 2, 3                      Plano Bass Anglers

May 9                          Media Tournament

May 16, 17                  Legend of Lake Fork Tournament

May 23                        JC Outdoors

May  23, 24                 Rally of Texas

May 30                        JC Outdoors Lake Fork Open

May 29,30,31              Axton’s Texas Top Teams

May 30                        Bullet Tournament (Lake Fork Open)

May 31                        Media NE Individual

June 6                          JC Outdoors

June 13                        Media Tournament

June 19,20,21              Skeeter Owners Tournament

July 11                         JC Outdoors

July 11, 12                   Catfish Splash

July 26                         JC Outdoors Individual 

August 3, 4, 5, 6           Texas Bass Federation

August 8                       Media Tournament

August 9                       Media NE Individual

August 29                     Media Central Individual

Sept. 12                       JC Outdoors

Sept. 13                       JC Outdoors Individual

Sept.18,19,20              McDonalds Big Bass Splash

Oct. 17,18                   Berkley

Oct. 17                        JC Outdoors

Nov. 21                       JC Outdoors

Dec. 12                        JC Outdoors

Lake Fork Guide Jason Hoffman client big bass

January 24, 2009

Joe O. and his new personal best of 11.13 lbs. He caught her on a red lipless crankbait while fishing a half day with Guide Jason Hoffman on 1-23-09. Joe and his son fish with Jason Hoffman several times a year, grats to both of you!!!

11.13 1-23-09

11.13 1-23-09

Lake Fork Crappie Report by Guide Ray Vereen

January 21, 2009

The crappie fishing at Lake Fork is still on. The only problem lately is getting on the lake without 25mph+ winds from one direction or another. The good bite is in the open water / dam area on points, humps, and roadbeds which are very hard to fish with the high winds. Now, when you can get out there and locate some fish, the live well gets full pretty quick.

Last time out was last Sunday. I bass fished for a while and had had some nice bass on black and blue jigs, and started crappie fishing about 2:45pm. The sun was setting, I had 20 crappie in the box, with 8 nice 12 to 14 inch crappie, and the rest 9 to 11 inches. Here’s a picture of the bigger ones.

If you’re coming to Lake Fork for some crappie fishing, just be careful if the winds are blowing. Well, be careful all the time. You might be wondering a few things, so I’ll see if I can cover most of them.

The crappie we’ve been catching lately have been in 35 to 42 feet of water, we’re using 2 – 1/8 oz Crappie Buster jigs, char/blue and yellow/drk blue in color, and we’re using both vertical and casting presentations depending on conditions. While vertical fishing, a slow rise of the jigs off the bottom to no more than 5 feet up, and then a slow ‘controlled’ fall back to the bottom worked best for us. Most of the bites came on the drop back to the bottom. For the casting method, we would cast as far as possible, let it hit bottom, slowly reel 3 to 5 times, and let it fall slowly back to the bottom. Again most of the bites would come on the fall. During the search for some crappie, I took some pictures of my graph. Here’s what I see when I throw a buoy.

Notice the following 2 pictures and the fish marked on the slope vs the fish marked in the creek.

There’s a big difference in the number of fish isn’t there. Funny enough, I’ve found that the fish on the slope will bite better than the fish packed into the creek. Or maybe they’re just easier to catch. I like working from the bottom vs trying to locate the depth I need to suspend the bait over the creek fish to get bit.

If I can assist in your next crappie trip at Lake Fork, just give me a call. Gas is down among other things, and I feel there is a need for a break. So, I’m discounting crappie trips. Full day or until limit is reached for 1 or 2 persons is 200.00, and half days are 150.00. Come on out and enjoy a day on Lake Fork.


Lake Fork’s Fish On Guide Service

Lake Fork Report by Guide Tom Redington 1-20-09

January 20, 2009

Fishing at Lake Fork is somewhat like the stock market lately—very volatile. We’ve had some really good days and some really slow days. Thankfully, help is assuredly on the way for the fishing; with a couple days in the 70s forecast this week and more prespawn bass showing up in the shallows with each day. And even on the slow days at Fork, there is still a good shot at a big ole bass to save the day. Case in point, yesterday Mike Biggins from Missouri caught his biggest bass ever, a 9 lb 13 oz prespawn lunker that was full of eggs, on a day that the bites were few and far between. We’ve had to cover a lot of water to scratch out our fish the last couple of trips, while good numbers of bass aggressively chased moving baits like traps and spinnerbaits a few days before. Concentrate on key prespawn staging areas and work them thoroughly for the next couple of months and your odds of catching a giant are very good!

As a side note, for those of you asking about the Lake Fork Trophy Lures website re-launch, it is now up and running with all of their new products, including the famous Fork Flutter Spoons, Live Magic Shads, and the new Hyper Series of baits that Mark Pack used to win the $200,000 1st prize in the 2008 FLW Tour Walmart Open on Beaver Lake. They also have some great closeouts on 2008 model Dobyns Rods, with up to 40% off on some models.

Lake Conditions: Heading into the prespawn, Fork is in great shape. The lake level is currently reading 402.19’ (about 10” below full pool). Most of the lake is clear, with stained water on the north ends and in areas where the wind has been pounding. Thanks to mostly stable water levels this year, copious amounts of hydrilla, milfoil and coontail are growing in the lake, making for awesome shallow water fishing all spring. Water temps dipped to the mid-40s after a cold snap but are now rebounding, reading 48 to 50 on the main lake yesterday. We caught a number of big bass in much colder than normal conditions last spring, with water temps as low as 38, so don’t let the temps discourage you from going.

Location Pattern: Much of my location and presentation info remains unchanged from last time, and will probably stay that way through most of the prespawn. Many big bass are schooled up in deep water right now and it’s a great time for spoon fishermen. If you’re like me though, from late-December through much of March, I concentrate on the early prespawn and staging fish on points and along edges of flats or creek channels. Areas with submerged vegetation for cover will typically have the most active fish. While about any grassy area will hold a few fish, start your search in areas that have lots of spawning fish in late February through March. It stands to reason that the coves that hold the most spawning fish in early spring will have the most prespawn fish in the winter. Main lake grass beds near the mouths of these coves are holding fish now, as are main and secondary points inside the coves—provided there is deep water nearby. During warming trends, follow bass back into the creeks and check the edges of grass flats and creek channels.

Keep in mind, too, that the absolute water temperature is not nearly as important now as the recent water temperature trend. For instance, water temps that are showing 52 degrees can result in slow fishing if the temps were 58 a couple days ago. In contrast, fishing can be great if the temps warm up to 50 while they were 44 a few days before. In general, look for bass on the flats and farther back in creeks during warming trends; conversely, drop back to points and main lake grassbeds after cold fronts. Finally, the day of and the day after cold fronts can be absolutely miserable to fish, but these frontal days after a long warming trend are usually the most productive times to fish.

Presentation Pattern: My prespawn arsenal is pretty simple for fishing along grasslines and creek channels. First and foremost are lipless crankbaits in ½ or ¾ oz. Stick with the ½ for grass that is near the surface and go with the ¾ for grass that is deeper. Red and crawfish colors are most popular and they often work well, although oddball colors often produce better on any given day. Buzzing these over the top of the grass on a quick retrieve is normally best, but after cold fronts, letting the trap fall and ripping these out of the grass will trigger most of the bites. ¼ to ½ oz spinnerbaits with double willow blades in white, black, or chartreuse and white will produce some really large bass in the same areas that the lipless cranks work, especially on windy and cloudy days. For a true giant, try swimming a 4.5” Lake Fork Live Magic Shad on the back of a ½ oz chatterbait and fish it in the same areas you’d throw a spinnerbait. When the bite slows or the conditions are sunny and calm, I’ll switch to a suspending jerkbait or pitch a jig and a Texas rig. Jerkbaits in gold, silver, or clown patterns are my primary colors. Work these with long pauses over the grass and along the edges. For jigs, I go with ½ oz black and blue Mega Weight jigs with a Lake Fork Craw trailer in the blue bruiser color. For the Texas rig, I’ll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or the new Hyper Freak in black neon or blue bruiser with a ¼ to 3/8 oz bullet weight. Work your jig or Texas rig very slowly along creek channels or through deep grass for a great shot at a lunker.

Cover lots of water until you get bit. Once you catch one, work the area over thoroughly with multiple passes, employing several different baits. Fish tend to stack up in key staging areas during the winter and these spots will replenish themselves with more fish during the prespawn as more and more big bass move shallow. Find some good staging spots and you’ll have a milk run of honey holes now through March.

Here’s hoping you catch the lunker of your dreams. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at 214-683-9572 (days) or 972-635-6027 (evenings) or e-mail me through , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.

John Tanner Lake Fork Toad

January 20, 2009

Sweeeet!  Lake Fork is ON!

My new personal best on Lake Fork 12.14

January 14, 2009



Thought I might have had a sharelunker last night, but I was still over 3/4 of a pound short of the 13lb mark.   But beat my old personal best by just under a pound. 

Caught her around 10:15pm in the cold.  My friend and I were throwing 5/8oz yo-zuri rattl’n’vibe traps in red craw.  She slapped it on the first few cranks and didn’t put up much of a struggle, I have had more excitement from 4lb fish to be honest.  Pretty neat, we didn’t have a net and didn’t need one…I was really in shock at first because I was kind of thinking I had a catfish.  It was hard to estimate her size, but I knew she was a good one…put her on a check-it stick to make sure and she hung off the end (25″)

My friends boat has a livewell that doesn’t work out of water so we motored in the dark back to the marina to weigh her.   A good while later (no spot light) we arrived and figured out that both of our video cameras and digital camera were in the truck back at the place we trailered to. (Shall remaind nameless)   Luckily we had a laptop at the marina and we got a few nice photos and a short video off the built in webcam.

Thanks to John Tanner and James Caldemeyer for turning me on to this sick trap bite.  (Both are on some toads!)

Oh and also, thank you to all my MANY sponsors: Mom, my stepdad ken, my girlfriend Pamela, my granny and papa…oh and to the IAB for supporting me during the tough times as an “internet angler” on the Texas Fishing Forum.   hahaha


Lake Fork Report Guide Brooks Rogers and Lance Vick

January 10, 2009

James Caldemeyer

January 10, 2009

Guide Jeff Kirkwood Lake Fork Report

January 7, 2009


Cold water and lots of grass = good sized fish! I got the opportunity to do a trip last week and then do some fishing on my own one other afternoon and found plenty of fish to make me happy.

I know there have been a couple of topics on here about fishing in the winter and I even commented on one of them. But the one thing I didn’t mention and should have was this time of year your confidence has to be way up there! When water temps dip well below 55 and in the upper 40’s pick yourself out some baits you have confidence in and stay with them. Make the fish prove to you that what you’re throwing isn’t what they want. Now, I’m not talking about only fishing a bait just a few minutes, I’m talking about staying with something maybe as long as an hour before hunting for something else to throw.

Anyway, if you’re heading out to Fork Bandits, Rat-L-traps and jiggin’ spoons is about all you’ll need. Oh, and maybe a trusty ol’ jig-n-pig. As for depth if you’re fishing shallow just make sure you’re in contact with the grass. With the jiggin’ spoon I’ve caught them as shallow as 27′ and as deep as 41′.

Good luck and let me know if I can be of assistance with a guided trip!