John Tanner 1-30-2009 Report

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


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3 Responses to “John Tanner 1-30-2009 Report”

  1. Juan Miguel Says:

    Si Si Senor – Berkley is mucho bueno – Tu es muy inteliente – Grande pescas con Berkley y Abu Garcia y All Star !!!

  2. Diawa Fishing reel Says:

    Diawa Fishing reel…

    When it comes to saltwater fishing there are many species and sizes of fish to be caught, unlike freshwater fishing which is more limited. This is why it is so important to have the right kind of saltwater fishing tackle for the type of fish you are go…

  3. Lanny Fabre Says:

    Hi This is a great website and I found the entry helpful,this will benefit my tournament results specially when im competing,I will check back for updates. Should you ever find some killer tackle be sure to put them here,in the past I have always had trust on abu garcia reels but there are upteen choices and it can be distracting,long as they keep making prime reels they will be in my boat.

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