Archive for January, 2010

John Tanner Lake Fork PRESPAWN fishing report

January 28, 2010

Pre spawn bassin Greetings Anglers. Lake Fork in February means one thing. Big Pre Spawn Bass are starting to move up and it also means you better get ready! A lot people wait until March and April to come to Lake Fork and try to catch some big ones up in the shallows once the spawn begins. Spawning fish can be tricky. They receive more pressure than the pre spawners that pull up in the shallows and feed until the water temps get right to go on the beds. The pre spawn fish don’t see near as many boats thus they are less affected by boat traffic. Another good thing about the fish you catch during the pre spawn is that they are at their heaviest weight of the year, especially the big females. They are bulked up and ready to roll. I mean they look like they have swallowed a grape fruit. Yesterday ( 1/26 ) I caught a nine ½ pounder in 4 to 5 ft of water on a lipless crank bait and she was about to pop. If the weather gets warm for a few days and the water temps go on a good rise it can really bust loose this month. I have seen some amazing things happen in February. One year we had a warming trend about the third week of the month and we were catching them sight fishing in the back of one of the major creeks. It was crazy! The next year that same week we were bundled up throwing lipless crank baits in 52 degree water and catching big females out of the grass beds adjacent to the spawning flats. You just never know what the weather will bring us but one thing for sure is that a lot of the bigger fish will be going shallow and get more accessible for us to catch. Well how do I catch these big Lake Fork bruisers you ask? Glad you asked. Here is a laundry list of baits and techniques I like to use every year to catch the big ones. Early in the month in the cooler water I like to throw lipless crankbaits like the Berkley Frenzy in any red or crawfish color as well as a XR-50 in Rayburn Red. In dirty water I will sometimes switch to the Sexy Shad color and have great results. Spinner baits start to shine this time of year and I like to use a 3/8 or ½ ounce chart/white with double willows by Talon Lures ( ). If the water is pretty clean I will go with the white skirt and nickel blades. Suspending jerkbaits have their place this month as well. I like the suspending rogue in gold/blk back/orange belly. This has been a good pre spawn bait for years. The jig and craw imitations fool a lot of big bass in Feb. as well so keep some on board. I like the 3/8 ounce Talon Jig in black/blue tipped with a Berkley Chigger Craw. The Chigger Craw is an awesome Jig Trailer and gives the jig a profile that the Big Bass are looking for. The Chigger Craw and the new Crazy Legs Chigger Craw also make a great flipping bait rigged Texas Style using a ¼ or 5/16 ounce Tru Tungsten bullet weight. Remember Skeete Reese won the Classic using this bait last year on the Red River. I started using them a lot more here on Lake Fork after that and boy am I glad I did. We caught some toads on it since then. If you haven’t tried out the Tru Tungsten brand weights you are missing out. These weights are designed to give you a better feel of the cover as well as bite detection due to the hardness of the tungsten. The “no insert” or “insert free” technology used by Tru Tungsten puts their weight above and beyond the others and gives you the advantages you deserve when using the tungsten weights. There is a definite advantage in the feel and not to mention the more weedlessness advantage due to the smaller profile. Tungsten is heavier than lead so the weights are smaller. Oh and did I mention that they come in several different fish catching colors. Go to for a look. As the water warms towards the end of the month and hopefully gets into the mid to upper 50’s and stays there a few days it is time to start breaking out the soft plastics. Berkley Power Lizards in black/blue and or watermelon are also a spring favorite as well as the Berkley Power Slug. Fish the Power Slug weightless on a Mustad 4/0 wide gap hook and use the dead sticking technique. It will catch the big ones. Good colors are red shad and also green pumpkin. Wacky worming is a super duper way to catch pre spawners as the water gets in the mid to upper 50’s as well. My new favorite worm for wacky worming is the Berkley Heavy Weight Sink Worm. These worms are weighted and sink by themselves. When rigged wacky style they fall perfectly with no wacky worm or insert weight needed. How cool is that? Good colors are green pumpkin, breen, and green pumpkin party. Later in the month and on into the spawn keep these Sink Worms handy. They cast well in the wind and fish great in the grass.

Check Lake Fork Marina for a good selection. Speaking of Lake Fork Marina they are your one stop for everything on Lake Fork. Great Tackle Store, super motel and lodging as well as some great food. Ok back to fishing ..The key to catching fish early in the month in the cooler water is finding the greenest hydrilla you can. Look for grass on points leading into the spawning pockets on the main lake and up in the major creek arms. If the weather has been warmer fish just inside the pockets or even in the back if the water temps are up. Another good place to look for pre spawners is in big spawning flats with tons of grass. You can normally find good concentrations of pre spawn bass on the outside edges of the grass or in any ditches or drains running through the flats. Small creek channels are key areas as well. As it warms up look for fish to start working their way shallower as the bedding cycle draws nearer. You see it is all about the weather conditions and figuring out where they go when the weather changes. Warmer-shallower. Colder- a little deeper. Just remember the Bass are trying to move up and as they do they are bulking up and getting reading for the spawn. Good overall water depths to fish this year are 3 to 10 ft. You have a shot at some really big fish this month so be ready and prepare yourself for war. Good equipment is half the battle. My weapons are ABU Garcia Revo reels spooled with Trilene 100% Flouro Carbon line, ABU Garcia Vendetta Rods as well as All Star ASR Series Rods. The Revos are just plain awesome. Check out the new Premier model. The Trilene 100% Flouro is my favorite fishing line and the All Star and new ABU Vendetta Rods are light, sensitive, strong and easy on the wallet. Check out this awesome equipment at your local tackle dealer or go to

While you are here in the Lake Fork area be sure and visit the folks over at Diamond Sports Marine our local Ranger Boat Dealer. DSM is located on hwy 154 about a mile north of the lake bridge. They carry a full line of Ranger Boats and have a great service and parts dept. Tell em Tanner sent ya. Speaking of Ranger have you seen the all new Z-521 by Ranger Boats. I have been ruining one for a while now and they are an amazing boat. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better it got even better. The new Z-521 has the best ride of any Ranger Boat I have ever been in. Go by your local dealer and schedule a test ride today. Go to for details. If you would like to book a trip on Lake Fork with us call toll free 1-800-865-2282 or drop me a line at . For more booking info, check us out on the web at Click on the trip info page for info and for a look at a ton of happy folks holding their Lake Fork Trophies be sure and click on the photo section. It is awesome! The FLW Tour is coming to Shreveport and fishing on the Red River on 2/10. Go to for details. It will be the first of the regular season Tour events for 2010 and should be a good one.

Please pray for our troops and their families as they sacrifice for us every day so we can enjoy the freedoms we have each day. We have so much to be thankful for and speaking of that my mother is getting to come home after being in rehab for nearly 3 years. She has suffered from MS for years but is getting better now. She wanted me to say thank you to all of you who have been praying for her all of this time. It such a blessing and we are all very excited about what God is doing in her life. It is a true miracle. She is not up walking yet but is doing well enough to go home and continue her work outs there. Please pray for her continued healing and for my Dad as he cares for her there. Read Philippians 4:13..


Lake Fork 2010 Comprehensive Tournament List

January 27, 2010

I will not be including closed bass club or closed corporate events.

This list is work in progress, this is what I have on my books as of now.  I do not have a schedule for JC Outdoors or Media with me, but will update as soon as I find one.  Any mistakes feel free to drop a comment or email me at or

Feb 27th, 2010 CRAPPIE USA

March 6th, 2010 Christian Bass Anglers Association

March 13, 2010 Bass Champs Teams

April 10th, 2010 TEXCO BASS and Texas Trails Bassmaster (More info contact Don Hampton 903-383-7748)

April 17th 18th, 2010 Irving Bass Club

May 8th, 2010 Fly Fishing Tournament, Need more info

May 14, 15, 16, 2010 LEGEND OF LAKE FORK

May 29th 30th, 2010 Rally at Texas


September 17, 18, 19 2010 McDonalds Big Bass Splash

October 16 1 7th, 2010 Irving Bass Club


Tom Redington Lake Fork Report Jan 23, 2009

January 23, 2010

An 8 pounder caught on the new MPack jig with a Fork Craw trailer made up for a slow bite for Rodney.

After a brutally cold start to 2010 at Lake Fork, we’ve had over a week of very mild weather, including a couple nights in the 60s and some warm sunny days in the 70s. Water temps have risen steadily and there are even a few fish in the very backs of the creeks. I’ve fished Fork the last 6 days in a row and although it has warmed dramatically, the bass are only slowly working their way back shallow. With the warm weather continuing this week, look for them to steadily show up shallow. Last week started off well and slowed as it went on for numbers, but the size of the fish has been very good and the females are already fat with a lot of eggs.

Depending on our weather, the earliest spawners are only 20 to 45 days away, so my favorite time of year (the prespawn) is getting going. Numbers run lower this time of year; however, the average size of your catch is at its highest for the year, usually in the 3.5 to 5 lb range, with a good shot at bass 7 lbs or greater. It’s also the time of year when more 10s, 11s, 12s, 13s, and bigger are caught. Best of all, you’ll have the lake mostly to yourself, especially on the cold and nasty days when the lunkers bite the best!

Boat for Sale: My 2009 Ranger Z520 boat is for sale. It is fully loaded, rigged with a 250 HP Mercury Pro XS motor with a 5 year warranty (good until 2014). It’s value priced and will save you about $10,000 off the cost of a new boat. For more details and pics of the boat, please check my website ( or drop me a note. Following are videos of the boat, taken December 9th:
Walk around video:
Inside of boat video:
Seats video:
Storage boxes video:
Hull video:

Lake Conditions: The lake is full right now and a bit more stained than normal, with temps rebounding this week. The lake level is currently at 403.15’ (2” above full pool). The water clarity is clear on the south end, getting more stained as you head up the lake, and even muddy in some creeks. Water temps are reading 48 to 51 in the main lake, while the backs of some creeks have been as warm as 57 the past few days.

Location Pattern: Many big bass are schooled up in deep water right now and it’s still a good time for structure 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 (primarily hydrilla, milfoil, or coontail) 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.

As I say each spring, bear in mind 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: A few simple lures produce big bass each winter from grasslines and creek channels. First and foremost are lipless crankbaits in ½ or ¾ oz, like the Lucky Craft LV500 and LVR D-7. 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 bait fall and ripping these out of the grass will trigger most of the bites. Lipless cranks are notorious for losing fish, so I’ve gone to the 8’ Dobyns 804CB cranking rod. You can whip baits a country mile and it is so well balanced that it feels like having a little 6’6” rod in your hands. The 804CB has plenty of backbone to rip baits free from grass, yet a soft tip to let the bass eat the bait deeply and to keep them on. And a long rod moves a lot of line and keeps steady pressure on fish, resulting in more landed lunkers. If you’re out at the lake, run by Lake Fork Tackle’s pro shop in Emory and check it out for yourself. ½ oz Redemption spinnerbaits with tandem or double willow blades with white or chartreuse and white skirts 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” Live Magic Shad on the back of a ½ oz Phenix Vibrator Jig and fish it in the same areas you’d throw a spinnerbait. With the spinnerbait, mono like 28 lb PowerSilk line works best, while 30 to 50 lb braided line works better with the lipless cranks and vibrating jigs to help rip them through the grass.

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. Lucky Craft’s model 100SP Pointers in gold or chrome patterns are my traditional choices, although the new Gunmetal Shad & Phantom Chartreuse Shad are my new favorites. Work these with long pauses over the grass and along the edges. A long rod with a forgiving tip helps land big fish that just slap at these baits, so I throw them on a Dobyns 705CB cranking rod. Match it with 12 to 17 lb Fluorohybrid Pro, a new line that is as clear and sensitive as fluorocarbon, yet as smooth and easy handling as mono. For jigs, I go with the new ½ oz black and blue MPack jig from Lake Fork Trophy Lures and pair it with a matching Fork Craw or Hyper Freak trailer in the blue bruiser color. For the Texas rig, I’ll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or Hyper Freak in black neon or blue bruiser with a 3/8 oz Mega 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 or e-mail me through , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Good Fishing,


Fork needs bass fisherman….

January 20, 2010

Water temps are slowly creeping up, 41.4-44.8 was the range of last week…fishing was terrible…

I have had several people ask me why there have been no sharelunkers from Fork so far this year, aside from the 15.70 caught thanksgiving day (released) big fish (12lb+) have been very sparse. Most guides and locals are running to welsh and monticello for the powerplant action and the remaining fisherman on Fork are crappie guys or people prefishing for the Lake Fork “Dinkmaster” style tournaments.

Normally the trap bite turns on at 50 degrees and stays productive well into early March. I’m a little lost on what to do with the water hyacinth being so thick in 2 of the areas I frequent this time of year…If you can please attend the TPW meeting Feb 4th, 2010 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Land’s End Fire Department.

More info: