John Tanner Lake Fork PRESPAWN fishing report

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 ( http://www.talonlures.com ). 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 http://www.tru-tungsten.com 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 http://www.purefishing.com.

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 http://www.rangerboats.com 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 tanner@lakeforkbassguide.com . For more booking info, check us out on the web at http://www.lakeforkbassguide.com. 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 http://www.flwoutdoors.com 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..

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One Response to “John Tanner Lake Fork PRESPAWN fishing report”

  1. Merrill Reinecke Says:

    Yes John we all have so much to be thankful for. So many people take it for granit that it’s all well. God has all the answers to every question known to man. I am so glad to have him in my life & don’t want to ever be without him.
    I used to fish Fork alot mostly at night. What a GREAT fishery
    this lake is. I live in Georgia & miss my home state of Texas & all the huge Largemouth in that great state.
    God Bless to all & remember God is in control.

    Merrill Reinecke

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