Lake Fork Report Feb 2010 James Caldemeyer

Lake Fork water conditions right now are great as we move toward the spring with levels at full pool. This means lots of shallow water places for these big bass to hide in for the spawn. The water clarity has been fluctuating from being fairly clear in some areas to stained back in the creeks. This is common in the spring but I try to keep up with the areas that are clearer. It is more important to watch surface temperatures than clarity as spring approaches. Water temperatures are the single most influential factor involved in determining how to approach catching fish. Most of the temperatures are ranging in the mid to upper 40’s but are reaching into the 50’s on the warmer days. The weather is always very unpredictable this time of year but if you are paying attention to the water temperature changes where you are fishing and making adjustments to your fishing accordingly, you will have a lot more successful day on the water.

The shallow water patterns are my primary focus this time of year as most of the fish congregate to isolated patches of vegetation that survive the cold winter and new grass that is forming. The best and most effective way to catch a lot of big bass while the water temperatures are in the low to mid 50’s is a lipless crank bait and covering lots of water in 2-8 ft. Red or any combination of red/orange crawfish pattern lipless baits in 1/4-3/4 oz sizes are my number one choice to get bit. Main lake points, secondary points, drains, or ditches adjacent to spawning areas are where you will find the concentrations of fish staging. I like to use a 7’ Med. Heavy rod like the new Abu Garcia Vendetta paired with the Revo SX-HS spooled with 17-20 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. The high speed 7:1 gear ratio reel combined with the heavier line allows me to keep the bait elevated above the grass without wearing your arm out retrieving this bait all day long. You can easily make several hundred casts during the course of a day and having the right equipment will make things a lot easier on you. The key to working these baits over the grass is fishing them slow enough to tip the top of the grass and then ripping it free. You can even implement a yo-yo type retrieve that is very productive. Fishing them too fast does not allow you to come in contact with the grass and will result in fewer bites. Another great bait to use over the grass when the water is warming is a blade bait like a chatter type bait or spinner bait. I like to go with the 1/2 oz sizes in both in most situations. White or white/chartreuse colors are best. I use either the original Chatter Bait or the Phenix Vibrator Jig. For the spinner bait, I use the Talon “Shibui”. This spinner bait is really good in the spring with either double willow or colorado/willow blade combinations. If you haven’t seen these yet, you better check them out!

You can also fish a suspending jerk bait in the same areas as the lipless baits to catch a giant. I like gold/black/orange or a clown color best. Jerk baits like the Smithwick Rogue and Luck Craft Pointer are most effective on those calm sunny days or when the water temperatures are down in the 40’s. Jerking the bait down to the top of these grass beds and letting it sit between twitches can draw some big strikes. The main thing is to fish it SLOW!

Keep your jig rod handy this time of year as well. You can often times locate areas that are holding fish with the moving baits and slow down with the jig to catch a big one. A 3/8-1/2 oz black/blue, black/blue/purple, or black/red Talon jig tipped with a matching Berkley Chigger Craw as a trailer is a great choice. Flipping every piece of timber in the area including those deeper creek channel edges in 10-14 ft of water can pay off. Fish it slow and focus on your presentation as many of these bites are very light. A lot of times when I am fishing a jig, I will flip it near a piece of cover and let it sit there for a 20 count before I even move it.

If you are headed out to Lake Fork this year and would like to book a guided trip, feel free to email me at lakeforktrophybass@yahoo.com or you can reach me by phone at (903)736-9888. You can also get more information about Lake Fork by visiting my website www.officiallakeforktrophybass.com My new 2010 Ranger Z521 Comanche http://www.rangerboats.com paired with a Mercury Optimax 250 Pro XS www.mercurymarine.com is here and ready to fish. This new ride is an amazing! If you have not checked one of these boats out yet, you can go by and see one at Diamond Sports Marine www.diamondsportsmarine.com on Hwy 154 while you are in the area. Test rides are available upon request. Just give Mike Garner a call at (903)383-7829 and he’ll be glad to help you find the Ranger boat that is right for you! Or you can visit the new Diamond Sports Marine location in Rockwall if you are close to the metroplex. Just ask for Ben Hogan. Big thanks to all my sponsors: Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, “I Am Second”, Berkley, Abu Garcia, All Star, Oakley, Talon Lures, Interstate Batteries, Line & Lure, BTS Protectant, Navionics, Sure Life, and newest addition DFW MRI.

Read 1 John 3:1

Tight Lines and God Bless,
James Caldemeyer

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