Archive for February, 2011

John Tanner Lake Fork Report Feb 27, 2011

February 27, 2011

Greetings anglers from the big bass factory. March here at Lake Fork means one thing. The big ones are on the move and heading to the shallows to participate in their annual spawn routine. It is a great time of year for the shallow water angler to come to Lake Fork and catch some really big bass. This year the water levels are low so you might find things a little different out on the lake while you are searching for those lunkers. A lot of places that you usually find them may be a bit shallow for them to move in to this spring. That being said fish those areas out in front of those pockets that have good cover and you can hit the gold mine. Fishing should be great this spring as the low water will have the bass concentrated in smaller areas. That is a good problem to have! A lot of the fish will spawn on the wood this year and that will make for some good flipping and pitching. I love to flip and pitch and I am going to love doing that with some new baits that Berkley is coming out with this spring called “Berkley Havoc”. These pro designed baits will feature the best shapes, actions and colors of anything out there. They will have several different baits and some great ones for flipping and pitching. Look for them at your local tackle retailer or when you are in the Lake Fork area swing by Lake Fork Marina. They should have them soon. So give them a try and unleash the action! Look for fish along the shallow creek beds and at the mouths of the shallow pockets along tree lines and points. Be sure to come ready for the big ones while flipping and pitching and have some strong line and a good rod and reel combo for fighting those monsters and pulling them from the heavy cover. I like to use one of the new ABU Garcia Veritas rods in a 7ft heavy action and a ABU Garcia reel spooled with 20 or 25 pound test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon line or 50 pound test Spiderwire Ultracast Ulitmate braid. You dont want to go home and talk about the one that got away. I kinda like taking home pictures on my cell phone or digital camera if you know what I mean! Now is also a good time to catch them on wacky rigs and chatter baits. On the wacky rig I love to use the Berkley Heavy Weight Sink Worm. These baits are awesome to use and work perfect for wacky worming. The weighted material used to make the Sink Worm eliminates the need to insert a nail weight. It also cast and fishes great in the wind due to the weighted plastic used to make this awesome bait by Berkley. . On the chatterbaits I love the new swim jigs by Talon called the Shibui. These things are sweeeeet! . Lake Fork fishing in March is a hoot so if you want to catch some big ones now is the time. If you would like to book a guide trip here on Lake Fork call us toll free at 1-800-865-2282 or check us out on the web at On our website look for fishing reports, photos of monster bass, videos of monster bass and other info about coming to Lake Fork. Also check us out on facebook under John Tanner.

While you are in the area be sure and go by and visit our local Ranger Boat dealer Diamond Sports Marine located over on how 154. They are a full service Ranger dealer and carry a full line of Ranger Boats. Tell em Tanner sent ya! For info on the best bass boats in the world go to

Please pray for our troops and their families as they put it on the line for us every day. Also pray for the sick and the lost. Read John 3:16

Good fishin and God Bless,

John and Robin Tanner

Many thanks to my sponsors.

John Tanners Lake Fork Guide Service

FLW Touring Pro

Public Speaker – Fishing Seminars, motivational speaker



Office 1-800-865-2282

Cell 903-569-7451


Tom Redington Lake Fork Fishing Report 2-24-2011

February 25, 2011

After a very cold start to February, a prolonged warming trend has the big prespawn females moving towards their spawning grounds on Lake Fork. The fronts are moving the fish around and the bite changes daily but many fish are committed to the creeks and won’t be leaving until after spawning. For example, the sun beat down last weekend and water temps were getting as high as 65 in the pockets. Shad started showing up in the backs of the bays and my guide customer Paul from Indiana caught an 11 lb 6 oz bass from 3’ on a lipless crankbait on Monday. A cold front came through that night so Tuesday morning had air temps in the 30s and the water temps dropped as low as 49 degrees in some areas. After striking out that morning in the backs of creeks, we dropped back to the channels in the middle sections of creeks and started connecting with the big fish again. The bass had moved less than 100 yards in most places and were tight to the lip of the creek channels, including a super fat 10 lb 5 oz trophy for my customer Barry. Yesterday (Wednesday) saw a little warm front and the bass started creeping shallower again. We found them stacked on key channel spots in the morning with jigs in about 10’ (including 9 good slot fish from one tree) in 53-55 degree water. Later in the day, stumps in the back of the warmest pockets with 60-63 temps had very active fish in 2 to 5 feet. I suspect the thunderstorms and ensuing cold front today will knock them back a bit again but a few warm days later this week will send them right back up shallow.

The prespawn bite has been very good on Fork so far this season and the really big fish are just starting to show up. With the spawn beginning soon and running into May every year, it’s not too late to join the fun. After that, it’s topwaters for post spawners and then our best deep water structure bite of the year for big fish with deep cranks, Carolina rigs and football jigs from May into July.

If you haven’t caught it yet, I’m be a frequent participant and host of “The Big Bass Battle” on Versus. The show also runs on WFN (World Fishing Network), as well as on Time Warner cable in the Dallas area. More new episodes will air in a couple weeks, with trips to Fork, LA, and MS.

In addition, I was featured recently in the In-Fisherman’s story about fishing chatterbaits for big bass, one of the hottest rigs for spring on Lake Fork and on the tourney trail for the past few years. You can check it out on my media page:

Lake Conditions: Fork’s water temps continued to warm after the snowstorms earlier this month. The lake level is currently 399.72’ (about 3’ 3” below full pool) and a ton of stumps are now visible. The boat lanes are still safe to run in general, but definitely exercise caution when heading out of the clear-cut areas. Water temps were reading 51 to 55 yesterday in the main lake to 63 degrees in the warmest creeks. The main lake is the normal greenish clear color but many creeks and the upper end of the lake are pretty stained due to all of the wind. Apparently because of the low water and very cold water temps, there is currently very little grass cover on Fork. With a good rain today and so little vegetation, expect the water to be muddier than normal this spring.

Location Pattern: 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. Start your search in areas that have lots of spawning fish in 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. During warming trends, follow bass back into the creeks and onto the flats. After cold fronts, they’ll typically drop back just a little bit to adjacent points 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. 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: Jigs, suspending jerkbaits, and lipless crankbaits have been my workhorses so far this spring. With the fish moving up from the points and creek channels onto the spawning flats, expect spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and soft jerkbaits to become much bigger players in the coming days.

Lipless crankbaits in ½ or ¾ oz, like the Lucky Craft LV500 and LVR D-7, will work about any day of the spring if you stick with them. Red and crawfish colors are most popular and they often work well, although oddball colors often produce better on any given day. 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. As the water warms and they start to think about spawning, moving baits don’t work as well and soft plastic jerkbaits take over. Lake Fork Trophy Lures’ new Hyper Stick was far and away the most productive soft jerkbait on Fork last year with a dying shimmy that soft plastic stickbaits are famous for on the fall, plus the added attraction of a swimbait swimming motion when you move it. Rig it weightless on a 4/0 offset or wide gap hook and fish it with long pauses. I’ve paired it with a 7’3” Dobyns Savvy Series SS733C rod and 17 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line so I can make long casts to skittish shallow lunkers, yet still have enough feel and power to pull them out at great distances.

After cold fronts like we’ve had recently, the bite slows and I’ll switch to a suspending jerkbait or pitch a jig. Lucky Craft’s model 100SP Pointers in gold or chrome patterns are my traditional choices, although Gunmetal Shad & Phantom Chartreuse Shad are my new favorites. Work these with long pauses around grass or wood cover. For jigs, I go with the 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. I’m using Dobyns’ brand new 7’4” Extreme model DX745C for pitching my jigs and Texas rigs. It is well balanced making it easy to pitch all day and it is ultra sensitive which is important because the jig bites in this cold water are ultra faint. Occasionally you’ll feel a slight thump but most of the time the fish just pick up the jig and hold it. If you put a little pressure on them they’ll drop it immediately, so you need a rod that detects even the slightest bit of pressure. The heavy power rod has plenty of muscle to horse fish out of cover when paired with Lake Fork’s new fluorocarbon coated FluoroBraid. 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,


Stephen Fatherree Lake Fork Fishing Report 2-24-2011

February 25, 2011

Hey bass fishing fans, here is my most recent Lake Fork fishing report. Lake Fork is fishing GREAT right now. Currently the water temperature here at Fork is in the low to high 60’s and the big ones are biting! With the water being low right now, you can catch some nice fish on spinnerbaits, red traps, and flipping a Hag’s Tornado. Hope this report is helpful to all bass fisherman. Good luck fishing!

Check out my fishing report to see how to catch prespawn bass.

You will learn:

-how to catch bass on Lake Fork NOW
-what areas of creek channels will hold PRE-SPAWN bass
-the best rod set up to use with FLIPPING the Hags Tornado
-my favorite 3 soft plastic COLORS to fish this time of year
-where to find the WARMEST water on any lake

2011 Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans

February 24, 2011

I attended the event this year, my first classic to see in person. BASS did an excellent job and didn’t string the weigh in out for hours and hours like I had planned. The real highlight of the weigh in was on day 2 when Gerald Swindle brought a man with him to weigh in that looked like he was in his last days battling cancer. The whole crowd was moved by it and Swindle was choked up as well as a lot of grown men in the audience. Swindle is a class act no doubt. Ran into Swindle on bourbon street later that night and he was not at all upset by his poor weigh in.

The tackle expo at the convention center wasn’t at all what I expected. In the past I had heard a lot of new products broke ground and it was one of the main reasons I attended. There was not an unveiling of anything that really caught my eye except from Berkley with their new Havoc line. I expect with all the promotion and pros plugging it will become a staple product like zoom. Many of the pros on stage at weigh in mentioned it and a ton of people were buying them up and getting samples. Surprisingly they weren’t covered in powerbait scent, not sure if that was intended or if that is just what they had on hand.

Got to see my first Minn Kota Talon in action, flimsy bracket that flexed like crazy…not really sure how it out performs the power pole? I have seen them equipped on new boats around Fork, but no one had much field time on them and didn’t have an opinion.

Can’t wait for the 2012 Classic in Shreveport next year.

Lake Fork Snow video 8″ 2-4-11

February 5, 2011

Shot by Steve Nail, lake iced over in the coves. Very unusual for us…

Lake Fork Trophy Bass Report – February 2011

February 4, 2011

Head over to James’ new blog and read his February fishing report. Lake Fork Trophy Bass Report – February 2011

You can also add James’ on facebook – Here

Stay warm!