Lake Fork Guide James Caldemeyer Trophy Bass Fishing Report January 2, 2016

Happy New Year from Lake Fork! It’s the beginning of another great year of fishing and fun here at the Big Bass Capital of Texas. I’m very excited about the 2016 season and all the fish that will be caught this year as well as the many big bass memories that will be made by those that travel here with family and friends. If you are looking for a fishing destination to plan your annual fishing trip, Lake Fork is the place to be this year!

After experiencing the wettest year of weather in the history of Texas last year, Lake Fork is in tremendous shape as we begin the fishing season. The lake is brimming full and has been that way for the past several months reaching flood levels several times in the later part of 2015. High water levels mean excellent spawns for the bass. With all the flooded cover expect Lake Fork to produce another consecutive year of young fingerlings to add to last years crop and more trophy bass in the lake for years to come.

Lake Fork is currently above full pool at just over 403 feet as the SRA continues to let water out at the dam and bring water levels down from the flooding.  The water clarity in most of the creeks is stained due to the tremendous amount of recent rain and run off. The main lake is actually fairly clear though in most areas still. Water temperatures have been well above average for this time of year holding in the mid 50’s and even reaching the 60’s around the Christmas heat wave last month. The one thing that has been predictable lately is that the weather has been very unpredictable so we will soon see what this month and early spring brings us I guess.

The bass fishing has been like chasing a cat by its tail too with all the inclement weather but that hasn’t deterred us from having some very successful fishing days. The best bite for me has been out deep, which is fairly uncommon for this time of year. Normally the shallow to mid depth bite is the more consistent for me in January. I have been targeting deep main lake humps, points, and channel bends in the mouth of the major creeks in 18-28 feet of water. Using my electronics to find these deep schools of fish has been critical. If I graph over an area and there is not any bait then there will not be any fish. But if you start to locate the giant schools of bait in an area, the big bass will be close by. My go to bait has been a Hog Farmer 5 wire umbrella rig with a combination of different swim baits depending on the conditions. These rigs are fairly expensive but they are the best made on the market. They are very durable and the action they give catches more fish than any other rig. Most of the time I am rigging it with Santone Rig Heads in 1/8 ounce and 4/0 hook. These heads are great because they have a stout hook that will hold big fish. I like to use a number of different 4” swim bait combinations and any shad color or just plain white will do but I will play around with the colors to see what the bass want from day to day. The awesome part about an umbrella rig or an “A-rig” is that you can fish it at any depth with success. You can target the bass when they are hanging close to the bottom or suspended at depths in between. Having the right rod and reel combination for this rig is very important or you will be wore out from casting it in a very short amount of time. I use a Abu Garcia 7’6” or 7’11” heavy Villain 2.0 rod paired with an Abu Garcia Revo Rocket. This combination of long heavy rod and high gear ratio will make the arm work a lot easier on your fishing. I am also catching a few fish on the big flutter spoons still as well as a Santone Lures 5/8 oz football jig in black/blue or black/blue/purple with Berkley Havoc Pit Boss matching craw trailer. I have even been doing well with a Carolina rig during the warm weather spurts.

The shallow bite will start to take shape very soon as you begin to see the big bass start into their pre-spawn feeding ritual. One of the best patterns for targeting the shallow bass in 2-8 feet of water is the lipless crank bait. These big Texas bass have a hard time resisting these baits as they begin to feed up for the spawn. I like to use the 1/2 or 5/8 oz size in most situations but will often switch to a 1/4 or 3/4 oz depending on the amount of grass and water temperatures. Ripping these baits thru the shallows, especially around vegetation is a great way to catch the big ones. A suspending jerk bait is also a great choice. Main lake and secondary points leading into the major creeks are great areas to target. Water temperature is very important from now until the spawn, as it will dictate what areas are most productive for pre-spawn feeding activity. You will want to target the warmest water you can find. Once you locate a warming area that is holding fish, begin to slow down and fish the area thoroughly. I like to pick up a flippin rod and begin pitching a 3/8 or 1/2 oz Santone flippin jig to any visible cover in 8-14 feet for the big female staging bass. With the water levels high like they are this year most of the stumps are under water with very few visible targets to flip at. Under these conditons I will also take the same Santone football jig that that I am using out deep, except in the ½ oz size,  and drag it through these areas around the submerged timber. When the fish get finicky I will downsize my bait and opt for a smaller profile jig. The Santone Texas Finesse Jig in the 5/16 or 7/16 oz size combined with a Berkley Chigger Craw as a trailer in Bruiser, PB&J, or JC’s Spicy Craw colors is the perfect combination a big bite under slow conditons!

I hope this report helps you on your next trip. If you are headed to Lake Fork in pursuit of a trophy bass and are looking to book a guide, I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and show you a great time on Lake Fork. I will be taking trips to the power plant lakes Monticello and Welsh for the winter as well for some great hot water lake fishing while its cold. I also still have some dates available for spring and am already taking some summer reservations, which is an excellent time for fishing on Lake Fork as well. I also have gift certificates available for those of you that are interested in purchasing a friend or loved one a guided trip on Lake Fork. You can contact me to make your reservation at 903-736-9888 or send me an email at You can also visit my website for more information about Lake Fork and my guide service at You can find me on Facebook and follow my official Lake Fork Guide page at

Also, while you are at the lake, be sure to stop by Diamond Sports Marine located on highway 154 just north of the bridge. They have all the new 2016 Ranger Boats already in stock. You will not want to miss the opportunity to check out the new Z series bass boats as well as the all-new Ranger aluminum series. These boats have some amazing features are definitely eye catchers! Give Fred a call at 903-383-7829 to set up your personal demo ride in a Ranger Boat.

I would like to thank all of my current 2016 sponsors for supporting my guide service on Lake Fork and as I fish the FLW tournaments this year as well: Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, Toyota, I Am Second, Leer, Lowrance, Power Pole, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Santone Lures, Carhartt, Costa Sunglasses, Interstate Batteries, and Elite Tungsten.


Psalm 147:11 – the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.


Tight Lines & God Bless,

James Caldemeyer



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