Archive for the ‘Tom Redington’ Category

Guide Tom Redington Lake Fork Report & Pics—June 18, 2013

June 19, 2013

After tons of big fish spread out all over the shallows on Lake Fork during the spawn (resulting in a number of 13, 14, 15, and 16 pounders being caught), many of the lunkers are now grouping up in large schools on offshore structure. Whereas you might find bass on just about any piece of shoreline cover a month ago, now you can fish or graph large sections of the lake and not find a bass. Once you find a school though, man oooohhhhhhhhh man, it can boggle the mind with the number of good fish on one key piece of structure.

Finding these key honey holes takes some time scouting, but the payoff is worth it. Key structural spots often hold fish all summer long, and typically year after year if the water level and conditions are similar. With the water levels being down this year, bass are using some different areas, making it the perfect opportunity to find unpressured fish all for yourself. Most anglers think of deep water as the home of summertime bass, but channel swings in bigger creek arms hold lots of fish even in the dog days. In addition, shallow points on the main lake or in bigger creeks with deep water nearby are great structure spots too, especially early, late, and during the night.

For fish pics and regular updates from Fork and the trail, follow along at www.facebook.com/tomredingtonfishing and http://twitter.com/Tom_Redington . For fishing articles and fishing how-to info, check out my articles page: http://lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles.htm .

Lake Conditions: We’ve been getting regular rain showers, enough to keep the grass green, but not enough to raise the lake level. The lake level is currently 398.50’ (4’ 6” below full pool). Water temps were getting above 90 on the hot sunny days, but yesterday the surface temp was closer to 84 with the rain. Hydrilla is growing out to 5’ in a few places on the lake, but it is still not widespread. The water clarity is about normal on the lake right now, with most areas clear to stained.

Location Pattern: Early and late and when it is cloudy/windy/rainy, you can still find bass feeding on points and flats near or in the main lake. Some big bass are still on the banks but you can find schools of big fish offshore, so I spend most of my time off the banks on structure. Deep structure like points, humps, creek bends, and roadbeds in 8’ to 20’ are best on the cloudy days, while I look more in 20’ to about 33’ on brighter and calmer days. Bass suspend over many deep structure spots, but finding places where they are on the bottom usually results in better catches. Most of these schools are relating to a few pieces of isolated cover, so watch your depth finder closely or you’ll bypass the mother lode. This is where Lowrance’s DownScan really shines, allowing you to easily see schools of bass in thick timber that are very hard to decipher with traditional sonar.

Presentation Pattern: Topwaters like Sammys and Magic Poppers and swimbaits like 4.5” Live Magic Shad boot tails are getting some active fish early and late. As the sun gets brighter, you can often catch a few more on a TX rigged 8 or 10” Fork worm in the same areas.

On offshore structure like humps and points, deep diving cranks and Fork Flutter Spoons will catch suspended fish while Carolina and TX rigs will get the bottom dwellers. The key is to first locate fish on your graph, then let their position dictate your lure selection. Lots of bass suspend during the summer and super deep cranks like Lucky Craft’s Flat CB D20 are very effective, with Sexy Chartreuse Shad and Chartreuse Light Blue being my favorite colors. Fork Flutter Spoons will trigger a lot of these same fish too as they slowly wobble down through the schools like a dying shad. Try both aggressive rips and small hops with the spoon to determine the mood of the bass. A 7’8” Dobyns Extreme DX784C rod with 20 lb fluorocarbon line handles the heavy spoons very well and keeps those leaping lunkers hooked up.

When bass group up on the bottom, they are easier to catch. Carolina and Texas rigs are the most popular choice. I’ll try a variety of baits on both rigs and let the bass tell me how much or how little action they want. Hyper Worms, Fork Worms, Fork Creatures, Hyper Lizards, & Hyper Freaks have a lot of action and trigger big aggressive fish. If the bass are more finicky, straight tail baits like Hyper Finesse Worms, Hyper Sticks, and Twitch Worms are normally more productive. The most productive bait seems to change daily, so experiment until you find what they want. Many of the bites are light, so a super sensitive Dobyns Extreme DX744C handles the regular rigs, while the 7’4” Mag Heavy DX745C handles big worms and football jigs better. If the bass won’t respond to those offerings, switch to a Hyper Finesse Worm on a drop shot with 10 lb fluorocarbon line and a Dobyns Extreme DX702SF spinning rod and you can still catch them, although the average bass size will run a bit smaller. In the more stained water, June bug, plum and blue fleck have been good, while the various shades of watermelon and green pumpkin have worked best in the clearer water.

Here’s hoping you catch the lunker of your dreams. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at tom@lakeforkguidetrips.com or get more info on my websitehttp://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com. Trying to get your son started in fishing and the outdoors? Love fishing and want to help others get involved? Check outwww.BeAScout.org and help the next generation get active outside.

Good Fishing,

Tom

Advertisements

Tom Redington Lake Fork Guide Report 4-4-13

April 4, 2013

Lake Fork is cranking out great big fish as regularly as any time in recent memory. Just like any lake, you’ll have your share of slow postfrontal days on Fork, but even on a tough day, some lucky anglers pop a double digit fish. And on the good days, we’ve seen true monsters, including several 13s, a 14, 15, and 16 pounder this season. A busy tourney schedule, sponsor obligations, and an additional TV show (“Belize Outdoors” which will air 13 original episodes on WFN starting in May/new episodes of “Big Bass Battle” and “Crappie Time” start this month on Sportsman Channel) have cut into my guide trips on Fork this year, but with the lunker bonanza, you can bet I get on the lake every day that I can. 

The spawn is in full gear at Fork right now and I’d estimate approximately 1/3 of the fish have already spawned, with a major wave of fish moving up all around the lake this week. Unlike the nearly cold front free spring of last year, we’re having a more normal season and the spawners should keep showing up in waves into early May. Backs of big creeks spawn first, then deeper pockets nearer the mouths of coves, with fish on flats on the main lake or mouths of pockets bringing up the rear. Each creek and pocket has its own characteristics, so one bay can be full of actively spawning fish, while its next door neighbor might be bedless. If you’re not getting bit this time of year, keep moving until you find them. With prespawn, spawning, and postspawn fish all available, there are biting fish to be had on any given day if you crack the code. 

For fish pics and regular updates from Fork and the trail, follow along at www.facebook.com/tomredingtonfishing and http://twitter.com/Tom_Redington . For more fishing info, you can check out my spring jig fishing article: http://lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles/feb2013.htm and my article on showing spring bass a new look with soft plastic swimbait/jerkbait hybrids: http://lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles/april2013.htm 

Lake Conditions: A few recent rains did little to raise the lake level, although they added some color to the creeks. The lake level is currently 398.71’ (about 4’ 3” below full pool). Water temps did a big boomerang over the past 2 weeks, going from the mid-60s to lower 50s and rebounding to around 60 now, plus or minus depending on your location. There is a bit of grass on the lake, mostly on the northern ends, and most of it is in extremely shallow water. The backs of some creeks are muddy, but most of the lake is about normal, becoming more stained as you head up the lake.

Location Pattern: For prespawn and postspawn fish that are staging on their way in and back out, key on points and creek channels near spawning flats. With little grass in the lake this year, bass are relating to the timber so make sure you are casting tight to the stumps. During warming trends, follow bass back into the creeks and check the edges of flats and creek channels. After the fronts, drop back to deeper water adjacent to where the fish were before the front and you’ll quickly relocate them. For spawning fish, look for protected bays in the back half of creeks. As the water continues to warm and we move through April, bass will start spawning nearer the mouths of creeks and in deeper creeks. The main lake flats are typically the last areas to spawn, often as late as early-May. 

Presentation Pattern: The biggest spring trend on Fork for the past 2 seasons is “Bubba” versions of finesse rigs. Drop shots and shaky heads are normally thought of as limit fillers and dink catchers, but slightly heavier duty styles of both rigs have consistently hammered big bass on Fork. Instead of 8 lb line and a spinning rod, I start with 15 lb fluoro on a baitcaster, matched with a 7’4” Dobyns Extreme DX743C rod. A long rod with lots of tip like this will throw small baits a mile, definitely a key when dealing with wary lunkers in the shallows. Furthermore, bass around spawn time often don’t eat baits well; rather, fish often nip at lures and let go quickly to run rivals and predators out of their bedding areas. A super sensitive rod like the Dobyns Extreme helps detect subtle bites before the fish drop the bait. Ever wonder why your buddy is catching fish and you can’t, even though you both are throwing the exact same bait? Might be as simple as you’re not feeling the bites you’re getting.

As far as the setups, a 3/16 or ¼ oz shaky head jig with a stout hook or a drop shot with a 1/0-3/0 offset worm hook and a 6 to 12 inch leader to a ¼ oz sinker are my normal rigs. You can play with all sorts of colors if you like, yet shades of watermelon or green pumpkin tend to work consistently on about any lake in the country, including Fork. If bass are aggressive, a Hyper Stick’s wiggling tail will produce on either rig. When the fish get fussy, downsize to a trick worm, Baby Ring Fry, or a Hyper Finesse Worm and you’ll get more bites. Cast around each and every piece of shallow wood you see, as well as the gaps in between them. A good rule of thumb is if you’re fishing it so slowly that you can hardly stand it, you’re probably still fishing way too fast. Around spawning areas, the guy fishing the slowest in the boat normally catches the most this time of year.

If you drank 5 cups of coffee and can’t stand sitting still, chase after the prespawn and postspawn bass with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and lipless crankbaits, especially on overcast and windy days. A great search tool is a lipless crankbaits like the Lucky Craft LV RTO. Red and crawfish colors are most popular and they often work well, although oddball colors often produce better on any given day. ½ oz spinnerbaits with tandem or double willow blades with white or chartreuse and white skirts will produce some nice bass in the same areas that the lipless cranks work, as will shallow running crankbaits like Lucky Craft LC 2.5 or BDS4 square bills. For big bass, try swimming a 4.5” Live Magic Shad on the back of a 3/8 oz bladed jig and fish it in the same areas you’d throw a spinnerbait. White or white/chartreuse bladed jigs with Sun Perch or Albino Shad Live Magic Shads work well. And for a real prespawn monster, pitching heavy cover along the first breakline and creek channels with a jig or TX rig is the way to go. I go with a 3/8 oz MPack Jig in black and blue or green pumpkin with a Lake Fork Craw or Hyper Freak trailer in matching colors. For the Texas rig, I’ll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or Craw Tube in black neon, Bama Bug or watermelon/red with a 1/8 to 3/8 oz bullet weight and slowly work it around cover. 

Here’s hoping you catch the lunker of your dreams. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at tom@lakeforkguidetrips.com or get more info on my websitehttp://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com. If you’re in the Lake Fork area and need any boat service or want to check out the new line of Ranger boats, stop bywww.DiamondSportsMarine.com on Hwy 154 on the East side of Fork, Ranger Boat’s #1 dealer for 2011.

Good Fishing,

Tom

Tom Redington Lake Fork Report 6-18-12

June 19, 2012

Lake Fork bass are well into summertime patterns now and I’m concentrating on deep structure almost all day on most trips. Although the storms and clouds have made for the most temperate week of June fishing in recent memory, the normal hot and sunny summer weather is typically better for the deep bite. The hotter the water gets and the brighter the sun, the more bass group up in tight schools and relate closely to the bottom. Wind, clouds, and storms tend to leave the fish a bit more scattered and often suspended, making us work harder to catch good numbers.

Powerful electronics and gps maps have turned many secret deep water honey holes into community spots. Bass still live in these areas, but pressured fish become very selective and you have to be on your game to keep catching them. This isn’t unique to Fork, as anglers on Guntersville, KY Lake, Rayburn, Falcon and other top structure lakes have to figure out how to beat the crowds too. Therefore, a combination of small factors like lure profile and color, type of retrieve, speed, line size, and angle can be the difference between no bites or 30. Use your same old baits in the same old ways on the same old spots and watch your results plummet. To get away from the crowds, Lowrance StructureScan helps you locate schools of fish that are buried in thick timber, so move off the obvious points and humps on your gps maps and find more subtle features that others miss and you’ll have some schools to yourself.

While summer is known for deep structure fishing, many bass are still caught up shallow. If you’re getting frustrated with the deep water community holes, here’s an “old school” option. My June article covers summer bass in the shallows: http://lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles/june2012.htm

A couple recent videos might help you as well. My video on reading sonar, side scan and down scan sonar is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tdYT3i9ip8 And here is an inexpensive product that will completely rustproof your tackle boxes and enitre boat. They aren’t a sponsor of mine, but I’m definitely sold on them after a couple years of great results: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5GdXXQKQB0

Lake Conditions: A few rains have kept Fork in good shape. The lake level is currently 401.03’ (about 2’ below full pool). Water temps in the main lake are in the low to mid 80s, with creeks running warmer. The main lake is the normal greenish stain of Lake Fork, although creeks are more brownish than normal because of the limited grass.

Location Pattern: Early and late and when it is cloudy/windy/rainy, you can still find bass feeding on points and flats near or in the main lake. Many creeks have flooded shoreline vegetation and you’ll find bass holding here too. Some big bass are still shallow but you can find schools of big fish offshore, so I spend most of my time off the banks on structure. Deep structure like points, humps, creek bends, and roadbeds in 8’ to 20’ are best on the cloudy days, while I look more in 20’ to about 33’ on brighter and calmer days. Bass suspend over many deep structure spots, but finding places where they are on the bottom usually results in better catches. Most of these schools are relating to a few pieces of isolated cover, so watch your depth finder closely or you’ll bypass the mother lode.

Presentation Pattern: Topwaters like Lucky Craft G Splashes, Sammys, and Gunfish are still getting some active fish early and late, as well as schooling fish when they come up during the day. Shad or chrome colors work best. Weightless rigged soft plastic jerkbaits like Magic Shads and Hyper Sticks will catch fish when the sun gets up a bit more. When the fish go down, you can often catch a few more on a TX rigged 8 or 10” Fork worm in the same areas until they start schooling again.

On offshore structure like humps and points, deep diving cranks and Fork Flutter Spoons will catch suspended fish while Carolina and TX rigs will get the bottom dwellers. The key is to first locate fish on your graph, then let their position dictate your lure selection. Lots of bass suspend during the summer and super deep cranks like Lucky Craft’s Flat CB D20 are very effective, with Sexy Chartreuse Shad and Chartreuse Light Blue being my favorite colors. Fork Flutter Spoons will trigger a lot of these same fish too as they slowly wobble down through the schools like a dying shad. Try both aggressive rips and small hops with the spoon to determine the mood of the bass. A 7’8” Dobyns Extreme DX784C rod with 20 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line handles the heavy spoons very well and keeps those leaping lunkers hooked up.

When bass group up on the bottom, they are easier to catch. Carolina and Texas rigs are my first choice. I’ll try a variety of baits on both rigs and let the bass tell me how much or how little action they want. Hyper Worms, Fork Worms, Fork Creatures, Hyper Lizards, & Hyper Freaks have a lot of action and trigger big aggressive fish. If the bass are more finicky, straight tail baits like Hyper Finesse Worms, Hyper Sticks, and Twitch Worms are normally more productive. The most productive bait seems to change daily, so experiment until you find what they want. Many of the bites are light, so a super sensitive Dobyns Extreme DX744C handles the regular rigs, while the 7’4” Mag Heavy DX745C handles big worms and football jigs better. If the bass won’t respond to those offerings, switch to a Hyper Finesse Worm on a drop shot with 12 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line and a Dobyns Extreme DX702SF spinning rod and you can still catch them, although the average bass size will run a bit smaller. In the darker water, June bug, plum and blue fleck have been good, while the various shades of watermelon and green pumpkin have worked best in the clearer water.

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 http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you’re in the Lake Fork area and need any boat service or want to check out the new line of Ranger boats, stop by http://www.DiamondSportsMarine.com on Hwy 154 on the East side of Fork, Ranger Boat’s #1 dealer for 2011.

Good Fishing,

Tom

Guide Tom Redington Lake Fork Report and Pics April 13, 2012

April 14, 2012

Although some bass are still up spawning, we’ve been catching mostly postspawn fish over the past couple of weeks on Lake Fork. A few prespawn fish are showing up every day though, so I suspect we’ll still have some fish on beds for a couple of more weeks. A quick look in the newly flooded grass around the lake reveals a ton of bass fry this year. All of the shallow cover, fry, plus the bluegill and shad spawns will have many fish staying shallow and biting aggressively for a couple months. Case in point, the first couple of hours each morning has been by far our best bite, with bass schooling up and busting shad on very shallow points. The best location changes daily, but once you find them, it’s fast action until the sun gets up. On overcast and windy days, bass will continue to aggressively chase in the shallows all day. If it turns sunny and slick, you can either slow down with soft plastics in the shallows or head to deep water, as more and more bass are showing up daily on deep structure.
As the bass feed up after the spawn, the result is our most consistent fishing of the year for numbers of quality fish in the 3 to 7 lb range, with a shot at a double digit. So if your plans didn’t allow you to take advantage of the spawn this year on Fork, don’t despair, you can still enjoy what most locals consider the best fishing of the year on Fork—May through July. In addition to catching a lot of big fish, it is also the premier time to learn how to read your electronics to graph big schools of bass on deep structure.
Many bass like to suspend in postspawn and my April article talks about how to catch them in more detail. http://lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles/april2012.htm
Lake Conditions: The spring rains have the lake up 6’ from last fall and there is newly flooded cover all over the lake. The lake level is currently 401.09’ and holding steady (about 1’ 11” below full pool). Water temps in the main lake are in the low to mid 70s, with creeks running warmer. The rising water and wind has Fork more stained than normal, especially on the northern half of the lake and in the backs of major creeks. In general, I like the clearer water on the cloudy and windy days, while I feel more comfortable in muddier water when it’s sunny and calm.
Location Pattern: For the last of the spawners, check out the main lake flats and short pockets on the southern half of the lake. The slightly deeper structure like points, creek channels, and ledges in 1’ to 8’, adjacent to areas with numbers of shallow spawning bass is where we’ve found most of the bigger females, staging on their way back to deep water. On the northern half of the lake, timber or flooded grass flats and clay points will continue to hold numbers of fish until the bluegill and shad finish their spawns and temps turn hot. Some of the early spawners are showing up on offshore structure in 12’ to 25’ as well.
Presentation Pattern: Just about every category of lure in the tackle box will work at times during the coming month, it’s just a matter of finding the best bait for the conditions. Topwaters are not only fun to fish, but also producing some really big fish so try your Lucky Craft G Splashes, Kelly J’s, and Gunfish. Best of all, you can work these baits all day long in the postspawn and catch good fish, especially if you are in areas with lots of bass fry. I’ve started throwing my topwaters on the fiberglass Dobyns Champion 704CB GLASS model rod. It weighs no more than a graphite stick and has a very soft tip. Little poppers like Yellow Magics, Pop-R’s and G-Splashes are small and often hard to cast, and then you miss a lot that bite them or jump off many that do. The soft tip of the Dobyns fiberglass rod will fling those little baits way out there and the slower action of fiberglass allows the bass to better take your bait, plus it keeps them on the treble hooks even when lightly hooked. I know that sounds like an infomercial, but since I switched to this rod, I can’t stop talking about how much I like it. Seeing monster bass explode on a topwater is pretty awesome, but it is way better if you actually get to hook and land them too.
While in the shallows, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and vibrating jigs work well in shad or bluegill color schemes. ½ oz spinnerbaits, Lucky Craft LC 1.5 or BDS 3 square billed cranks, and bladed jigs with 3.5” Live Magic Shads will all catch good bass, especially on the windy and cloudy days. If the action slows, try a Hyper Stick or Ring Fry on a 12” leader and a ¼ oz weight on a Carolina rig and drag it around the same areas. With all of the flooded shoreline grass, it is hard to get a crankbait or spinnerbait through a lot of the weeds without fouling. A weightless TX rigged soft plastic jerkbait has been best in this situation, like a Hyper Stick or Magic Shad. Bass often hit them on the slow dying fall, but it seems like working them fast with short twitches triggers strikes better on most days.
On offshore structure like humps and points, deep diving cranks and Fork Flutter Spoons will catch suspended fish while Carolina and TX rigs will get the bottom dwellers. The key is to first locate fish on your graph, then let their position dictate your lure selection. With the new DownScan sonar from Lowrance and detailed maps from Navionics, finding those once secret deep holes is now a lot easier. Lots of bass suspend early in the season and super deep cranks like Lucky Craft’s Flat CB D20 are very effective. Fork Flutter Spoons will trigger a lot of these same fish too as they slowly wobble down through the schools like a dying shad. When bass group up on the bottom they are easier to catch. Simply keep a Carolina rigged Baby Fork Creature or a TX rigged 10” Fork Worm in front of them long enough and they’ll eat sooner or later.
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 http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you’re in the Lake Fork area and need any boat service or want to check out the new line of Ranger boats, stop by www.DiamondSportsMarine.com on Hwy 154 on the East side of Fork, Ranger Boat’s #1 dealer for 2011.
Good Fishing,
Tom

 

Lake Fork Guide Tom Redington Fishing Report 3-18-12

March 18, 2012
A few representative fish from trips this week:

Earnie caught this big bass and a nearly 3 lb crappie earlier this month:
Waves of bass keep moving up to spawn at Fork and the fishing is very good all over the lake right now because another wave hit the banks in the past few days. A big group moved up a couple weeks ago and just about everyone on the lake was whacking them. A little front and 1 foot rise in the lake had the bass a bit funky earlier this week, but consistently warm days and nights really had them hitting by the end of this week. The fishing has been so fun that after my customers said uncle and quit for the day the past two trips, I stayed out until dark by myself and took advantage of the biting bass.
I’d estimate maybe 30% or 40% of the fish have spawned already but there is a bunch yet to do their thing. With prespawn, spawning, and postspawn fish all available, fishermen have a lot of patterns to choose from. The cornucopia of options allows you to find some fish biting in just about any conditions Mother Nature throws at you. If you’re not getting bit, keep changing up tactics and locales until you find them.
With such a warm spring, I expect the spawn to continue for about another month. After that, it’s topwaters for post spawners and our best deep water structure bite of the year for big fish with deep cranks, Carolina rigs and football jigs from May into July.
Lake Conditions: Regular rains are slowly bringing up Fork’s water levels and most boat ramps are in good shape. The lake level is currently 398.55’ and holding steady (about 4’ 6” below full pool and up nearly 4’ since the fall). Water temps in the main lake are in the low 60s and some shallow creeks are considerably warmer in the afternoons. The rising water and wind has Fork more stained than normal, especially on the northern half of the lake and in the backs of major creeks. In general, I like the clearer water on the cloudy and windy days, while I feel more comfortable in muddier water when it’s sunny and calm.
Location Pattern: For prespawn and postspawn fish that are staging on their way in and back out, key on points and creek channels near spawning flats. With virtually no grass in the lake this year, bass are relating to the timber so make sure you are casting tight to the stumps. During warming trends, follow bass back into the creeks and check the edges of flats and creek channels. After the fronts, drop back to deeper water adjacent to where the fish were before the front and you’ll quickly relocate them. For spawning fish, look for protected bays in the north end of the lake or at the very backs of major creeks. As the water continues to warm and we move through April, bass will start spawning nearer the mouths of creeks and in deeper creeks. The main lake flats are typically the last areas to spawn, often as late as early-May.
Presentation Pattern: Just about every category of lure in the tackle box will be working by later this month. For prespawn and postspawn bass, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and lipless crankbaits will catch bass, especially on overcast and windy days. A great search tool are lipless crankbaits like the new Lucky Craft LV RTO. Red and crawfish colors are most popular and they often work well, although oddball colors often produce better on any given day. ½ oz spinnerbaits with tandem or double willow blades with white or chartreuse and white skirts will produce some nice bass in the same areas that the lipless cranks work, as will shallow running crankbaits like Lucky Craft LC 2.5 or BDS4 square bills. Square bills are notorious for losing fish and missing bites, so I use the fiberglass 7’ Dobyns 705CB MF for my shallow cranks. The fiberglass rod lets bass take the bait a bit deeper and the soft tip also keeps them hooked up. For big bass, try swimming a 4.5” Live Magic Shad on the back of a ½ oz bladed jig and fish it in the same areas you’d throw a spinnerbait. White or white/chartreuse bladed jigs with Sun Perch or Albino Shad Live Magic Shads work well. And for a real prespawn monster, pitching heavy cover along the first breakline and creek channels with a jig or TX rig is the way to go. I go with a 3/8 oz MPack Jig in black and blue or green pumpkin with a Lake Fork Craw or Hyper Freak trailer in matching colors. For the Texas rig, I’ll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or Craw Tube in black neon, Bama Bug or watermelon/red with a 1/8 to 3/8 oz bullet weight and slowly work it around cover.
For bass that have moved onto spawning flats, weightless Texas rigged or wacky rigged soft plastic jerkbaits like Magic Shads, Live Magic Shads, and the Hyper Stick become your best option. Shades of green pumpkin and watermelon are normally top colors, but don’t forget Magic Craw Swirl and Blue Bruiser with the muddy water this year. These shallow fish are often spooky, so long casts result in more fish. For weightless soft plastic jerkbaits, I like using the Dobyns Champion 733C. The 7’3” rod whips the baits out there, while it still has enough backbone to drive the hook through thick worms on long casts. A finesse Carolina rig with a ¼ oz sinker and a 12” leader is another great way to present those same soft plastic jerkbaits to slightly deeper fish in 4’ to 8’ and it also keeps you in contact with your bait in shallow water when the wind is howling. When everyone is up beating the bank to a froth, move out a little deeper with the light Carolina rig and you can catch fish from under where everyone else’s boats are sitting.
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 http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.
Good Fishing,
Tom

Lake Fork Guide Tom Redington Video: How to set up and read Side Image & Down Scan, with screen shots

March 1, 2012

Tom Redington Lake Fork Report, Pics, and Video 2-23-12

February 23, 2012

A very warm and mild winter has made for pleasant fishing conditions but has the bass a bit more scattered out than when bitter cold snaps bunch them up in a few key places. The bite has been pretty typical for late winter/early prespawn, with long lulls interrupted by flurries of several bites in a small area. If you catch one fish be sure and work the area over thoroughly, as you can normally catch several nearby. Despite some warm weather, I’m still doing a lot better concentrating on points and creek channels than by covering a lot of water on the flats. As we head into March and get closer to the spawn, expect waves of bass to spread out across the flats and then spinnerbaits, shallow crankbaits and weightless soft plastics will excel. Until then, work over the staging spots for the prespawn females.

As a side note, new episodes of “Big Bass Battle” are airing on NBC Sports (formerly Versus, and now part of everyone’s basic cable) and WFN (World Fishing Network). I’m a frequent host and participant on the show and we have some good action for the coming season on lunker lakes like Fork and Falcon. It has been a lot of fun to film and I hope everyone enjoys watching it. Check your local listings for air times.

Lake Conditions: Regular rains are slowly bringing up Fork’s water levels and many boat ramps are in good shape now. The lake level is currently 397.37’ and rising (about 5’ 8” below full pool and up a couple feet from the fall). Water temps in the main lake was up to 57 and into the low 60s in creeks a couple weeks ago. After more seasonal weather you can expect to find water temps from 48 to 54 right now, pretty normal for this time of year. Water clarity is ranging from the classic Fork clear green water in some creeks to pretty muddy in others. In general, I like the clearer water on the cloudy and windy days, while I feel more comfortable in muddier water when it’s sunny and calm.

Location Pattern: There are still some big bass schooled up out in deep water right now if you want to get away from the shallow water crowds. 25’ to about 35’ is where you’ll find most of the schools right now. The schools are quite large and I’ll see tons of arches on my Lowrance from a hodgepodge of bass, white bass, crappie, and catfish on key spots.

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. While about any flat 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 points and flats near the mouths of these coves hold a lot of fish this time of year, as do secondary points inside the coves—provided there is deep water nearby. 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: The lack of grass this year has narrowed my normally short list of prespawn lures even more Lipless cranks like the new Lucky Craft LV RTO in 150 (2.5”) and 250 (3”) sizes are normally one of my primary baits but I’m not fishing them nearly as much this season. ½ oz Redemption spinnerbaits with tandem or double willow blades with white or chartreuse and white skirts have worked better when slow rolled, 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 chatterbait and fish it in the same areas you’d throw a spinnerbait. I’ll rig both the spinnerbait and vibrating jig on a 7’ 3” Dobyns 734C rod so I can cast them a mile to cover water, yet still have enough power to bring big fish under control.

Suspending jerkbaits and pitching a jig or a Texas rig have been my mainstays this season. 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 on points and staging banks. A long rod with a forgiving tip helps land big fish that just slap at these baits, so I throw them on a Dobyns 704CB cranking rod. For jigs, I go with a ½ oz MPack jig from Lake Fork Trophy Lures and pair it with a matching Fork Craw or Hyper Freak trailer. Black and blue is my traditional favorite color, but with so many folks pitching jigs this year I’ve been doing better by sorting through a wide variety of color schemes this spring. Keep trying different colors until you hit on what is working that day. For the Texas rig, I’ll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or Hyper Freak with a 1/4 oz Mega Weight, again experimenting with colors. Work your jig or Texas rig very slowly along creek channels, steeper banks and staging points with short drags and small hops.

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 http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Good Fishing,

Tom

Regular customer and friend US Army Lt Col Patrick caught some nice bass before heading to Afghanistan for his 5th deployment. Wishing him a productive tour and a safe return.

6‘4“ former linebacker Bernie from MN didn’t get a double digit on this year’s trip but managed to form tackle some nice bass on his annual trip to Fork:



 

Tom Redington Lake Fork Report 10-18-2011

October 18, 2011

Lake Fork seems like it has taken longer than normal to finish up its fall turnover this year, about 3 weeks, and the fishing has been up-and-down with a number of really slow days with a few really good ones sprinkled in. Thankfully, the bite has started picking up again and I have been graphing and catching more fish out deep, a sure sign that the turnover is wrapping up. Peak fall fishing on Fork is normally when the main lake is in the 60s and we were still running mid-70s this past week, therefore, the classic fall bite is just getting started. By “classic fall bite”, I’m referring to active bass in the very backs of creeks chasing shad as well as grouped up schools of bass on offshore structure. After the long, hot and dry summer this year, I’m looking forward to the fall weather and an active bite.

As a side note, I’ve recently uploaded a few videos on bass boat and will be adding more bass boat videos in the future. Check them out at http://www.youtube.com/user/DiamondSportsMarine

Boat for Sale: My 2011 Ranger Z521 boat is for sale. It was new on 5/24/2011 and is loaded out with a Power Pole and Lowrance HDS graphs with Structure Scan, plus it has full motor warranty until May 2016. She’s value priced at $49995 to save you big bucks off the cost of a new boat. For more details and pics of the boat, please check my website (http://lakeforkguidetrips.com/#Boat For Sale) or drop me a note. Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/v/tO8K8_lpDrA

Lake Conditions: Lake Fork is now as low as it has ever been and still dropping. Currently it sits at 395.92’ (about 7’ 1” below full pool) and a ton of stumps are visible. Despite the low water levels, a number of the main ramps are open and have plenty of water even if the lake continues to drop. Water temps are slowly trending downward, with most of the main lake reading about 73 to 78 degrees lately. The water color is still somewhat brownish in the main lake from the turnover, while many of the creeks are stained. Very little hydrilla or milfoil remains on the lake so the bass are really keying on wood this year, but the few remaining grassy areas are holding a lot of fish if you can find it. Although the lower water and lack of grass make the lake fish differently than in years past, the reduced amount of hiding places has made for very good fishing overall this season.

Location Pattern: Main lake points and pockets have been holding most of the shallow fish. With the cooling temps, look for shad to push into the creeks and for the bass to follow them. Shad are the main key most days in the fall, so if you’re fishing an area and don’t see much bait, you probably need to keep on moving until you find it. Out deeper, I’ve been doing best with fish on the bottom in 15-25’ on humps, points, roadbeds, and creek channel bends. Many days the fish are suspending instead of relating to the bottom and they are schooling around points, humps, and bridges throughout the day.

Presentation Pattern: With bass keying on shad, most of my lure choices and colors will reflect that preference. Shades of white or chrome are always good choices in the fall on Fork. In the shallows, topwaters catch a lot of good fish early and late. Smaller topwaters closely imitate the size of the threadfin shad that Fork bass are keying on, so go with smaller sizes of poppers like Lucky Craft G-Splashes or Gun Fish when it is calm, or switch to the walking baits like Sammys if there is more chop on the water. After the sun gets up a bit, I normally switch to shallow running crankbaits like Lucky Craft LC 1.5 and BDS 3 square bills, ¼ to ½ oz spinnerbaits and rattle baits, or 3/8 oz chatterbaits with 3.5” Live Magic shads. To keep those money fish hooked up on crankbaits with treble hooks, I like fiberglass rods like the Dobyns 705CB Glass. The slower action of fiberglass allows bass to deeply take the lures and also keeps them hooked up well when fighting them in. Match it with sensitive fluorocarbon line and you’ll still have great feel, even with a fiberglass rod.

If the bass won’t respond to the TX rig, slow down with a wacky rigged Hyper Finesse Worm or a weightless TX rigged Magic Shad and Hyper Stick and the slow fall of the baits will get you bit. When it gets sunny and calm and the shallow bass won’t respond, try a Carolina rigged Baby Fork Creature or Baby Ring Fry on points that are at the mouths of pockets and creeks. For these soft plastics, try green pumpkin and junebug colors on cloudy days, while watermelon/red and watermelon chartreuse are better on sunny days. For a shot at a true lunker, try a 3/8 oz green pumpkin or blue bruiser colored MPack Jig with a matching Fork Craw or Hyper Freak trailer on timber around the creek channels running through the bigger creeks.

For the bass out deep, Fork Flutter Spoons and Lucky Craft deep diving crankbaits in shad or yellow bass patterns will catch some suspended fish and actively feeding fish on the bottom too. Fish relating to the bottom are a lot more dependable, so seek out these schools if you can locate them with your graph. Carolina rigged with Ring Frys or Baby Fork Creatures and drop shotting Hyper Finesse worms are working best for the bottom dwellers. I like using the 7’8” Dobyns Champion Extreme model DX784ML for Carolina rigs and the extra length allows me to take up extra line and get control of big fish at the end of long casts. When the bass come up schooling, they’ll eat just about any bait that looks like a shad. The trick is making a long accurate cast directly into the school. Soft plastic shad imitators like Magic Shads rigged on small jigheads work great for this. Big topwaters and lipless cranks cast a mile and can reach those schoolers when your buddy’s casts won’t quite reach them, so compact, heavy topwaters like a Sammy 115 and ¾ oz LV500 lipless rattlers are great choices too.

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 http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Good Fishing,

Tom

Lake Fork Mini Report & Pics July 15, 2011 Tom Redington

July 16, 2011

I’m scrambling to head out the door for my final FLW Tour stop of the year on Pickwick next week, so I’ll cut to the chase in an abridged fishing report for Lake Fork. The lake is dropping fast, already pushing past the 4.5’ low mark. The 154 and 515W public ramps are in good shape still but you’ll want to ask locally about a lot of the other ramps before launching. The water is clearing and remains warm, reading 86 to 92 in the day. A little bit of grass has grown up around the lake but stumps and timber are still the main deal in most of the shallower areas.

The offshore structure bite remains good for both numbers and size. With the thermocline setting up about 28’ right now, a few more fish are suspending and they aren’t eating on almost every spot like they were in most of May and June. You’ll have to do a lot of graphing and hunting to find the key spots out deep, but once you find them, it is normally a very big school and you can work on them for a couple hours. Humps, ridges, points, bridges, and roads in 18’ to 28’ have been best. Shallower channel bends and high spots near the creeks have been better on some days near the mouths of creeks and in the main lake, with bass in 5’ to 12’. Worms of various types and rigs have been best for me. Drop shots, TX rigs, and Carolina rigs are all working and I’m primarily using Hyper Finesse Worms and 8 or 10 inch Fork Worms, along with Ring Frys and Baby Rings Frys. Watermelon, red bug, green pumpkin, plum, blue fleck, and chartreuse pepper colors have all worked at times. Fork Flutter spoons, deep diving cranks, and football jigs also work sporadically, but the worm rigs have been the most consistent. I love using the Dobyns Extreme DX744C for my worm rigs, as it will throw any worm rig from light TX rigs up to heavy football jigs and Carolina rigs and the rod is super sensitive and a joy to fish. If you’re looking for a good worm set up, check it out, it is one of the most loved of all the Dobyns sticks.

A little bit of a surprise to me right now is the strength of the topwater bite. We’ve had consistent topwater bites a number of mornings until 9 or 9:30 AM, well after the sun has gotten high and bright. It’ll take a little scouting to find good areas, but a dead giveaway is a lot of shad activity and breaking fish. If you see a lot of shad running around and fish chasing them from time-to-time, you can definitely get them to come up for a bait. Poppers have worked some days but walking baits like Sammies have been far better for me. American Shad and Ghost Minnow colors have worked well. If you don’t know how to walk the dog with Sammies and Spooks, check out the video on my site for a bit of how-to.

For more details on my patterns and techniques, you can look around my website at my articles. I have a current article on tips for fishing the flutter spoons. In addition, the forum on my site has past fishing reports and the summer patterns are very similar to what was working a few weeks ago. www.lakeforkguidetrips.com

A final bit of congratulations to Diamond Sports Marine (DSM). DSM is the Ranger dealer located on Lake Fork and also in Rockwall. Ranger recently honored them with the award for the top Ranger dealer in the US for the 2011 model year. The award is not only based on sales but also on customer service, so a job well done to the guys at DSM for their accomplishment!

Best of luck on your Lake Fork adventures. Hopefully the Pickwick ledge fish will play nice like the Fork ones are. Keep the Fork bass company while I’m gone. wink

Good Fishing,

Tom

Guide Tom Redington Lake Fork Bass Report June 2012

June 10, 2011

The weather has been hot and dry for the past few weeks at Lake Fork and the bass have settled into their normal summertime routines. The predictable weather, as opposed to the constant frontal passages in the spring, makes for consistent fishing and guys have really been catching the bass well. With lighter winds and hot days, the lake may be starting to stratify already, with the formation of a thermocline starting to keep the fish a bit shallower. Last week a lot of fish were being caught very deep on spoons, as deep as 37’. This week the offshore fish were holding about 10’ shallower and many were suspended. When that happens, shallower structure like the 8’ to 20’ range often is your best bet. Just keep looking on your graph until you find where the fish are located and you will likely put a lot of big ones in the boat once you do.

Deep structure fishing is really a matter of being on the right school when they are biting, so timing determines whether you are catching them or just practicing your casting. New breakthroughs in sonar technology have made finding these schools of fish buried in timber much easier, so now is a great time to work on your deep structure fishing skills by catching a few hogs. The hot, sunny afternoons of summer are prime time to catch these big schools of big fish, and thankfully we have a nice breeze most days to keep us relatively cool. If you’re looking to learn deep structure fishing skills—reading topo maps, setting up your graph correctly & decoding the images on your sonar to find schools, and learning deep water techniques like big spoons, football jigs, drop shots, Carolina rigs, swimbaits and deep crankbaits—now through the fall is a good time to head to Lake Fork. And not only is it a great time to learn, but you’ll probably catch some big fish as well.

If you want to learn more about a few simple rules for choosing between the TX rig and Carolina rig, you can check out my June article called “Rules of Thumb for Texas and Carolina Rigs” here: http://www.lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles/june2011.htm

Lake Conditions: With most of our spring rainy season past us, look for the lake to be low for a long time unless we get hit by a tropical storm this summer. Currently it sits at 399.28 (about 3’ 9” below full pool) and a ton of stumps are 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 showing 83-86 in most areas of the main lake, warmer in creeks. The lower main lake has a greenish tint but is pretty clear, with about 6’ visibility when the water is calm. Meanwhile, the backs of many of the creeks are still stained, as is the upper end of the lake. A decent amount of milfoil and hydrilla are showing up around the lake now, but the coverage is still significantly less than in past years.

Location Pattern: Early and late and when it is cloudy/windy/rainy, I’m finding bass feeding on points and flats near or in the main lake. Look for birds feeding on shad and schooling fish for the best locations. Deep structure like points, humps, creek bends, and roadbeds in 8’ to 37’ are best on the sunny days, both for numbers and size. While bass are suspended over many deep structure spots, finding places where they are on the bottom has been the key. Most of these schools are relating to a few pieces of isolated cover, so watch your depth finder closely or you’ll bypass the mother lode.

Presentation Pattern: Topwaters like Lucky Craft G Splashes, Sammys, and Gunfish are still getting some active fish early and late, as well as schooling fish when they come up during the day. Shad or chrome colors work best. When the fish go down, you can often catch a few more on a TX rigged 8 or 10” Fork worm in the same areas until they start schooling again.

On offshore structure like humps and points, deep diving cranks and Fork Flutter Spoons will catch suspended fish while Carolina and TX rigs will get the bottom dwellers. The key is to first locate fish on your graph, then let their position dictate your lure selection. Lots of bass suspend during the summer and super deep cranks like Lucky Craft’s Flat CB D20 and RC3.5XD are very effective, with Sexy Chartreuse Shad and Chartreuse Light Blue being my favorite colors. Fork Flutter Spoons will trigger a lot of these same fish too as they slowly wobble down through the schools like a dying shad. Try both aggressive rips and small hops with the spoon to determine the mood of the bass. A 7’8” Dobyns Extreme DX784C rod with 20 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line handles the heavy spoons very well and keeps those leaping lunkers hooked up.

When bass group up on the bottom, they are easier to catch. Carolina and Texas rigs are my first choice. I’ll try a variety of baits on both rigs and let the bass tell me how much or how little action they want. Hyper Worms, Fork Worms, Fork Creatures, Hyper Lizards, & Hyper Freaks have a lot of action and trigger big aggressive fish. If the bass are more finicky, straight tail baits like Hyper Finesse Worms, Hyper Sticks, and Twitch Worms are normally more productive. The most productive bait seems to change daily, so experiment until you find what they want. Many of the bites are light, so a super sensitive Dobyns Extreme DX744C handles the regular rigs, while the 7’4” Mag Heavy DX745C handles big worms and football jigs better. If the bass won’t respond to those offerings, switch to a Hyper Finesse Worm on a drop shot with 12 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line and a Dobyns Extreme DX743 spinning rod and you can still catch them, although the average bass size will run a bit smaller. In the darker water, June bug, plum and blue fleck have been good, while the various shades of watermelon and green pumpkin have worked best in the clearer water.

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 http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Good Fishing,

Tom