Right now is a great time to catch big bass here on Lake Fork. While most anglers have put their boats up for the year, there is still a tremendous amount of excellent fishing to experience with little or no fisherman on the water to compete with getting to your favorite honey holes. Wintertime bass fishing on Lake Fork is an often overlooked season to catch a fish of a lifetime and I expect this December to be better than usual due to the lack of cold temperatures in November that normally drive the fish into their fall feeding frenzy. That means there are still a lot of hungry fish out there to be caught this month. A fish nearly 16 lbs was caught by a crappie fisherman recently as well as several other big bass like 11 yr old Calvin Fease”s 11.04 lb Lake Fork HAWG!
With all the warmer than normal weather this fall, the water temperatures have hung in the 60’s the whole month of November. As the temperatures continue to fall this month and the lake levels maintain themselves at full pool levels, you can expect to find fish that are susceptible to being caught on a number of different patterns both shallow and deep.
In the mornings look for fish on main lake points, secondary points and in the back of the major creeks to be feeding on shad. The presence of baitfish is key during this time of year. These big Lake Fork bass will be congregating around shad for an easy meal. If you find the bait you will find bass! Spinner baits, chatter baits, lipless crank baits and swim baits fished over the shallow grass beds in 2-8 feet are best. With a spinner bait or chatter bait white is best. I like to use a small 1/4 oz. in white or white/chartreuse over the shallowest grass and a 1/2 – 3/4 oz. on the deep outside edges of the grass. As for the lipless crank baits, the same sizes apply but I am varying the colors. Red or any shade of red/orange is excellent from now through pre-spawn but I will occasionally throw a chrome/blue or gold in there on certain days. You would think that with these reaction type baits color would not be of such importance but it is and can change from day to day. More importantly, how you fish the bait over the grass will determine whether you get many bites or not. There is a fine line between working the baits to fast which will not allow it to come in contact with the grass and working them to slow where the bait is continually fouling up with grass. If you can perfect your retrieve where you are able to contact the grass then rip the bait free, this is when you will get most of the bites. Another great way to catch a huge bass this time of year is with a shallow running swim bait fished in these same areas. The 5” or 6” Berkley Hollow Body www.berkley-fishing.com is an excellent choice in gizzard shad, ayu, or Tennessee shad colors. Simply cast these baits out there and slow roll them back. Coming into contact with the grass is not as important but reeling it in with a SLOW steady retrieve is and when they eat these baits there is no mistaking the bite. It will feel like a truck just ran over your bait!
The wacky worm is still catching numbers of fish up shallow too but I prefer a jig this time of year for the big ones. A black/blue, Bama bug, or Texas craw Talon 3/8 or 1/2 oz. jig with a matching trailer is hard to beat. I grab my Abu Garcia Vendetta www.abugarcia.com flipping rod with a Revo Premier spooled up with Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon and start picking every piece of timber apart in an area with the jig. A lot of times I can locate fish by covering water with moving baits then slow down and start flipping to catch those bigger fish that are slow and lazy. You won’t get many bites using this technique during the winter but the bites you do get will be good ones!
The deep bite is excellent this time of year as well. These big ole bass will be found feeding on big schools of shad and bar fish this time of year. I have been running the new Lowrance HDS8 over points, humps, road beds, and pond dams in 18-32 feet of water to locate these schools of fish. There are also a number of fish to be found in flats at the mouth of the major creeks in 28-32 feet. Once I have located a school of fish I have been targeting them with Carolina rigged soft plastics, jigging spoons, drop shots, or heavy swim baits. On the Carolina rig, I like to use a heavy 1 oz. weight and 4-5 foot leader with a 3/0 wide gap hook tied to 20 lb. main line and a 17lb. Trilene 100% fluorocarbon leader. Best baits have been a 5” Berkley Wacky Crawler, 4” Power Hawg, Centipede or French fry in watermelon red, green pumpkin, or chartreuse pepper. The jigging spoon is deadly this time of year on deep fish and is a great thing to have tied on if you are bringing the family out to catch some fish. I use a Talon Big Dandy in the Lake Fork Maniac color or “t-spoon” in the 3/8-1/2 oz size. www.talonlures.com Drop these spoons down to the bottom in an area that is holding fish and pick the rod tip up and let it back down. It is some easy fishing and great for the family. Most bites will come on the fall and you can catch many different species of fish with them including a real big bass! The new Berkley 5” or 6” Powerbait Saltwater Mullet in Silver Mullet or Sand Perch colors is a good choice for catching big bass out deep as well as a drop shot rig when the fish are finicky.
I hope this helps all you anglers that are headed to Lake Fork this month in pursuit of a trophy bass! If you would like to book a guided trip on Lake Fork or would like to go fishing on one of the two best winter power plant lakes, Monticello or Welsh, feel free to contact me at (903)736-9888 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I just picked up my new 2010 Ranger Z521 Comanche www.rangerboats.com paired with a Mercury Optimax 250 Pro XS www.mercurymarine.com . This new ride is an amazing machine! 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 Ben Hogan a call at (903)383-7829 and he’ll be glad to help you find the Ranger boat that is right for you!
Thanks to all my sponsors for their support: Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, “I AM SECOND”, Berkley, Abu Garcia, All Star Rods, Interstate Batteries, Oakley Sunglasses, KVD Line &Lure Conditioner, BTS Protectant, Navionics, Talon Lures, Sure Life, and to my Lord and Savior for His forgiveness through His blood on the cross!