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Lake Fork Report—December 21, 2009

Texas - Port Arthur to Brownsville

Moderator: admin

Lake Fork Report—December 21, 2009

Postby tom redington » Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:15 pm

Happy Holidays to everyone. Thanks to all of my friends, family, sponsors, and customers for a fabulous 2009 and I hope everyone has a year of great catches in 2010. 2009 was a big year for me, with lots of good bass caught on Fork, plus my rookie year as a Pro on the FLW Tour. Next year, I’ll be fishing the FLW Tour and BASS Central Opens, in addition to guiding regularly on Fork in between my travels. I learned a lot by competing at the top level of bass fishing this season, and I look forward to making good use of that information on the tourney trail and guiding this year.

Heading into the New Year, the early stages of prespawn are ready to get underway in some areas of Lake Fork. Considering I’ve seen some bass on beds as early as Feb 10th in years past, spring on Lake Fork is truly just around the corner. Meanwhile, lunker bass continue to be caught from deep water as well, including one over 15 lbs recently. With big prespawn bass smoking jigs, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and lipless crankbaits now through March, this is my favorite time of the year on Fork. Numbers run lower this time of year; however, the average size of your catch is at its highest for the year, usually in the 3.5 to 5 lb range, with a good shot at bass 7 lbs or greater. It’s also the time of year that more 10s, 11s, 12s, 13s, and bigger are caught. Best of all, you’ll have the lake mostly to yourself, especially on the cold and nasty days when the lunkers bite the best!

My fishing report is below. For more info on winter fishing, I am featured in the current issue of Texas Sportsman. You can read that article here: http://www.lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles.htm

Image
Boat for Sale: My 2009 Ranger Z520 boat is for sale. It is fully loaded, rigged with a 250 HP Mercury Pro XS motor with a 5 year warranty (good until 2014). It’s value priced and will save you about $10,000 off the cost of a new boat. For more details and pics of the boat, please check my website (www.lakeforkguidetrips.com) or drop me a note. Following are videos of the boat, taken December 9th:
Walk around video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpAEpJ-BBbs
Inside of boat video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkfqswKLqwc
Seats video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWtP7mKVhy0
Storage boxes video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yxZIK8oqVc
Hull video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIozkGqMjBA

Lake Conditions: The fall rains finally relented and Lake Fork is back to her normal self. The lake level is currently at 403.16’ (2” above full pool). The water clarity is clear on the south end, getting more stained as you head up the lake. Water temps are reading in the lower 50s in the main lake, while the backs of creeks can be much warmer or cooler, depending on the day.

Location Pattern: Many big bass are schooled up in deep water right now and it’s a great time for spoon fishermen. 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. Areas with submerged vegetation (primarily hydrilla, milfoil, or coontail) for cover will typically have the most active fish. While about any grassy area 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 grass beds near the mouths of these coves are holding fish now, as are main and secondary points inside the coves—provided there is deep water nearby. During warming trends, follow bass back into the creeks and check the edges of grass flats 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. In general, look for bass on the flats and farther back in creeks during warming trends; conversely, drop back to points and main lake grassbeds after cold fronts. 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.

For deep structure enthusiasts, points, roadbeds, humps, flats and ledges in 18’ to 38’ will produce some big fish during the winter months as well. Use your electronics to find the schools of bass and baitfish and work them over with spoons and dropshots. I’m primarily concentrating on the shallow bass, so my presentation pattern will focus on that.

Presentation Pattern: A few simple lures produce big bass each winter from grasslines and creek channels. First and foremost are lipless crankbaits in ½ or ¾ oz, like the Lucky Craft LV500 and LVR D-7. Red and crawfish colors are most popular and they often work well, although oddball colors often produce better on any given day. Buzzing these over the top of the grass on a quick retrieve is normally best, but after cold fronts, letting the bait fall and ripping these out of the grass will trigger most of the bites. 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. 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. With the spinnerbait, mono like 28 lb PowerSilk line works best, while 30 to 50 lb braided line works better with the vibrating jig to help get it through the grass.

When the bite slows or the conditions are sunny and calm, I’ll switch to a suspending jerkbait or pitch a jig and a Texas rig. Lucky Craft’s model 100SP Pointers in gold or chrome patterns are my traditional choices, although the new Gunmetal Shad & Phantom Chartreuse Shad are my new favorites. Work these with long pauses over the grass and along the edges. A long rod with a forgiving tip helps land big fish that just slap at these baits, so I throw them on a Dobyns 705CB cranking rod. Match it with 12 to 17 lb Fluorohybrid Pro, a new line that is as clear and sensitive as fluorocarbon, yet as smooth and easy handling as mono. On cold winter days, the reduced memory of FHP really makes jerkbait fishing a lot easier. For jigs, I go with the new 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. For the Texas rig, I’ll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or Hyper Freak in black neon or blue bruiser with a 3/8 oz Mega Weight. 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 http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Good Fishing,

Tom
tom redington
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Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:09 pm

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