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Lake Fork Report & Pics

Texas - Port Arthur to Brownsville

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Lake Fork Report & Pics

Postby tom redington » Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:47 pm

A few pics from the past couple of days’ scouting trips. The first bass weighed in at 9 lbs 4 oz and came on a lipless crank. The others were caught on a Lake Fork Tackle Mega Weight Jig trimmed with a Fork Craw:

Despite cold water temps and some stained water, lunker bass are showing up shallow as they stage for the spawn. As a result, even on our slowest days we’re catching some good bass, with numerous fish in the 5 to 7 lb range this week. And the fishing has been very good some days, including hooking 17 bass from 3 to 7 lbs in the cold rain on Saturday afternoon after blanking in the morning and a 9 lb 4 oz lunker on Tuesday. While fishing has been slow in the muddy areas of the lake, good bass are still being caught in the stained areas and now numbers of bass are starting to pull up shallow in the clear water on the south end of the lake. The current prespawn pattern will hold through mid-March, giving anglers their best chance of the year for a true monster bass.

Lake Conditions: After another good rain on Saturday, Lake Fork’s water level is currently reading 401.09’, about 1’11” below full pool. According to my records, this is the highest Lake Fork has been since early August 2005. Moreover, the ground is still very wet right now, so any rains in the near future should help fill the lake. As you might expect, the water is stained to muddy in most creeks, while the main lake remains clear on the lower end. Water temps dropped significantly last week, bottoming out around 45 degrees in the main lake, with some large creeks reading well into the 30s. As of yesterday (Wednesday), most areas of the lake were reading 46 to 47 degrees.

Location Pattern: The recent cool down didn’t dramatically change the bass’ location; rather, it changed how the fish related to the nearby cover and structure. In general, I’m still catching bass from the same areas I was catching them earlier this month. From now through mid-March, I concentrate on 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 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 a lot of 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.

The higher water levels have also created multiple new cover options for bass. In addition to the deep outside weed edges, you’ll now also need to consider the inside weedline. Meanwhile, newly flooded terrestrial plants, bushes, and laydowns are also starting to hold bass at some times; whereas bare hard bottom areas, devoid of any cover, have been very good at other times. There are lots of variables to play with. Fish only the areas that were productive last spring or even a few weeks ago and you have a surefire recipe for failure. The bass have quickly adapted to the higher water levels and their cold & muddy environment, will you?

For deep structure enthusiasts, points, roadbeds, humps, flats and ledges in 30’ to 50’ are still producing some big fish as well. Use your electronics to find the schools of bass and baitfish and work them over with spoons and dropshots. As water temps drop, these deep fish will be unaffected and will continue to bite on days when the shallow bite is slow. I’ve been concentrating on the shallow bass, so my presentation pattern will focus on that.

Presentation Pattern: My prespawn *beep* is pretty simple for fishing along grasslines and creek channels. First and foremost are lipless crankbaits in ½ or ¾ oz, in red, orange and crawdad patterns. With the cold water, yo-yoing the baits in deeper grass with a lift/drop retrieve and switching to tighter wobbling ¾ oz baits worked best this week. ½ oz to 1 oz spinnerbaits with double willow blades in white, red, or chartreuse and white will produce some really large bass in the same areas that the lipless cranks work, especially on windy and cloudy days after a warming trend. With the deeper grass and colder temps, switch to smaller blades and slow your retrieve until the bait is just ticking the top of the grass. Some days, I’ve done better by switching to a suspending jerkbait or pitching a jig and a Texas rig. Go with gold jerkbaits on cloudy days, while silver color schemes work better on sunny days. Work these with long pauses over the grass and along the edges. For jigs, I go with ½ oz Mega Weight black and blue jigs with a Lake Fork Craw trailer in the blue bruiser color. The Fork Craw has an air pocket in its belly and it stands up on the back of a jig, making a very realistic looking presentation for dead-sticking around cover. Dead-sticking is the key phrase with the jig—put it around heavy cover and let it soak for best results. For the Texas rig, I’ll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper in black neon or blue bruiser with a ¼ to 3/8 oz bullet weight and slowly work it around cover.

Lake Baccarac Update: Texas isn’t the only place receiving cold precipitation. The mountains at Lake Baccarac received a lot of rain and snow recently, bringing up the lake level to 80% of capacity. The cooler temps put the bite off a little for a few days but is now back in full swing, with several 11s and a 12.5 lb’er caught recently. Most everyone reported good fishing, with a least 40 fish per day and lots of quality bass from 7 to 10 pounds being caught. The lodge has a few openings left for March and April, while there is still good availability for May and June (historically one of the best times for trophy bass). I’m starting to plan my group trips for Fall & Winter 2007/2008. Our trip last year was fun and productive for double digit bass, let me know if you want to be part of the lunker action. For more info on a trip to Baccarac, please check out my website: http://www.bigmexicobass.com .

Here’s hoping you catch the lunker of your dreams. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at 214-683-9572 (days) or 972-635-6027 (evenings) or e-mail me through http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Good Fishing,

tom redington
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Postby Capt.Bil » Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:04 am

Nice Bass

I know you can tell the real fishman we fish winter .

That is a very good detailed report .
MasterCaptain Bill Curry
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Postby tom redington » Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:39 pm

Thanks Bill. You're right, winter time fishing is often well worth the cold hands and feet! :D
tom redington
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