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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:31 am
Posts: 77
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. ... il2012.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 , 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 on Hwy 154 on the East side of Fork, Ranger Boat's #1 dealer for 2011.

Good Fishing,


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