Lake Fork Trophy Bass

Lake Fork, Texas


Lake Fork Guide James Caldemeyer

Trophy Bass Fishing Report 

October 3, 2017



I am thrilled for October to finally be here. It is definitely one of my favorite months to fish on Lake Fork. The weather has begun to cool, the leaves are changing colors, and the bass are biting. You can catch so many quality fish and virtually have the lake to yourself as hunting seasons have started and many anglers opt for the woods over their favorite fishing hole. It is also a great time to get the kids and family out on the water for some great fishing fun. For all of you tournament anglers, one of the best tournaments of the year is this month. The 12th Annual Berkley Big Bass Tournament is October 21 & 22 at Lake Fork Marina. This event is an hourly big bass tournament with great opportunities to win lots of cash and boats given away. You can win either with a big bass over the slot (over 24 inches) or with small fish (under 16 inches). This event keeps getting better and better each year so you will not want to miss this. Whether you are coming out for the tournament, just for fun with the family, or in serious pursuit of a trophy bass, here are some tips and information that will help you catch lots of Lake Fork!

The lake is still in great shape. Water levels are 402.54 which is almost full pool elevation being 403. The water clarity has been good in mid lake to south areas and while other areas north are stained due to the lake finishing its annual fall turnover. The presence of the resurgent hydrilla and other vegetation will help filter the water more and keep the lake fairly clear. Water temperatures have been ranging from upper 70’s and to low 80’s on a real warm days. I expect the surface temperatures to remain in the 70’s most of the month which is optimal for fishing.

Most mornings I have been starting off the day with some top water fishing of some kind. The fish have been feeding on top early and on cloudy days. Main lake points and secondary points have been best but also look for some action in the back of the creeks and coves as the water cools down this fall. The best top water baits for me have been poppers like the Sebile Splasher or Berkley Frenzy Popper in any shad pattern. The Sebile Ghost Walkers and Slim Sticks have also been great walking baits when there is some chop on the water. These baits are also permitted during the Berkley tournament as Sebile is a Pure Fishing brand. Lake Fork Marina has a huge assortment of these baits as well as many other new Berkley baits that the fish like. I am also fishing shallow running crank baits in these same areas and am concentrating on depths of 2-6 feet. I like to throw a lipless crank bait like the Berkley Warpig. These baits will catch a lot of fish during the month of October. My best areas have been where you find a combination of shallow grass and concentrations of bait fish. If you find the shad, you will find bass nearby. On real windy days the 5” Berkley Squarebull crankbait fished directly against the bank has really produced some quality fish. Best colors on swim baits have been sexier shad and Gilly. For the bass that are not willing to chase or hit on top I have been throwing a vast assortment of soft plastics on a variety of different presentations to get them to bite. Texas rigged worms like the Berkley Powerbait 7” and 10” Power worm are always great. I have also been having great success on a number of new baits. The Havoc 8” Juice Worm, Hawk Hawg, and Powerbait Thief have been excellent soft plastics for your Texas rig. Also the brand NEW Berkley Powerbait “MaxScent”! The new General worm and Hit worm as well as the Flatnose Minnow and Creature Hawg are just a few of the great new soft plastic baits from BerkleyBest colors have been blue fleck, watermelon candy, plum, smoky green pumpkin, and bama bug. There are days when the fish get real finicky and it takes a subtle approach to coax them into biting. This is when I break out my Abu Garcia Veritas drop shot and shaky head rod. I will rig up some 10 lb. test Berkley Nanofil on my Premier spinning reel and add about 20 yards of Trilene 100% fluorocarbon leader to it at the end. The light line itself will produce more bites from finicky bass but coupled with a great bait like the Berkley Havoc 4.75 or 6.25 Bottom Hopper or Powerbait MaxScent D-worm puts the icing on the cake. If you are a tournament fisherman this is definitely the best way to increase your odds of catching more under the slot fish and the big ones will often bite it too, especially when there is heavy fishing pressure on the lake from the tournaments. Be sure to fish these shallow plastics around standing timber. As the sun gets up later in the day a lot of these bass will be holding very tight to any cover like trees, docks, laydowns, and brush piles.

The deep bite to start the month off has not been the most consistent. You can still catch some fish out deep but a lot of them are very suspended and scattered around. With the lake finishing turning over you will begin to see schools of bass starting to congregate on deep structure. Roadbeds, points, humps, and pond dams are great places to look. These fish will be setting up in 18-24 feet but do not be surprised if you find some even deeper. Yesterday, my clients and I were catching bass out of 30-32 feet. My best baits for catching them out deep has been a Carolina rigged soft plastics like Havoc Hawk Hawg, Juice Worm and Powerbait Power Hawg. Santone football head jigs have been good also with a Berkley Chigger Craw matching color trailer. Once I have located a school of fish with my Garmin units, I am also fishing a Berkley Dredger 20.5 or 25.5 thru the suspended fish. This bait works well on these suspended bass on Lake Fork. Cranking it up thru these schools of bass can yield a trophy of a lifetime and even the tournament winning fish right now. Any shad pattern is good right now but I tend to favor the Sexier Shad and Gilly colors.

I hope this information helps you in pursuit of a trophy bass on Lake Fork this month. Especially if its your new personal best or the big bass of the tournament! Good luck to all anglers and be safe out there. Always wear your life vest and kill switch. It could save your life. If you are thinking of coming out and would like to book a trip with me this year, feel free to contact me. I still have a few fall/winter dates available. My schedule is already booking up fast for the spring so contact me for the best dates still available. I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and help you catch the fish of your dreams! You can contact me to book your trip by email or give me a call at 903-736-9888. Also, visit my website to find out more information about Lake Fork bass fishing and my guide service at and if you are able to make it to Lake Fork for one of the tournaments be sure to go by Diamond Sports Marine on Hwy 154 and see all the new Ranger Boats. I’m waiting on my brand new 2018 521L to get here and they will be having some arriving soon! If you are in the market for a boat this year its time to go see Fred for a great deal on a new one. Test rides are available so feel free to contact me or call the dealership at 903-383-7829 and we will get you out on the water for a ride in one! I would like to thank all of my current 2017 sponsors for supporting my FLW Series tournament fishing and my guide service on Lake Fork: Toyota, Carhartt, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Leer, Garmin, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Santone Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Power Pole, Rigid Industries, Road Armor, Fabtech Motorsports and Elite Tungsten.

Matthew 7:7-8 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

Tight Lines and God Bless,
James Caldemeyer


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