Lake Fork Fishing Report July 2021

July is HOT and so is the big bass action on Lake Fork! Don’t let the heat of summer hold you back from getting out on the water this month. You would be surprised at some of the fish you can catch during the hottest days of summer. Many of my client’s biggest catches have come during this month of the year. Load up the family and come on out for some big bass fun!

The lake is in great shape for the middle of summer. Right now lake levels are just barely below full pool. Water clarity is good to about 2 ½ feet in most areas. Water temperatures are fluctuating from 84-90 degrees on most of the lake right now with the very hot days sending some surface temps into the lower 90’s. With more mild weather this summer than we experienced last year, it has provided a lot of opportunity for catching bass on various patterns and techniques both shallow and deep.

The shallow water bite has remained reliable due to the unseasonably cooler weather that we’ve had this year and all the freshly flooded cover on the banks for the bass to get in. June fished more like May normally does so I expect July will fish more like June which is will be good! The fish are feeding early and late up shallow in 2-6 feet on top water baits. The frog has been best for me around the shallow grass. You will also find some areas back in the creeks where the bass are schooling on bait. My best bait for them has been a popping or walking bait like a Berkley Bullet Pop or J Walker. Any shad pattern will do. When the fish are reluctant to bust a top water lure I am opting for a Santone Lures Swim Jig in the 5/16 oz size tipped with a Berkley Havoc Grass Pig. My favorite colors on the swim jig are Pake’s Perch, JC’s Spicy Craw, or River Bream. The bass are feeding up on bream in the shallows so a swim jig is a perfect choice!

I have also been finding a large number of big fish in mid depths this year. The bass have been feeding early and late on shad around 12-16 feet of water. My go to bait for these bass have been a 10” Texas rigged Berkley Powerworm in blue fleck, plum or watermelon candy. There’s nothing like the scent of a Berkley Powerbait to attract the bite of a monster bass. I am using a 3/8 oz Elite Tungsten weight and a 5/0 hook for these worms and fishing it slowly around the trees on points, humps, road beds, and creek bends. You can also catch some fish in the same areas on deep diving crank bait like a Berkley Dredger. Any shad pattern will work fine but I prefer a little bit of chartreuse color on the bait like the Blueback Chartreuse color.

The deep bite has been the deal for the past month and I expect it to remain good through the next couple of months. I am targeting the big ones from 18-28 feet deep right now. Pond dams, ridges, roadbeds, and points are all great places to get started. Once I am able to locate a school of bass with my Garmin electronics, I’m cycling through several bait combinations to figure out what the bass want in that particular school. It’s funny how each school is set up different and prefer certain baits or presentations over another. Most of the fish are getting on the bottom good now that the heat has set in for summer. The biggest bass in these schools are after big baits so my go to choices have been the Santone football jig in 5/8 to 3/4 ounce sizes tipped with a matching colored Berkley Chigger Bug. Best jig colors for me are Mexican Heather, Pake’s Perch, and of course my signature JC’s Spicy Craw. Another great big bait is the Berkley Fatty Bottom Hopper on the ALL NEW Santone Magnum Shaky Head! If you haven’t tried the new Santone big shaky head you’re missing out. This thing comes thru the timber great and has a monster hook on it that will stick the big ones good! Best colors on the worm have been watermelon red magic, green pumpkin magic, and red bug. If you want to catch the numbers out deep then I opt for a Carolina rig with a heavy 1 ounce weight and long leader with a 3/0 wide gap Berkley Fusion hook tipped with a Berkley Jerk or Power Hawg in watermelon red, green pumpkin, or watermelon candy. If the bass are more suspended or chasing bait in the water column then I will throw a big magnum spoon like the Nichols Ben Parker version. This big ole hunk of steel will catch giants out deep if you learn how to fish it properly. Deep crankbaits like the Berkley Dredger 20.5 and 25.5 are great for these suspended fish too! In the heat of the day don’t forget to try downsizing though if it gets slow. Picking up a spinning rod rigged up with light line and a finesse bait like the 4” Berkley Bottom Hopper will get you some more bites out deep when they won’t hit anything else and you can catch big ones on it too.

Well, I hope this helps anyone that’s coming out this month to chase some big bass. If you would like to fish with me this year, I still have a few dates for late summer and fall available. My 2022 schedule is already filling as well so contact me as soon as possible if you are beginning to plan your trip for next year. I also have gift certificates available for those of you that are interested in purchasing a friend or loved one a guided trip on Lake Fork. You can contact me to make your reservation at 903-736-9888 or send me an email at lakeforktrophybass@yahoo.com You can also visit my website for more information about Lake Fork and my guide service at www.officiallakeforktrophybass.com You can find me on Facebook and follow my official Lake Fork Trophy Bass Guide page at https://www.facebook.com/lakeforktrophybassguide
I just received my new boat for the 2021 season, a Bass Cat Cougar FTD. It’s an amazing boat and I couldn’t be happier to be serving my customers on Lake Fork as one of the newest members of the Bass Cat Family! If you’re interested in checking out any of the Bass Cat models be sure to reach out to R & R Marine in Pittsburg, Texas. Steven Stroman and his crew have amazing sales and service as well as a complete tackle shop. I would like to thank all my sponsors that support me. I am looking forward to representing them again this year on Major League Fishing Big 5 circuit as well as serving all my great guide clients on Lake Fork! Sponsors: Toyota, Carhartt, Bass Cat Boats, Mercury Marine, I Am Second, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Garmin, Santone Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Elite Tungsten, Johnson Communications, and Bass Boat Technologies.

Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tight Lines and God Bless,

James Caldemeyer

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