It’s October on Lake Fork and man, I’m excited about that! It’s one of my favorite months of the year for bass fishing. You can catch a lot of quality fish and often have a limited amount of boat traffic to compete with. Hunting seasons have started, and many anglers opt for the woods over their favorite fishing holes. 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 as well. The 14th Annual Berkley Big Bass Tournament is October 19th & 20th hosted by the fine folks at Bass Champs and headquartered out of Lake Fork Marina. This event is an hourly big bass tournament with over $150,000.00 given away including two fully rigged bass boats. The event keeps gets bigger and better each year so you will not want to miss it. Whether you are coming out this month for the tournament or some quality time with the family, here are some tips and information that will hopefully help you catch lots of Lake Fork bass!
The water levels on the lake are slowing falling right now with the lack of consistent rain lately. The lake is at 401.50 which is 1 ½ feet low. I expect the fall rains and cooling temperatures to reach us this month and you could see the lake at full pool again very easily. Clarity is decent in areas on the main lake to stained in the backs of some of the creeks. Water temperatures have still been fairly warm. Most areas are consistently 80-84 degrees, but we could see that change as well very soon. Cooler temperatures are what these bass have been waiting on and I think we will all be just as inviting to it ourselves!
The shallow bite has been very good around shallow submerged grass. Most of the hydrilla (yes, there’s “hydrilla” in Lake Fork) is growing on the northern creek arms of the lake. The better part of it is growing out to about 4 feet at the deepest point. The baitfish are gravitating to it as the water temperatures cool and the bass are following closely. I’m targeting secondary points and pockets with several presentations to catch lots of fish and some big ones too. The top water is my first tactic and has been best on cloudy days. I am fishing a Berkley Bullet Pop or a Berkley J-Walker in bone or shad colors on the edges of these grass beds and lily pads. I also like throwing any type of hollow bodied frog through it. Fishing it over the holes in the grass or along the edges is best but some of these fish are coming completely through the thickest part of it to eat these baits. Make sure you opt for a very stout rod and reel to take these fish on in heavy cover too. I am using the new Abu Garcia Revo Rocket which has a 10:1 gear ratio so it moves a lot of line quickly and the all new 7’3” heavy Abu Garcia Veracity rod to get enough leverage on these bass so I can drag them out of there. This has been a real fun bite so far and will be great all the way thru the month. If the bass are reluctant to hit top water baits because of the conditions you can catch them down in the grass or along the edges using a weightless wacky worm. I am using the Berkley 5” General or 6.25” Bottom Hopper and rigging it on a 2/0 wacky hook then sticking a small nail in the head of the worm. The best colors are shady watermelon candy, green pumpkin, and plum. A lighter line has been key to getting more bites so I opt for 12 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. A plain old Texas rigged worm is about as deadly of a choice as you can get this time of year for shallow bass. The Berkley Powerworm will get em every time! The bass on Lake Fork love that Powerbait scent. Both 7 inch and 10-inch sizes are very effective this time of the year. I rig mine on a 1/4-5/16 oz weight and 4/0 hook. The best colors are blue fleck, black & blue, cherry seed, plum, and watermelon candy. I also use the Berkley Max Scent King Tail worm. It’s a big profile worm for catching fish this time of year when the bass are looking to fill their bellies. If the skies are high and its sunny a lot of the bass start holding tight to timber. Especially if there is no grass in the area they live. I will crank a lot of the shallow timber with a Berkley Square Bull in the Sexier Shad or Gilly colors bouncing it off of every piece of wood or cover available. You can also slow down and pitch to the timber with flipping baits like the Berkley Powerbait Pit Boss and Craw Fatty. These are excellent baits for big bass!
The deep fishing has begun to show signs of life since the lake is trying to finish turning over. I am finding most of the fish in the 15-22 ft depth range right now. When I locate a school on my Garmin electronics, I have been targeting each school differently. For the suspended ones I have still been deep cranking a lot. The Berkley Dredger crankbait is a really good choice. I have been throwing the 17.5 and 22.5 sizes mostly. The best colors have been Blue Chartreuse and Honey Shad. If the school of fish are relating closer to the bottom, I have been switching it up and throwing a Carolina rigged Berkley Powerbait Jerk or Lugworm. Chartreuse pepper and watermelon red magic have been best in colors. If you’re after the big bites, you’ll want to have a Santone jig ready. I use a 5/8 to 3/4 ounce size in my custom color JC’s Spicy Craw and Bass Candy colors. Be sure to tip it with the all new Berkley “Champ Craw” in green pumpkin or yummy craw colors. These were designed by Jordan Lee and are the most realistic craws you will find! For the schools that are little more finicky, you’ll want to have your spinning rod handy. A drop shot rig is a great way to catch a bunch of fish in October and also a great way to cash checks in the tournaments. I’m rigging my drop shot rig on a 6’10” Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier rod with a Revo Premier 30 reel. I highly recommend using Berkley Nanofil 10lb as your base spool with about 20 ft of Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon leader in 10 lb test also. A 1/0 hook with about 16 inches of tag end and 1/4 ounce Elite Tungsten drop shot weight. On the business end I’m relying on both the Berkley Powerbait Bottom Hopper and the Max Scent Hit Worm in 4” sizes. The best colors are plum, red bug, watermelon red magic, and plum apple.
Lake Fork this Month
Well, that about covers everything that’s going on at Lake Fork this month. I wish everyone that’s fishing the tournaments the best of luck on the water. Be safe out there! If you are thinking of coming out this fall and would like to book a fishing trip with me this year, feel free to contact me anytime. I still have a few dates available, but you’ll need to contact me soon. I book up fast and am already booking for much of spring 2020! If I’m not available, I will recommend another great guide that can help you. You can always count on talking to me personally when you call to book your Lake Fork trip because I care about my clients. I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and help you catch the fish of your dreams! You can email me or you can call or text message me at 903-736-9888.
Need a New Boat?
If you are in the market for a new boat this year, it’s a great time to look into the new 2020 Ranger 520L and 521L as its Ranger’s flagship model and is very impressively laid out with features. If you haven’t seen it yet you can stop by Diamond Sports Marine while you’re in the area and Fred Barthold will be glad to show you around.
Thankful for My Sponsors
I would like to thank all my sponsors that support me fishing the FLW Series and guide service on Lake Fork: Toyota, Carhartt, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Leer, Berkey, Abu Garcia, Garmin, Santone Lures, Costa, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Rigid Industries, Bass Forecast, Elite Tungsten, Bass Boat Technologies, and Fabtech Motorsports.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Tight Lines and God Bless,