October is already upon us and with it one of my favorite seasons to fish on Lake Fork. You can catch some quality fish and virtually have the lake to yourself on some days as hunting season has begun 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. We will be celebrating the 17th Annual Berkley Big Bass Tournament on October 15 & 16 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 one as there will be lots of money and prizes given away. Lake Fork Marina will also have some of the newest Berkley baits available that you can’t get anywhere else yet! But whether you are coming out for the tournament, just here for fun with the family, or in serious pursuit of a trophy bass, below are some tips and information that will help you in pursuit of those Lake Fork bass.
The lake is in good shape right now despite the lack of rain and low water conditions. Water levels are currently sitting at about 6 1/2 feet low. This makes for some dangerous navigating conditions even in some of the marked boat lanes so travel with caution. The grass is trying to come back in a few areas, which is a good sign and fall turnover process is finishing up as more stability of the water has returned. Water temperatures have been holding steady on most days in the mid 70’s but can fall or rise with the inconsistent weather and cool nights or warmer days.
Fishing shallow has been the most consistent pattern since the fall turnover began last month. I have been starting off each morning with some good topwater action. The fish have been feeding on shad early around main lake points. I’m throwing a Berkley Bullet Pop early if its calm. If there’s a slight breeze I will opt for the Berkley Choppo or J-Walker. Best colors have been Danald, bone, or black. I’ve also been catching some on the Berkley Stunna jerkbait when they won’t commit to the topwater. After the topwater action ceases I’ve been switching over to a Berkley Square Bull and cranking it in the timber up shallow. This bait deflects well off wood and will trigger strikes. Best size for me lately has been the 5.5 and colors are Gilly, Sexier shad, and black/chartreuse. For more open water areas up shallow or areas I’ve found some grass emerging I’m throwing a Berkley Warpig lipless crankbait in the 1/4 or 1/2 ounce sizes. Best colors now are chrome/blue and special red craw. A brand new bait from Berkley that I helped test and am super excited to share with everyone is the “NEW Berkley SlobberKnocker”! It's the newest and most innovative bladed jig on the market that flat catches fish. This bait has a direct blade-to-head connection that gives it incredible vibration with a strong Fusion hook and Berkley’s famous Powerbait scent infused into the skirt material. Available in 3/8 and 1/2 ounce sizes. Best colors have been white, white/chartreuse, and green pumpkin. You’ll want to be sure to grab some of these at the Berkley tent if you make it out to Lake Fork Marina for the tournament this month.
Although a lot of the shallow fishing is very productive this time of year, be sure to look at those deep-water spots as well. Humps, points, roadbeds, pond dams, and ridges in 14-22 feet of water are great places to focus your efforts on. These big fish will be schooling up in these areas following shad, yellow bass, and crappie around looking for an easy meal. The Carolina rig is a very good weapon on these deep bass. I like to rig mine with a 1oz weight, 4-5 foot leader, and a 3/0 wide gap hook on a 7’6” Abu Garcia PLX Tournament Series rod with a Abu Garcia Zata reel. I will run 20 lb Trilene Professional Grade fluorocarbon line with a 15 lb leader. The Berkley Jerk, Bottom Hopper, or a good ole 7” Power Worm on this rig has produced very well lately. Best colors are shady watermelon candy, watermelon red magic, blue fleck, or plum. When I come across a school that shy away from the Carolina rig, I will pick up my drop shot set up to finesse them to bite. I’m throwing the all new Abu Garcia Zenon spinning rod/reel and WOW is it light and sensitive! That’s what you need in a good finesse combo. I’m running 10 lb Berkley Nanofil on the main line and tying on about 15 ft of 10 lb fluorocarbon leader at the end. Then I will put on a Berkley fusion drop shot hook with a ¼ ounce Elite Tungsten weight, topping it off with a Berkley 4” Bottom Hopper in plum, red bug, or south africa special color. If you are fishing the big tournament, you will want have some Berkley Dredger crankbaits handy to throw at these suspended fish for that ever elusive over the slot bass! Don’t forget to try throwing a deep running swim bait on these schools of deep fish also. Berkley’s Swim Shads are some great baits for swimming thru these deep bass. Especially if you find them suspended or chasing shad. Just count the bait down to the fish and start slow rolling it back to the boat. Berkley has increased their line of baits considerably this year and cover a broad range of fishing. I will be excited to see them in action during this tournament and all the big fish that will be caught using them! Come out and join us for what should be the most exciting tournament of the year!
Well, I hope this helps anyone that’s coming out this month to chase some big bass or fish the big tournament. If you would like to fish with me still this year, I have just a few dates available. My 2023 schedule is also filling fast 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 really enjoyed my first Bass Cat boat in 2021 and am now running my new 2022 Bass Cat Puma STS for this season. I couldn’t be happier to be serving my customers on Lake Fork as part of the Bass Cat Team and am looking forward to providing more great trips this year out of my new boat! 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. They even just got in the all-new Puma STS that everyone is raving about so go by and check it out! Steven Stroman and his crew have amazing sales and service as well as a complete tackle shop with just about anything you need. I would like to thank all my sponsors for 2022. I appreciate all their support as I fish the BASS Opens and serve all my great guide clients throughout the year on Lake Fork as well! Sponsors- Toyota, Bass Cat Boats, Mercury, 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.
James 1:17 - “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Tight Lines and God Bless,