September on Lake Fork has arrived! With it brings the potential for some cooler weather and the early signs of fall. The bass fishing on Lake Fork this month is good and with the big tournaments happening it gets even better. Bob Sealy always puts on a great event in the Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash and you can expect that lots of big bass will be caught and big prizes as well as lots of cash given away. The event is being held September 16,17 & 18 at Lake Fork Marina.
This month of the year is always a transitional time for the water on Lake Fork. With a mix of warm days and cooler nights the water conditions start to change. The lake has not received much summer rain and we need some good fall precipitation to get the lake back up. Current levels are near 6’ feet low and can make navigating treacherous so be careful out there. The water temperatures have been ranging from 80-84 degrees on most areas of the lake. The water clarity is stained or off colored in several areas also due to the lake beginning to turn over. There are some areas that are clearer than others and most of the best water visibility is on the south end. If we have some cooler evenings roll in as the month progresses, we could see the lake finish turning over by the end of the month.
With Lake Fork in transition, you can also expect to find the fish in the same state of transition. You will find that some of the bass have already started to migrate into the shallows to escape the instability of the deeper water. Main lake points, pockets, and coves at the mouth to mid way back in the creeks are good places to start. I like to target several different shallow patterns during this time of year. A square billed crank bait, lipless crank bait, spinner bait, or chatter bait are all great choices when trying to target these shallow fish that are feeding on the shad up shallow. Lots of shad will be on the bank as the water temperatures cool. Covering water is always good and these baits will get it done. I like to use any shad pattern or white and white/chartreuse combinations when selecting a color. Once I establish an area that is holding fish with the moving baits I will slow down and fish the area thoroughly. A Texas rigged worm is my go to in the fall. I like to use an Elite Tungsten 1/4 to 5/16 oz weight on 4/0 hook. I will rig up with a Berkley Powerbait power worm. The best colors are blue fleck, cherry seed, plum, motor oil, or black and blue in the 7” or 10” size. Another great choice of baits for me has been the Berkley Powerbait Bottom Hopper wacky rigged around some of the freshly flooded grass after the recent rise in the lake. Fishing any of these through the shallow grass or shallow stumps catches lots of shallow bass on Lake Fork in the fall. My other “slow down” technique for catching them is a shaky head worm. I will use a 3/16 oz head with a Berkley “Fatty” Bottom Hopper or Rib Snake. Working these baits with light line like 12-pound Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon will catch a lot of fish especially as the crowds roll in and the fish feel the pressure from tournament anglers. My favorite colors are shady watermelon candy, plum, and blue fleck.
The deep bite is very unstable in September but if the right conditions present themselves it can be outstanding. Its during this time of year especially that I rely on my Garmin Electronics. They make quick work of finding the schools of deep bass! I will look for fish to be holding on main lake points, roadbeds, humps, and ridges. The great thing about my graphs is that they give you a definite distinction of whether or not there is a thermocline. When the bass have a lack of thermocline in the water column they tend to be more scattered and suspended. When the thermocline is intact, the bass are more condensed in the relative depths. So, again with the lake in transition, you have to be aware of what the water conditions are before you can decide what the best techniques and presentations are to use. When I see the bass suspended around bait in the water column I am using a deep diving crank bait most of the time. Any shad color is great but I like one with some chartreuse in it as well like a Berkley Dredger. I will throw mine on the Abu Garcia Revo Winch rod and reel. The rod is 7’6” and the reel has a great 5:1 cranking ratio for working it out deep. I can make really long casts with this combination too. The Alabama Rig is also a great choice for these schools of bass as well as a big flutter spoon. Working these baits in the 14-22 foot range is best right now but some fish have started moving shallower. When the bass are on the bottom and grouped up I am using a Carolina rig mostly. I like my Carolina rig on a 7’6” medium heavy Abu Garcia Veritas PLX rod with a Revo reel spooled up with some 20 lb Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line and a 15-17 lb leader. I like to use a 1 oz Elite Tungsten weight and a 3/0 hook. I have been catching a number of fish with the Berkley Powerbait Jerk as well as the Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper. The best colors have been blue fleck, watermelon, and green pumpkin and plum. If you want to catch a real big one out deep then you will want to break out the football jig. A Santone Lures 5/8 – 3/4 oz football head jig with a Berkley Chigger Bug trailer is a hard combination to beat. I am throwing this in the same areas as the Carolina rig and dragging it or hopping it through these deep schools of bass. Best colors right now on the jig are PB&J, Pake’s Perch, and my signature JC’s Spicy Craw color.
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 that are continuing to support me in 2022. I am looking forward to representing them again this year on the Bassmaster Opens Schedule. I appreciate all their support as I 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,