August is an exciting month at Lake Fork. It’s a great time to get the kids out on the lake one last time before they head back to school for the year. This summer has been an extremely hot summer with many days reaching 100+ but the lake has held its own and we have still been able to catch some big bass in the heat. Even with the heat and evaporation the lake levels are in good shape and still providing plenty of cover for the bass to stay active in. If you are going to be fishing this month or are planning a trip to the lake for a summer fishing outing, here are some tips and techniques that will help make your trip productive.
The water levels on the lake are currently at 401.22 with full pool being 403. This puts us at just under two feet low. The water clarity was real off-colored in July and some areas that are normally clear on the south end were slightly stained. I am not sure if there was some kind of algae bloom or if it's just the water transitioning in these temperatures. But the lake is clearing up a lot now and will help the August fishing. Water temperatures are ranging from 87-92 degrees.
There’s a good shallow water bite early but the most consistent pattern lately for me has been targeting fish holding in the 12-18 ft range. These fish are holding on points with timber or other structure. The key has been deep water close by. So if you find an area that has deep water near it like a channel and a point or hump with trees on it nearby, you will be in action. The bass are pulling up on these spots to feed and with the warmer weather, the best time to find them there is in the morning or in the evening. My most productive bait when the fish are actively feeding has been a deep-diving crankbait like the Berkley Dredger in any shad pattern. Cranking the trees where these fish are hiding tight to and banging the timber with these deep diving crankbaits will draw some big bites. If the fish are not in a “chasing” mood, I opt for a Carolina rig. I am using a Berkley Havoc 6.25” Bottom Hopper worms or finesse worms like a centipede or ring fry. I am rigging my 7’6” med heavy Abu Garcia Premier rod and Revo Premier reel up with 20 lb Trilene 100% fluorocarbon and a 1 oz Elite Tungsten weight on the mainline and 15-17 lb leader with a 3/0 wide gap hook. Slowing dragging this rig is important. The bites can be subtle this time of year so going slow and making sure you are feeling everything it is moving over and thru will help your catch rate. Texas rigged 7-10” Berkley power worms are also producing a ton of fish in these same depths. A lot of times when the bass are holding real tight to cover (trees) the strike zone shrinks and you need something that you can put right on their nose so a Texas rig is the best choice. I use a 3/8-1/2 oz tungsten weight and a 4/0-5/0 hook. Best colors are blue fleck, watermelon red, watermelon candy, tequila sunrise, or plum.
During the day when the fish after the fish head out to deeper water, you have to change gears a little bit. The thermocline has set up at about 24 foot and has the most productive spots where active schools of deep fish are at about the same depth and just above being the range you want to target for structure to top out at. That is not to say that you will not find or catch fish deeper than this but that the majority of the schools will be found in this range. When I am using my Garmin electronics to locate schools of these deep fish the first thing that I am looking for on a hump, ridge, roadbed, or underwater point is the presence of baitfish. If I am not seeing shad on my graph it is highly unlikely that I will see bass in concentrations. Once I locate a school of fish on my graph I am taking notice where exactly the fish are located in the water column. If the fish are suspended off the bottom I am using deep diving crankbaits, swimbaits, or big flutter spoons are my favorite this month. I like the Ben Parker Magnum spoon by Nichols. I have used this spoon specifically for Lake Fork since before it was available to the public so I know it is tried, tested, and proven to catch big bass. When I locate a group of deep fish that are on the bottom or are relating closely to the bottom, I am back to the same Carolina rig combination that I described earlier as it works just as effectively out deep. The best colors lately have been watermelon candy, watermelon red, and chartreuse pepper. I also like to throw a Santone Lures 3/4 or 1 oz football head jig on the deep bass. I will throw it out there and drag it or sometimes use a stroking technique of hopping it a ways off the bottom to draw strikes from the biggest bass in the school. Best jig colors this month are watermelon candy, watermelon chartreuse, and willies weed. Be sure to also check for fish hanging around the bridges. During hot calm days, you will find congregations of fish chasing shad and schooling heavily around the bridge columns. Drop shots, weightless worms, under spins, spoons, and top waters are all very effective for catching these fish and can oftentimes salvage an otherwise unproductive summer day on the lake.
I hope this information helps you in pursuit of a trophy bass this year on Lake Fork. If you are thinking of coming out this summer or 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 want to contact me fast to ensure the best available dates. I am also taking a lot of early bookings for 2019 so get your date reserved now. 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 by email or you can call or text message me at 903-736-9888. If you are in the market for a new boat this year, it’s a great time to look into the all-new Ranger 521 L as its Ranger Boat’s 50th anniversary and they are celebrating with the introduction of this new boat model. If you haven’t seen it yet you can stop by Diamond Sports Marine and Fred will be glad to show you around. He even has a few rigged out with the all-new Mercury Pro XS four-stroke. This motor is a bad dude! Test rides are also available so feel free to contact me or call the dealership and we will get you out on the water for a ride in one. 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. I look forward to the 2018 season and the blessings in store for the year. I pray that each of you are blessed as well!
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,