Hey everyone! It is hard to believe that it’s December already. Where has the year gone? I know I’m ready for 2019 and another great fishing year! Right now most boaters have probably put their rigs up for the year and are getting ready for the New Year already but those that are still getting out on the water know how great some fishing days can still be this time of year on Lake Fork. So, if you’re like me and love to fish in the winter or you just have cabin fever and would like to get out on the lake, here are some bass fishing tips and techniques that will help you land some nice fish or even possibly the fish of your dreams!
The water levels at Lake Fork are way up with all the rains we had this fall. The lake is brimming full and plenty of water for the fish to move into shallow cover areas that are freshly flooded. All of this fresh water will definitely be great for the spring spawn but the fish are still trying to acclimate to it some as the cold sets in and we are into the winter patterns. The water clarity is fair on the main lake and south with some of the creeks mostly stained. There is a small bit of clearing in the backs of some of the Lake Fork creeks that still have some grass-like Running Creek, Glade Creek, and Birch Creek. Water temperatures have been ranging from 50-54 degrees but will fluctuate up or down depending on the weather this month.
One of my favorite winter and December shallow water patterns is targeting fish around any shallow vegetation or stumps near the main lake or secondary points. Most of these winter fish will move into these shallow grass beds or hug stumps to ambush prey. During the sunny warmest part of the day can be best as water temperatures in these shallow areas is at its peak and the fish are most active. My first lure of choice is a lipless crank bait like the Berkley Warpig. My favorite sizes are a 1/2 oz but will also keep a 3/4 oz bait handy as well. I like to use shades of red, orange, or a combination of these two colors as well as chrome or gold. I like to use a 7’ medium heavy Abu Garcia Villain rod with 17-20 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon on a high-speed reel like the Abu Garcia Revo MGX. This reel comes in a 7.1:1 or 7.9:1 ratio so you can really burn a bait with this setup or use it to take some of the work off of your arms while you fish these baits all day making numerous casts. I like to use the lipless bait as a search bait and once I get bit I will slow down and work the area over thoroughly. A lot of times you will find the fish in small groups this time of year but may not be able to catch all of them on the same bait or presentation. If you double back and fish something like a suspending jerk bait or jig you may catch a few more fish or that BIG one you’ve been looking for! On the jerk bait I will throw a suspending model in a gold/black, clown, or ayu color. Fishing this bait slowly with twitch and long pause technique is great for a real big fish especially during sunny calm days. On cloudy days I do better fishing slowly through the area with a jig and I will flip or pitch a 3/8 or 1/2 oz Santone Rattlin jig tight to every piece of cover available. A jig can be very effective on deeper points at the mouth of creeks and the creek edges inside the creek. The best colors for me are black & blue, black/blue/purple, bama bug, or black/brown. I like to tip my jigs with a 3” or 4” Berkley Chigger Craw or Chigger Chunk in matching colors. The action on the Chigger Craw is very attractive to a big fish and they hold onto the jig longer with the Powerbait scent. This is an important advantage as most bites are light and normally fish will not hold onto the jig long during the winter months.
The deep bite is still a blast this time of year also. I am using my new Garmin electronics right now to find schools of bass offshore. And with my ClearVu down imaging, I am finding brush piles is an added bonus. I can find these deep-water bass havens relatively easy and the fish love them. Most of the bass are located in 20-32 ft of water. Humps, points, road beds, pond dams, and ridges are great places to focus your efforts on. These big fish will be schooling up in these areas following shad, yellow bass, white bass, and crappie around looking for an easy meal. I’ve been doing really well lately with my clients using a Hog Farmer Bait Company umbrella rig. I like to rig it on a 7’11” Abu Garcia Villain rods and Revo reels spooled up with 65 lb braid and Santone RigNHeads with 3-4” swimbaits. The jig bite out deep is good for the big ones too. A 5/8- 3/4 oz Santone football jig with a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss or Powerbait Chigger Craw trailer on the back will catch some of the biggest bass out of the school. The best colors on the jig are Black & blue, Bass Candy, and of course my favorite custom color “JC’s Spicy Craw”. The jigging spoon and tail kicker are also very good right now. A big Lake Fork flutter spoon or KT spoon in 1⁄2 oz size has been best. Getting over the top of these big schools of fish with one of these or even a Little George can yield some real trophies and are something even the kids or wife can enjoy.
In Pursuit of a Trophy Bass?
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 winter 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 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
In the Market for a New Boat this Year?
If you are in the market for a new boat this year, it’s a great time to look into the new 2019 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 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. My new 2019 boat has arrived and is ready for clients to experience this coming year also! 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,