rWelcome to Lake Fork, everyone! February is here. Everyone that has had cabin fever over the winter is heading out to the lake to take advantage of the early spring opportunities to catch a giant Lake Fork bass. This time of year is so exciting because you can catch a giant on any given cast as the big females prepare themselves for their annual spawning activities. Here is some information and a few tips and techniques for bass fishing that will help you in pursuit of a Lake Fork trophy bass.
The lake is still in great shape despite all the high water this winter. The lake is currently near full pool and spring rains should continue to keep Lake Fork swollen at the banks over the next few months. Water temperatures are back up into the low to mid 50’s degree range after bottoming out in the 40’s during the month of January. There is still some grass growing in a few areas around the lake and could really burst out if we continue to warm up with the lake being full. The overall clarity of the lake is turbid to stained because of the rains. Most of the clearer water is on the south end of the lake.
The best patterns for me in February are always in the shallow to mid-depth regions. I like to target main lake areas or secondary points at the mouth of any of the major creeks. A lot of fish hold out in these areas until the water temperatures rise in the spring and the backs of the creeks are conducive for spawning. I start off shallow in the 2-8 ft range and fish reaction baits like a red/orange, chrome lipless like a Berkley Warpig or chartreuse and shad colored square bill crank bait. If you can reel it past, rip it off the grass, bang it off a tree, etc… These fish will react to it and bite it. Other great choices for reaction baits are a square billed crank bait or I also use a ½ oz chatter bait a lot in white or chart/white. Covering water and making lots of casts at cover along the bank will pay off. Remember to hit everything at different casting angles to ensure that you are covering the areas thoroughly. If you catch a few fish in a certain stretch of the bank be sure and backtrack and make multiple passes through that area. There is always a key feature holding fish in these areas. Sometimes it’s a depth change like a ditch or drain, bottom change from rock, to sand, or vegetation that is causing the fish to hold there. If the fishing gets tough up shallow I like to back off a little deeper and throw a little heavier lipless bait like a ¾ oz model. I will also break out the suspending jerk bait on an Abu Garcia Villain rod with a Revo Premier reel so that I can cast it long distances. The jerk bait can really save the day especially when it’s cold and the sun is up high under calm wind conditions. I like to throw gold, white, clown, and chrome shad. I like to use a smaller line on these like 15 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon if I can get away with it. Otherwise, if I am in heavy cover I opt for 20 lb. Normally I will pull out to the creek channel edges this time of year in 10-16 ft and flip timber, but you can do much of that this year with the water over the trees. With the high-water conditions, you can really can’t read the water by looking at the stumps the same and tell exactly where the creeks run through. But if you can follow your maps and depth changes you'll be able to target these fish. I will take a Santone 1/2 oz or 3/4 oz football jig and fan cast it at every tree along the channel edges. Pay attention to the direction the wind is blowing as the fish will position themselves a certain way on the timber according to wind direction and channel drops. I like to focus on areas where the creeks make a bend and especially if it makes a bend near a point or any other bottom structure. My favorite jig colors in February are black/blue, black /blue/purple, and my custom color “JC’s Spicy Craw”. I will trail my jig with a Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw or Pit Boss. The real big female prespawn bass on Lake Fork can’t resist this jig combination!
There are a few fish still holding out deep in 20-30 feet of water too. The best thing for catching them lately has been a drop shot. I use a medium light spinning rod with a 10 lb line and putting on a Berkley 4” Bottom Hopper will get the job done. Don’t hesitate to break out a big swimbait either if you are after a big one. Tossing it around can really pay off. A 3:16 Lure Company swimbait hands down the best swimbait you can choose for a monster bass in the spring on Lake Fork!
Book a Fishing Trip on Lake Fork
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 spring 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 am booking up fast for all of 2019 already so get your date reserved now. 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 contact me by email or you can call or text message me at 903-736-9888
In the Market for 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 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,