Lake Fork Monthly Fishing Report, July 2018

July is known for some HOT big bass action on Lake Fork! Don’t let the heat of summer keep you from getting outdoors and out on the water. You would be surprised at some of the fish you can catch during these hot summer days. Some of my client’s biggest catches have come during this month of the year. I expect this summer to be no different so come on out and get on the action!

Water Conditions on Lake Fork

The water conditions at Lake Fork are very good right now. The lake is currently 401.30, which is only about a foot and a half low. The water surface temperatures have been ranging from 82-90 degrees. Most of the lake is fairly clear with some stained areas around wind blown banks and in the backs of a few creeks. I attribute the improved water clarity to the new vegetation that is growing well again in the backs of the creeks.

The shallow water bite has remained reliable this year and all the cover on the banks for the bass to get in. The fish are feeding early and late up shallow in 2-6 feet on top water baits. The frog has been best for me around the shallow grass. Hollow frogs like the spro types are good. You will also find some areas back in the creeks where the bass are schooling on bait. My best bait for them has been a walking bait like a zara spook. Any shad pattern will do. When the fish are reluctant to bust a top water lure I am opting for a Santone Lures Swim Jig in the 5/16 oz size tipped with a Berkley Havoc Grass Pig. My favorite colors on the swim jig are Pake’s Perch, JC’s Spicy Craw, or River Bream. A chatterbait or a shallow running crank bait will also do well, especially on windy days but if you’re after the big ones you may want to pick up a 3:16 Lure Company swimbait like the 5” Rising Son and give it a toss around. The best colors are white, bluegill, and Caldemeyer Custom right now.

Fishing Tips & Techniques

I love deep structure fishing this time of year and am always in pursuit of the big ones offshore. On a lot of days that the sun comes up right away and it gets hot early, I will start my days out in deep water. Your electronics are a vital component to locating active fish in deep water. I rely on my Garmin 7612 units daily to show me accurate information about the areas that I am fishing. These units are very fast and precise. They really add a new dimension to fishing and reveal some amazing images. If you are seeking to improve your fishing tactics by using your electronics, now is the time to spend out on the water learning, as these schools are easier to find. You can gain a lot of confidence in what you are doing which ultimately results in catching more fish.

Once I have a school of fish with my electronics, I am targeting them several different ways depending on how the fish are arranged in the water column and relating to structure or cover. Most of these fish can be found in 18-30 feet of water on points, humps, road beds, ridges and old pond dams. If the fish are on the bottom one of my best producers is often a Carolina rig. I like to use a long leader (4-5ft.) and a big heavy 1 oz weight to drag the bottom. Trilene 20 lb test Fluorocarbon is a must with a 3/0 or 4/0 wide gap hook. Best baits on the c-rig have been Berkley Powerbait 7” or 10” Power Worms, Power Lizards, Havoc Jerk, and Bottom Hopper in blue fleck, watermelon red, green pumpkin, plum, camo, and shady watermelon candy. Texas rigged 10” Power Worms have also been doing very well in the same colors rigged with a 3/8-1/2 oz weight and a 5/0 hook. If you want to catch some of the biggest fish in the school, you will definitely want to have a Santone Lures 5/8 -3/4 oz football head jig tied on. I like to throw Mexican Heather, Bullfrog, Pake’s Perch, and of course my custom JC’s Spicy Craw color with a twin tail grub trailer like the Berkley Havoc Deuce, Pit Boss or Berkley Chigger Craw. Fishing these jigs on the bottom slowly with an occasional twitch or hop is very effective for triggering strikes. I use an Abu Garcia Villain rod 7’3” heavy action for my jigs. Combining this rod with the Revo MGX spooled with 15-20 lb fluorocarbon is the perfect combination for your jig fishing.

Some days you will find a lot of bass suspended over these deep spots this time of year and at times it can be frustrating as these fish move around a lot and are typically harder to catch. Using deep diving crank baits is a  great choice when the fish are suspended. Baits like the Berkley Dredger are great and you can catch a lot of fish digging it down on light line. Another hot bait for those suspended fish is a big flutter spoon like a Nichols Lures Flutter Spoon. I use a lot of the big “Magnum” Ben Parker Signature Series 8” spoons to eliminate the smaller bites and target these giant bass out deep. Tossing it out there and letting it fall on a slack line will catch some toads from now through the summer and even into fall. You always want to keep one nearby to cast into schooling fish when they bust the top also. The deep swim bait bite is one of my favorites for the suspended fish in the summer because it catches big fish too. The 3:16 Lure Company Mission Fish puts in some work on these deep bass at Lake Fork this time of year so be sure and stop by the store here on the lake and grab a few while you are visiting!

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 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 at 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 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.

My Sponsors

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,
James Caldemeyer

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