Lake Fork Monthly Fishing Report, May 2017

May is a big month here on Lake Fork for big bass! It’s going to be another great month here at the Big Bass Capital of Texas. Fishing the end of spring and the beginning of summer on Lake Fork is outstanding and this year will be no exception. With the spawn winding down and the bass moving to a number of productive feeding patterns to replenish themselves, you can catch big bass fishing just about any way you’d like to from shallow to deep.

The lake is in great shape and up a quite a bit from recent storms. The water levels are currently at 403.00 which is full pool. The clarity of the water is stained in areas on the upper north end and steadily clearing to about 3 feet as you move to the south end of the lake. The recent surge of rising water levels has triggered some great new vegetation growth all over the lake. Water temperatures are ranging from 70-74 degrees but you can expect those temperatures to rise as we progress through the month.

The shallow fishing has been excellent lately. With the lake coming up and all the freshly flooded cover for the fish to get into the bass are very shallow and buried up in the new habitat. The shad have begun spawning on windy banks all over the lake and the bass are close behind them. Top water poppers, Santone “Lake Fork Braid Buzz” buzz baits, shallow crank baits, 3:16 Lure Company swim baits have all been very good fished from 1-6 ft depths. Anything shad with white on it or shad patterns is best. This bite can be short in the morning so you have to get out early to take advantage of the action. Days with cloudy overcast skies can be outstanding all day long fishing these areas. The flipping bite has also been insane with the flooded brush and trees in the water. I am flipping a Santone ¾ oz Rattlin Jig in JC’s Spicy Craw or Black,Brown & Amber with a matching craw trailer to the heaviest cover I can find. You can also target some late spawners on beds, sight fishing, as we still have fish coming in to finish up spawning as well as lots of fry guarders. The frog bite is very good in many areas as these new hatches of bass cling to the floating grass and flooded cover in the backs of spawning pockets and creeks.

Mid depth fishing in 8-16 ft has been real good also. There are still some fish staging to move up and spawn as well as others that are holding in these depths to feed up after spawning. Best areas in these depths to target are points, creek channel bends, roadbeds, and humps. You can also catch these fish on a number of different baits. Deep diving crank baits in shad or bream patterns are great. The jig and Carolina rig also get the nod. I have been using a 5/8 oz Santone football head a lot. Its very productive for big fish! PB&J, Mexican Heather, and of course my signature JC’s Spicy Craw have been the best jig colors along with a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss or your favorite matching craw trailer.

As the bass move out from spawning you will find them starting to gang up on real deep structure areas. These bass are hungry in numbers and man is it fun when you get on a big school of them. I rely on my new Garmin electronics to show me where these fish are at and how they are relating in the water column. It really makes it hard for them to hide! Deep humps, roadbeds, points, and ridges in 18-24 ft have been where they are holding. Some days they are on slow gradual breaks and other days they are on the steeper drops. Once I have established a nice school of fish with my electronics I am breaking out several different baits according to depth the fish are in. For suspended bass I am fishing deep diving crank baits and swim baits. Any shad pattern will do. Cranking these baits down to the fish and running the bait through the school can draw some big bites! When the fish are on the bottom I am quickly picking up my Abu Garcia Villain rod and Revo MGX combo to do some Carolina rigging. I like to fish with a 7’3”- 7’6” medium heavy rod spooled with 20 lb Trilene 100% fluorocarbon and a 17 lb leader. I use a long leader that is usually 4-5 ft in length. A 1oz Elite Tungsten weight is mandatory for me and my clients. If you have not ever used tungsten for your rigs you might want to try them out as there is a huge difference in sensitivity and I believe the tungsten weight makes a more appealing sound to the fish which in turn draws curiosity to the area you are dragging your bait. The tungsten is also a lot smaller so it is not as bulky as lead and less likely to get hung up. I have been rigging a 4/0 hook and Berkley Power Worm or Havoc Bottom Hopper in blue fleck or watermelon candy. The big M-Series Santone football head jig is awesome this time of year in these same areas. I opt for the ¾- 1oz size out in these deep areas. Best colors are PB&J, Mexican Heather, and JC’s Spicy Craw. I like to use a Havoc Pit Boss craw or twin tail grub like the Berkley Havoc Deuce in matching color as a trailer. Drag these around out deep and hold on! Some of the biggest fish in the lake will tackle them as they commence to feeding up from the spawn.

I look forward to seeing all of you out on Lake Fork this summer! If you are headed here in pursuit of a trophy bass and are looking to book a guide, I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and show you a great time on Lake Fork. I still have a few dates available for 2017. Most people don’t realize how quick my calendar fills up on Lake Fork so please be sure to start thinking about scheduling your dates soon if you would like to get on my schedule. I also have Lake Fork Trophy Bass Gift Certificates available for those of you that are interested in purchasing one for a friend or loved one. You can contact me to make your reservation at 903-736-9888 or send me an email at  You can also visit my website for more information about Lake Fork and my guide service at  You can find me on Facebook and follow my official Lake Fork Guide page at

Also, while you are at the lake, be sure to stop by Diamond Sports Marine located on highway 154 just north of the bridge. They are receiving the new 2017 Ranger Boats daily and you do not want to miss the opportunity to check out the new Z series bass boats as well as the economical new Ranger aluminum series. These boats have some amazing features are definitely eye catchers! Give Fred a call at 903-383-7829 to set up your personal demo ride in a Ranger Boat.

I would like to thank all of my current 2017 sponsors for supporting my FLW Series tournament fishing and my guide service on Lake Fork: Toyota, Carhartt, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Leer, Garmin, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Santone Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Power Pole, Rigid Industries, Road Armor, Fabtech Motorsports, Royal Racks, and Elite Tungsten.

Romans 8:31 - What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Tight Lines & God Bless,
James Caldemeyer

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