Lake Fork Monthly Fishing Report, May 2018

May has arrived and what a great month it is for trophy bass fishing on Lake Fork! The weather is warming and early summer patterns are starting to take shape. You can catch fish just about any way you want to right now which gives many anglers the opportunity to catch fish using their favorite baits. Whether its shallow water or deep structure to anything in between, you can have a blast catching lots of Lake Fork bass right now.

The lake level is currently 402.57, which is about 6 inches low. Water clarity has been all over the place. With the winds seeming to change directions everyday and blow hard the lake is fairly clear in one area one day and then stained the next. The water up north remains the most stained with the exception of a few clear pockets in between due to the presence of grass filtering it out. The south end is a lot clearer for the most part though. Water temperatures are in the upper 60’s to 70’s.

The shallow top water bite has been good early and during the day. The bass are guarding fry right now so baits like the yellow magic, buzz bait, or frog have been very good fished in the backs of creeks, pockets, or coves. The shad spawn is also going strong so if you can get out early and find a windy bank that the shad are spawning on you will be in action. The best baits for targeting these post spawn bass that are gorging on shad are top water baits, square bill crank baits like the Berkley Pitbull and big swim baits like a 3:16 Lure Company “Rising Son” swimbait in the 5” or 6” size. White, Dirty Shad, Ayu, Hitch, Carp and my Caldemeyer Custom are the best colors right now. These bass are hungry from spawning and will eat a big bait!

The bass spawn is still going and you will see another large number of spawners move up during the next full moon. Most of the fish on Lake Fork are usually done spawning by now but with the very cold winter that we had and an influx in water levels the bass spawn has been a bit behind schedule. The best baits and presentations for these spawners have been weightless soft jerk baits and senkos fished very slow around nests. Texas rigs have also been great fished around stumps. The best colors for soft plastics have been watermelon red, watermelon candy, and black/blue. I have been concentrating on 2-6 feet of water, as this is where you will find most of the bass bedding. I really like the Berkley Powerbait “Rib Snake” or Havoc “Jerk”. I have been rigging these baits several different ways depending on the wind and depth that I am fishing it. When the lake is calm I am throwing it completely weightless on a 4/0 wide gap hook. The key to this bait is fishing it very slow as it takes time to fall and you want it to stay in or around the bass’ bed. When the wind gets up a little I am keeping the same bait and presentation going but just adding a small #5 split shot about a foot up the line to give it some weight. This really helps you be able to keep the same general presentation while still being able to feel the bait in the wind. Texas rigged Berkley Chigger Craws and the Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty has also been good. I rig mine with an Elite Tungsten 1/4-3/8 oz weight and a 4/0 hook. Flipping it to any standing timber or bushes in the shallow spawning areas is very effective for a big bass. Best colors on my soft plastic baits right now have been black/blue, watermelon red, and green pumpkin. I am throwing some moving baits up shallow as well. Chatter baits have been excellent on wind days as well as the Santone Got Five spinner baits. I have been catching fish on the 3/8-1/2 oz chartreuse/white or white Colorado-willow combo.

The deep bite has also started to kick off. There are lots of bass that are showing up in deep water that have already finished spawning. Some are finicky and tired but a lot of them are very active and hungry. I use my Garmin electronics to locate these bass and help me understand what they are relating to offshore. This helps me decide how to fish for them and what baits to use. Most of these bass will be in 16-24 feet of water. A lot of the bass can be suspended until the weather warms up enough to get them on the bottom in big schools so catching them can be tricky. I rely on deep diving crank baits, a-rigs, and big deep swim baits like the Berkley Swim Shad to target these suspended bass. Usually you can cover any part of the water column that you need to and catch some giants in the process. The only bad thing is that these suspended bass are moving a lot so you may not be able to stay in one spot and hammer on them. You will have to move as well and rely on your electronics to keep up with them. When they start to group up on the bottom well in big schools it gets a lot easier. I will target them with a big Texas rig and a 1/2 oz weight with a 5/0 hook. I like to put a Berkley 10” or 12” Powerworm on and give them a big meal offering. Most of these bass are very hungry so big bait is appealing to them. I also like to employ the Carolina rig into the arsenal of post spawn techniques. I like to use a long leader (5ft.) and a big heavy 1 oz weight to drag the bottom. Trilene 20 lb test Fluorocarbon is a must with a 2/0 or 3/0 wide gap hook. Drop shots are also very effective on these deep schools of bass as well as a 5/8 or 3/4 ounce Santone Lures Football head jig.

I hope this information helps you in pursuit of a trophy bass this year on Lake Fork. If you are thinking of coming out 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 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 Also, please visit my website to find out more information about Lake Fork bass fishing and my guide service at 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. Test rides are also available so feel free to contact me or call the dealership at 903-383-7829 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,
James Caldemeyer

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