It’s October on Lake Fork and wow I’m excited about that! Fall is one of my favorite times of the year for bass fishing. You can catch a lot of quality fish and often have a limited amount of boat traffic to compete with. Hunting seasons have started and many anglers opt for the woods over their favorite fishing holes. It is also a great time to get the kids and family out on the water for some great fishing fun. And for all of you tournament anglers out there, one of the best tournaments of the year is this month as well! The 13th Annual Berkley Big Bass Tournament is October 20 & 21, 2018 hosted by the fine folks at Bass Champs and headquartered out of Lake Fork Marina. This event is an hourly big bass tournament with great opportunities to win lots of cash and boats will be given away. This event keeps getting bigger and better each year, so you will not want to miss it. Whether you are coming out this month for the tournament or some quality time with the family, here are some tips and information that will hopefully help you catch lots of Lake Fork bass!
The water conditions on Lake Fork are great! We have had a lot of recent rain, so the lake has come up a good bit. With the lake less than two feet low there are plenty of areas for bass to move into as the lake cools off. The water temperatures have been ranging in the mid to upper 70’s but I expect it to cool off even more as the month progresses. Some of the backs of the creeks are stained from the rains right now but visibility on the main lake and especially on the south end are fairly clear.
Most mornings I have been starting off the day with some top water fishing of some kind. Berkley Baits has really made this exciting this year. They just revealed an incredible line of new hard baits for topwater fishing and man they are awesome! I’ve been having great success with the J Walker 100 and 120, Bullet Pop, and the Choppo but there are a number of other new baits that are really good also. The best colors are bone, white, or any shad color. The action on these things is impressive and the fish eat them. They are high quality and have great hooks out of the package at an affordable price! The fish have really been feeding well on top early and on cloudy days. Main lake points and secondary points have been best but also look for some action in the back of the creeks and coves as the water cools down. Lake Fork Marina is one of the few places you can get these baits and they have a huge assortment as well as many other new Berkley soft baits that just came out. I am also fishing shallow running crank baits in these same areas and am concentrating on depths of 2-6 feet. I like to throw a lipless crank bait like the Berkley Warpig or squarebill Berkley Square Bull. These baits will catch a lot of fish during the month of October. My best areas have been where you find a combination of shallow grass and concentrations of bait fish. If you find the shad, you will find bass nearby. On really windy days, the 5” Berkley Hollow Belly swim bait fished directly against the bank has really produced some quality fish. Best colors on swim baits have been gizzard shad, pearl, and Tennessee shad. For the bass that are not willing to chase or hit on top I have been throwing a vast assortment of soft plastics on a variety of different presentations to get them to bite. Texas rigged worms like the Berkley 7-10” Power worm are always a sure choice. I have also been having great success on a number of new baits. The Berkley Powerbait Fatty Bottom Hopper, Bunker Hawg, Magnum Shaky Snake, and Max Scent D worm have been excellent soft plastics for a shakey head or Texas rig. The best colors have been blue fleck, June bug, plum, red shad green, and black/blue. There are days when the fish get finicky and it takes a subtle approach to coax them into biting. This is when I break out my Abu Garcia Veritas drop shot and shaky head rod. I will rig up some 10 lb. test Berkley Nanofil on my Premier spinning reel and add about 20 yards of Trilene 100% fluorocarbon leader to it at the end. The light line itself will produce more bites from finicky bass but coupled with a great bait like the Berkley Powerbait 4.75” Bottom Hopper puts the icing on the cake. If you are a tournament fisherman this is definitely the best way to increase your odds of catching more under the slot fish and the big ones will often bite it too, especially when there is heavy fishing pressure on the lake from the tournaments. Be sure to fish all these shallow plastics around standing timber. As the sun gets up later in the day a lot of these bass will be holding very tight to any cover like trees, docks, laydowns, and brush piles.
Although a lot of the shallow fishing is very productive this time of year, be sure to take a look at those deep spots as well. Humps, points, road beds, pond dams, and ridges in 15-25 feet of water are great places to focus your efforts on. These big fish will be schooling up in these areas following shad, yellow bass, and crappie around looking for an easy meal. The Carolina rig is a very good weapon on these deep bass. I like to rig mine with a 1oz weight, 4-foot leader, and a 3/0 wide gap hook. The Berkley Powerbait 6.25” Bottom Hopper, Power Hawg, Jerk Shad, or a good ole 7” Power Worm on this rig. Best colors are shady watermelon candy, red bug, blue fleck, or plum. Berkley also has a really cool new bait for the Carolina rig that I like a lot called the “Lugworm”… This bait will flat catch em! The best colors in it are chartreuse pepper, green pumpkin, and watermelon red. The jig bite out deep is decent too. A 1/2-3/4 oz football head is a great thing to have tied on too. Any shade of greens and browns or black & blue is good here now with a Berkley Powerbait Pit Boss or Chigger Craw on the back. Don’t forget to try throwing a deep running swim bait on these schools of deep fish also. Berkley 4” Swim Shads are some great baits for swimming thru these deep bass. Especially if you find them suspended. I like chartreuse shad, silver shad, and bunker colors. Just count the bait down to the fish and start slow rolling it back to the boat. Keep a firm grip on your rod because when they hit, they hit it hard! Berkley has increased its line of baits considerably this year and cover a broad range of fishing. I will be excited to see them in action during this tournament and all the big fish that will be caught using them! Come out and join us for what should be the most exciting tournament of the year!
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 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 or you can call me.
Shopping 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. 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.
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,