Lake Fork Monthly Fishing Report, September 2017

September is here and what a great month it is going to be for big bass action on Lake Fork! One of the biggest tournaments of the year is taking place here this month and it’s going to be exciting. The Sealy Big Bass Tournament is coming to Lake Fork Marina on September 15-17. The payout on this tournament will exceed $500,000 in cash & prizes! Now that’s some real incentive to get out to the lake and get to fishing.

September is always a transitional time for the water on Lake Fork. With a mix of warm days and cooler nights, the water conditions start to change. The lake has received a ton of summer rain so there are plenty of places for the fish to hide. Current levels at or just above full pool since hurricane Harvey and can make navigating treacherous so be careful out there. Most of the stumps that are in the lake are just under the surface in most areas right now due to the high water. The water temperatures have been ranging from 80-86 degrees on most areas of the lake. The water clarity is clearer south and off-color to stained in a number of areas up north due to the lake beginning to turn over. There are some areas that are clearer than others and most of the best water visibility is on the south end. If we have some cooler evenings roll in as the month progresses the lake could turnover fairly quickly.

As Lake Fork is in a season transition you can also expect to find the fish in the same state of uncertainty. You will find that some of the bass have already started to migrate into the shallows to escape the instability of the deeper water. Main lake points, pockets, and coves at the mouth to midway back in the creeks are good places to start. I like to target several different shallow patterns during this time of year. A square billed crank bait, lipless crank bait, Santone Lures spinner bait, chatter bait, or Santone swim jig are all great choices when trying to target these shallow fish that are feeding on the shad up shallow. Lots of shad will be on the bank as the water temperatures cool. Covering water is always good and these baits will get it done. I like to use any shad pattern or white and white/chartreuse combinations when selecting a color. Once I establish an area that is holding fish with the moving baits I will slow down and fish the area thoroughly. A Texas rigged worm is my go-to in the fall. I like to use an Elite Tungsten 1/4 to 5/16 oz weight on 4/0 hook. I will rig up with a Berkley Powerbait power worm on the business end. The best colors are blue fleck, cherry seed, plum, motor oil, or black and blue in the 7” size. Another great choice of baits for me has been the Berkley Havoc Juice Worm. Fishing any of these through the shallow grass or shallow stumps catches lots of shallow bass on Lake Fork in the fall. My other “slow down” technique for catching them is a shaky head worm. I will use a 3/16 oz head with a Berkley Bottom Hopper or Rib Snake. Working these baits with a light line like 12-pound Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon will catch a lot of fish especially as the crowds roll in and the fish feel the pressure from tournament anglers. My favorite colors are shady watermelon candy, plum, and blue fleck.

The deep bite is also very inconsistent in September but if the right conditions present themselves it can be outstanding. I run a 2017 Ranger z521c and I have it equipped with the new Garmin electronics. It makes quick work of finding the schools of deep bass! I will look for fish to be holding on main lake points, roadbeds, humps, and ridges. The great thing about my graphs is it gives you a definite distinction of whether or not there is a thermocline. When the bass have a lack of thermocline in the water column they tend to be more scattered and suspended. When the thermocline is intact, the bass are more condensed in the relative depths. So, again with the lake in transition, you have to be aware of what the water conditions are before you can decide what the best techniques and presentations are to use. When I see the bass suspended around bait in the water column I am using a deep diving crank bait or flutter spoon most of the time. Any shad color is great but I like one with some chartreuse in it as well. I will throw mine on the Abu Garcia Revo Winch rod and reel. The rod is 7’6” and the reel has a great 5:1 cranking ratio for working it out deep. I can make really long casts with this combination too. The Alabama Rig is also a great choice for these schools of bass as well. Working these baits in the 20-30 foot range is best right now but some fish have started moving shallower. When the bass are on the bottom and grouped up good I am using a Carolina rig mostly. I like my Carolina rig on a 7’6” medium-heavy Abu Garcia Villain or Premier rod with a Revo reel spooled up with some 20 lb Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line and a 15-17 lb leader. I like to use a 1 oz Elite Tungsten weight and a 3/0 hook. I have been catching a number of fish with the new Berkley Rib Snake as well as the Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper. The best colors have been blue fleck, watermelon, and green pumpkin. If you want to catch a big one out deep then you will want to break out the football jig as well. A Santone Lures  3/4oz football head jig with a Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk or Chigger Craw trailer is a hard combination to beat. I am throwing this in the same areas as the Carolina rig and dragging it or hopping it through these deep schools of bass. The best colors right now on the jig are black & blue, JC’s Spicy Craw, and Sloppy Joe.

Book a Fishing Trip

I hope this information helps you in pursuit of trophy bass on Lake Fork this month. Especially if it's your new personal best or the big bass of the tournament! Good luck to all anglers and be safe out there. Always wear your life vest and kill switch. It could save your life. If you are thinking of coming out and would like to book a trip with me this year, feel free to contact me. I still have a few fall/winter dates available. My schedule is already booking up fast for the spring so contact me for the best dates still available. 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 to book your trip by email or give me a call.

Looking for a New Boat?

If you are able to make it to Lake Fork for one of the tournaments be sure to go by Diamond Sports Marine on Hwy 154 and see all the new Ranger Boats. I’m waiting on my brand new 2018 521L to get here and they will be having some arriving soon! If you are in the market for a boat this year its time to go see Fred for a great deal on a new one. Test rides are 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 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 and Elite Tungsten.

Isaiah 25:1 - O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.

Tight Lines and God Bless,
James Caldemeyer

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