September is here and what a great month it is going to be for big bass action on Lake Fork! Some of the best tournaments of the year are coming up as the fall season rolls in and it’s going to be exciting. The Sealy Big Bass Tournament is coming to Lake Fork Marina on September 21-23. The payouts of this tournament will reach nearly $500,000 in cash & prizes. Now that’s some real incentive to get out to the lake and get to fishing!
This month 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 not received much summer rain and we are in need of some good fall precipitation to get the lake back up. Current lake levels are near 2 ½ feet low. The water temperatures have been ranging from 78-84 degrees on most areas of the lake and those temps may cool as we get through the month. The water clarity is slightly stained or off-colored in a number of areas also due to the lake showing faint signs of 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 we could see them in full turn over by the end of the month but if it remains hot the process will be delayed.
With Lake Fork in somewhat of a seasonal fall transition, you can also expect to find the fish in the same state of uncertainty. Some of the bass have already started to migrate into the shallows to escape the instability of the deeper water and follow the shad. 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. The topwater bite has been pretty good so far despite the fact that we haven’t seen the weather cool off too much yet. I am using the new Berkley topwater baits that were just released and all I have to say is “WOW!” These Lake Fork bass are really eating them up! The Berkley “Bullet Pop” has been my top producer right now in bone, MF shad, or sexy back colors. I am also getting a lot of blow-ups on the walking styles also like the Berkley “J Walker” and “Cane Walker” in similar colors. Be sure to stop by and grab some of these from Lake Fork Marina as they just got a huge shipment in of these brand new baits! It will also give you a chance to try them out before the Berkley Big Bass tournament comes to town next month. A square billed crank bait, lipless crank bait, Santone spinner bait, or chatter bait are all great choices when trying to target these shallow fish that are feeding on the shad up shallow too but won’t hit topwaters. 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 new Berkley Powerbait MaxScent “The General” 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 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 very unstable in September but if the right conditions present themselves it can be outstanding. It's during this time of year especially that I rely on my 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 most of the time. Any shad color is great but I like one with some chartreuse in it as well. If you haven’t tried the new Berkley Dredger deep-diving crankbait you’ll want to grab a few of those and try them. They come in a variety of sizes and colors to match any condition. If you can locate a group of fish on the bottom then grab a Carolina rig or a drop shot with a Berkley Bottom Hopper worm in Cherryseed, Plum, or Shady Watermelon Candy. A Santone Lures 3/4oz football head jig with a Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk or Chigger Craw trailer is a very hard combination to beat for a big fish. 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.
I hope this information helps you in pursuit of a trophy bass this year on Lake Fork and good luck to all of you that are fishing the tournaments. Have fun and be safe out there! 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.
Need 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.
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,