Lake Fork Bass Tips

Lake Fork Trophy Bass Guide Service with Some articles on bass fishing


Published Fishing Articles

The Guide: James Caldemeyer

Home Waters: When Caldemeyer isn’t on the road fishing the FLW tour, he’s on Lake Fork in Texas. A guide since 2004, Caldemeyer has led clients to more than 50 bass that hit or broke the 10-pound mark. It’s not surprising, considering Lake Fork has been well groomed to produce lunker largemouths. The Florida-strain bass introduced in the 1980s have a genetic makeup that allows them to get beefy, and the strict enforcement of a no-kill rule placed on bass 16 to 24 inches has helped them flourish. Lake Fork also supports multiple shad species and has a wide and expansive array of hawg-hiding hydrilla beds and standing timber.

Trophy Hunting: “I’ve always been a big fan of early spring for really big bass,” says Caldemeyer. “It also helps that the females will be at their peak weight during the pre-spawn.” In late February and into March, Caldemeyer goes on the hunt when the water temperature reaches the mid-50s. He’ll often find the big girls in water between 2 and 8 feet deep, nestled down in the hydrilla. The grass flats are a pre-spawn staging area, and a shallow, weedy spot close to a dropoff or deeper channel edge is ideal.

Top Lure: Before bass make beds, Caldemeyer is stuck on one lure color: red. “Females crave crawfish during the pre-spawn,” he says. “They need the iodine in their diet because it helps with egg development.” Caldemeyer relies on a 3⁄4-ounce red Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap to mimic the mineral-rich crustacean. “I’ll just work this bait over the top of the grass, and the bass will rise up to eat it. Ripping the Trap off the grass works well, too. When it gets hung, jerk hard. The bass will strike as it pulls free.”

Top Bait: Caldemeyer is strictly a user of artificials, but if you want to tempt a Lake Fork trophy on live bait, he says a water dog is the way to go. These 4- to 8-inch salamanders are available in bait shops around Lake Fork and should be hooked through the top jaw and out of one nostril. (Check your local regulations before using water dogs as bait.) Naturally, the bigger the dog, the more enticing it will be to big largemouths. The salamanders are most frequently fished weightless under a float, Caldemeyer notes. Toss one over the hydrilla during the pre-spawn—big females hate water dogs because they raid beds—and hang on.

From the 2011 April issue of magazine.

October Fishing On Lake Fork, Texas by James Caldemeyer Lake Fork Trophy Bass Guide.

I am excited for October to finally be here. It is definitely one of my favorite months to fish Lake Fork. You can catch so many quality fish and virtually have the lake to yourself some days, as hunting seasons have started and many anglers opt for the woods over their favorite fishing hole. It is also a great time to get the kids and family out on the water for some great fishing fun.

For all of your best tournaments anglers, one of the best tournaments of the year is this month. The 7th Annual Berkley Big Bass Tournament is October 20 & 21 at Lake Fork Marina. This event is an hourly big bass tournament with great opportunities to win lots of cash and boats are given away. You can win either with a big bass over the slot (over 24 inches) or with small fish (under 16 inches). This event keeps getting better and better each year so you will not want to miss this.

Whether you are coming out for the tournament, fun with the family, or in serious pursuit of trophy bass, here are some tips and information that will help you catch lots of Lake Fork bass.

The lake is still in great shape. Water levels are 399.14 which is almost 4 feet low with full pool elevation being 403. The water clarity has been good in mid-lake to south areas and while other areas north are stained, due to the lake finishing its annual fall turnover. The presence of the resurgent hydrilla and other vegetation will help filter the water more and keep the lake fairly clear.

Water temperatures have been ranging from the mid to upper 70’s and on a real warm day temps reach the low 80’s. I expect the surface temperatures to remain in the 70’s most of the month which is optimal for fishing. Most mornings I have been starting off the day with some topwater fishing of some kind. The fish have been feeding 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 this fall.

The best topwater baits for me have been poppers like the Sebile Splasher or Berkley Frenzy Popper in any shad pattern. The Sebile Ghost Walkers and Slim Sticks have also been great walking baits when there is some chop on the water. These baits are also permitted during the Berkley tournament as Sebile is now a Pure Fishing brand. Lake Fork Marina has a huge assortment of these baits as well as many other new Berkley baits that the fish like. I am also fishing shallow running crankbaits in these same areas and am concentrating on depths of 2-6 feet. I like to throw a lipless crankbait like the Sebile Flatt Shad and Crankster. 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 baitfish.

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 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 Powerbait 7” and 10” Power worm are always great. I have also been having great success on a number of new baits. The Havoc 8” Juice Worm, Hawk Hawg, Rocket Craw and Powerbait Thief have been excellent soft plastics for your Texas rig. Best colors have been blue fleck, watermelon candy, plum, smoky green pumpkin, and bama bug. There are days when the fish get real 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 Havoc 4.75 or 6.25 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 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. The deep bite to start the month off has not been the most consistent. You can still catch some fish out deep but a lot of them are very suspended and scattered around. With the lake finishing turning over you will begin to see schools of bass starting to congregate on deep structure. Roadbeds, points, humps, and pond dams are great places to look. These fish will be setting up in 18-24 feet but do not be surprised if you find some even deeper. Yesterday, my clients and I were catching bass out of 30-32 feet. My best baits for catching them out deep has been a
Carolina rigged soft plastics like Havoc Hawk Hawg, Juice Worm and Power bait Power Hawg. Football head jigs have been good also. Once I have located a school of fish with my Lowrance HDS Gen 2 units, I am also fishing a spoon thru the suspended fish. Sebile has a great new bait called the Onduspoon. This bait works a lot like the traditional flutter spoons that we are familiar with at Lake Fork. Ripping it up thru these schools of bass then letting it fall can yield a trophy of a lifetime and even the tournament winning fish right now.

If you are headed to Lake Fork this month in pursuit of 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 the lake. I still have some fall dates still available but am booking up fast so make your reservations now. You can contact me to book your trip at 903-736-9888 or send me an email at lakeforktrophybass@yahoo. com You can also visit my website for more information about Lake Fork and my guide service at You can also join me on Facebook to follow my fishing on Lake Fork at

I would like to thank all of my 2012 sponsors for their support in my guiding and professional tournament fishing as well: Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Lowrance, Power Pole, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Interstate Batteries, Talon Lures, Navionics, Simms, and Elite Tungsten. Welcome to all you Berkley Big Bass tournament anglers. Be safe out on the water and wear your life vests & kill switches!

Come by and see me at the Berkley Trailer at Lake Fork Marina during the tournament weekend. There will be lots of new products there to see like the new Abu Garcia Revo 3rd generation reels as well as all the new and exciting Berkley baits. This is a great event and gets better and better every year. You will not want to miss out! 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 2013 Ranger Boats daily and you do not want to miss the opportunity to check out the “New” Ranger Z520c. This boat has some amazing features and is definitely an eye-catcher! Give
Fred a call at 903-383-7829 to set up your personal demo ride in a Ranger Boat.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Tight Lines and God Bless James Lake Fork Area News