Lake Fork seems like it has taken longer than normal to finish up its fall turnover this year, about 3 weeks, and the fishing has been up-and-down with a number of really slow days with a few really good ones sprinkled in. Thankfully, the bite has started picking up again and I have been graphing and catching more fish out deep, a sure sign that the turnover is wrapping up. Peak fall fishing on Fork is normally when the main lake is in the 60s and we were still running mid-70s this past week, therefore, the classic fall bite is just getting started. By “classic fall bite”, I’m referring to active bass in the very backs of creeks chasing shad as well as grouped up schools of bass on offshore structure. After the long, hot and dry summer this year, I’m looking forward to the fall weather and an active bite.
As a side note, I’ve recently uploaded a few videos on bass boat and will be adding more bass boat videos in the future. Check them out at http://www.youtube.com/user/DiamondSportsMarine
Boat for Sale: My 2011 Ranger Z521 boat is for sale. It was new on 5/24/2011 and is loaded out with a Power Pole and Lowrance HDS graphs with Structure Scan, plus it has full motor warranty until May 2016. She’s value priced at $49995 to save you big bucks off the cost of a new boat. For more details and pics of the boat, please check my website (http://lakeforkguidetrips.com/#Boat
For Sale) or drop me a note. Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/v/tO8K8_lpDrA
Lake Conditions: Lake Fork is now as low as it has ever been and still dropping. Currently it sits at 395.92’ (about 7’ 1” below full pool) and a ton of stumps are visible. Despite the low water levels, a number of the main ramps are open and have plenty of water even if the lake continues to drop. Water temps are slowly trending downward, with most of the main lake reading about 73 to 78 degrees lately. The water color is still somewhat brownish in the main lake from the turnover, while many of the creeks are stained. Very little hydrilla or milfoil remains on the lake so the bass are really keying on wood this year, but the few remaining grassy areas are holding a lot of fish if you can find it. Although the lower water and lack of grass make the lake fish differently than in years past, the reduced amount of hiding places has made for very good fishing overall this season.
Location Pattern: Main lake points and pockets have been holding most of the shallow fish. With the cooling temps, look for shad to push into the creeks and for the bass to follow them. Shad are the main key most days in the fall, so if you’re fishing an area and don’t see much bait, you probably need to keep on moving until you find it. Out deeper, I’ve been doing best with fish on the bottom in 15-25’ on humps, points, roadbeds, and creek channel bends. Many days the fish are suspending instead of relating to the bottom and they are schooling around points, humps, and bridges throughout the day.
Presentation Pattern: With bass keying on shad, most of my lure choices and colors will reflect that preference. Shades of white or chrome are always good choices in the fall on Fork. In the shallows, topwaters catch a lot of good fish early and late. Smaller topwaters closely imitate the size of the threadfin shad that Fork bass are keying on, so go with smaller sizes of poppers like Lucky Craft G-Splashes or Gun Fish when it is calm, or switch to the walking baits like Sammys if there is more chop on the water. After the sun gets up a bit, I normally switch to shallow running crankbaits like Lucky Craft LC 1.5 and BDS 3 square bills, ¼ to ½ oz spinnerbaits and rattle baits, or 3/8 oz chatterbaits with 3.5” Live Magic shads. To keep those money fish hooked up on crankbaits with treble hooks, I like fiberglass rods like the Dobyns 705CB Glass. The slower action of fiberglass allows bass to deeply take the lures and also keeps them hooked up well when fighting them in. Match it with sensitive fluorocarbon line and you’ll still have great feel, even with a fiberglass rod.
If the bass won’t respond to the TX rig, slow down with a wacky rigged Hyper Finesse Worm or a weightless TX rigged Magic Shad and Hyper Stick and the slow fall of the baits will get you bit. When it gets sunny and calm and the shallow bass won’t respond, try a Carolina rigged Baby Fork Creature or Baby Ring Fry on points that are at the mouths of pockets and creeks. For these soft plastics, try green pumpkin and junebug colors on cloudy days, while watermelon/red and watermelon chartreuse are better on sunny days. For a shot at a true lunker, try a 3/8 oz green pumpkin or blue bruiser colored MPack Jig with a matching Fork Craw or Hyper Freak trailer on timber around the creek channels running through the bigger creeks.
For the bass out deep, Fork Flutter Spoons and Lucky Craft deep diving crankbaits in shad or yellow bass patterns will catch some suspended fish and actively feeding fish on the bottom too. Fish relating to the bottom are a lot more dependable, so seek out these schools if you can locate them with your graph. Carolina rigged with Ring Frys or Baby Fork Creatures and drop shotting Hyper Finesse worms are working best for the bottom dwellers. I like using the 7’8” Dobyns Champion Extreme model DX784ML for Carolina rigs and the extra length allows me to take up extra line and get control of big fish at the end of long casts. When the bass come up schooling, they’ll eat just about any bait that looks like a shad. The trick is making a long accurate cast directly into the school. Soft plastic shad imitators like Magic Shads rigged on small jigheads work great for this. Big topwaters and lipless cranks cast a mile and can reach those schoolers when your buddy’s casts won’t quite reach them, so compact, heavy topwaters like a Sammy 115 and ¾ oz LV500 lipless rattlers are great choices too.
Here’s hoping you catch the lunker of your dreams. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at 214-683-9572 or e-mail me through http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com
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