Quick Trip to Fork – Sunday 2/10

It was too nice to stay home today, so I grabbed Judi and we headed for the lake. Inspired by the comments to this post, I had to go fishing.
We got out around 3 and headed to Birch Creek. There were a good many boats out today. We got one fish in a cove just north of the 515 bridge on the west fork. Not a serious fishing trip, but a nice time on the water and one decent fish as you see in the video below.
Surface temps are rising on Lake Fork. The Spring bite will soon be ON!

Site for Boat Electronics Price Comparisons

I found a site that shows the different models of GPS units for boats and shows different places to get them and shows the different prices that merchants have. It is Boatronic.com. The site covers the major brands of GPS graph units and even handheld GPS units.
It lays out all the specifications of the different models in a table that makes it really easy to see what features each individual unit has.
Check it out. There is no registration required or anything like that.

Bass Fishing on a Private Pond

I went to visit my friend Jim Dax and we fished his private pond.
Jim has 90 acres just outside of Winnsboro, Texas with a 5 acre pond on it. He has it stocked with Florida Bass. They aren’t huge, but they are plentiful. We caught dozens of fish in a 2 1/2 hour period of time on this Thursday morning.
There are bigger bass in this pond in the 5 to 7 pound range. We didn’t find them on this trip, but we had a blast catching the feisty bass we caught. At one time towards the end, I was catching a fish on almost every cast with a 1/4 oz. chrome and blue Rattle Trap.
Thanks Jim! This was a lot of fun.

The 2007 McDonald’s Big Bass Splash Tournament on Lake Fork

The McDonald’s Big Bass Splash is September 14,15 & 16 on Lake Fork this year. As usual, it is based out of Lake Fork Marina.

This is a fun tournament because of the hourly weigh-ins. It adds a different element of strategy other than just fishing hard for the tournament times and hoping to weigh the most fish. The fact that Lake Fork has a 16″ – 24″ slot makes things that much more interesting. I am sure that some fat 15.9999″ fish will win some bucks during this tournament, so just because you are not catching fish over the slot does not mean you can’t win some bread!

The official radio station of the tournament is KMOO 99.9 FM. You need a radio in your boat to keep up with the current weight of any given hour to know whether or not you should weigh a fish you might have in the boat.

The tournament is $210 per person to fish all three days. Fishing times are from 6 am to 3 pm. Banned fishing times are from 8 pm Thursday until 6 am Friday, 8 pm Friday until 6 am Saturday and 8 pm Saturday until 6 am Sunday. See the complete rules for the Lake Fork event.

The best I can tell there will be nearly a half dozen boats given away, a Hummer, a few 4×4 utility vehicles, a few camper trailers and LOTS of cash to be had by the contestants. To keep it an amateur tournament, anyone who has fished 4 or more tournaments within the past 12 months with an entry fee over $600 is not allowed to participate, nor is someone who has been paid to take others fishing in the last 90 days on Lake Fork. In other words, no pros and no guides can fish this. That means that a hack like me can have a decent day of bass fishing and have a chance to win a boat…or a Hummer…or both!

For more info on the McDonald’s Big Bass Splash Tournament Series, click here.

Are you fishing it? See ya there!

The Lake is High. Water Water Everywhere.

I went out yesterday for a few hours, from about noon to 3, before the daily thunderstorms ran me off. I caught one small fish on a Fluke in about 20′ of water, using a large splitshot sinker about two feet in front of it to get it down.
Bass should be schooling pretty soon, but I didn’t see any evidence of this.
The water on Lake Fork is very high because of the torrential rains we have had in the area this Spring/Summer. Many of the locals are saying that this messes up the fishing because they open the spillway to let some of the water out and that seems to kill the bite. I am not familiar with this, but I can tell you that I have not talked to anyone in the past month or two who has had any real success.
It will all come back to life when the weather stabilizes and the water levels are back to their normal level.

Saturday on Lake Fork

I sat outside at the house Saturday morning drinking my coffee looking at the incredibly calm, overcast skies thinking, “man I wish I was on the lake fishing topwater”. So I hopped in the car and headed for the lake. By the time I made the 20 mile drive it was about 12:30 and I had bluebird skies and a constant 15-20 mph south wind. The perfect overcast topwater day was gone.

First I went south and worked a few main lake points with a deep diving crankbait and a Rat-L-Trap. No luck. So I headed north of the 515 bridge and worked the same point that produced the small schooling fish last week and got nothing. I was hungry and it windy to comfortably fish the places I needed to be fishing, so I went back to camp and took a break.

I went back out about 6:30 and went to the point where I found the schooling fish last week and caught one decent bass, about 2 pounds I would guess. I missed three others, all of them very, very small. I have switched to a medium heavy 7′ rod for cranks and such and what happens with the smaller fish is that you end up actually pulling them out of the water before they get to the boat and they are able to shake loose because their body isn’t heavy enough to allow for a good hook set. I guess it’s just the same, they get away unharmed and I keep fishing. These points hold bigger fish. I just need to find them. Next time out I will work it with a Carolina rig in hopes of better fish.

I hate to say never, but fishing on a Saturday at Fork is just crazy. There are two to three boats on every point and a frenzy of activity. I much prefer to fish during the week but it hasn’t worked out that way lately. If you can, I suggest fishing Fork during the week. There is a big difference in the boat traffic and fishing pressure and number of people in general on the weekend. I saw two different boats pulling a tuber in the boat row. Other boats are passing and there are big stumps to the right. I have to admit I have never seen that. It might be allowed but it seems dangerous to me.

Small Schooling Bass on Lake Fork

I went out Friday and fished major points. I tried a Carolina rig, medium and deep diving crankbaits, a wacky worm and everything else I had, but I was unable to get a good bite.

What I did find were a lot of schooling bass about 10-12″ long. All fish I caught were on a Rat-L-Trap. In the morning I used the 1/4 ounce chrome with a blue back and in the afternoon, since it was cloudy, I tied on a chartreuse 1/2 ounce model with an orange belly and a black back. I probably have not fished that color in 10 years, but it seemed to be what I needed.

In the morning, on my very first cast with a Rat-L-Trap I caught a small bass in about 25′ of water off of a point and on the first cast of the afternoon session (after the morning storm had passed) I caught a fish on the very first cast with the chartreuse color. Everywhere I went, I tried to get the larger fish down deeper to bite, but they would not. I ended up catching 10 or so on the Rat-L-Traps but none of any size larger than about 14″.

The morning session was cloudy and ended with a strong storm coming through. I got out of the way of it just in time. The afternoon was cloudy until about 7 when the sun came out just before it went down, creating a beautiful sunset on Lake Fork.

At least I caught some fish. I would rather have gotten the better fish to bite but it was not to be. I threw everything I had at them at all depths, worked the grassline, worked the deep timber but still had a pretty good time catching the smaller schooling fish.

A Weekend at Lake Fork. A Few Nice Fish. A Nasty Storm.

We headed out to the lake on Friday and got all set up around 7 pm. I hit the topwater bite in the evening for just a little while and caught two small bass in the same grassy cove where I have been fishing the evening bite.

We had the two dogs so we had a motorhome full and lots of walking and peace-keeping to do as well. It was overall a very nice weekend. Fishing time was cut a little short as you will see in the video. I spent much of Sunday afternoon riding around White Oak Branch and marking creek beds and structure on my GPS. The bites I got Saturday and Sunday were on a Rogue. I prefer the non-suspending version. I was working it and keeping it no more than a foot deep. I generally like to work a Rogue where I can always at least see the flash of it. Cloudy conditions change this of course and you have to pay closer attention at that point. In this instance, I was working the Rogue over grass in about 18 feet of water. The grass seemed to come up about 8 to 10 feet high, so the fish were no doubt coming out of the grass after it. I also fished a Carolina worm and a wacky worm through the grass but the Rogue was all I could get them to bite.

All of my topwater bites were all on Yellow Magic. I caught a few Friday evening and a few Sunday evening as well, all on the same lure.

I had the pleasure of meeting many of our new neighbors at the lake. We are the new kids in town so there are lots of new names to remember. The brotherhood (and sisterhood too ladies) of people who fish never ceases to amaze me. At one point during the storm I found myself lending a hand to someone who needed it and at the end of the weekend when I went to put my boat on the trailer and realized it was completely out of gas, a neighbor was there to help me get it on the trailer. What a dummy I was to let that happen in the first place. I don’t keep a lot of gas in it because I don’t want to have gas sitting in the tank for too long. I learned a lesson here about uping the acceptable minimum fuel level :)

I hope you enjoy the video. I will be out later this week and hope to have more fishing tales and videos for you.

Late Evening Sunday, Early Morning Monday – 5 Bass

We went to the camp late yesterday and stayed the night. I fished the evening with topwater and caught only two, both about 2 pounds. The mosquitos were so bad, even with Deet, that I had to come in. They were worse than I have ever seen them here. My guess is all of the rain we have had recently is to blame.

I went back out this morning at 5:45, just before sunrise and caught 3 more on topwater (Yellow Magic) by about 7 but I lost them after that. I tried deep, I tried shallow, I tried soft plastics, I tried a spinnerbait… They just seemed to shut off.

Over the next few trips, I am going to do a fair amount of graphing and plotting. I am not real familiar with the summer patterns on Lake Fork as this is my first summer to fish it. I believe the fish on this lake tend to be deeper that I am used to. I need to find those grass lines and structure in 20-30′ of water and work those. I will spend some time finding them using my trusty Lake Fork map and setting those points on my GPS.

The lake was absolutely beautiful this morning pre-dawn. The western sky had an orange glow and the water was like glass. Even though the fish weren’t biting real good, what a beautiful way to start a day!

I have no videos to show you for this trip. I bought a new camera and the wide angle just doesn’t work on the boat, it is not a wide enough shot and the videos looked terrible. It is a very nice camera, a JVC Everio that I got a GREAT deal on at Vanns, but my trusty Sony Cybershot will be the fishing camera.

Will I EVER Get to Go Fishing Again?

Lately it seems that when the weather is right, I am busy and can’t leave the office. When I am done and ready to shut the phone off and sneak out, it rains :(
I know that the fishing on Lake Fork is good right now. I am seeing reports from some of the folks over at Texas Fishing Forum and I know the fish are coming alive. The summer patterns are starting to work and the in-between post spawn blues are fading away until next year.
Sooner or later I will be able to get out there and catch more bass, but I guess sometimes we have to be patient about these things and the right time will come sooner or later.
A note to all of you out there who aspire to be self-employed. Sometimes it’s great, other times it will drive you crazy. I am in a period of the later.
See ya on the lake soon!