April is big bass month on Lake Fork! With all cold winter weather that we had this year the spawn is a lot slower in progression than normal. We barely saw a movement of bass heading to the shallows to spawn last month so you can expect that this month with be spectacular as the biggest wave of bass surge in to spawn.
The lake is in great shape and rising at about 3.8 feet low. We sure enjoyed some of those April showers this month to get the lake filled up. Water clarity is good in the creeks with grass up north and areas mid-lake or south. Most of the other areas are stained or slightly off color. Water temperatures are ranging 60-64 degrees as the month begins but you will see some areas warm up even more as the month progresses.
Shallow patterns have dominated and I am targeting areas in 2-6 feet for spawning bass. Weightless soft plastic worms and jerk baits like the Berkley Havoc Jerk have been very productive “dead sticking” them in areas that the bass are spawning. Best colors are watermelon red, black/blue, and green pumpkin. It’s very important to fish slowly right now and allow the bait to settle for a period of time before you move or twitch it. Fast retrieves with soft plastics will produce few bites from territorial spawning bass. On windy days that I am unable to fish the baits weightless I am adding a split shot about 14-18 inches above the hook to pull the bait down in the wind. I have also been using a Texas rigged Berkley Powerbait 4” Chigger Craw or Power Lizard with a 5/16 oz Elite Tungsten weight and a 4/0 wide gap hook. Most anglers beat the banks this time of year, which is where you want to be, but it is very important during the spawn to understand what kind of bottom you are fishing. All banks are not created equal. Look for a hard bottom, as bass prefer to fan their nest on sandy hard surfaces. You can often tell the type of bottom by observing the bank. The presences of lily pads or vegetation are signs of a firmer bottom. Mud muck and stagnant dead vegetation or decay is usually not areas you will find spawning beds. Sight fishing is also a great way to catch some monster female bass while they are spawning. Having a great pair of polarized glasses like Costa Del Mars are essential. I rely on them more than any other piece of fishing equipment that I have in the spring. When you spot a big bass on a nest it’s also very helpful to be able to establish position and not be moving much or running the trolling motor. That’s when my Power Poles go to work! They will hold you in place with ease and allow you to concentrate on catching those bass instead of maneuvering the boat. I like to use natural color soft plastics or jigs for flipping and pitching at bedding bass. Others prefer bright colored bait that they can see while working it around the fish and are able to see the bait actually be inhaled by the bass.
There are also a lot of bass that are still in pre-spawn mode and even some fish that have spawned early and are moving into post spawn patterns by the end of April. These fish can be caught on a variety of patterns, which is what makes this month so fun. I like to use a lot of big swim baits for trophy bass in April. The Berkley Hollow Belly swim bait is my top producer. I will use the 5-6” version in pearl, gizzard or Tennessee shad. Slow rolling this bait on windy banks in spawning areas will get your arms jerked on! Another great moving bait for me is the chatter bait in white or chartreuse/white for stained water. As the month rolls along look for some fish to start on top waters. If the water temperatures reach 70 degrees there will be a bite on top. Yellow magic’s rule my arsenal this time of year. Everybody has his or her favorite color but I really do not think it matters. The bass just can’t stand the action of that bait moving through an area that they are guarding fry. If I were to choose colors for you my choice would be baby bass, bone, or Japanese shad. You can also get some great top water action on a frog around shallow vegetation and lily pads so throw it around also. Also, don’t be afraid to fish them in the middle of the day even when it’s bright and sunny. They will bite it all day when they get going on it and it’s a blast!
The deep water bite will start to produce some as we near the end of the month and start to see some of the early spawners move deep. Knowing and reading your electronics is critical as the deep-water bite gets going. I depend on my Lowrance HDS 12 Touch to show me the bass. I try to target points and roadbeds at the mouth of major spawning creeks in 14-20 feet of water. Most of the fish that move deep this month with be suspended. Deep diving crank baits are your best bet. I like to use any shad color. I will rig up my Abu Garcia 7’6” Winch series Veritas cranking rod and my Revo Winch reel spooled with 15 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line. This is the perfect cranking combination for deep water. The A-rig will also produce out deep as well as the Carolina rig and a Talon football head jig if the fish are on the bottom.
If you are headed to Lake Fork this month in pursuit of a 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 Lake Fork. I have a few dates still available and am taking summer reservations now as well. Be sure to schedule your 2014 date soon as I fill up very fast! I also have gift certificates available for those of you that are interested in purchasing a friend or loved one a guided trip on Lake Fork. You can contact me to make your reservation at 903-736-9888 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also visit my website for more information about Lake Fork and my guide service at http://viewyourdev.com/lakeforktrophybass You can find me on Facebook and follow my official Lake Fork Guide page at https://www.facebook.com/lakeforkfishingguides
I would also like to thank all of my 2014 sponsors for their support in my guiding and professional tournament fishing as well: Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Interstate Batteries, Lowrance, Power Pole, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Talon Lures, Navionics, Simms, Costa Del Mar and Elite Tungsten.
I hope to see all of you out on the water for another great spring on Lake Fork! 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 2014 Ranger Boats daily and you do not want to miss the opportunity to check out the “New” Ranger Z521c. This boat has some amazing features and is definitely an awesome ride. Give Fred or Ben a call at 903-383-7829 to set up your personal demo ride in a Ranger Boat.Psalms 37:4 Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart Tight Lines and God Bless, James Caldemeyer