Thursday, November 17, 2011

week of November 13, 2011

I spent 3 and a half days out at Lake Fork this week, battling weather mostly, and occasionally catching some fish. 

Monday I started out with Dale at 6:30 am and we had a blustery south wind all day long.  That wind limited where we could fish and the fish were still being onery.  I think we only had 4 little ones by noon after trying multiple spots using carolina rigs, chatter baits, shakey heads, crank baits, and excalibers.  Nothing seemed to work for us.  Finally, Dale's trolling motor started running low on juice so he decided the best plan was to let the wind blow us down a long windy bank, just using the trolling motor enough to keep us out of the timber.  We hooked on some crank baits and started blasting down the bank in the high wind, trying not to hang up.  After about 10 minutes, we came around a small point and I hooked a 6 and half pounder who flat swallowed my excaliber.  Dale managed to extract the bait, but one barb nicked a gill and it was bleeding like crazy.  After a picture it swam off just fine.
We managed to hang in the same spot for a few more casts and I boated another nice fish that was at least 5 and half pounds.  Once again it swallowed the crank bait and nicked a gill, making another mess.  It also swam off just fine after the encounter.
We didn't weigh either fish because we were being blown swiftly down the bank, plus we wanted to get them back in the water ASAP due to the gill nick.  The estimate on both fish might have been a bit low, but not by too much.  They sure beat the dinks we had earlier!

We continued on down the bank and eventually found another sweet spot, but no fish of any size there.  Despite being blown down several miles of bank we only found those two spots that produced any fish.  I think we ended up with 12 fish for the day.

On Tuesday the weather was better.  The wind died down but the fish were just as stubborn.  We caught some little ones at our sweet spots from Monday but nothing of size.  Next we tried some deep water with carolina rigs and jigging spoons.  The spoons only produced a few tiny bar fish.  We could find fish on the graph, but they just were not interested.  We moved around a lot, varied techniques, but never had any real success.  I think the best spot was a deep water hole near Dale Creek hump that produced 3 fish up to 3 pounds.  We ended up with 9 fish for the day and got run off the lake by thunder and dark clouds a little after noon.

That same evening I hooked up with Rhandy for some afternoon and evening fishing.  There was a strong thunderstorm about 3 pm that kept us on the bank til 4:30.  As we pulled out, it was still raining a bit and we were the only boat we saw on the lake for the next 4 hours.  Rhandy found a nice point where the schooling action was on and we hooked maybe 20 fish and boated about 9.  Once again crank baits were the ticket.  I was getting bites with a carolina rig, but never could hook a fish. 
After dark we went to shakey head worms but found bites few and far between.  Carolina rigs and Texas rigged worms were no better.  Eventually, we came around another windy point and I hooked a 6 pound 14 ounce bass on a shakey head.  I managed to fight him through the timber to the boat and got a nice photo with a surprised look on my face.  That one got weighed!  Look at the mouth on that sucker!
Wednesday started out nice but the wind had shifted around to the north as a cold front passed.  The wind steadily increased through the day.  Our sweet spots from earlier were no longer productive and once again we one'd and two'd them with lots of traveling around trying to find some cooperative fish.  we never succeded, despite Dale's heroic efforts.  We even putted way back up into Little Caney branch which is pretty much idle all the way now, due to the lake being so low.  We went in about 2:30 pm and ended up with 9 fish, nothing of size.

Rhandy came by about 4 pm that afternoon and we headed out for some more evening fishing.  However, since I had come in earlier, the wind had begun screaming out of the north.  I'd guess it was steady 20 mph with regular gusts over 30 mph.  We made it back to his schooling corner and sure enough the fish were still there and biting.  It was a very bouncy trip and we quickly decided that would not be fun after dark, especially with the lake 7 feet low and timber poking up everywhere.  So after about an hour of catching and missing the schooling bass, we called an early evening and ran in to drink much beer. 

Thursday dawned COLD with a ramp air temperature of 39 degrees and a stiff 15 mph north wind when we pulled out.  Originally, the plan had been to fish crappie, but the wind killed that deal.  Instead we moved around and tied up to timber, fishing carolina rigs and catching a few small bass before calling it a half day.  We did see some bald eagles, mateing in mid air.  Pretty cool.  We also saw a big bobcat, wild pigs, lots of deer, otters, raccoons, and other wildlife.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week of October 23rd, 2011

On this trip I had two days with Rhandy and a half day with Dale.  Rhandy and I started out on 10/24 at Lake Cypress Springs, just northeast of Lake Fork.  That is a big crappie lake and Rhandy has been bragging on it for quite awhile.  This was my first chance to visit.  Unfortunately, the morning fishing was hampered by a thick, zero visibility fog.  After some slow wandering around on the lake, we finally got to Rhandy's usual spot under the bridge.  We one'd and two'd them off pilings for a couple of hours, ending up with 10 by the time the fog lifted.  Afterwards, we hit a couple of brush piles and did much better.  We ended up with a limit of nice crappie and Rhandy fileted them at a dock belonging to one of his buddies.  I had some for dinner tonight and they were delicious!
The next day we were back at Lake Fork for a day of bass fishing.  We started later then usual, about 10:30 am, with a plan of fishing into the evening.  The wind was up a bit so we spent most of the day hooked onto stumps to save the trolling motor.  Bites were few and far between til we found a spot out near Dale Creek hump.  I think Rhandy caught about 10 of our 15 fish out there, with all but one being small ones.  I told him I was holding out for quality, and proved it when I landed a 6 pound 12 ounce fish.  All of our fish came on Carolina rigs with flukes, though we did try some rattletraps and crankbaits.

Dale and I had a tough day on Wednesday.  After 4 hours of fishing hard, we only had two fish to show for it.  As the wind was quickly picking up and 3 foot rollers were out on the main lake, we decided to call it half a day and call it quits.  I think it was a good decision and we'll resume the quest another day!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week of 9/26/11

Another fun trip to Lake Fork with full 2 days and a half day with Dale Stokes and 2 half evenings with Rhandy Simmons.  The lake is down almost 7 feet now, and there is timber everywhere.  Many ramps are closed but the Minnow Bucket's ramp is still functioning just fine.  Fishing was SLOW.  During the day with Dale we caught 8 on Tuesday, 10 on Wednesday, and 6 on the half day Thursday.  Tuesday we scurried from spot to spot trying to make something happen.  It didn't.  Wednesday we hung around a good point half the day and grinded on them.  That didn't do much either.  Thursday we kind of split the difference, again without much success.  Big fish of the week went to Dale who bagged a 7 pound 8 ounce bass on Tuesday.  My biggest was a 5 pounder on Monday.  I almost got skunked on Wednesday, but a last minute crank bait fish (a little one), got the white stripe off my back before I headed back home. 
Evening fishing with Rhandy was "interesting".  We hit a lot of the usual spots with only 3 fish to show on Tuesday evening.  I think we had only about 6 bites.  The amazing thing were the BUGS!  Swarms, clouds, biblical end times numbers of bugs were swarming all around the boat as soon as the sun set.  It was truly astounding.  I snapped one little shot of Rhandy with a tiny swarm above his head, and this was while we were idling!  When we stopped, we were engulfed in clouds of them.  Click on the picture.

Below is a video of Rhandy fishing as the swarm descends on us.  Listen to the buzzing around 2:10 in the video.  It is amazing!

Wednesday night, things started out the same.  Very slow.  I think we had 2 fish in the boat by sunset.  We put slabs on and pulled in a few schooling sandbass, just to end the boredom!  After that we idled around to a roadbed to try some buzz baits.  On the way, we ran into some schooling bass and proceeded to murder them til they went under.  In about 20 minutes I think we boated 15 bass, mostly in the 2-3 pound range.  It sure was fun watching them blow up on those buzz baits.  I kept hoping a gorilla would pop up from underneath, but he never did.  It was still a blast!

Oh, and if you've ever wondered why Lake Fork is such a great lake and why you lose so many lures and carolina rigs, take a look at the photo below.  This is one bank that usually has 3 feet of water over it.  It's a wonder we ever land ANY fish, much less get a bait back!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

week of Sept 5th, 2011

After a streak of almost 60 days of temperatures over 100 degrees F., I finally got to get back to Lake Fork for some fishin.  This week I booked two full days and a half day with Dale Stokes, plus 2 half evenings with Rhandy Simmons.  The fishing was a bit spotty, but still a lot of fun.  With lows in the upper 50's and highs in the upper 80's to low 90's the weather was very nice indeed.  It felt good to need a jacket again and feel cool air that was not blowing out of an AC vent!  Winds were light and just about the perfect ripple on the water for the whole trip.  The only time it got a bit steamy was Wednesday afternoon when the winds died off completely.

Tuesday started off pretty well with Dale and we quickly had 12 or 14 fish in the boat after only a few hours fishing.  We stayed with Carolina rigs and flukes for most of the morning at a medium depth.  Around 10:30 or so, the fish shut off, so we moved up shallow and switched to shakey heads and wacky worms thrown at the bank.  After a couple of quick fish, Dale had one about 6 pounds, they slowed down again and we spent the rest of the day shuffling around and getting 1 or 2 here and there with a variety of techniques.  We ended up with 26 fish between 6:30 am and 2:30 pm. 

After a quick shower and a short siesta, Rhandy banged on the door and got us out on the water before the working man's tourny started at the Minnow Bucket.   We started out with Carolina rigs but soon switched to crank baits after we saw a few fish blowing up on shad.  Once again we kind of 1 and 2'd them through the evening, moving often, but never quite finding a sweet spot.  After dark, we switched to a big purple Texas rigged foam worm resulting in a few more bites and one more fish for me.  I think we ended up with about 12 fish, nothing big, including 3 sandbass and a catfish caught on the crank baits.  By the time we headed in, we needed a jacket.
Off again  with Dale the following morning we were killing them early.  Fishing Carolina rigs at a medium depth point, we boated 10 fish by 8:30 am, moved to another spot, and boated another 10 fish by 10 am.  We had 4 break us off, including one I had on that felt like a real nice fish.  That's the joy of fishing in heavy timber!  Then they shut off like someone had flipped a switch.  Over the next 3 hours we tried several prime spots and numerous techniques which resulted in just one more fish and very few bites.  About 1 pm, we decided to bag it as the wind had laid down, it was getting steamy, and nothing we did was working.  We won before 10 am, the fish won after.  It was a draw!  I think our biggest out of the 21 was about 4 lbs.

Later that evening, Rhandy and I hit the water again and I thought we were going to do better.  Rhandy hit a 4 pounder on his first cast, I hooked a 3 pounder about 5 casts later.  After that, they got real stubborn again.  We spent the next 4 hours changing spots and techniques with just 4 more fish to show for it.  It was a beautiful night, only the fish did not cooperate!  Drat!  
Back out with Dale the next morning at 6:30, we hit our same starting point.  The jackpot we had enjoyed on Wednesday morning was gone and we boated just 2 fish on our Wednesday point.  We then moved to our number 2 spot and quickly added 5 more decent fish, including one about 5 pounds.  After that dried up we moseyed around to several other spots with no success.  They shut off again about 10 am when the wind laid down.
We had no problem launching at the Minnow Bucket ramp but there is a lot more timber showing than usual.  It's dangerous out there.  There was even a big floater in Little Caney.  The lake is about 6 feet low.

Rhandy has a new go-fast bullet boat with a huge deck.  Just the thing for parties of 3 or more.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 28-30, 2011

My friend Patti and I took a quick 48 hour trip out this week to do some split day summer fishing with Rhandy and Dale.  We did 2 evenings and 1 morning with Rhandy and 1 morning with Dale.  I proved my status as "The Lake Fork rain God" by attracting a huge thunderstorm Tuesday night that just missed us.  Rhandy got us off the lake just in time before 40-50 mile an hour winds blew in.  It got nasty and I was glad we came in early.  We celebrated by drinking much beer.

The fish weren't biting real heavy this time, the typical summer pattern has set in, but we caught 10 or so every day and Patti caught her biggest fish ever at 6 pounds.  We also went and messed with the schooling sand bass and I have a little video (at the bottom) to prove it!  Enjoy.

Patti with her personal best 6 pound bass.

Rhandy with a rare beer can bass!
Rhandy with a Lake Fork tackle store.  Including 4 crank baits that can be cleaned up and re-used!

Rhandy with a nice one                                                     
Sand bass are poopin S.O.B.s
Sand bass video!!

The video is also on youtube and is a big bigger and cleaner there.  The grinding noise is the hard drive going bad on my little Sony video camera.  Sorry about that!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

week of June 20th, 2011

6/20-6/23, 2011
I went out this week with plans to fish nights with Rhandy and mornings with Dale.  This is the time of year when split days are nice so you can avoid the heat of the day.  Siestas rock!  The forecast a week out was for 75-100 degrees, light winds, and dry.  As usual, the weather idiots missed by a mile. 

Monday the wind was howling around 25 miles an hour so we put in over at Leafy Branch on the west side of the lake.  We pulled out about 6 pm and pulled up on a hole Rhandy had some success with recently.  We caught some little ones on flukes at the first spot, then moved over to a shallower spot nearby.  We boated 21 bass in 2 hours with the largest being about 5.5 pounds.  There were plenty of 4 and 5 pound chunks and some little ones.  It was a blast.  They slowed down a bit after 8 pm and we only caught 5 in the next hour.  We tried a couple of other spots with no success, then moved back into Leafy Branch for the night fishing.  We stayed til about 1:30 am and caught about 5 more.  Nothing big but we had some fun.  The high winds kept us from moving around much, but a 31 bass evening was a great start.

I was scheduled to go out with Dale on Tuesday morning but lightning and heavy rain kept us off the lake.  So much for the hot and dry forecast.  Things cleared out about noon so Rhandy and I headed out again around 5:30 for the evening.  The winds were back down again and we headed right to our hot spot from the night before.  The winds calmed for a bit and it got pretty steamy for awhile.  Rhandy made the mistake of crabbing about the lack of wind so at 6:45 it cranked back up to 25 miles an hour.  We had 3 foot waves crashing over the bow.  We stayed tied off til they calmed back down and managed to catch 17 bass by about 8:30.  As we moved off to a deeper spot, the sandbass started schooling around us in about an acre sized group.  We pitched a few jigs and caught them on every cast. Then Rhandy noticed that the clouds moving in were showing some lightning.  He made the wise decision to head closer to the ramp in case we had to get out of the weather.  Sure enough, the clouds started rolling in and we started hearing thunder so we bagged it around 9 pm.  Anyone who is on the lake when lightning is around is a dumbass.

The weather gods smiled on Wednesday, June 22 and I finally got a morning in with Dale.  We pulled up on a main lake point around 6 am and Dale hooked an 8 pounder on his first cast!  I stayed skunked for a couple of hours (except one drive-by sandbass that bit my fluke) but finally caught up after we moved into one of his holes in Little Caney.  We stayed there most of the morning and ended up with 18 bass in the boat, mostly on flukes on Carolina rigs. 

The evening fishing started out about 5:30 again and we headed to our usual honey hole.  This evening the wind was calm and it was awful steamy again when the sun was not behind a cloud.  I warned Rhandy he'd better keep quiet if he didn't want waves breaking over the bow again!  Fishing was much much slower and we only caught 3 or 4 at our hot spot.  However the lack of quantity was made up by quality when I hooked a 7 pound 9 ounce fish on a delicious fluke Carolina rigged.  That was a fun fight.  Later on we switched to a deeper hole and found that they wanted shakey head worms instead of flukes.  We added another 4 or 5 fish there before moving to some bank fishing in Little Caney. We caught a few more there on shakey heads before calling it a night about 11 pm.  I think we ended up with 12 or 13 total for the night.

Rhandy with a nice one at sunset.
I went out with Dale again the next morning and we put another 20 fish in the boat over about 4 hours.  I don't think we boated anything over 4 pounds but we still had a good time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

week of 4/18/11

Did 3 days with Rhandy this week.  I love the black spots on this one.  We see that every now and then.

Another spotty bass.

This one tied my second best.  Look at the gut on this hawg!!  Caught that one on a topwater Zara spook.

A little rain doesn't hurt the fishing at all. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

week of 4/10/11

Split 2 days with Dale and 2 days with Rhandy this week.  I really liked this beautiful 5 pounder I caught with Dale.  Love the colors.
Another fat hawg caught with Rhandy, Carolina rig with a fluke.

Rhandy with a 9 pounder from this trip.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

week of 3/21/11

Did one day with Rhandy and one with Dale this week.  It was a bit chilly, but I caught this nice one with a shakey head worm fishing docks with Dale.