Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Week of March 26, 2012

I booked 2 and a half days with Dale Stokes this week and the weather was as good as it ever gets.  Lows in the 60's and highs in the low to mid 80's.  Winds were light except for Tuesday afternoon, when they were a bit blustery.  Nothing like what we have been through before, though.  The lake is now just 2 feet low.  It has come up over 5 and a half feet in the last month and is looking like the Lake Fork of old again.  It sure is nice to be able to run the boat lanes.

The main comment for this week was the fishing was SLOW!!  I caught 3 fish each day with only 5 to 7 bites a day.  Even the bites were a bit tentative, like they didn't really want to take the bait.  Tiny little taps with only a couple of bites where they really wanted it.  We saw a LOT of carp, crappie, and gar up shallow and I even hooked a 2 pound drum on a shakey head jig.  That was a first.  Might have been some crappie and carp pecking at my bait at times.

On Monday we had a few bites early and I caught one small bass dead sticking a fluke.  Then I had 4 straight hours with zero bites at all.  We fished wacky worms, shakey heads, flukes, all the usual suspects with no joy.  Finally I just decided to stick with a shakey head for the rest of the day and was quickly rewarded with a small tap about 1 pm.  I whanged on it and no fish.  Drat. 

We moved around a bit and I had another little tap at 2 pm.  This time I tightened up and lifted the rod tip to see if the fish was there.  Nope.  Felt the shakey head but no fish.  So it twitched it once and let it sit.  Another tap and a slight pull and I set the hook.  When I pulled back, the rod stopped dead at 10 o'clock and bent over double.  I saw this big mouth wallowing at the end of my line and knew I had a good fish.  She came to the boat no problem and when I saw it I thought it would go 8 or 9 pounds.  As Dale went to net it, the fish dove trying to go under the boat stripping off drag as it went.  I got my thumb on the spool and horsed it up and it made another dive for the prop and a stump near the back of the boat.  Again, I stopped the run and horsed her back towards Dale's net and she was in.  As I reached in the net to get the fish I saw the gut and knew I had a new personal best.  Dale's scale said 10.2 pounds and I don't doubt it.  My new personal best and my first double digit bass.  After a couple of quick pictures we sent her on her way and off she went to make more baby bass.  Woo hoo!  Now that's a nice reward for 4 hours with NO bites!
The next two days were anti-climactic after that fun.  We caught a few more small bass the next day and a half but they just were not biting very good at all.  Most of the other fish came dead sticking flukes with a few on shakey heads.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 12-15, 2012

After getting blown off the lake by high winds last week, I was happy to see this week's forecast was much improved.  Temperatures were forecast for the high 70's and winds in the 10-15 mph range.  Just about perfect weather.  I booked 3 and a half days with Dale Stokes and was convinced we would hang a gorilla or two.  Unfortunately, the weekend dumped almost 6 inches of cold 50 degree rain around Lake Fork and I think that had an effect.

The lake is up a bit more and is now just 4.5 feet low.  Just!  However that's a big improvement to the 7 feet plus it has been down lately.

We started out Monday fishing the main lake banks and I was convinced slow fishing a big jig was the way to go.  I didn't want to be bothered by little males and had dreams of hooking another 8 lb plus like I did a few weeks ago.  Nope.  After four straight hours of fishing that jig slow and steady, without even a single nibble, I just had to put it down.  Dale had switched to a shakey head and landed 3 fish and missed a couple of more before I made the change.  I still didn't get a bite til after noon and I think I ended up with a total of 3 small fish for the day.  Dale had 8.

Tuesday started out the same way, but I just stuck with the jig for an hour before giving up on it for the rest of the trip.  Things were even tougher on Tuesday as we tried different areas and different water depths looking for some active fish.  I totaled ONE, all day long, but it was about a 5 pound fish.  Dale had another 7 fish, none of them of size.

Wednesday we had a few more bites on a combination of shakey heads and wacky worms.  We stuck 4 fish that got off, don't know why, but it happened twice to me and twice to Dale.  Bites were so light that several fish were hooked swimming off with our worm.  Nothing of any size, again, but we had more bites and boated 11 fish.  We worked hard for those  fish!

Thursday morning was more of the same.  We pulled up on a new spot in Little Caney and I caught a little one on the second cast.  I had another bite on about the fourth cast, then nada. We hunted and pecked them for 4 hours with a grand total of 5.  Dale caught one decent female about 6 pounds, but that was it.  The rest were dinks.  Wackey worms, shakey heads, and dead sticking flukes was not the ticket.

35 fish over 3 and a half days is a tough slog for Fork.  However no one fell out of the boat, no one got a hook in the face, no props were bent (even when running into Little Caney!), the weather was very nice, and we each caught fish every day.  No skunks. 

Check out this interesting stump below.  Sticking up on two legs like it is walking.  When the water level comes back up you would never guess there is a fish umbrella there.  I can't wait to pitch a worm into that and try to get a fish out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 5 and 6, 2012

I had planned a 3 day trip with Dale this week but 40 mph winds howling out of the south put a stop to that.  Monday was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 70's and light winds.  We boated 12 bass on jigs and shakey heads, but nothing over 5 pounds.  We deliberately stayed out in deeper water, 10-15 feet, and pitched up toward shore and around timber.  There are a lot of small males moving up shallow getting ready for the spawn and we had hopes of snagging a better staging fish like I did a couple of weeks ago.  No luck.  Tuesday the forecast was for extreme winds, but the morning was fishable.  We poked around til the winds got nasty around 10:30 am, then fled to the shore.  I fished a jig all morning and only had about 4 bites and landed 1 small bass. Dale did about the same.  Fork is just short of the spawn and things should get hopping pretty soon.  I plan to go back soon!