LAKE FORK GUIDE ANDREW GRILLS

Trophy bass fishing on world famous Lake Fork

Category – FISHING REPORTS

Lake Fork bass fishing reports and pictures from Lake Fork guide Andrew Grills

Lake Fork Report with Recent Pictures!

We’ve made some great memories here on Lake Fork over the past week! The fishing can be challenging right now, but most days our hard work has paid off. I’m not on numbers, but I am on quality. I always try to keep my customers in a position where they have a better chance at catching a trophy bass.

There have been some tough days mixed in. However, the good days are outnumbering the bad ones, and more often than not, a personal best for big bass is broken on our trip. I’ll take that, especially given how slow the fishing has been the past couple summers. This year it looks like Lake Fork is back to herself. These Florida strain bass love hot weather. Don’t think for a second that the heat shuts them down.

I’ve been catching most of my fish on a Santone football jig. I’m working offshore structure, and doing a lot of looking with my electronics. I’ve also got a little something special going that’s just for my customers for now. Of course, I’ve got all the classic summertime tools on the deck as well. Carolina rigs, deep divers, and spoons have been catching a few for me.

I’m finding them in various depths from day to day, but it’s pretty easy to figure out where they want to be. The tricky part is finding the active ones. It’s a timing deal for sure.

Lake Fork is slightly over full pool at the moment. That is great this far into the year. Things are looking good for the future. Just remember that most of the hazards are hiding below the surface right now. The water temperature is in the low 80’s.

I know there are a lot of Lake Fork guides to choose from, but if I can be of any assistance on your upcoming trip don’t hesitate to call or text me.

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Deep Cranking Lake Fork Style

Summertime in Texas… Yep, it can get pretty hot. It doesn’t get much hotter than a midday deep cranking session. It’s the most physically strenuous technique in bass fishing. It may feel more like work than fishing. However, all is forgotten the moment you feel the head shake and a big bass has engulfed your crankbait. 

The fact of the matter is a deep diving crankbait has the power to trigger bites from bass that ignore other presentations, and it delivers big bites. This is why a deep-diving crankbait is one of the first tools I reach for in the summer for big fish. 

It’s no mystery to me why deep cranking produces big sacks of fish consistently. Bigger bass are often duped by a “reaction presentation” of some sort. Whether it’s a lipless bait ripping through grass, a heavy jig falling in front of their nose, or a crankbait careening through their hangout, big bass are fooled when they make a hasty decision. 

In deep cranking, there is always a “sweet spot”. It may be a rock or laydown log, but there is something down there that triggers a reaction when the crankbait deflects off of it. Often, it takes the perfect cast, at the perfect angle, to unlock an area’s true potential. When that precise spot and angle are pinpointed the crankbait can do things I believe nothing else will.

When approaching summertime fishing, we are looking at typical deep structure such as points, humps, and roadbeds. I rely on my graphs to tell me whether the fish are present. Once that is established, I like to make a few casts with a crankbait to try and “fire up” the school. Getting that first bite can lead to triggering a frenzy of activity. I find that I get more bites paralleling the structure with the crankbait, as opposed to casting from deep to shallow or vice versa. 

I never throw a crankbait if I can’t reach the bottom with one, or make contact with some form of cover. For instance, we will occasionally see bass suspended in tree tops that are well beneath the surface. Even if I’m in 35 feet of water, if the top of that tree is in a crankable depth I will still try to hit the branches with my crankbait. Nearly every bite I can recall that I’ve had cranking has been while my lure is making contact with something. Therefore, if the fish are suspended and I can’t bang the crankbait against something near them, there are probably better lure choices.

When I do hit something with my crankbait, I like to hit it hard. I want to wake up whatever lives down there. That is why I use a 7.2:1 ratio, high-speed reel. I know that kind of goes against the old school logic of low geared, slow retrieve reels for deep cranking. Yes, using a lower speed ratio takes a little torque off of the forearm, but I feel like I get bigger bites with a fast retrieve. My typical retrieve is nearly as fast as I can turn the handle.

The perfect cranking reel for me is the Shimano Curado. I like it because it has a large spool capacity which is important for long casts. My favorite thing about the Curado is that it will cast a crankbait a mile. The biggest challenge in deep cranking is getting the lure out far enough to get it down to the desired depth. I pair the Curado with a G. Loomis Deep Flex Crankbait rod. I use the 7’5” heavy action. It’s a stout rod for cranking but has an incredible parabolic bend. This helps with casting as well as landing fish. I normally use 15lb fluorocarbon line, occasionally stepping down to 12lb test if I need to get a little deeper.

We have been fortunate over the past several years to have some important advancements in lure design available. Crankbaits are diving deeper than ever. There was a time hitting that 20′ depth was the Holy Grail of cranking. These days it’s not unusual to be digging bottom in 25′ or deeper with the right equipment. My deep crank of choice is the Duo Realis G87. There is a deep model (15A) and an extra deep model (20A). I honestly believe it’s a game changer when it comes to crankbaits. 

The G87 has a built in magnetic weight transfer system. I could go into detail about how it works, but I’ll just put it this way: I can cast it 30% further than any other crankbait on the market. It casts like a bullet, even into the wind. It gets down deeper with less effort as well. 

Next time you’ve marked a few fish, but can’t get them to bite the jig, carolina rig, or spoon, try knocking on their door with a crankbait. Sometimes I see my customers cringe when I break out the deep divers. Yes, it may seem too much like work to some, however it’s a valuable tool that definitely has a place in our pursuit of big bass.

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Lake Fork Guide Report for June (Pictures Included)

Lake Fork is in great shape right now as summer approaches. I feel like we had another good spawn this year. This makes the third year in a row where we’ve had noticeable success with our spawn, and we should see better numbers of fish in the upcoming years. 

Having good cover in the form of flooded vegetation or aquatic vegetation is critical for the survival of freshly hatched baby bass. Thankfully, we’ve had an abundant amount of it over the past three spring seasons. 

Lake Fork is right at full pool. That’s a great thing as we head into summer. The water is still in the low to mid 70’s due to some recent “below average” temperatures.

May was a pretty good month for fishing. Numbers were great on the good days, and we had a lot of big fish as well. I’m betting June will be another good month.

Right now we are transitioning from the more shallow patterns of spring, to traditional summertime fishing. While fish can still be caught shallow all summer, the majority of the quality bass will be deeper.

We are already finding bass on deep offshore structure, and many more will show up out there soon. The depth they are holding really just depends on the area of the lake, but at the time of this report most of the deeper fish seem to prefer a depth somewhere in the mid 20’s. I find them a little more shallow on the upper ends of the lake.

I have two favorite techniques for early summer here on Lake Fork: deep crank baits and football jigs. These just seem to work best for me for bigger fish. Sure, I can catch some on big worms or Carolina rigs if I have to, but I prefer the other methods for now.

For the jig, I use a Santone football head in 3/4 oz. and 1 oz. I use several different colors. My favorites are “beans and carrots”, “pb&j”, and “Mexican heather”. If the water is clear, ” bullfrog” is my top choice. 

I use several different crank bait brands, but the one I throw the most is the DUO Realis G87. It’s a Japanese bait that casts extremely far and dives deeper than 20′ with ease. Lake Fork Marina and Oak Ridge carry this brand and the colors I use. I primarily use the deeper diving 20A model.

The problem with offshore fishing on Lake Fork nowadays is seemingly everybody knows how to do it. Even the less obvious areas are getting hit pretty hard. The key may be finding some “off the wall” area that everyone else will overlook. I used to fish deeper offshore structure exclusively throughout the summer, but now I supplement some shallow to mid-depth patterns because of the increasing pressure from anglers out deeper.

Hopefully this report points you in the right direction. As always, I’m happy to help any way I can so feel free to contact me before your trip.img_2791img_2817img_2782img_2792

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May 1 Lake Fork Report with Pictures!

 

May has arrived and the weather has continued to keep us guessing here on Lake Fork. Some heavy rains and the flood gates being open have kept our water level fluctuating over the past few weeks. The higher water couldn’t have come at better time for the fish. The flooded cover and new vegetation is the perfect protection for the newly hatched bass fry, and we will reap the benefits of this years spawn for years to come. This make 3 years in a row that we have had good protection for the hatch in the spring time. Lake Fork should continue to impress in the future!

As for the fishing right now, it has been a challenge to keep up with the changing conditions. However, we have managed to have some great days on the water this past month. May is usually much more stable weather-wise, and I believe it will be a fantastic month of fishing.

The bass are finished spawning for the most part, and that means they’re hungry and actively feeding in recovery. The spawning ritual takes a lot out of them, so when they’re done licking their wounds they put the feed bag on so to speak. May is probably the best month to fish Lake Fork for consistency and numbers of quality fish.

There are many ways to potentially catch them throughout the month of May. I will be starting most of my mornings with topwaters. If there is wind or clouds, that bite could extend throughout the day. Afterwards, I will continue to fish shallow early in the month. Pitching texas rigs, carolina rigs, and swimbaits will be my first options.

I normally concentrate in areas where fish make pit stops on their migration from spawning areas back out to the main lake. Points and secondary points are the primary structure they use this time of year. As the month progresses, some fish will start showing up on deep offshore structure. There are already a few fish on some deep spots. This is when I use my electronics to find them.

When I’m targeting deep fish this month a Santone football jig will be my first choice. It produces so many quality fish for me, it’s my first recommendation for a big bite. Deep cranks, carolina rigs, and spoons are also going to be useful tools.

Hopefully this report gives you some ideas that will help you this month. If you need any assistance on your upcoming trip, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The following pictures are some highlights of our recent trips.

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April 4 Lake Fork Report with lots of Big Bass Pictures!

What a month March was for big bass! The spring fishing season is going by fast here on Lake Fork. Right now, the water temperature is ranging from 65-70 degrees just depending on the area. The lake level is just under 2′ low.

Unusually warm temperatures throughout March and February triggered many of our fish to move up and spawn. Normally, the spawn is staggered out in stages from the upper ends of the lake down to the dam. Fish move up in waves and there are usually plenty of prespawn and postspawn fish, as well as fish on beds all at any given time. This year it sure seems like most of the fish moved up over the past few weeks.

That’s a great, however short lived scenario for bed fishermen. Not so good for those of us who target hungry pre and post spawners. The good news is that dilemma is almost behind us. April will be a month of postspawn feeding action. All those bass that moved up in March are going to be feeding up this month.

Areas to look for large groups of fish will be the mouths of spawning areas, secondary points on the way out, and main lake points as well. Topwaters will be good early, and there will be some days where the action continues into the afternoon. I’ll be focusing primarily on shallow areas, so square bills, swim jigs, chatterbaits, and light carolina rigs will be important tools.

I’m really looking forward to the fishing this month. I think it will be good, very good. If I can be of any assistance on your upcoming trip, please don’t hesitate to call.

Below are some pictures of big bass boated by my customers and I over the last few weeks here on Lake Fork.

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March 8, Lake Fork Report and Big Bass Pictures!

Fishing is good on Lake Fork right now. The lake is in great shape this year and our overall numbers of fish are better at this time and than in the last several years. We are now reaping the benefits of the good spawns we had in 2015 and 2016.

Lake Fork is currently 2.04 feet below full pool. I would prefer it to be full right now, but we have to be thankful it’s not lower with all of the water Dallas has been pumping. There is still a good amount of shallow cover to protect this year’s hatch.

The water temperature is ranging from the upper 50s to the low 60s across the lake. We had an unusually warm February, and things are shaping up for an early spring. We actually caught a 9 pound fish in early February that appeared to be spawning. The warmer weather definitely made the bigger fish harder to pattern. However, now that we are into March, big fish are moving into spawning areas on the mid to upper end of the lake, and pre-spawn staging areas as well.

I’ve been finding fish and very shallow water out to about 12 feet deep. Most of my catches have been point related and near timber. Texas rigs, Carolina rigs, and swim jigs have been producing well for me. I’m also catching some nice fish and swim baits.

If I can be of any assistance to you on your upcoming trip to Lake Fork, or if you’re looking for a Lake Fork guide, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Here are some of our recent catches. I try not to do more than one photo of the same fish, but below there are couple giants worth a second look!

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February 2017, Lake Fork Report with Big Bass Photos

February has arrived and things are looking great on Lake Fork! February is probably my favorite big fish month here. There are probably more double-digit sized bass caught during the month of March, but I believe that is only because more folks are out fishing. In February the boat traffic on the lake is still pretty light, and there is no other month when more fish are at their fattest!

Lake Fork looks good for now. The water level is 2.26′ below full pool. We had a significant amount of rainfall for January and that brought the lake up almost a foot. It made the fishing tough for a little while but things are getting back to normal now. The water temperature has stayed in the low to mid-50’s for a while now.

The fishing patterns are pretty typical for this time of year. Keep in mind that the fish in the upper ends of the major creeks and the northernmost part of the main lake will spawn the earliest. This is generally where your best numbers will be right now. I’m finding fish very shallow on warmer afternoons, and there are still a lot of fish staging on secondary points and creek channel ledges. Chatterbaits, lipless, crankbaits, and jigs are what I have on the deck for these fish.

From mid-lake to the there are bass on deep main lake structure, but most of these seem to be smaller. I’m finding my biggest fish in 8-14′ of water on points and break lines leading into areas where they will eventually spawn. Jigs and jerkbaits will work in these areas. Keep in mind, in clearer water, bass will suspend closer to the surface on a warmer day.

Hopefully you found some helpful information in this report. If I can be of any assistance on your next trip to Lake Fork, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Below are some recent pictures. Each group of pictures is from one day of fishing, all different bass. You can see a few where I’ve been having a good time on my days off!

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January 13 Lake Fork Guide Update

I would rate the fishing on Lake Fork right now a little above average for this time of year. As most of you know, I absolutely love fishing in the colder months. Most folks who would book a guide don’t think much about fishing in January. That means I get some days off when I can enjoy fishing on my own. Trying new areas, new techniques, or just hunting for one big bite is a lot of fun for me this time of year.

I’m catching some nice fish right now, but I’m not playing the numbers game. There are some schools of smaller fish still hanging around deep points and so forth, but I’m targeting the early pre-spawn females. This is the best shot a catching a bass like Lake Fork is famous for.

Lake Fork is a tad over 3′ low right now, and the water temperature has fluctuated quite a bit recently. Right now we are looking at mid 50’s, but last week it was in the upper 40’s pretty much all over the lake. Folks see a warming trend like this and get excited, but I don’t. It’s supposed to be cold in January and February and the big bite is much more consistent when the water is temperature is somewhere in the mid 40’s. A lot of folks find that surprising, but a look through the trophy photos will tell the tale. Big bass and cold weather clothing go hand in hand!

Here are some recent catches here on Lake Fork. If I can help you in any way on your upcoming trip, please feel free to get in touch with me. The last photo is a heck of a day I had alone earlier this week.

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December 15 Lake Fork Report

My favorite time of year has arrived! For the next few months I will be one happy camper. I live for the winter fishing on Lake Fork. If you’re serious about catching a trophy bass you need to make a trip to Lake Fork during the colder months.

Winter time isn’t the time for numbers. Sure, the possibility of catching quite a few is there, but this is a time for an opportunity at the kind of fish Lake Fork is famous for. If you’ll take a look a the Trophy Photos section of this site, you’ll find that cold weather apparel and big bass often go hand in hand!

Lake Fork is currently a tad over 3′ low. It’s good for the lake to be full, but it’s best for the fishing if the lake is a little low like it is now. I am very excited to see what this winter has in store for us. As of right now, water temperature, weather patterns, and the Lake Fork water level are all lining up for a banner January and February.

There are quite a few Lake Fork guides to choose from. If you’re planning a trip, I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to help in any way I can.

Here are a few of our catches from the past 3 guide trips.

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Lake Fork Report and Video! December 1

A lot of folks find it surprising that winter is my favorite time of year for bass fishing here on Lake Fork. I look forward to December, January, and February all year long.

There are a couple reasons I love the colder months. First, most folks are either hunting or busy with the holidays. That means the lake isn’t crowded and we have the fish all to ourselves. Second, the colder it gets the bigger our catches get! Winter isn’t a time for numbers. It is a great time to target trophy sized bass.

Right now I’m still following the fall pattern of fishing deep offshore structure in 20-25′ of water. Carolina rigs and spoons have been the top producers. Main lake points, humps, and roadbeds have been the primary areas.

As the water continues to cool, I will gradually transition to my winter pattern. I’ll be using jigs, lipless crankbaits, chatterbaits, and swimbaits in 12′ of water or less. I’ll be looking for steeper structures such as creek channels, ditches, or steep drop offs.

Right now the water temperature is 64 degrees and falling gradually. The lake level is also falling slowly and is 2.78′ low at the time of this report. Fishing is generally better in the winter with the lake a few feet below full pool.

If I can be of any assistance on your upcoming trip please let me know!

Here are some pictures from last week. Most of these fish are from a lake near Lake Fork. It’s always nice to have a back up plan! Be sure to check out the video as well.

 

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