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

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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November 17, Lake Fork Guide Report

Fishing is pretty good on Lake Fork right now! Numbers have been great, but size has been a little harder to come by. However, as you can see from the pictures, we have been fortunate to catch some really nice ones. Adrian from Austrailia got the big fish of the past month with a 10lb 11oz giant! True double digit bass are rare, even here on Fork.

I’m fishing offhore structure exclusively right now. I believe that is where the best chance for size and numbers are. The colder it gets, the bigger our catches get. Keep that in mind as winter approaches.

I know there are a lot of Lake Fork guides to choose from, but I would love to have the opportunity to show you a great Lake Fork experience. Just let me know if I can help. Here’s Adrian’s big Lake Fork bass. Also, Marvin got his replica mount from our trip back in August. Marvin is serving our country, and I had the opportunity to take him fishing in the Hunting with Soldiers event we had here on Lake Fork. He had the biggest fish of the event and got the mount for first place.

 

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November 2 Lake Fork Report

We are starting to see the bass here on Lake Fork get into their normal fall patterns in spite of the unseasonably warm weather we have been having. We had one of the warmest Septembers on record, and October was the warmest on record for the Dallas area. Our water temperature is in the low to mid 70’s, almost 10 degrees warmer than it normally is in November. Hopefully we will get some cold weather soon, because the colder it gets, the bigger our average size gets.

Still, we are having some good days and a few big fish too. I’m sure there are plenty of shallow fish to be caught, however I love fishing deep, offshore structure. I feel like the deeper water gives my customers a better opportunity at a trophy bass. I’m depending on my Lowrance HDS units to find schools of fish on points, humps, roadbeds and ledges on the main lake. When I do find them, a Carolina rig, football jig, and spoon have been my top producers.

Below are some nice bass we’ve caught over the past week. November can be a great big fish month. I have been on the water nearly everyday over the past month, but I still have a few good dates open for November. If you are looking for a Lake Fork guide, I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to help you have a good fishing experience here.

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2016 Skeeter FX 21

Time to pick up my next Skeeter FX 21 from the factory! That means there’s one sweet deal on a 2016 Skeeter FX 21.

$55,856!

 

-Yamaha Factory Warranty until mid-November 2018

-Comes with pedestal and sit down seat, not pictured

-Gen 3 HDS 12 touch, flush mounted at dash

-Gen 3 HDS 9 touch, flush mounted at bow

-112lb Thrust 52″ Min Kota Fortrex, with built in transducer

-210 hours on 250HP Yamaha Sho

-2 built in onboard coolers

-5 charger/ac plugins on deck and console (cigarette lighter adapter plugins for charging phone or using night lights, etc.

The sale will run through a Skeeter dealer. That means financing and trade ins are options. Keep in mind this is a Skeeter Team factory demo boat. The dealer doesn’t make ANY money off this transaction, so we are thankful we can do the transaction through them! This is a great deal for someone looking for a loaded, new Skeeter, with about $20,000 of the new price. BOAT WILL GO BACK TO THE SKEETER FACTORY  BEFORE YOU PICK IT UP!

Please text me with any questions (903)638-1170

 

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October 22, Lake Fork Report

The fishing on Lake Fork is pretty good right now. I’ve been having great numbers of 1-4lb bass on most days. I know they’re not giants, but they can sure be fun to catch and are hard fighters for their size. I’m targeting the numbers earlier in the day and looking for a few big bites in the afternoons. We’ve been lucky to catch some big fish later in the day this past week. The afternoon bi much slower than the morning for now.

The water temperature is in the mid 70’s and the water level is about 2′ low.

I’m primarily fishing deeper offshore structure now. October is a fun month because you can normally catch them deep or shallow. After working the shallow pattern on a daily basis for the past month, I was relieved to see some bass showing back up in deep water. That is where my heart is at, I love finding bass on my electronics on points, humps, roadbeds, and ledges.

I’m fishing a carolina rig and a small spoon for my numbers. These fish would probably hit a drop shot well too. In the afternoons when I try for a bigger fish, I’m using the big Joe Spaits flutter spoon, a football jig, and a swimbait on 1oz jig head. There aren’t a ton of big fish back out deep yet, but there are some and I feel like that is the best chance for a big bass.

Hopefully this helps and let me know if I can be of any assistance on your upcoming Lake Fork fishing trip.

Here are some nice ones from our past couple Lake Fork guide trips…

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Walking a Frog in October (Article)

Some of my most memorable days on Lake Fork have been those spent catching big bass on hollow bodied frogs. Every angler loves a good frog bite. The oftentimes ferocious strikes are what make frog fishing so enjoyable. Day in, day out, topwater frogs produce big bass, especially on Lake Fork.

Frog fishing comes with a price however. There is no other technique in the world of bass fishing with such a poor hook-up ratio. This can be frustrating, especially when you can see how big the fish was that attacked your frog. Sometimes you can do everything right and still miss the bite, but there are a few things you can do to increase your success.

First, it’s important to choose the right frog. There are a lot of choices out there from many different lure companies. There are a few that I really like, and I’m sure there are some great ones that I haven’t tried. Some companies offer a traditional style frog, as well as a “popping” style frog. Both styles have their place in my box. I tend to use the traditional frog more in the heaviest cover and matted vegetation. Sometimes a popping style will work better in areas where the cover is a little less dense.

The first thing you need to do when choosing a frog is feel the plastic. I like to press down on the back of the frog, right in front of the hook points. This tells me how much force will be needed to set the hook. Because they are so weedless and effective in heavy cover, they can also prevent fish from getting hooked. Therefore, I prefer frogs with a really soft body. Also, I always take my pliers and slightly bend the hook points out, just a few degrees. This will have little if any effect on how weedless the frog is, but I believe it makes a big difference in hook-up percentage.

I wish color selection was more simple. Lure companies offer such a wide variety of color options that it can be overwhelming. Personally, I believe having a few basic color variations is best. I like black, white, and brown or green. Keep in mind the frog is silhouetted beneath a brighter sky and all the fish see is the bottom portion of the lure.

In my opinion, the retrieve is the most important aspect of being successful. I like to “walk the frog”. This is the rhythmic left/right movement often referred to as “walking the dog” that is most commonly used with Zara Spook type topwaters. Most hollow bodied frogs aren’t designed to do this, but with some practice it can be done rather easily. An angler who can walk the frog can go behind other frog fishermen and clean house!

The first thing I do when I remove a new frog from the packaging, is trim one leg of the skirt material about a half inch shorter than the other. This will change the balance of the frog and is essential in getting that side to side movement. I work the frog with my rod tip pointed down and employ a steady rhythm, twitching my wrist as I reel very slowly with the other hand. I leave a good bit of slack in the line as this allows the frog to move freely each direction. In a nutshell, you’re retrieving the frog extremely slow while keeping a constant side to side motion. This looks like a meal that’s easy to catch because it isn’t covering much water, but at the same time the fish can’t get too good of a look at it because it is moving constantly. It’s a retrieve that a lot of folks have trouble with, but it’s definitely worth mastering.

I always use braided line with frogs. Being a topwater technique the noise and visibility of braid are not issues. Also, line stretch is eliminated with braid, so your hook-ups will vastly improve. 50lb test Power Pro is a good choice. I often use 65lb, however 50lb will give the frog a little more movement if you’re having trouble walking it.

I really like a heavy rod with a slightly softer tip for this technique. You need a rod with a lot of backbone to get a hard hookset. However, a rod with a tip that’s too stiff will make the frog difficult to cast and walk. I prefer a rod around 7′. I don’t want one so long that it’s smacking the water when I’m retrieving. You want a strong rod, but you don’t need a flipping stick when you have braided line. I use a high speed Shimano Curado for my reel. Taking up slack quickly is very important with this technique.

Finally, I try to force myself to delay the hook set. Waiting just a second longer than you feel like you should will greatly increase your hook-ups. I often find that bass will hold the frog a long time if you don’t jerk. Pausing a moment will allow the fish to get the frog down in it’s mouth deeper. If I still miss the fish, I find it’s very rare for me to get that same fish to make another attempt at a frog. However, if I have a weightless fluke or senko handy, I toss it exactly where I missed the fish. This is the only way I’ve found to salvage missed frog bites.

Hopefully this information will help you have more big catches and less missed opportunities. If you’re coming to Lake Fork, feel free to contact me, I’d love to help in any way I can. There are a lot of Lake Fork guides to choose from, but if you choose me I will do my best to exceed your expectations for the trip!

 

Here are some catches from the past two trips…

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September Article – Magnum Shaky Heads on Lake Fork with Recent Big Bass Pictures

It was a slow day of fishing to say the least. The transition from summer into fall can be that way on any lake, especially on Lake Fork. My customer and I had fished from sunrise to midday and we hadn’t caught much if any as I recall. I remember we finished the day on one of my favorite big fish holes in hopes of a last second miracle. I rigged him up a magnum sized worm on a jig head and he set the hook on his first cast. I assumed he had hooked into a tree because his rod was bent and his line didn’t appear to be moving. I looked down at the trolling motor to maneuver the boat to his snag, when I heard what sounded like a Labrador retriever diving into the water. It was a huge bass on the end of his line!

The fish didn’t seem to fight very hard after that initial jump, and came to the boat quickly. I noticed the fish kept swimming toward the back of the boat and I warned him not to let the fish swim into the outboard motor. Sure enough it did just that, and the line tangled around the prop. By this time I was on the back deck with net in hand ready to see this giant up close. I was in disbelief as I stared at the biggest bass I had ever seen hovering motionless for a few seconds, with its nose against the steel propeller. The fish was just out of reach, and before I could dive in to get my hands on her, she swept her wide tail and disappeared in the blink of an eye.

I still think of that story often, and enjoy recounting it to my customers when I happen to be rigging up a big worm on a jig head like the one we were using that day. It may come as a surprise that one of my best big bass techniques is a shaky head rig. It has accounted for a good number of double digit bass in my boat over the past few years.

When most anglers think of a shaky head, they picture a small finesse worm on a dainty jig head and light line. However, there’s nothing finesse about the magnum shaky head. It’s a job for 20lb line, a heavy action rod, and is perfect in heavy timber.

There are only a few companies that offer a jig head that is appropriate for this application. I have tried several, and as of right now I’m still waiting for the “perfect” one to come along. Most importantly, the hook has to be big enough to accommodate a large straight-tail worm. A super strong 5/0 or 6/0 hook is necessary. I use a 1/2oz or 5/8oz size all the time, and I like a 10 inch straight-tail worm for this rig.

I typically fish the magnum shaky head in the mid-depth range. If I find bass in 8-20′ of water, this rig will likely be on my deck. It works great in heavy timber, but it is also very effective in areas without much cover, such as a road bed. It’s perfect for isolated rock or brush piles as well.

My favorite retrieve is simple, I drag the worm as slow as possible. I never shake or hop it. I feel like that big worm has plenty of movement as it crawls across the lake bottom. If I am coming over some type of wood cover, I make sure to allow the worm to fall all the way back to the bottom. I want to make sure I present the rig in the heart of the cover where a big bass is likely to be.

As for equipment, I’ve found the G. Loomis E6X 854 to be perfect for a magnum shaky head. It’s a 7′ heavy action rod and is very sensitive. It is important to feel the bottom cover and the light bites that are often associated with shaky head fishing. I always use 20lb fluorocarbon for this rig here on Lake Fork.

This is one of the few techniques that is truly effective year-round. It has been very good to me since I began guiding and still produces big fish for my customers. Hopefully it will work for you as well. Just be sure to steer your fish away from the boat motor!

 

Below are a few nice fish from the past couple trips here on Lake Fork. If I can be of any assistance on your upcoming trip to Lake Fork, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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