How I will fish Lake Fork

This week we are on legendary Lake Fork in Quitman, Texas. This tournament is my third trip here. The first visit was two years ago in May, and then last year, we fished it in November to finish the season.

We are here in April, and I was expecting us to hit the lake at the end of the spawn, perhaps during the shad spawn. Due to the prolonged winter we had across the South, I think everything is behind schedule, and we are hitting it at the first big waves of spawning. There has been some spawning already, but there are so many 3- to 5-pound fish on beds right now.

There are so many bass up shallow right now so there can’t be too many more in the lake that aren’t spawning.

It’s funny; I weighed five bass limit for 5-5 my second day at the last event. I’ve seen plenty of fish that weigh more than that this week.

The crazy thing is, and I have only seen this a couple of times in my life, I have seen everything trying to spawn: shad, bass, gar, carp, turtles, snakes. Everything is spawning.

This event is going to be a “smash fest.” I’m not saying I’ll be one of the guys that smash them the best, but we will catch a lot of quality fish this week. I haven’t seen many actual giant bass, but I have seen a few. I know guys will find them.

As the week goes on, the weather will get better, and the weather for the weekend looks beautiful. So there is no telling what bass will move up to spawn then.

Water temperatures

When we first put in this week, the water temperatures were 64 to 71 degrees. We had a cold night on Tuesday — it got down to the high 30s — but the water temperature only dropped three degrees or so. It wasn’t enough to push those fish off the beds, and it got up to about 65 degrees on Wednesday.

Thursday looks suitable for sight fishing, so that will be the plan for Day 1. The weather looks rainy for Friday, so it may be more of a casting and fishing day.

It’s going to be a fun event and fun for you all to watch. There will be a lot of strategy involved in this event regarding where I fish. There are slot limits on Lake Fork. We have to catch, weigh and release the fish immediately. We can bring in one fish each day that is 24 inches long. If I get behind someone, there's the chance that a fish on the bed has already been caught that day, which will make it very hard to get it to bite.

I am sure someone has found a different pattern than sight fishing, and they may blow it out, but I am going to sight fish.


I’ve got bed fishing baits. Floating worms, wacky rigs, Texas rigs, glide baits, you name it, I've got it rigged up with sturdy Mustad hooks here at Lake Fork. Hopefully, they all play a role with some key fish. 

Y’all tune in to the Bassmaster LIVE starting today and see it all go down!