Team Toyota’s Brandon Lester loves a large cup of java each morning with sugar and Italian sweet cream creamer, but he doesn’t want his bass fishing waters to resemble his morning brew.
“If you’ll notice, when lakes ‘turnover’ in the fall, they take-on a coffee color. I saw a lot of that today, and it’s probably why I only had a handful of bites,” said Lester as the sun set on the first day of practice at the Toyota Bassmaster Texasfest on Lake Fork.
Lester is referring to the natural progression of summer’s warm lake surface water becoming colder and denser. Thus, it sinks to mix with the deeper water known as the hypolimnion until water temps are pretty much the same from top to bottom.
Unfortunately, this stirring of nature’s bass fishing soup bowl causes solids that have rested on the bottom all summer to suspend and lakes take on a coffee color.
“I’m not saying you can’t catch a bass in that sort of water, but I sure haven’t ever had great luck in it,” he says. “And today, most of the Glade Creek arm was coffee colored.”
Surface temps on Fork are currently 66 to 72 degrees, and Lester says he’s not concerned about the lack of bites during the first day of practice.
“The only thing I learned today is this tournament is going to make being in the right area of the lake really important. I don’t think you’re going to be able to figure out a pattern and run it successfully in all three major creeks arms. Instead, you’re going to have to figure out the best area,” he explains.
For Lester, that means avoiding water that might look appealing to Folgers or Starbucks.
This is not going to be the 114 pounds of bass in 4-days of competition slugfest we saw Brandon Cobb win last May during the post spawn, but this is still Lake Fork, and Lester thinks it will take at least 20-pounds a day to win.
“Everybody knows the last three Bassmaster Elites this fall at Guntersville, Santee and Chickmauga were way tougher than normal, and that will be the case here too. But we’re later into fall now, and there’s still a ton of 4 to 9-pound fish swimming here,” concludes Lester.