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January Bassin'

lake fork guide John TannerArticle: January, 2002
Another year has come and gone. I look forward to the new year and what it has to bring us here at Lake Fork. But first lets reflect on last years fishing a little bit. 2001 one was a great year for Lake Fork. We were fortunate enough to have good water levels all year long with plenty of rain. This played a big part in how good the fishing was this last year. The grass beds have come back strong as a result of the full lake and man has this been good for the fishing. Back in the spring the lake was full as well and the fish had plenty of flooded cover to spawn in and around. I can't remember when I have seen such a good spawn. This was so much better than a couple of years ago when during the spawn, the lake was low and many fish spawned in harder to reach deeper areas. That year the grass also took a hit as it lay on the dry bank and withered away. But that was then and this is now. The lake has been full since last Jan. and the vegetation has taken off with leaps and bounds as has the fishing. Much like last year I expect this year to be another great one. Well, lets talk about January bassin. Many people have there rods put away until March or April but I tell ya January produces plenty of Monster bass. With the grass so plentiful and the good water level the Big bass will be in the grass. You can catch these Hogs on a variety of lures. Lipless crank baits, Spinner baits, Jerk baits, Flipping tubes and Jigs will all catch there share of fish in January. Look for fish on secondary points at the mouths of spawning coves, yes I said spawning coves. These areas will start to load up with fish as the month rolls along. A creek channel nearby is a plus. Another good area for these January Hogs is the creek channel itself. The last bend or two towards the back of the creek arm will also start to load up with bass as they begin the annual spring migration towards the staging areas close to the  spawning grounds. Look for protected areas both from the north winds that come with the cold fronts and also from run off that may come with a heavy rain. Also find areas that catch the sun most of the day. This will hold bait fish thus holding the big bass . Hit the grassy points and flats with lipless crankbaits in red and chartreuse or even crawfish colors. Use the ripping technique. Cast across the point and begin your retrieve let the bait barely tick the top of the grass and as it begins to get tangled rip or pop it up and out and keep reeling. This will cause a deflection and will trigger many strikes. You can do the same with a 1/2 ounce spinner bait. If there is any wood present dont pass it up make contact with it as well and hang on! Now you need to proper rod and reel to due this technique without wearing yourself out. This can be a lot of work without the right set up. Get your self a 7 ft. medium action Falcon Rod "Cara Series" and high speed reel such as a "Calais" by Shimano. This will do the job. On those days when the bass are a little picky and won't hit the swimming baits go to the Texas rig or the Jig. On the Texas Rig go with the Lake Fork Tackle " Craw Tube" or the new "Creature ". Crawfish or black neon are good colors as well as watermelon or green pumpkin. As for the Jig I use the new " Mega Weight Jig" by Lake Fork Tackle with the OLE trusty Pig Claw for a trailer. This Jig is Awesome! The head is made out of the same material as the world famous "Mega Weight" so it is smaller and more weedless and it also has a specially designed hook for better hook sets. Use these baits on the grass edges and along the channel bends and flip the heavy cover. Heavy line is a must in this situation. As the saying goes "you can't catch a elephant with a mouse trap". Some areas of the lake will be on a different schedule than others. The creeks on the main lake will be a little behind those in the northern end. In these areas on the main lake check your deeper channel swings from the mouth of the creek towards the mid section. Use your electronics and look these areas over. If you don't have a good graph on your boat and are looking for one take a look at the new X-15 by Lowrance. It is by far the best unit on the market. Once you find a school of fish in an area like this chances are there will be some huge pre-spawn females in the pack. These fish will bite a slow moving Carolina rigged Top Dog Lizard or Ring Fry. The Tail kicker type baits will also catch em. Do not be scared to drag a big crank bait or spinner bait through the area. Use the Strike King Pro Model #6 crank bait or the 3/4 ounce double willow spinner bait. White and Chartreuse are standard colors for this time of year. January fishing can be very rewarding. I have many customers that have caught the biggest bass of there life in Jan and Feb.

Good Fishin and God Bless,
John Tanner

Fishing Tip by  Lake Fork Guide John Tanner


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