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February Pre-Spawn

lake fork guide John TannerArticle: February, 2001
Greetings from the land of the giants. Lake Fork Giant Bass that is. What a month to be pursuing a giant bass from these fertile waters of the top Big Bass lake in the country. February is the time when many of these freaks of nature are caught and many peoples dreams are fulfilled. Just think, these big sows have been sitting around all winter long getting bigger and heavier by the week, just waiting for the month of February to roll around so they can start heading to shallower water to work some of those extra pounds. These big Mamas will be full of eggs and turbo charged. In other words these fish will be at their heaviest body weight of the year. Take advantage of the situation and come to Lake Fork and catch some of these over weight chunks. The term pre - spawn is a welcomed sound to anglers whom have been probing the deep waters of Lake Fork throughout the winter looking for the big ones. During pre - spawn the big ones begin to set up in shallower areas with quick access to spawning destinations. This could be a secondary point in the back of a spawning flat or a drain or a ditch running towards the flat. Channel bends leading into spawning areas are good as well or just any type of holding areas closest to good spawning grounds will be key. Most areas like these will hold fish this month because mother nature tells these fish to go there in preparation for the spawning season. The fish will feed in these areas until the bell rings and calls them to the bedding areas for the actual spawning ritual. There is one other thing that has me and many other people around Lake Fork just as happy as the pre - spawn and that is the lake level this year. We have had a wet winter and the lake is at normal pool going into the spring unlike last year when we had heavy drought conditions leaving the lake very low. This eliminated many of the shallow spawning flats forcing the major percentage of the bass to relate to much deeper areas while spawning. If you weren't fishing timber in a little deeper water last year you wouldn't catch those spawners. This year is a different story!! All of the flats are flooded and the grasses which grew up in these areas is flooded as well making for some awesome fishing. The hydrilla beds have good water over them making it perfect for the bass to locate themselves. Last month we were already catching some early arrivals in these shallow areas around the flooded grass beds. By the way a 14.29 has already been taken in by the share a lunker program which was caught last month. In February many techniques will catch fish. Lipless crankbaits such as the Diamond Shad by Strike King in chrome or crawfish imataions is a killer when fishing along the grass beds. Retreive this bait just fast enough to run across the top and down the edges of the grass ripping it free as it tangles in the grass will trigger some awesome strikes. A Magic Shad by Lake Fork Tackle rigged weightless on a 5/0 Owner offset hook is another Big Bass magnet this month. Twitch it along over the grass letting it fall beside any wood or on the edges of the hydrilla and let it set for about a 10 count. When your line starts to move off you know what to do! Texas rigged lizards and Jigs are good ones to keep handy for this month as well. I use the Top Dog lizard by Lake Fork Tackle. Watermelon or green pumpkin are standard colors. At the recent B.A.S.S. Top 150 in Florida last month this lizard was used to catch the winning stringer which by the way was a record weight of over 100 pounds in 4 days of competition with the first days catch of 5 bass weighing 45 POUNDS! They work. These lizards are great on a Carolina rig as well . The Strike King Pro Model Jig with a Pig Claw for a trailer get the go ahead in my boat for the jig fishing. The 3/8 or 1/2 ounce Texas Craw color with a Watermelon/Chart. pinchers is the ticket. Fish the lizard or the jig along laydowns, stumps, grass lines or subtle drop offs close to spawning areas and you will get your string stretched. Lets not forget about the spinnerbait either. A big Strike King spinnerbait in red or chartruese/white with tandem willows can be as good a lure as it gets under certain conditions. Get your equipment in top shape, re-spool your Shimano reels and come to Lake Fork and get in on the action.
Good Fishin and God Bless,
John Tanner

Fishing Tip by  Lake Fork Guide John Tanner

John Tanner is a full time professional guide and touring angler. He has been fishing Lake Fork since 1982.


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