Well, Saturday is the first day of fall and Friday is the first day of the Big Bass Splash on Lake Fork.
The weather has changed back into summer conditions with temperatures in the high to mid 90s. However, with rain in the forecast for the weekend, conditions on our area lakes will again change.
Right now I’m seeing bass chasing shad on the surface on Fork and if you’re in the right spot, this action could get you an hourly check at the tournament.
I’m not sure how the rain will affect the surface feeding, but I’ve seen times when the rain drove some fish to move to shallow water. Baits that can provide a little noise like a Whopper Plopper or a buzzbait can work on these shallow fish even in the rain.
This is true on all our area lakes this weekend, but with changes happening with the weather and the fall movements, several baits need to be rigged and ready. Baits like topwaters, bladed jigs, squarebills, lipless cranks and your soft plastics — have them ready.
With most of these baits you can cover a lot of water pretty fast, and by doing this, you improve your odds of catching numbers of fish. Also, by covering the water, you just might run into some surface action and you’ll catch even more.
Keep an eye out for fish-eating birds — they will tell you if shad are present and if they are, you can bet the bass are close by. Also, you should check the size of the shad because this will give you a clue as to the size of the lure you should have tied on — and sometimes if you go to a larger bait, you might have a chance at that Big Bass.
If you go to the size of the shad with your bait, make sure it has larger size hooks because that lunker just might decide to eat it.
This weekend, whatever lake you are on, be prepared not only for the fishing, but make sure you are prepared for foul weather. The important thing is for you to be comfortable, dry, and safe. Improve your odds by fishing smart and let the fish tell you what they want.
Bob Sandlin: Water lightly stained; 81–84 degrees; 1.28’ low. Black bass are good on Texas rigged creature baits, hollow body frogs and topwater baits. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. White bass are good on minnows. Catfish are good on trotlines and cut shad.
Bonham: Water lightly stained; 79–82 degrees; 2.21’ low. Black bass are good on crankbaits, topwaters, and Texas rigged craws. Crappie are fair on brush piles on minnows. Catfish are fair on rod and reel.
Cooper: Water stained; 81–88 degrees; 4.12’ low. Black bass are fair on black buzzbaits, weightless Senkos and Texas rigged craws. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Hybrid striper and white bass are good on slabs.
Fork: Water lightly stained; 81–84 degrees; 2.32’ low. Black bass are fair on Carolina rigged creature baits, football jigs and deep diving crankbaits. White and yellow bass are good on slabs. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs on brush piles. Catfish are fair on trotlines.
Monticello: Water stained; 82–85 degrees; 3.94’ low. Black bass are fair on soft plastic swimbaits, Texas rigged craws and weightless Senkos. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Catfish are fair on trotlines.
Hugo: Elevation normal, water 84 and murky. Blue, channel and flathead catfish fair on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, live bait and shad below the dam, along channels, creek channels, main lake and river channel. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs below the dam, around brush structure, main lake and river channel.
Lower Mountain Fork: Elevation normal, water clear. Trout good on caddis flies, small lures, tube jigs and worms below the dam, along creek channels and spillway.
McGee Creek: Elevation normal, water 82. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, sassy shad and spinnerbaits in coves, along dam and points.
Pine Creek: Elevation normal, water clear. Largemouth bass excellent on Alabama rigs, jerk baits and topwater lures in coves, along creek channels, main lake and shallows. Crappie good on jigs around brush structure. Channel catfish fair on cut bait, hotdogs and worms in the main lake.
Texoma: Water lightly stained; 79–82 degrees; 0.78’ low. Black bass are slow on shakyhead worms, topwaters and squarebill crankbaits. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Striped bass are good on slabs and topwaters. Catfish are fair on trotlines.
Fish smart, be safe, and I’ll see you on the lake.
Jim Blassingame is a Paris resident and an avid angler.