We had a really good year here on Lake Fork in 2016, and I'm really excited about what's coming in 2017.
My new 2017 Ranger Z521C is in the process of being rigged at Diamond Sports Marine, and I will be picking it very soon to start the breaking in process. If any of you guys are looking for a new Ranger bass boat, give Fred at DSM a call. Those guys will take great care of you like they do me.
This year, I have teamed up with Garmin, and I will be using Garmin for all of my marine electronics needs. I have had the opportunity to experiment with some of their units, and I am very excited to begin getting them set up like I want them in my new Ranger boat.
One of the technololgies that sets Garmin apart from the others is called Panoptix. According to Garmin, "Panoptix™ all-seeing sonar is the most unique and innovative sonar on the water. Available exclusively from Garmin, it gives you the ability to see fish swimming, see your lure, even see fish attack your lure — and see it all live and in real time. It even shows you 3-D images of fish and structure around your boat." I've seen it in live action, and it is a game changer!!!
Garmin also makes some really cool action cameras like the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 that link up with my Garmin units, so I will be bringing you some footage from time to time of our catches and also some helpful tips. Be sure and look for that in 2017.
The fishing on Lake Fork this past week was very good. I don't remember ever catching the numbers of fish in December that we caught this week. The highlight of the week came first thing Thursday morning when we caught a 10-04 within the first few minutes of the trip.
The water temps started at 53 degrees on Monday, rose to 60 by the end of the day on Tuesday, and fell back to 53 by Friday morning. The water level on Lake Fork is sitting at 400.4' at the time of this writing. Normal pool is 403.0', so we are about 3 ft low as we move into the new year.
Friday was easily our toughest day as we were only able to boat 8 fish in a 7 hour trip. Thursday was our best day for size and numbers and we finished with 21. We had 17 by lunchtime that day, which is incredible for December.
My top producing bait for the week was a 1/2 oz Strike King Red Eyed Shad. Red was the only color we threw, which is not unusual on Lake Fork during the winter months.
We also threw a white vibrating jig with a Lake Fork Trophy Lures Live Magic Shad as a trailer. This is big player for us for much of the year, and the Live Magic Shad is a "must have" for me. In the cold months, I use the 4.5" Live Magic Shad, and when the water warms up, I will switch to the 3.5". I like the bigger, bulkier profile that the 4.5" LMS gives me, and it will produce some of our biggest bites of the year.
Overall, 2016 was a good year. The water level stayed high enough this spring to keep water in the bushes. This gave the bass fry plenty of cover to hide in and around, and made for a very successful spawn. As a result, our numbers are up from a couple of years ago, and the future is bright for Lake Fork!!!
The local power plant lakes (Lake Monticello and Lake Welsh) are also producing really well, so that gives us another option if the water on Lake Fork gets too cold. If you would like to come out to east Texas to get in on some of the action, I'd love to have you. Just shoot me an email, or give me a call or text, and we get something on the books.
Happy New Year everyone!