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Texas Sportsman
Texas' Lunker Lake
When it comes to hotspots for catching huge bass, there's no doubt that Lake Fork heads the list. (April 2006)

Among Texas reservoirs, Lake Fork has a reputation verging on the legendary for producing super-sized largemouth bass. And much of that reputation has been earned during spring.

"April is without a doubt my favorite month to fish both for really big fish and big numbers," said full-time guide Jeff Kirkwood. "This is the time of year when things can get exciting out here on Lake Fork."

Anglers should start moving away from the north end of the 27,000-acre impoundment, focus on the upper reaches of the midlake area and follow the spawn southward, Kirkwood recommends.

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"This is prime time to catch bass on the beds," he said. "There are lots of fish in full-spawn mode this month, and for anglers that want to catch a really big fish, taking them on the beds is very exciting."

Kirkwood's first choice of baits for the bedding bass that he can see is a white- or tomato-seed-colored craw worm fished on a Texas rig. "The Texas rig is definitely the way to go," he asserted, "and if the bass won't hit white, they usually will hit the tomato seed and vice versa. I have a lot of good action on those colors."

According to Kirkwood, a fish is catchable nine out of 10 times if you see it on the bed; you just have to be patient -- and inventive. "There is as much an art to catching a fish off a bed as there is fishing jigs, throwing topwaters or any other method," he observed. "Probably the biggest mistake anglers make while bed-fishing is just throwing a lure in there and letting it sit. A lot of times people just figure because they throw a lure in the bed that the bass will hit it, no matter what, and that is not necessarily true. It's good to jiggle the worm a bit and, if at all possible, hit the fish with it.

"Sometimes they don't hit on the cast, but if you can touch that fish while moving it through, there is a very good chance you'll get that particular fish." (Continued)

Many times a savvy angler can tell if a visibly bedding fish will be catchable. "If you pull up to that fish, and it is committed to the bed and has no plans of leaving -- that is a fish you can definitely catch," Kirkwood said.

If a worm doesn't get the bedding bass, Kirkwood switches to a Lockhart spinner in chartreuse/white and chartreuse/blue. "Those are two colors a lot of people on Fork do not fish this time of year," he noted. "Therefore, the bass are not as wary to it, and more likely to hit."

Not all bedding bass will be visible; in fact, the largest ones will be out deeper. Throwing spinners in 4 to 6 feet of water is a smart way of locating these fish and getting the attention of other bass not yet in the spawning mood. "Our spawn will begin in late February and continue at some level into the summer," Kirkwood said. "The peak fishing is in April, but you will find some fish spawning into July."

April's an apt time for fishing topwaters, like the locally popular Scum Frog, and buzzbaits. Frogs in particular are very popular at Fork -- more so, probably, than at any other Texas reservoir. And, according to Kirkwood, for good reason: "I have caught five fish over 10 pounds and two over 12 on frogs, so they are a mainstay in my repertoire and also are with many other anglers here.

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