April on Lake Fork means spawning fish. After chasing moving baits like spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits for the past few months, bass lock into very small areas and soft plastics dominate this month. When bass first move up, they’ll chase down anything that invades their personal space. After a few days up shallow though, bass become wary and notoriously tough to catch. For these finicky fish, subtlety and a unique look are the differences between a big haul and a few dinks. Just in time, Lake Fork Trophy Lures introduced a number of new items to help you fool those leery lunkers this spring.
When bass first move up to spawn, big and gaudy is the way to go for these aggressive fish. The 6” and 9” Hyper Lizards have the classic profile that bass eat in the spring, plus the wildly vibrating tail moves a lot of water to entice big strikes. Large profile soft plastic jerkbaits with lots of action, like the Magic Shad, Live Magic Shad, Hyper Worms, and Zig Zag work well too on weightless Texas rigs. Classic shades of green with wild splashes of color are top producers, like watermelon/red flake, watermelon candy, watermelon chartreuse, or green pumpkin/green and purple flake.
After a few days, fishing pressure and the rigors of spawning take their toll on bass. They’ll still eat, but fish won’t work hard to do it. Now is the time to put a bait in front of a bass for a long time and use subtle movements to trigger strikes. First, I switch from larger baits to smaller profile ones. In addition, it’s time to put away the wild looking color schemes and go with more natural-looking plain watermelon, green pumpkin, or pumpkinseed. Finally, because fish have seen every lure on the planet by April, showing them something new often helps. This year, I’ll be feeding them a steady diet of the new Hyper Stick from Lake Fork Trophy Lures. The Hyper Stick has the body profile of the popular stick worms that have caught thousands of bass over the past 10 years. Unique to this bait are two flexible segments in the middle of the lure that give it “live action”, similar to the movements of Live Magic Shads and Hyper Finesse Worms. With just the slightest twitch of your rod, the whole Hyper Stick wiggles and shimmies, making it the liveliest stick worm on the market. By rigging it on a weighted Texas rig, weightless Texas rig, Carolina rig, split shot rig, wacky rig, or drop shot; you can fish the unique action of the Hyper Stick in 1’ to 30’ in anything from open water to the thickest brush piles. The Hyper Stick accounted for numerous 10 pounders this spring on Lake Falcon and is the hottest lure down there right now. As the bass start spawning on Lake Fork, expect similar results here in Northeast Texas.
As I outlined, there are numerous ways to rig the Hyper Stick, but wacky rigs often dominate around the spawn. Lake Fork Trophy Lures created a new system of ring weights to make wacky rigging a whole lot easier and more efficient for anglers. The Wacky Hook & Weight Systems come in 3 weights (1/16 oz, 1/8 oz, and 3/16 oz). In addition, they are available in 2 sizes. The small size fits on thinner worms, like Hyper Whack’n Worm, Baby Ring Frys, Twitch Worms, Finesse Worms, and Hyper Finesse Worms. For larger diameter worms like Zig Zags, Hyper Sticks, and Ring Frys, the large size fits perfectly. Simply slide your worm through the lead ring, and then push the hook point through one hole in the ring and out the other hole. The Wacky Hook & Weight System comes with the correct style hook for wacky rigging and fits perfectly in the weight’s holes. The small lead ring gives you just enough weight to cast the lure and by changing the size, you can make it fall precisely as needed for the wind and depth conditions you’re fishing. Even better, the ring securely holds wacky plastics on the hook, so no more backlashes when your worm flies off the hook on your cast.
Of course, long casts avoid spooking fish and results in more bites. Therefore, I rig my wacky worms on 12 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line. This tough line has the invisibility of fluorocarbon, yet it is way smoother so it’ll cast much better. For lighter baits, a 7’4” medium power Dobyns DX743 Champion Extreme spinning rod is my choice. For those who prefer baitcasters, the 7’ Dobyns DX702 baitcasting rod is specially designed for finesse applications and will cast even the lightest rigs. If I’m weightless Texas rigging soft plastic jerkbaits like the Hyper Stick, I power up to the medium heavy Dobyns 734C Champion rod. With some tip action, this 7’3” rod whips soft plastics way out there, yet it has enough backbone to put the hook through thick plastic and into a bass’ jaw.
It’s spring and there is no secret where the bass are right now. Try a few of these tricks and fool them before your buddies do. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at 214-683-9572 or e-mail me through my website, www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com.
Tom Redington is a full time bass guide on Lake Fork & a FLW Tour pro. He is sponsored by Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Dobyns Rods, Ranger Boats, Evinrude, Diamond Sports Marine, Lucky Craft, Costa Sunglasses, & Minn Kota.