Weather changing but weights won’t at Lake Fork

YANTIS, Texas — Suddenly a cold snap is sweeping through Texas. Temperatures were in the 40s and a brisk north wind blew across Lake Fork during the final day of practice Wednesday. It’s expected to remain in the 40s when the four-day AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork begins Thursday. But that hasn’t changed the bass fishing forecast.

“It’s going to take over a hundred pounds to win,” said Brandon Palaniuk. “I’ve had good days (of practice) and bad. I had 34 pounds (Tuesday) and one over 11.”

It was an 11.34-pounder, to be exact, and it came on a jerkbait. Palaniuk said it is the biggest he has ever caught in a B.A.S.S. tournament or practice. (His personal best is a 12-4 at Lake Austin.)

“I think fish will be caught a lot of different ways, from spawning fish to 45 feet of water,” said Palaniuk, who finished second with 102-2 in May 2022. “It’s not fishing like any other time we’ve been here.”

In the Elite Series four previous tournaments at Lake Fork, it has always taken over 100 pounds to win. But is the first time the Elite Series has been here in late February.

“It has definitely changed the bite,” said Patrick Walters about the weather change. “They’re not really feeding too hard. It ain’t easy.”

A warming trend is predicted Friday through Sunday, with temperatures expected to reach the upper 70s Saturday and Sunday.

“It’ll be a completely different lake from Thursday through Sunday,” said Walters, who won here in the Covid year, when the tournament was moved to November 2020, and finished second to Lee Livesay in April 2021. “I was thinking shallow cranking would be the deal before this. But I think it will be more of a junk fishing tournament because of the changing weather.

“It’s hard to be consistent. They may bite different every day.”

Drew Cook has finished as high as 6th on Lake Fork in 2019. He likes this lake particularly because of how shallow the bass will get.

“Absolutely, these fish love to get shallow, super shallow, like in two feet of water,” Cook said.

But there’s another factor in the 27,000-acre lake managed as a trophy bass fishery that makes them not so easy to catch.

“These are the best educated bass in the world,” Cook said. “They don’t get any days off either.”