Chad Pipkens with a Lake Fork giant 8 lbs 11 oz largemouth bass caught during the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.
Chad Pipkens with a Lake Fork giant 8 lbs 11 oz largemouth bass caught during the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.

Having been to Lake Fork three previous times, I start to notice many patterns with how the fish act and where they show up. This time was no different. It kind of reminds me of smallmouth fishing for overgrown smallmouth that show up and move around a lot! Ha ha!

During practice I noticed fish were in multiple stages. They were obviously starting to get out on points and timber flats, and there was still a handful of fish that were up shallow as well. One thing that was different this year is that the shad spawn fish did not seem to show up for me anywhere. And another thing was that the fish I was catching on a jerkbait I believe were late spawners or fry guarders that we’re actually going away as well.

This was one of the first times at Lake Fork that I actually started on some timber flats fishing isolated trees where I had a pile of bites the last evening of practice! Unfortunately, the wind had blown this out. It was basically nonexistent! So, on to the next deal! I was able to get my jerkbait going a little bit each day. Unfortunately, it was less and less each day. I was able to catch one 4-5 pound bass each day with a couple other small ones. After snatching up what I could with this, I began running and gunning the timber flats, and places that they show up in the afternoon.

Lake Fork can be feast or famine. The first day I got one group of fish fired up, but after catching the first 4 1/2 pound bass I buried a treble hook deep in my finger. Looking back I should have fished another 10 to 15 minutes and then got the hook out. Maybe I would’ve caught a couple big ones. Once I finally got the hook out I had a couple more bites, but it was basically done. These small bite windows are the ones you don’t want to miss when you’re at Lake Fork!

After catching that 19 pound bag the first day, it seemed that my second day was a bit slower to start! The jerkbait fish were leaving and I only had about 12 pounds around 1:30 because I had rushed things, and been to the wrong places at the wrong times. This all changed when my timing got right in the afternoon!

Rolling up to an area that I had already fished that day with zero success I could tell that the bait was starting to set up. It was getting ready to bust loose right in front of me! I quickly caught a fish almost 4 pounds on the DC 300, and then had something pull off that was absolutely giant. A couple casts later I caught two or three more bass and then I caught a giant 8 lbs. 11 oz. beast! I continued to catch them here. Had another one that was over 6 pounds and had one miss mine that was close to 7 pounds as well! In the matter of 30 or 40 minutes I had totaled up under 28 pounds! These are the flurries that can happen at Lake Fork!

Day three I was able to snatch another fish over 6 pounds in the same area mid-morning. The flurry almost happened but I just ran out of time! I caught two of my best fish the last 20 or 30 minutes of the day, and saw two or three giants in the last couple minutes, but I had to leave before I was late to weigh-in! Either way I smashed up another 19 pounds and a solid 19th Place finish!