Fishing & Boating News

March Madness Begins on Lake Fork

by: Larry D. Hodge,

Ross Allcorn of Burleson, Texas, caught this 13.41-pound Lake Fork Lunker March 2.
Photo by courtesy of TPWD Staff
(Mar. 03, 2004 - Athens, TX) Ross Allcorn of Burleson, Texas, became the latest angler to prove that March is big bass month on Lake Fork when he caught Budweiser ShareLunker No. 7 on Tuesday, March 2. Allcorn was fishing on the edge of a creek channel in eight feet of water with a 3/8-oz. black/blue Realistic jig. At 11 a.m., a 13.41-bass measuring 25.75 inches long and 20.75 inches around took the bait. Allcorn donated the fish to the Budweiser ShareLunker program. A study conducted by TPWD biologist Randy Myers shows that 44 percent of the fish entered into the Budweiser ShareLunker program were caught in March. "What happens is the water starts to warm up, and fish are naturally seeking the warm water," says Lake Fork guide Richard McCarty, who has donated three fish to the program. "They have to get into warm water so the eggs they are carrying will mature enough to spawn, and as they migrate to the shallows, they get into a zone where we can catch them." McCarty says the move starts soon after the first of the year, but the bigger fish come to the shallows later, with the peak coming in March. Myers also analyzed the baits most often taken by big bass. Soft plastics caught 37 percent of the fish in January, 50 percent in March, and 72 percent in April. "I think that a really big fish is less aggressive by nature, or more wary, or a combination of the two," says McCarty. "When we fish a fast-moving lure, it makes more noise, we make more noise, and so does the boat. We alert that big fish and take ourselves out of the game. A slow-moving bait does not make a lot of noise, and you don't move a lot using it. Plus a slow-moving bait will penetrate that fish's strike zone. You may not have to do anything different, just do it quieter. That's probably why soft plastics work better on big bass." Anyone legally catching a largemouth bass in Texas that weighs 13 pounds or more may enter it into the Budweiser ShareLunker program by contacting program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600. A TPWD employee will pick up the fish and transport it to Athens. Anglers receive a jacket, recognition at a banquet, and a fiberglass replica of their trophy from Lake Fork Taxidermy. Fish may be donated to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or returned to the angler after the spawning season. Fingerlings from ShareLunkers are being used in a selective breeding program, plus many are also stocked into Texas public waters.