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Lake Fork fishing is easily one of the more spectacular events for anglers from around the world with trophy bass the target for most and many hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money and equipment at stake.
The lake holds the state record in a variety of fish from sun fish to the 18-plus pound largemouth bass caught several years ago.
One can find a sprinkling of license plates from Illinois, Michigan, Colorado and beyond in the parking lot during any number of tournaments, from McDonald's Big Bass Splash to one of the newer tournaments, The Legend of Lake Fork, which is held the third weekend in May.
The early morning fog hid from view the distant tree line as anglers set out on the calm water, passing the herons that guarded the entrance to the Lake Fork Marina or fished along the shallows near the bank.
Soon some of the boats would be back, in hopes of winning some of the hourly prize money afforded to those skilled enough to find and catch the first bass of the three day event.
In the meantime the herons were having success of their own. Their choice of fish, not being limited to type or size, they dined. They stabbed the unlucky fish that happened to be feeding along the shoreline with a saber-like thrust of their beak, turned and shook the fish onto the grass.
The fish were then picked up, flipped quickly in the air to turn them head first and down the throat they disappeared, with only a slight and momentary bulge in the neck to provide evidence there had been a fish in site moments before.
The fact boaters were coming and going just yards away never caused the large and graceful herons to even pause.
The 950 entries in the tournament were competing for more than a quarter of a million dollars in money and prizes.
Weeks later in another section of the lake, children were being introduced to the joys of fishing by participating in a fishing tournament for kids. It's an annual event sponsored by the Wood County Sheriff's Department, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and local civic groups and sponsors.
Participants, with their parents and grandparents, began arriving shortly after sunup and before the "official" 8 a.m. start.
Most, like Logan Cortez, fish from the shoreline and he quickly caught two catfish that weighed in at just under four pounds and Mitchell Walker, fishing from a pontoon boat caught a 7.67 pound bass that he proudly showed off to the crowd before returning it to the lake.
Much to the delight of the many volunteers, not all the young anglers enjoy removing their catch from their hooks or even having their photo taken holding the fish and that's where mom or dad or a grandparent come in handy.
The end of the "competition" comes when free hotdogs are provided to all those attending and prizes are awarded to the largest fish in a variety of categories.
Children appear from a wide area, often with families planning a vacation to East Texas to coincide with the tournament.
The two events we photographed are simply examples of what the lake has to offer to individuals and families seeking their sporting adventure. Pick a weekend, just about any weekend, and you'll find a tournament at Lake Fork... even a fly fishing tournament for bass.
For more information about the lake and the opportunities in the area start by going to the Wood County Industrial Commission link on our pages, if they don't have what you are seeking, one of their links will more than likely find your area of interest.