Having ended a five-match winless run with victory over Wolves in midweek, Eddie Howe's men arrived at Craven Cottage knowing a win would lift them to the summit, above Middlesbrough on goal difference.
And Bournemouth certainly capitalised on being the first of the promotion-chasers in action this weekend, romping to triumph courtesy of braces from Brett Pitman and Matt Ritchie, added to by a fine late finish from Steve Cook.
Fulham's cause was not helped by the 69th-minute dismissal of Fernando Amorebieta, although the hosts were 3-1 down by that stage.
Pitman converted a Marc Pugh cross to put Bournemouth ahead in the 29th minute and Ritchie soon made it two with a low shot that took a deflection off Nikolay Bodurov to wrong-foot Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.
A superb solo goal from Pitman, which saw the striker run half the length of the field before finishing with aplomb, made it 3-0 in the 61st minute.
Matt Smith pulled one back for Fulham, but Amorebieta then saw red for bringing down Callum Wilson and Ritchie was on target from the resulting free-kick.
Cook rounded off an excellent evening for his side with an eye-catching strike into the top-left corner, as Bournemouth laid down a marker ahead of their rivals' matches on Saturday.
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