Hook, Line & Sinker: December’s Cold Weather Bite

The temperature has dropped and winter is slowly setting in. This is the time of year that most fishermen start winterizing their boats and hanging up their rods and reels. For the next few months, most fishermen will start hibernating, waiting for spring before they hit the lake again. For these folks, every Saturday and Sunday morning will consist of getting up early and watching every fishing show on the air. Those who have DVR will save every minute to watch over and over again.

Well, I am here to inform you that December does not have to be the first month of hibernation.

Whether you are a bass or crappie angler, December is still a great month for fishing. During December, bass and crappie will migrate into deeper water from their November locations. If you desire to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, your lure of choice is going to be a jig-n-pig combination. Jig fishing is a perfect lure for cooler water temperatures because the majority of bass are starting to slow down their feeding. Instead of feeding for long periods of time like they had been in November, now they will choose to feed less often, but on larger baits.

I recommend using natural color baits such as color patterns with brown, orange, green and red. Try using these baits on main channel bluff walls, especially on channel bends that transition to flats. These deep areas close to shallow water offer the opportunity for bass to follow bait to the flats if need be. I like to start in the middle of a bluff wall and work towards the flat to determine where they are concentrating. After thoroughly fishing one bluff wall, move to another. Also, do not be afraid to try different color combinations and different size jigs.

If you are more of a crappie man, I have found the most success using live minnows in brush piles and standing timber in depths starting at 15′ and as deep as 40′. A great way to locate these areas is to purchase a good map that has not only contour depth lines but also structure markings. If your lake is like mine, not all structure marks that are on your map will be present in your lake. Over time, some of the standing timber and other wood structures will rot away, so you will need to idle over these areas to see if they are still there. Once you have located structure, you need to determine at what depth the crappie are concentrating. To do this, set out multiple rods with bait at different depths. Try sending one to the bottom, one 10 feet off the bottom and so on. Whichever rod begins receiving bites, set your other rods to that depth. Along with minnows, try jigs with tube baits to see if they are interested. I like to use yellow, blue and red color patterns, but I am not a big color advocate. Over the years, I have found that if you are fishing in a school of fish that are feeding, color does not seem to be very important.

Although December can be a cold month and it can feel like a waste of time putting on layers of clothes to go fishing, take it from me, December can be a great month to go fishing. One of the great things about fishing in December is that the fishermen have the lake to themselves. There are very few boats out making wake and stirring up the lake. So before you hang up your rods for the year, take a few of these pointers and give it a try. I believe that you will not be disappointed.

Tight lines and be safe.


About the Author

Brian Carper is a local fishing guide working Percy Priest and Old Hickory lakes. For any questions on fishing, contact him at (615) 278-6311 or brian@briancarper.com.

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