December is a great month to catch spotted bass in Mississippi. Cool and often unpredictable weather means spotted bass will be the most-dependable fish you can catch now.

Bay Springs Lake, just below Pickwick Lake and close to Corinth, is the No. 1 spotted bass lake in Mississippi. The lake holds big spotted bass, and at this time of year, it receives very little fishing pressure.

Locals primarily fish Bay Springs, because most bass fishermen in Mississippi and surrounding states have little or no knowledge of this lake. Bay Springs connects the Tennessee River to the Tenn-Tom Waterway. It may be the clearest lake on the entire Tenn-Tom Waterway, and it's relatively deep without much structure in it.

Crankbaits

Like any other spotted bass lake, Bay Spring's main-lake points will be your No. 1 target. One of the best techniques for catching spotted bass off these points will be using deep-diving crankbaits.

My favorite lures for this lake in December are Mann's 20+ and 15+ crankbaits in the fire tiger and the grey ghost colors. I'll be fishing these on 10-pound-test Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon line, using a slow to a medium retrieve. Occasionally, I'll rip the bait.

Spotted bass react well to crankbaits with very erratic actions. So during one retrieve, I'll rip the bait two or three times, make four or five turns with my reel and then start my slow retrieve again. The spotted bass usually will take the crankbait when the lure stops, after you rip the bait.

You'll catch plenty of 2- to 4-pound spots using this tactic, and you may get hold of a 5- or 6-pounder, which is a really nice-sized spotted bass. That's the reason I like to fish this lake in December.

Jigs

I'll also fish these points at Bay Springs with a Mann's 1/2-ounce Stone Jig in the green-pumpkin color with a Mann's HardNose Crawfish trailer. Also, I'll fish these jigs around the barge tie-ups close to the dam and around the locks. You'll probably catch a fairly good mix in this area of both largemouth and spotted bass.

Locks, dams and barge tie-ups are always productive places for spots in December, and on Bay Springs, this is a well-established pattern.

I fish the jig with a slow retrieve, hop it along the bottom, and then let it fall back almost on a slack line. The bass usually will take the bait when it's falling, after I've hopped it.

Although you'll catch some largemouths, the majority of the fish you'll take at Bay Springs will be spotted bass. The spotted bass are usually the best-biting bass any time the water's cold, or a region has severe weather changes, which is why I fish Bay Springs in December.

When I go bass fishing, I want to catch bass. If the largemouth are in a sultry mood and don't want to bite, I'll fish for spotted bass.

Drop-shotting

At this time of year, anglers also can use the drop-shot tactic to catch spotted bass. I'll put a 1/4-ounce lead on the bottom of my line. Then about 10 or 12 inches up the line, I use a No. 1/0 Gamakatsu Drop Shot Hook.

I fish the drop shot two ways. I'll either rig my worm wacky style, or I'll nose hook a Mann's HardNose Finesse Worm. Of the two rigs, rigging the worm wacky style is generally the more productive.

I'll fish this rig on the same main-lake points where I've been fishing the jig and the crankbait. I'll also fish it around barge tie-ups and locks. When I'm fishing this tactic, I'll be using 6-pound-test fluorocarbon line with a green-pumpkin finesse worm. I get more bites on this lake using 6-pound-test line for my drop-shot rig than if I fish with heavier line.

Remember that Bay Springs is an extremely deep and clear lake. Any time you're fishing a clear lake, you'll usually catch more fish on lighter line. Also, there's not much structure in this lake for the bass to get around and break your line.

During December, I expect to catch 10 to 12 bass in a day that will weigh anywhere from 2 to 5 pounds each - great bass fishing at any time of the year.