This month I'll be fishing Lake Claude Bennett, a 71-acre state lake a few miles north of Paulding, south of I-20 and just west of I-59.

When I fish for bass, I prefer to catch as many big bass as I can. To catch numbers of big bass, I need to eliminate as much water as possible before I arrive at a lake.

This month, both the air and water temperatures will be dropping, so there will be fewer places with warmer water where bass like to concentrate. Since this lake doesn't have much deep water, to reach their comfort zone, the bass either will be near the dam or in the grass.

Along portions of the dam, you'll find standing timber. I'll be fishing around the standing timber, blow downs and any type of cover I can locate in deep water. The deepest water in this lake is only 16 to 18 feet, and the majority of the bass will move to the deep water near the dam.

Since I've eliminated a large portion of the lake, I now can concentrate my fishing down near the dam if the weather's cold.

December equipment, patterns

I'll be fishing a 1/2-ounce black/blue Mann's Stone Jig with a black/blue Mann's HardNose Craw as a trailer on 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line on a 6.3:1 gear-ratio reel and a medium-heavy 7-foot, 4-inch Quantum rod during December. I'll be fishing shallow water.

Rarely does the weather stay cold throughout the month of December, so on cold weeks, I'll be fishing down by the dam. However, when the water warms up, and one of those weird winter warm fronts moves through, the bass often will swim to shallow wood like blowdowns, stumps and logs.

You'll find three shallow pockets on the lake with timber where the bass most likely will be holding.

Also this month, I'll be fishing alligator grass, also in these three shallow pockets along with the timber. Remember that when warm fronts come through, the shallow water heats up first. Then the alligator grass will catch and hold the heat from the sun, which often will cause the bass to move up into the alligator grass.

If the bass are in the grass, I'll be fishing a Mann's Super Frog or flipping the grass with either a Mann's HardNose Craw or a 1/2-ounce jig with a HardNose Craw as a trailer on 30-pound-test Berkley Trilene line and a 7-foot Dean Rojas Signature Series Quantum Tour Edition PT Rod.

If our area has warm fronts, I'll be flipping the grass with a HardNose Craw and a HardNose Stone Jig with a trailer - the same jig-and-crawfish combo I'll fish down by the dam if the bass are concentrated there.

Also, the bass will be in that shallow grass, because the primary forage in the lake is bluegills. When the weather warms up and the water in the grass warms up, the bluegill will swim up in this grass to feed.

Another secret pattern I'll use on this lake is to identify the invisible clumps of grass that grow off the bottom of Lake Claude Bennett but never reach the surface.

When I locate these clumps, I'll use a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait with a double willowleaf blade - a silver front blade and a gold back blade. I'll slow-roll these blades through, around and beside those clumps of grass.

Most of the time on Lake Claude Bennett, I'll be fishing a solid-white spinnerbait on 20-pound-test Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon line with a 6-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy Kevin VanDam Signature Series Quantum PT Tour Edition Rod and a 6.3:1 gear-ratio Quantum PT reel.

In a day of December fishing, using these patterns, I expect to catch 12 to 15 bass weighing from 2 to 5 pounds each, with a small chance of catching a larger bass at this time of year. Lake Claude Bennett is an old lake that holds quality, healthy bass.

Since this is December, most people are at home watching football or in the woods hunting instead of on the water. You'll probably have the lake to yourself. During this time of year, I prefer to fish small bodies of water because you can learn where the bass are, and what they're doing much more easily than you can on major reservoirs.

Generally small lakes have very little deep water. So during the cold months, the bass have to be holding in deep water. Also, if there are shallow pockets coming off the side of the main lake, on warmer days, the bass will be pulling out of deep water and moving into that shallow water to feed on the vegetation. Therefore, locating the bass and learning how to catch them is easier on these small lakes.

Another advantage to fishing small lakes in December is you don't have to fish all day. Depending on the temperature and the covering structure in the lake, you can find the fish quickly, fish for half a day and then either hunt in the afternoon, watch a football game or spend time with your family.

Mississippi is blessed with a large number of small lakes, and at this time of year, these types of lakes are the ones I target for my bass fishing.