The bass at Bay Springs Lake near Booneville can be found in many places during December, which is a transition month. The weather and water temperatures will be your best indicator of where to find the bass.
If the water temperature is below 50 degrees, bass usually will be on a deep pattern. In water above 50 degrees, the bass generally will be on topwater or shallow-water patterns.
On the casting deck of my boat, I’ll have 10 rods with 10 different lures to establish a pattern.
Bay Springs has largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, with anglers catching some very big spotted bass in December.
Bet on the concrete
I’ll start out fishing the concrete walls of the lock and the dam. Concrete attracts heat from the sun and disperses that heat into the water.
Bass tend to suspend on, around, above and beside vertical cover; baitfish will be feeding along the edges of the concrete in the warmer water, and the bass will suspend below the baitfish.
I’ll start off with a suspending jerkbait that will hold 5 to 7 feet deep. I’ll cast the jerkbait out, crank it down and let it suspend beside the walls.
With water temperature in the 50s, I might stop the bait and let it suspend for a two or a three count.
If the water temperature’s in the 40s, I’ll stop the bait, allow it to sit motionless and count to 10 before I move it again. If the bass attacks when the bait’s sitting still, you’ll often see the line jump or feel a light peck on the line.
I like a black-back, silver-side or a shad-patterned jerkbait on a 6 to 8-foot leader of 8-pound-test flourocarbon and 14-pound-test Berkley braided main line.
I’ll be using a Pinnacle spinning reel with a 7-foot, 2-inch medium-action Pinnacle spinning rod to make long casts.
If I’m not getting the number of strikes I think I should with the jerkbait, I’ll fish a walking bait like the Zara Spook. I’ll fish these lures on 15-pound-test Berkley 100 Percent Flourocarbon with a medium-action 6-foot, 6-inch Pinnacle rod and a 7.3:1 Pinnacle baitcasting reel.
I’ll also use a topwater popping or a chugger bait on 10-pound 100 Percent Flourocarbon.
I like to fish topwater lures when air temperatures are in the 60s on overcast days with clouds.
When I’m fishing walking baits, I’ll keep them moving and coming to the boat. With the popping bait, I’ll pop it, let it sit for a split second and then pop it again, using a fast retrieve.
Fish the points
I’ll use those same lures, rods and reels when I make my next run to the main-river points. In December, those points will still have underwater grass on them.
I’ll use my depth finder to locate the edges of the grass all the way around those underwater points, where the bass and baitfish will hold right along the edge of the grass.
On the rods on my casting deck, I’ll have a rubber frog, a jig, a Zara Spook, a popper, a jerkbait, a shaky head worm and/or a drop-shot rig.
During a north wind and cold water temperatures, I’ll fish farther out on the point along the edges of the grass than during a south wind and 50-degree water temperature.
Visit points in warm weather
The bass will move away from the edges of the grass during warm water and warm weather. They’ll move in to the shallower water, and jerkbaits, walking baits like the Zara Spook and poppers can be deadly effective.
I’ll cast to any surface grass with a plastic frog, land the frog on the grass and then move it off the edge of the grass — where the strike will occur. The bass will hold up under the grass mats, especially on sunny days, and the baitfish will hold under or just below the grass.
This technique is usually most effective in the first part of December.
I’ll still be fishing jerkbait and topwater lures by using my depth finder as I move along the edges of grass in deep water.
In 50 degree or less water, I look for schools of baitfish holding on the edges of the grass and schools of bass. Often the bass will be close to the bottom.
When I see a school of bass related to a school of baitfish, I’ll throw a marker buoy about a half cast away from the boat to mark the school.
After I set out several markers, I’ll come back around and start fishing the spots I’ve marked with my black-and-blue jig on the bottom, a shaky head worm in green pumpkin and my drop-shot rig vertically over the school.
Fish deepwater flats
If the points aren’t producing, another place to use these tactics is on the edges of deepwater flats.
I like the Mann’s ½-ounce Stone Jig in black and blue with a black-and-blue crawfish trailer. I’ll fish it on 15-pound Berkley flourocarbon, a 7-½ foot medium-action Pinnacle baitcasting rod and a 6.4:1 Pinnacle reel.
I’ll also fish the shaky head worm and the drop shot rig in green pumpkin.