Cooling weather moves bass and fishermen
Bogue Homa’s fishery, with its numerous creek channels, active bass and an abundance of vegetation, is a great December fishery. Early on, you’ll take bass on top; they’ll be along the edges of drop-offs later in the month. Often, bass will concentrate in creek channels all winter, particularly when the air temperature is cold. Generally, December bass and the shad they eat will still be in a late fall pattern.
Bogue Homa has five types of cover in the flats that the creek channels wind through: coontail moss, lily pads and their stems, cypress trees, grass and cypress stumps. Bass will feed on the flats until cold weather arrives and then move into the creek channels until warmer weather returns.
Due to the plentiful places to hold around shallow cover, bass can drop off into deep water quickly if the weather cools. Air temperatures in the mid-40s mean bass will be in the deeper, lower section of the lake on flats 6- to 12-feet deep that fall off to 12 to 16 feet of water.
I’ve learned to check the Solunar tables to determine when bass are most likely to feed. Although those tables may not always be correct, they’re right more often than they’re wrong.
Early December tricks
Fish ChatterBaits early in the month. Because of Mississippi’s mild weather, at first light, I’ll cast a 3/8-ounce black/blue ChatterBait with a green pumpkin swimbait trailer and fish it fairly slowly on the edges of underwater creek channels in 1 to 3 feet of water in the grass on the flats. I’ll use a Team Lew’s 7.5:1 reel, 23-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon line and a medium-heavy, 7-foot-3 Team Lew’s rod.
In December, the vegetation starts dying off, but Bogue Homa has an abundance of evergreen coontail moss that grows right to the edges of those small creek channels where bass and shad like to hold and feed. The upper, northeastern part of the lake is a productive area to fish a ChatterBait due to the combination of cover there. Often, you can fish this ChatterBait pattern successfully throughout December.
Other ChatterBait tactics include swimming the bait slowly and just ticking the coontail moss. Sometimes, I’ll lift the bait up and let it fall to the bottom, like I fish a jig. A ChatterBait is deadly on bass in December because you can fish it like a buzzbait and a jig at the same time, in the same areas.
If I’m not getting any bites on a constant, slow retrieve, I’ll allow the bait to hit the coontail moss and flutter down to the bottom, then repeat that tactic. The number of strikes I get determines the best retrieve.
I’ll also fish a 5-inch Mann’s Reel’N Shad in blue back/pearl. I’ll have this lure on a rod on my casting deck, and once I spot bass schooling on top, feeding on shad and breaking the surface, I’ll use 20-pound fluorocarbon on the same Lew’s reel on a medium-heavy, 7-foot rod. I’ll cast the lure past the schooling bass into the grass for it to kick off the grass, and then reel it slowly through the school.
Late and cold: Stone Jig
When the air temperatures become cold, often in late December, I’ll move to the lower end of the lake near the dam, where the banks are lined with big cypress stumps, and find flats 5 to 7 feet deep that drop off to 10 to 18 feet. I’ll concentrate, fishing slowly on the channel’s bends with a half-ounce Stone Jig on 26-pound fluorocarbon on a 7-foot-6 medium- heavy rod and an 8.3:1 reel. I’ll reel the jig over the tops and root systems of the cypress stumps and bring it over the lip of the break before allowing it to fall into the channel. The creek channels’ bends and the cypress stumps and roots on the edge of the old river channel are where the bass stage. They’ll hold there until the weather warms, and the fish can move back into the shallow creek channels and flats.
You probably won’t get lots of bites in the cold weather, but those bites will be quality ones. During the first two weeks of December, if I catch five to eight bass on or over the 15-inch size limit, and another five to eight bass under, I’ll call it a good day of bass fishing. You may take a bass that weighs 7 to 10 pounds, too. In the last two weeks of December or during cold weather, if I catch four or five keeper bass, I expect one of those bass to weigh 5 pounds or more. I even may have two or three bass over 5 pounds each that I catch at Bogue Homa in December — always a good day of bass fishing.
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