It’s wintertime on Lake Fork! December is here and the year is winding down. It’s been a great year of fishing here at Lake Fork. I am already looking forward to next year but don’t count December out for some great fishing still left to round out the year here at Lake Fork. Here are some things I’m doing right now to catch fish that will help you out.
Lake Fork Bass Fishing Tips for December
Lake Fork water conditions are less than normal for this time of year. The Sabine River Authority has drawn the water levels down to do repairs on the dam after the first of the year. We are currently sitting at 397.89, which is almost 6 feet low.
Water Conditions on Lake Fork in December
Water temperatures are sitting in the upper 50’s. The water is clear to 3 feet on the south end and fairly stained on most of the north end of the lake. There is some grass still hanging on in the northern creeks and it’s still in good shape where you can find it because of the warm weather. It will provide some excellent cover for the bass if we have a mild winter and the lake comes back up.
December Bass Fishing Patterns on Lake Fork
December invites several shallow-water patterns but one of my favorites is targeting fish around any shallow vegetation or stumps near a main lake or secondary points. Most of these winter fish will move into these shallow grass beds or hug stumps for cover and security as they look to feed on unsuspecting prey. The sunny warmest part of the day can be best as water temperatures in these shallow areas are at their peak and the fish are most active.
Best Bait to Use for Bass Fishing in the Winter
My favorite December lure is a lipless crankbait. The best sizes are a 1/2 oz or 5/8 oz but will also keep a 3/4 oz bait handy as well. I like to use shades of red, orange, or a combination of these two colors as well as chrome or gold. I like to use the new 7’ 3” medium-heavy Abu Garcia PLF Tournament rod with 17 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon on a high-speed reel like the Abu Garcia Zata.
Lipless Crank Bait
This reel is 7:1 ratio so you can really move your bait with this setup or use it to take some of the work off your arms while you fish these baits all day making numerous casts. I like to use the lipless bait as a “search bait “and once I get bit I will slow down and work the area thoroughly. A lot of times you will find the fish in small groups this time of year but may not be able to catch all of them on the same bait or presentation.
Berkley Stunna or Santone Rattlin
If you double back and fish a suspending jerk bait like the new Berkley Stunna or a Santone Rattlin jig, you may catch a few more fish or that BIG one you’ve been looking for! On the jerk bait, I will throw a suspending model in a gold/black, shad, or even red. Fishing this bait slowly with twitch and long pause technique is great for a really big fish, especially during the sunny calm days.
A 3/8 or 1/2 oz Jig
On cloudy days I do better fishing slowly through the area with a jig and I will flip or pitch a 3/8 or 1/2 oz jig tight to every piece of cover available. A jig can be very effective on deeper points at the mouth of creeks and the creek edges inside the creek. With the lake low like it is you can follow the trees that line the channel edge very easily. The best colors for me are black & blue, black/blue/purple, JC’s Spicy Craw, or PBJ. I like to tip my jigs with a 3” or 4” Berkley Chigger Craw in matching colors.
The action on the Chigger Craw is very attractive to big fish and they hold onto the jig longer with the Powerbait scent. This is an important advantage as most bites are light and normally fish will not hold onto the jig long during the winter months.
Garmin EchoMap for Deep Water Bites
The deep-water bite is also beginning to really turn on at Lake Fork and man is it fun! This is how you can really sack them up this time of year and catch some giants too. The fish have begun to concentrate around huge schools of shad and bar fish or yellow bass in 18-28 feet of water. Having great electronics like the Garmin EchoMap Ultras is essential in locating these schools of baitfish and bass. I have been targeting points, roadbeds, humps, and pond dams with great success.
How to Select in Right Bait During the Winter
The key is identifying the presence of bait, how the fish are relating to them, and then what bait to select in relation to their position. If the fish are on the bottom my go-to has been the Carolina rig with a heavy 1 oz weight, 4-foot leader, and a Berkley 7-inch Power Worm or fry type bait in blue fleck, chartreuse pepper, watermelon red, or green pumpkin colors.
For the finicky bass I am switching to a drop shot rig with a 1/4-3/8 oz weight and a Berkley 4.75 Bottom Hopper in watermelon candy or plum colors. I am also catching a large number of bass on the flutter spoons and tail kickers.
As the cold fronts hit and the bass gorge on weak and dying shad this technique is stellar! You can also work the suspending depths for bass with deep diving crankbaits, a-rigs, or the awesome Berkley 5” Swim Shad for some big bites.
Come Out This Month to Chase Big Bass at Lake Fork
Well, I hope this helps anyone that’s coming out this month to chase some big bass. If you would like to fish with me next year, I still have dates available. My 2022 schedule is already filling fast though so contact me as soon as possible if you are beginning to plan your trip for next year.
I also have gift certificates available for those of you that are interested in purchasing a guided trip on Lake Fork for a friend or loved one. You can contact me to make your reservation. You can also get more information about Lake Fork and my guide service and follow my official Lake Fork Trophy Bass Guide page on Facebook.
Lake Fork Bass Fishing Updates
I have enjoyed my new Bass Cat boat for the 2021 fishing season. It’s been an amazing boat and I couldn’t be happier to be serving my customers on Lake Fork as one of the newest members of the Bass Cat Family! If you’re interested in checking out any of the Bass Cat models, be sure to reach out to R & R Marine in Pittsburg, Texas.
Steven Stroman and his crew have amazing sales and service as well as a complete tackle shop. I would like to thank all my sponsors that support me. I am looking forward to representing them again this year on the Major League Fishing Big 5 circuit as well as serving all my great guide clients on Lake Fork!
Have a very Merry Christmas everyone! Remember that JESUS is the reason for the season. Have a Happy New Year as well. I hope to see you on the water this coming year!
Tight Lines and God Bless,
Matthew 1:21 - She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.