During the year's final month, bass fishing can still be good if you are fortunate to live somewhere with open water. But the temperatures are likely chilly no matter where you live, and the bass have settled into their winter patterns. This makes picking lures and locations easier as the colder weather eliminates many lure types, and the fish will be grouped. So when you find fish, there will likely be more with them ready to bite one of these top baits for December.
Blade Baits, Spoons, and Tail Spinners
When the water is cold, metal baits like spoons, blade baits, and tail spinners are a great way to imitate baitfish. They are heavy and can be fished in deep water with ease. They can be hard to beat in many parts of the country during December. They are must-have baits this time of year, no matter where you live.
Blade baits and tail spinners are great when fished with a lift and drop retrieve, allowing them to vibrate as you lift your rod before falling on a slack line. This can be done vertically or by casting out and retrieving back to you. Spoons are generally fished jigging vertically and are excellent for targeting suspended bass chasing baitfish while watching your electronics. No matter which of these three baits you choose, you can count on these metal baits working in December when the water is cold.
Diving and Lipless Crankbaits
Crankbaits are a significant part of bass fishing in all seasons, and you can make the case that they would be a "Top 5" lure in any season. Narrowing it down to December, certain crankbait styles shine. These include flat-sided baits and lipless crankbaits, which excel when the water temperatures plunge.
Like blade baits above, lipless crankbaits can put off tons of vibrating and perfectly imitate a dying baitfish. Instead of just casting and retrieving them, try lifting and dropping them to imitate a fluttering and dying fish to trigger a reaction bait from a bass.
A larger or rounded bait for diving crankbaits will have an aggressive kick and action that may be too much for bass this time of year. They can work sometimes, but a general rule of thumb is to seek out flat-sided crankbaits this time of year. Whether a plastic bait like a Berkley Frittside or a balsa like a Rapala DT-6, you can't go wrong with a flat-sided crankbait this month. When the water is frigid, you can get even more finesse and use a Rapala Shad Rap, a lure that has dominated winter for many years.
When the water temperatures reach a certain threshold, the bass often switch from chasing shad to searching for scurrying crawfish. This makes jigs one of the best baits for December. You can fish them along the bottom and perfectly imitate a crawdad, and they can also be fished as slowly as you need to.
There are many different styles of jigs, but for December, one of the best is a small finesse jig with a round head and collared skirt, such as the Dirty Jigs Luke Clausen Finesse Jig. These jigs are relatively lightweight, with the heaviest version weighing just 7/16th of an ounce and others that are much lighter, allowing you to have a compact profile that you can fish on light line. The downsized look of these jigs appeals to bass that are not as aggressive as in other months and are excellent anytime you are faced with cold, clear water.
Match it with a small crawfish imitating plastic and drag it along the bottom where crawfish live. This could be chunk rock banks, riprap, or bluffs that transition to clay banks. These are all likely areas for finding both crawfish and bass during December.
Another staple year-round, a jerkbait can be hard to beat this month. They can be fished as slowly as needed, pausing the bait for long periods to match how aggressive the fish are that day. Experiment with different pause lengths and retrieves until you start to get bites.
Many of the most popular jerkbaits will dive 4 to 6 feet deep, but many deep versions will get further down. The Strike King KVD Deep Jerkbait will hit depths of 11 feet of water and open up many more areas to catch fish with a jerkbait in deeper water. They come in various colors; you can match the hue to what the fish eat in your home waters.
This contraption will catch fish when the water is cold. It is the perfect way to imitate a small school of shad or other baitfish, and right now is the optimal time to throw it. Add some jigheads and small swimbaits like the Keitech Swing Impact FAT in either the 2.8 or 3.3-inch sizes, and you have a perfect tool for catching cold water bass.
They can be fished at any depth, but a slow and steady retrieve just above the bottom will be the best approach to catch bass looking for small baitfish. These rigs are also excellent for those with forward-facing sonar, as they show up very well and can help speed up the learning curve if you are new to this technology.
December fishing often means cold air temperatures, but red hot fishing once you find the fish. This is a month when you can simplify things and get down to the basics with a handful of proven winter baits.