by Mike Gerry
The December question on Guntersville, every year, is: what can we expect?
If you look at the history on Guntersville past years in December, it reads that there will be more change and transition than any other time of year. Fronts will come and go quickly, temperature change will be extreme, but the fish will be in a strong feeding pattern for most of the month.
We start the month off with fall-type temperatures and as the month progresses, we fall into nighttime temperatures in the teens. Although in the past few years, climate has adjusted some and temperatures are not as cold. This usually drastic weather change moves the fish off the fall patterns and drops the water temperature significantly hence, the bass fishing changes.
Never, in my twenty plus years of keeping my history of my fishing days on Guntersville, does any month change so drastically and abruptly as does December. We go from top-water fishing, over shallow water, to deep water, slow, patient fishing, where persistence and slow presentation can be the key in getting a bite. Not only slow retrieves, but bait size becomes more of an issue than any other time of year; you must downsize to equal the size of the natural bait and let the bait become an easy meal for bass that are becoming lethargic, until the weather breaks again in the spring.
One of my favorite baits in the winter in these transition times is a Shakey head with a Missile bait “48 stick bait” type worm worked over the drops and depth changes where you find stumps or deep coontail grass, that is still showing on your structure scan. I find that the bass movement in December, even though drastic in abruptness as it pertains to weather and water temperature, pushes the bass to move in steps. Slight movement is more the norm as they will not travel far in early December from fall locations.
Bass will find the warmer days and still move up and back as they find warmer water to feed in until some consistent, wintry weather drives them to the suspending stage for some enduring length of time.
December fishing is all about change. If you can change with it, you can still have a productive year end.