Providence has Decemberís lunkers
|John E. Phillips|
Lake Providence will produce some 5- to 8-pound bass in December.
Lake Providence, a Mississippi River oxbow lake, is full of cypress trees, and in December, the water temperature isnít really that cold. Youíll be fishing for a fall bass bite instead of a winter bite. The average-size December bass will be around 3 pounds, but you may catch a 4- to 7-pounder. This lake has been in very good shape the past few years, and is very fertile.
On a sunny day, the Providence bass will pull in close to the trunks of the cypress trees, because those roots absorb heat, making them warmer. Also, bass will be holding next to boat-dock pilings, sea walls or any other structure that holds heat. However, I prefer to fish the cypress trees.
Hereís what I consider to determine exactly where the bass are positioned. Are they tight against the tree, or are they up near the surface? Do I need to slow-roll a spinner bait close to the bottom, or are the bass holding 7 or 8 feet from the base of the tree in that doughnut-shaped root of cypress trees? On a cloudy day, the bass will be in shallow and closer to the trunk, and on a sunny day, theyíll be holding somewhat deeper.
Bet on the spinnerbait
If one of those December warm fronts with stable weather moves through, you can wear the bass out at Providence with a Strike King 1/2-ounce Premier Elite spinnerbait by casting toward any visible cover. Even on a cool December day, if thereís any type of breeze on the water, youíll catch bass at Providence on a big-profile spinnerbait.
I like a white Rage Craw with its two big pincers on its back that deliver plenty of action to the back of a spinnerbait. Its big size slows down the spinnerbait. Then you can reel it slowly and still keep it high in the water. Depending on the rainfall in December, Providenceís water may be green if the levelís stable. I want the bass to be able to feel the bait ó thatís why I like a bait with thump as I retrieve it.
If I canít get the bass to bite as fast as I want them to on the spinnerbait, Iíll switch to the Pure Poison lure thatís similar to a spinnerbait but gives off twice the vibration and has no flash. I describe the Pure Poison as a vibrating jig that thumps. It has a lot of pull to it, which allows you to feel the bait well and feel the structure as it goes over.
Any fisherman who goes to Providence this month will look at those cypress trees and say, ďThis is spinnerbait country.Ē Thatís why the bass here get so accustomed to spinnerbaits and wonít hit them as readily as they will another lure with many spinnerbait properties. Thatís the niche the Pure Poison fits in December.
If the dayís bright and sunny, Iíll fish the white Pure Poison. When the waterís dirtier, Iíll fish white or chartreuse. But if the waterís really dirty or cloudy, Iíll only fish solid chartreuse. In 60-degree water temperatures, Iíll fish a medium retrieve. If the water temperatureís in the mid to low 50s, Iíll use a really slow retrieve.
I like this bait because the bladeís on the head of the lure, and I can bang it into the roots and cypress knees to get reaction strikes. Iíll let the bait deflect off the wood and then pause for half a second or less. Then Iíll pick up my retrieve again.
Generally Iíll throw four or five times to each side of the tree and its front to get December bass to bite. If the weatherís really cold, I may make 10 casts to the sides and the front of each tree before I move to the next. Once the bass begin biting, Iíll often get more than one fish off the same tree, since bass have a tendency to school up in December.
A big cypress tree has a lot of surface area, and the ones holding close to or on the edge of a creek channel may produce three or four bass then or at various times during the day.
To fish exclusively for 6- to 8-pounders at Providence in December, Iíll use a 3/8-ounce or a 1/2-ounce Hack Attack Jig. On cloudy days, Iíll fish a black/blue, and I like the sexy-craw natural-looking color that has green and orange in it and can resemble either a crawfish or a bream on a sunny day. Iíve caught bass with it from California to Florida.
Iíll fish the jig slowly and hit every piece of cover on a tree with that jig, remembering that the root band on a cypress tree may be 5 or 6 feet away from the trunk. Iíll see if I can feel any roots of the tree away from the trunk. Often the bigger bass will be holding over the root system away from the main trunk of the tree. Yet, the average fisherman may just fish the main trunk. If Iím fishing a cypress tree next to a drop-off, Iíll fish the jig all the way from the trunk to the drop-off and then down it.
On a good day in December, I expect to catch eight or 10 bass on Lake Providence, weighing 3 pounds or more. I believe if I get eight to 10 bites on this lake in December, I have a really good chance of catching a bass that weighs 6 pounds or better.
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