December is big month for Toledo Bend bass fishermen

Mark Romero of Baton Rouge got this nice-sized bass while fishing with John Dean at Toledo Bend. Dean expects bass fishing success to be above-average in December.

At Toledo Bend, as November turns to December, I’ll be seeing red. That’s a good thing, as the 12th month promises to make us forget about the tough summer and early fall on the border lake shared by Louisiana and Texas. The bass bite started picking up, as expected, in late October.

Bass will be even more aggressive in late November and through December as they put the feed bags on for whatever winter we get in western Louisiana and eastern Texas. I’m getting pumped up now, having been begging for a weather change. The cold fronts, most bringing some heavy rains, have been rolling through the region.

Why red? That’s the color you need for the crankbaits and lipless crankbaits that work so well at this time of year, because of stained water conditions. It’s the prominent color for triggering strikes, particularly with lipless crankbaits.

I believe it’s going to be a great month for a couple of reasons. The water will be much cooler, in the 60s and 70s. The lake level should be higher because of recent and future rainfall associated with weather systems. And it’s the time bass are in the migratory mode that began in late October.

Basically, opportunities increase so much this month with migrating fish. It’s a prime opportunity to get your hands on a big ’un, a Toledo Bend hawg, perhaps one destined for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program. The big bass become more aggressive. No matter what size, their main objective is to eat, and that will be the norm unless the water temperature drops below 52 to 55 degrees.

It’s the perfect setup to drop the trolling motor and go with moving baits such as crankbaits and lipless crankbaits in black/blue, black, golden bream or chartreuse/white (depending on the water color) bladed jigs, gold/orange or shad-colored jerkbaits, topwaters and even Alabama rigs.

I learned about the value of red crankbaits long ago during a bass tournament. Larry Nixon of Hemphill, Texas, one of the original Hemphill Gang, was fishing. I wasn’t having any luck north of Pendleton Bridge, where much of the water had muddied considerably.

Nixon suggested heading south until I found green water and start fishing about a mile past that with something red. I used a candy apple red Rebel Shallow R along the shoreline starting at Millionaire Point, then into the Indian Mounds, and I had the most-unbelievable bassing experience of my fishing life. I took 2½- to 6-pounders to the scales daily and finished third. Future  legend Jimmy Houston won the tournament.

Red hasn’t been a secret the past few decades. It’ll come into play from now through the spawn.

Target bass in 5- to 7-foot depths. Hopefully, the water level does rise, because the more water, the more bass go farther in, and they may even be around wood cover, and that’s very likely.

My December plan of attack is to fish those depths with moving baits. I’ll target creeks, because baitfish move in via the drains, especially the back end of creeks. I’ll make a lot of casts, stay around drains and have fun catching bass.

It’s that time of year. Enjoy.

To contact John Dean about a guided fishing trip on Toledo Bend, call him at 936-404-2688.

About John Dean 99 Articles
John Dean has been guiding on Toledo Bend most of his life. If you’d like to join him on a trip, give him a call at (936) 404-2688.