Top It Off

By Scott Norton

December is here and the elevation game is playing out. Lakes in the high elevations are deep in the fall pattern while lakes in the lower elevations are starting to ripen. You can expect bass on secondary points blowing up on shad as they are pushed further to the backs of creeks, as the water temperatures gets cooler.

Moving baits are recommended for chasing roaming bass. Top water baits, such as walking baits and poppers, are a very good choice. When bass blow up on shad at the surface, you’ll see injured forage twitching and kicking around as a result of this feeding frenzy. The top water baits are a perfect imitator for this type of pattern. Flutter spoons and lipless crank baits are a killer when you want to get at the bigger sizes beneath the chasing bass. In wind, spinner baits and buzz baits are great for bass in the lay downs or brush piles.

Of course, timing is everything when it comes to seeing such patterns. You’ll find these blowups in the morning and evening hours. Bass will feed throughout the day and will move deeper in the water column closer to the mid day hour. During the wind, look for ambush points, such as any hard cover-like rock or wood.

I have noticed that the topwater pattern has dominated this year with numbers and quality of fish. The gear I use for the top water set up is a six foot ten inch medium, to medium fast, rod and a fast reel with a 7 speed or more. Braid to mono leader for the line. You can use this set up for jerk baits-just use fluorocarbon for line.

Remember to keep it simple and plan ahead. Enjoy this time of year and you may catch your new personal best. Dress for cold temperatures in the morning and warmer weather in the evenings-layer up and shed them as it gets warmer. Wear your buffs, hats, and gloves to prevent sunburn. The days are shorter and the time has changed, so keep that in mind as you plan your travel.

As you know, in higher elevations some winter patterns may show their heads since we are knocking on the door of winter. You may want to bring some big baits if you are looking for that trophy. If winter is not your thing, you do have options. Just move to lakes in the lower elevations. The mountains have so much to offer if you know how to plan for it.

Good luck this season and turn some new people on to it. It’s a great time for new anglers to get some easy catches and to hone their own skills for the future. Best of luck.

Scott Norton is a native of Western North Carolina. Born in Asheville, NC, he is a long time avid hunter, angler, and weekend warrior. He is a member of Southern Raft Supply’s prostaff team representing them in his Jackson Kayak Coosa FD.