December in Central Texas tends to be pretty mild compared to the rest of the country. While other states are winterizing their boats and packing away their bass fishing gear, we still have great fishing conditions. Currently water temps are in the mid 60’s and will continue to slowly drop throughout the month, water clarity varies quite a bit right now. I have seen water clarity as good as 6-8 feet down near the dam, and as low as 1 foot on the upper end of the lake. Winter fishing can actually be really good, but day to day weather conditions affect the bite greatly.
The bite lately has been really good, I've had a lot of trips catching 20+ fish! There are a lot of baits that have been working including crankbaits, jigs, lipless cranks and swimbait. As it gets cooler the patterns will change a bit, so in this report I've included three baits I'll be throwing more and more.. and so should you!
I always tell clients the best day to go fishing is any day you can get off work! With that said, if you can time it to be out there during overcast conditions, light wind, and not right after a front, you’re going to catch fish! Even on those bluebird sky days you can get bit though, you just have to slow down with your presentation more, or fish more reaction baits.
Headed into December there are three main baits I recommend you have tied on.
1. Drop Shot: No Lake Travis fishing report would be complete without this rig. I love it for its versatility, you can fish it year round simply by changing the way you present the worm. I recommend going with a 6” straight tail worm, green pumpkin or red colored trick worms have been working well lately. When fishing it, be patient and give it lots of time to sink making sure you maintain bottom contact. When presenting the worm, twitch your rod tip more subtle than you normally would. Less is more in terms of the action you give your bait. If you work your lure too fast and erratic its less natural and will get less bites. Fishing this bait around grass on the lower end of the lake, or rocky bluff walls on the upper end of the lake will produce fish.
2. Jerkbait: as the water gets colder a deep diving jerkbait can be very effective. The 6th Sense Provoke 106DD is a great option. Lake Travis is a deep lake so going with this deeper diving model works well to get you down closer to the structure the fish are relating to. While they make a lot of great colors, stick to something very natural that mimics a threadfin shad. Fish this with an erratic retrieve followed by long pauses. A good rule of thumb is the colder the water temps the longer you should pause the bait. Tip: When pausing the bait do so on slack line, if you keep the bait under tension the whole time you prevent it from stalling out and suspending properly.
3. Senko: This work is very versatile so depending on the cover you can fishing it a variety of ways. The main ways I have been catching fish on this stick worm is either neko rigging it and fishing it slowly over the top of shallow grass, or with a pegged Texas rig and sliding it through deeper grass. Especially on those high barometric pressure days those fish will get tight to cover. In water shallower than 10 feet the wacky rig/ neko rig is killer. Fish it slow and let it just settle into the top of the hydrilla. In deeper water I recommend a bobber stopper, a small 1/8th ounce tungsten bullet weight and a 4/0 hook. For the senko you can’t beat a Yamamoto 5” senko, green pumpkin, watermelon red and plum are all good colors. With this rig you also want to fish it slow with small shakes of the rod tip, then let it sink on slack line and dead stick it for several seconds. You’ll find a lot of your bites come on the pause. Tip: I often will use some orange or red Spike It dye on the tail of the worm trying to mimic the color of crawfish this time of year.
Use these baits and focus on structure and grass that’s close to creek channels or deep water on the main lake. More bass will pull out deeper in search of stable water temps as the weather gets colder. More often than not a slower presentation will work best. When you think you are fishing slow enough… fish slower!
Fishing during December can be tough for some. If you struggle to catch fish consistently, consider booking one of my Coaching Trips. There is more information about these on my website, but essentially these trips are all about education and teaching you to locate and catch more fish more consistently. If you’re just looking to catch a bunch of fish and have a fun time, give me a call or visit my website to book your trip today!