Lake Jackson Bass December Bite
Bass get predictable, holding near deep water and moving up to feed.
Lake Jackson has changed a lot over the years, but December remains one of the best months to fish this Georgia Power lake that is not far from the southeast suburbs of Atlanta. This is the time of year when spotted bass and some good largemouth are stacking up on steeper banks and holding under docks. You can catch Jackson bass with your favorite bait all month long.
Dammed in 1910, Jackson is one of the oldest lakes in Georgia. At just 4,750 acres and 135 miles of shoreline, Lake Jackson is a small reservoir. For an old lake, there’s still plenty of bass-holding structure. Jackson is lined with docks, and the old creek and river channel swings create rocky bluff banks in many areas.
For decades Jackson was the best lake around to catch big largemouth during the winter. But fertility went down after Atlanta cleaned up and diverted sewage from the South River, and then illegally introduced spotted bass began to thrive in the clearer water. The spots are so aggressive and prolific they have hurt the largemouth population.
You can catch all the spots you want in December, but most of them will be 11 to 14 inches long, a good size to fillet. Keeping some spotted bass is something biologists and most tournament anglers recommend, especially on a lake like Jackson where big largemouth used to be the norm. Largemouth are harder to find now because of the spots, but you can catch a few if you are persistent and fish for them.
Jonathan Myers moved to McDonough a little over a year ago and had to learn how to catch bass on Jackson from a fresh perspective. He grew up in Kentucky and fished there and in Indiana all his life. Jonathan says he is a confirmed shallow-water river rat, but he tries to think outside the box. He had to learn patterns on Jackson and adapt his ways of fishing to it with a fresh perspective.
“My first three trips to Jackson, I did not catch a fish,” Jonathan said.
But after exploring the lake and studying his GPS map and watching his electronics, he began to learn where December bass live and feed. He now consistently catches fish on Jackson regularly year-round.
“In December, spots on Jackson set up on predictable patterns, holding near deep water and moving shallow to feed,” Jonathan said.
Bluff banks offer the bass the kind of structure they want, and spots love the rock cover on them. And largemouth will live and feed on the same kinds of places, but expect the largemouth to move shallower to feed most of the time.
In December, Jonathan will be prepared to fish a variety of baits. A jig, jerkbait, spinnerbait, squarebill and flat-sided, deep-running crankbait are always rigged and ready to cast. Although he prefers power fishing with those baits, he will also cast a Ned rig, drop shot and shaky head under tough conditions.
“I have caught some big spots in December, and they are usually holding and feeding 6 to 8 feet deep,” Jonathan said.
They like to stay near deep water in December so they can retreat to it under bad conditions, but they consistently feed at that 6- to 8-foot depth.
Largemouth hold near the same depth or a bit more shallow, and they like wood cover like blowdowns and docks. Jonathan has caught many good largemouth up to 6 pounds in December. They prefer blowdowns and dock posts, and they will hold under black dock floats when it is sunny on a cold day—as will spotted bass.
We fished the following locations last month and caught some keeper spots. As usual it was hard to catch largemouth, and we did not have any. The water was not cold enough to move the bass to this pattern consistently, but these locations will be producing in late November and through December.
No. 1: N 33º 22.047 – W 83º 54.066 — Go to the no-wake zone up Tussahaw Creek at Reasor’s Marina, and stop at the downstream point of the small cove across from the marina. The channel is near the left bank (as you’re going downstream), and it slopes off quickly, with wood cover and some rocks on it. It is a good bank where bass hold and feed on shad as they move up and down the creek.
Fish from the point downstream to the last point before the end of the no-wake zone. We kept the boat in about 14 feet of water as we worked down the bank. The lake was at full pool when we fished, it will be about 5 feet low in December if normal winter drawdown conditions hold. The cover will be more obvious.
Fish all the wood and rock cover, and watch for a couple of old ditches coming off the steep bank. Work the area around the ditches thoroughly. The ditches have silted in but enough of a depression remains to hold fish. Cast a squarebill and bump all the wood you see. Jonathan likes a shad color 1.5 bait.
If the bass won’t chase your crankbait, try a shaky head or Ned rig. Jonathan caught several small spots here when we fished, and I followed up with a shaky head and caught more.
No. 2: N 33º 21.164 – W 83º 53.151 — Go down Tussahaw Creek to where it makes a sharp left turn to the bridge. Straight ahead there is a bluff point with big boulders on it. The point runs out on the downstream side of a small cove. There are boulders above and below the water.
Stop out on the point in 25 feet of water, and fish both sides of the point and down the cove side. The water drops almost straight off here, and any current coming down the creek hits it. Bass hold on the boulders and ambush bait.
Jonathan starts with a jerkbait here—the water is usually clear in Tussahaw Creek and helps the jerkbait bite. He casts a shad-colored Megabass 110+1 to get down deeper in the water column, and he works it from right on the bank all the way back to the boat. Bass will sometimes suspend out from the bank and hit near the boat.
Jonathan caught a couple of small spots here on his jerkbait. After fishing it, try your jig and shaky head, working those baits slowly, crawling them up and over boulders and letting them fall back down to the bottom beside them.
No. 3: N 33º 21.252 – W 83º 52.972 — Bridges are always good in December. They provide a choke point for bait moving up and down the creeks, and bass take advantage of this to ambush shad along the rip-rap and pilings. The Barnett Bridge Road bridge is a good one to fish.
Fish the rip-rap on both sides of the bridge and both sets of pilings. Stay out from the rocks, and fish your jerkbait over them and also along beside the pilings. Work a jig and shaky head on the rocks.
On the pilings, watch your electronics to see what depth the bass are holding, and lower your drop shot to them—video game fishing for them. Jonathan rigs a redbug-colored Trick Worm or ZMan Shotz worm Texas style and lowers it to the fish, holding the worm right in front of them.
No. 4: N 33º 21.145 – W 83º 52.848 — Downstream of the bridge the creek makes a hard right turn, and then a turn to the left. The point on the left at the left turn is a good one, with deep water on both sides and rocks on it that hold bass. There is a yellow house with a red roof on the bank behind a cement seawall that changes to rip-rip on the point.
Stop out from the dock on the upstream side of the point, and work all the way around it. Cast a jerkbait near the bank and work it out. Try your squarebill crankbait up shallow on the point, but also change to a deeper-running crankbait and parallel the bank with one that runs 8 to 10 feet deep. Jonathan likes a natural-craw colored flat-sided crankbait—like a Spro RkCrawler or a Bill Lewis MR 6—that will bump the bottom.
Follow up with a shaky head and Ned rig, fishing them slowly on the rocks. Concentrate on water in the 6- to 8-foot range. Jonathan says he has caught some good 3-lb. and better spotted bass at that depth in December.
No. 5: N 33º 22.045 – W 83º 51.381 — Run up the Alcovy past the mouth of the South River, and stop on the downstream point of the first creek on the right. The river channel swings in on the point, and there is rock and wood cover on it. There are also three good docks on the downstream side of the point.
On a sunny day the black floats on the docks warm, and bass will suspend right under them. Skip a jig under them, and let it fall beside each float. Jonathan likes a brown finesse 3/16- to 3/8-oz. jig with as matching trailer. Use the lighter jig to fall slower by the floats.
After fishing the docks, work down the bluff bank going into the creek. It drops fast and there is wood cover on the bottom. Stay out from the bank in 25 feet of water and fish your jerkbait and crankbaits. Then drag a jig, shaky head or Ned rig on the rocks, fishing slowly to keep in contact with them.
There is a small pocket with two docks in it and a lot of wood cover. It is shallow in the pocket but drops fast at the mouth of it. Run a spinnerbait along the wood cover and beside the docks. Jonathan says the second dock, a white one, seems to always produce bass, so fish all of it carefully with a spinnerbait, crankbait and jig. This is the kind of shallow wood near deep water that largemouth like.
No. 6: N 33º 22.313 – W 83º 51.097 — Across the creek mouth there is a sandy swimming area on your right. Just upstream of it there is a good line of docks to fish. The bank slopes off at a 45-degree angle, so deep water is close by. Start at the first dock upstream of the swimming area, and work the next eight or nine docks. Fish your jerkbait beside the floats and wood posts on the docks. Also skip your jig under them, working each float and post. A shaky head will also catch fish around these docks.
Jonathan puts a green-pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm or finesse worm on a 3/16-oz. head. And he dips the tall in chartreuse JJ’s Magic. He will also dip the tails of his jig trailers. Spots seem to love the chartreuse tails on soft plastic baits.
No. 7: N 33º 23.042 – W 83º 50.589 — Go up past the powerlines to where the river opens up. Way out off the left bank, there is a sandy ridge that runs along the river channel. It comes up to about 12 feet deep and has scattered brushpiles on it.
Stop out in front of a white dock and house that is upstream of a house with a red roof. Watch your electronics to find the end of the ridge. It runs about 100 yards and is about 50 yards wide, tapering off on both ends.
Jonathan says the colder the water the better this place is. Mark the brushpiles and fish them with a jig and shaky head. If the fish are active, they will come up and hit a jerkbait or crankbait run over the tops of the brushpiles.
No. 8: N 33º 23.565 – W 83º 50.450 — Go into Connally Slough, the one on the left with the Connally Ditch Road bridge in the back. Start at the point on the left, and work the left bank all the way to the bridge. The water drops quickly, making the docks, seawalls and blowdowns along the bank good. Fish them with all your baits.
When you get to the bridge, fish the rip-rap on it. The rocks here warm in the sun and attract bass. It is also a choke point for shad moving in and out of the creek. Fish the rip-rap with a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig, and then fish the pilings with a jerkbait and drop shot.
No. 9: N 33º 23.667 – W 83º 49.530 — Go under the Highway 212 bridge, and straight ahead is Rocky Creek. Go to the upstream point of Rocky Creek, and start fishing up into the creek. The water drops fast and there are several blowdowns in the water near the primary point. Fish over them with your jerkbait and run a squarebill along the trunks and through the limbs. Then work the blowdowns with a jig ’n pig.
There are rocks on the steep bank going into the creek and also docks to fish. Fish the rocks with all your baits, and work the dock posts and floats. If the fish are suspended just under the floats, a jerkbait worked right beside them will usually draw a bite.
No. 10: N 33º 20.006 – W 83º 50.716 — Run all the way down the lake to the big water out from the dam. Before the last turn to the right toward the dam, the first creek on the left has concrete rubble on it and boulders to fish. It has a small silver-roofed cabin with a big silver-roofed dock on the upstream side of the point.
Stop way out on the point and idle over it. The point comes up to 12 feet deep way off the point, and the water drops to 50 feet deep fast. Stop off the side of the point in 35 feet of water, and cast your jig and shaky head on the top of the point and work it down the sides. Feel for the rough concrete rubble on the bottom and fish it carefully. There is often a big school of fish on this point.
Fish the point from the deep end up toward the dock, and then fish the dock. We got several bites and caught a small spot on this dock the day we fished.
Check out these places Jonathan likes this month, and see the kinds of places he catches fish. There are many more like them all over the lake that hold fish in December.
You can see some of Jonathan’s catches and tips on YouTube under Big Rig Outdoors and his Facebook page www.facebook.com/BigRigOutdoors, where he shares tips and techniques for bass fishing.
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