Larry Lewis Marks Lake Lanier Map For December Bass

A blade and worm combo pattern will produce on this wintertime locations for Lanier spotted bass.

Ronnie Garrison | November 25, 1998

Time to break out the snowmobile suits—and catch some bass!

Lake Lanier is one of the best choices for bass fishermen in December. It is full of spotted bass, and they tend to be more active in the colder water. The lake is down, often 6 to 10 feet this time of year, and good structure is easier to locate. And probably best of all, the low water and cooler temperatures keep the pleasure boats to a minimum, giving bass fishermen a chance to fish without getting washed off the lake.

“If there was only one place I could fish at Lanier in December, I would head to Flat Creek,” Larry Lewis told me. We were running across the lake on a rainy mid-November Saturday, and Larry was going to show me where to catch some Lanier spots. He and his boat partner had finished third and fourth in a Cumming Bassmasters tournament the weekend before.

“There are a couple of patterns I can depend on for some fish this time of year, although the new 14-inch limit makes putting keepers in the boat a lot tougher,” he said. Just to prove him wrong, at the first place we stopped Larry put three keeper spots in the boat, and we missed several strikes. He then showed me more places that hold fish to give GON readers some specific locations to try in December.

Larry is familiar to most bass club fishermen in Georgia. He has been president of the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation since 1976, and he is the MC at Top Six weigh-ins. A member of the Cumming Bassmasters, Larry fishes Lanier a lot and knows it well.

Now that a 14-inch size limit is in effect at Lake Lanier, keeper spotted bass are tougher to come by. Larry Lewis says a combination of spinnerbait and worm fishing will put them in the boat in December.

Adding to his expertise at Lanier is Larry’s job selling Skeeter boats for HD Marine, located near the lake. He is in contact with Lanier fishermen daily, hearing of current patterns and tricks to catch bass there. He also runs and participates in the Angler’s Choice Tournament Trail, and that group fishes Lanier often, with a December tournament there this year. Larry is likely to be fishing some of the areas discussed below during that tournament.

Lanier is a big lake, the largest totally within the state, and fishermen unfamiliar with it can spend all their time riding around looking for fish. There are lots of different patterns that will work to catch December bass. Finding one that works for you is the key, and finding an area to fish that you can learn helps.

Since Flat Creek is one of Larry’s favorites, we concentrated on it. There are several small feeder creeks providing fresh water for this creek, one of the keys according to Larry. The fact that some of this “fresh” water contains lots of fertilizer from Gainesville also helps make it a baitfish heaven. Shad and spottail minnows are abundant and attract bass and stripers to this area, and all the baitfish keep predatory fish in this area.

Flat Creek is also deep, containing lots of cuts and pockets with water deep enough to meet the needs of any bass. Fishermen have filled it up with brush over the years, so there is tremendous amounts of underwater cover to fish. The rocky shoreline, along with all the brush, makes it a bass heaven.

Larry relies on a few primary patterns whether he is fun fishing or trying to get a limit in a tournament. He starts with a buzzbait and a spinnerbait, running them over rocky points and rock walls early to catch shallow, feeding fish. This bite is often over when the sun gets on the water, but the fish will run in and out all day when it is cloudy or windy.

“Fish a spinnerbait on windy banks and points all day, no matter what the other conditions,” Larry said.

The wind is a key to finding feeding bass on Lanier. Try the buzzbait and spinnerbait early on any morning, and then stay with the spinnerbait if the wind is up. Larry throws his buzzbait and spinnerbait on the same outfits, using baitcasting reels on fairly limber rods, and spools his reels with 10-lb. green Trilene line.

“I can’t see this line in a swimming pool, so I don’t think the bass can see it in Lanier,” Larry said. He uses this line for worms also, and thinks the darkness at 25 to 35 feet, which he says is as dark as the inside of a frog, makes it a good line to increase your chances of landing a big spot.

“Use a white spinnerbait with silver double willowleaf blades here,” Larry said. He chooses a Georgia Blade spinnerbait, with blades less than 2 inches long to match the small shad the bass are eating. He casts across a point or down a rock wall and reels back fast, looking for a reaction strike. The bait is used with no trailer since it is fished fast.

“I like a 3/8- or 1/2-oz. bait, but many folks use a heavier bait with the small blades so it will run true during a fast retrieve,” Larry said.

You can go around a point or down a wall with the buzzbait and then go back by with the spinnerbait, or cover it on one pass with two people in the boat using different baits, but don’t spend a lot of time in one place throwing these baits.

“Run-and-gun points and walls, looking for active fish. Hit them quick and then move on,” Larry said. Although you may want to return to good places several times, Larry usually does not sit on one hole and fish the spinnerbait. He likes to cover lots of fish-holding spotted bass and catch the ones ready to bite.

Later in the morning, especially if the sun is out and there is not much wind, Larry goes to a worm. He has a special way to rig a Texas worm for fishing brushpiles. In December, Larry likes a natural blue Zoom Trick worm since he wants a bigger worm than the Finesse or Swamp Crawler worms favored my many fishermen. He pinches off about a quarter inch of the head, then heats that end with his cigarette lighter.

“Heating the head until a point forms on it makes it much harder, and makes it come through the brush without pulling down the worm,” Larry explained. He showed me how he melts the worm, holding the head down so a drop of plastic starts to sag, then removes the heat. When it cools, he threads it on a 2/0 hook that is tied below one bead and a 3/16-oz. lead.

The worm is cast to brush located 25 to 35 feet deep and is worked slowly through it. Larry jiggles and twitches the worm, making it dance in one place for a short time when he hits a limb (a technique known as doodling). When crawling the worm up a limb, he stops when the lead hits and shakes it. If a spot doesn’t eat it, he then crawls it to the next limb and does the same thing.

“Stay out from the bank, keeping your boat in 25 to 35 feet of water, and cast parallel to the bank. Keeping your worm in the same depth of water is important in this fishing, and if you cast to the bank and bring it back, you will not catch as many fish,” Larry explained. The 10-lb. Trilene line allows the bait to get to the bottom fairly quickly and keeps it there.

“Brush is thick in this lake and easy to find,” Larry said. “Find any danger or creek marker on a rocky point, and use your depthfinder,” he explained.

Larry says fishermen put out brush on these rocky points and use the marker to line it up. Head toward the marker flat on, running your boat from deep to shallow and watching your depthfinder. If you are perpendicular to the face of the marker, you are likely to see brush in 25 to 35 feet of water.

“Also try using the marker as a pointer, running your boat out from the edge of it,” Larry said.

Think how you would line up a marker to put out your brush, and you can just about bet some other fisherman has already done it. Don’t mark the brush, just stop and cast back to it. You can also hold your boat right over the brush and fish your worm vertically when you get back to it.

Larry also keeps a small crankbait rigged, ready to cast it to any surface motion he sees. A Deep Wee R with silver sides is good to imitate shad the surface-feeding fish are eating. Be ready to take advantage of them. Use a long plug rod and spool with light line, 8-lb. test or less, so you can make long casts to any activity near you.

You can fish the following spotted bass in Flat Creek and learn how to do it. The whole lake is covered in similar spotted bass, so you can easily find your own. One nice thing about fishing Flat Creek is you can put in at the Balus Creek ramp and not have to ride far in the cold, often rainy Georgia December weather.

No. 1 on the map: On the big island in the mouth of Flat Creek, find marker FC 4. The point the marker is on, and the one to your right when facing the marker, are both great spinnerbait points. Stay as far out as you can while still getting your bait near the bank, and run it fast. You are likely to catch some keeper spots. Both points also have brush piles out in 25 to 35 feet of water, as does the right bank going into the cove between them. Blowdowns also line this bank. Fish all the brush with a worm after trying the area with a spinnerbait.

2. Across the creek on the north bank, find the FC3 marker. It is on a hump off the end of a point and this point and hump are covered with rocks and big stumps. Fish it like the point in No. 1, using a spinnerbait and buzzbait first and then fishing a worm in the brush and stumps in 25 to 35 feet of water. Always watch your depthfinder while casting a spinnerbait toward the bank and fish any brush shown by it.

3. Across the mouth of the little creek, on the upstream side, is a danger marker on a rockpile off the bank. This rockpile marks the end of a point running downstream. Cast across it from both sides with a spinnerbait or buzzbait and work all the way around it. Also fish parallel to it on the inside and outside edges, feeling for brush and stumps with a worm.

4. Past the junction of Balus and Flat creeks, watch for the first big cove on your right. The upstream point of this little creek runs way out toward the big rock point on the downstream side. The upper edge of the point drops off fast and there are some big stumps on it. Keep your boat way out off the point and cast a buzzbait or spinnerbait across it, working from the shoreline all the way out to the end of the point in 30 feet of water. Fish it fast, looking for feeding fish that have moved up shallow — if you hit it early or if wind is blowing across it. “Look for stumps or brush on the drop and fish it hard after trying the top of the point,” Larry said. Move your boat to the depth of water you want to fish and cast parallel to the point, working your worm at the contour. When you hit a stump, stop the worm and shake it. There is also some brush here mixed in with the stumps.

5. On the left bank going up the creek, watch for the FC 9 marker. It is on a triple point that offers several options. Fish all the way around this big point with spinnerbait and buzzbait early, but stay way out off the bank. The secondary points run out farther than you realize. It is obvious when the water is down nine or 10 feet, but it’s easy to get in too close when the lake level is higher. A secondary point runs downstream from the main point. It is sandy and has brush on it — if you idle toward the marker lined up with its edge, you will see the brush on your flasher. Fish this brush with the worm, working it through the brush and shaking it on every limb.

If you idle straight to the face of the marker from the deep channel, you will see a drop at about 20 feet deep. There is a big brushpile on the lip of the drop at that depth. Larry says it is as big as a bass boat and is far enough out many fishermen overlook it. Fish this brush parallel to the bank to take advantage of the drop by working the length of it, keeping your worm in productive water longer. Off the secondary point that is upstream of the marker, two big trees are sunk in 25 to 30 feet of water. Here, too, it is easy to get inside them and miss them if you are casting to the bank. Ride with your depthfinder until you locate them and then fish them carefully with a worm. Big trees often hold big spots, so it is worth your time to find these trees.

6. The left bank, right where the creek narrows, is a rock face that extends well above the water. There are several blowdowns running off the bank and brushpiles out in 10 to 30 feet of water. Go into the cut on the downstream side of the rock wall. Stay well out and cast a spinnerbait to the bank. Larry took a keeper largemouth on a spinnerbait here when we fished.

You can work this bank for more than 100 yards with the spinnerbait or buzzbait and will see some of the brush and stumps in the shallow water. Cast to them, but watch your depthfinder for deeper brush. When you get over it, stop and make a short cast, working your worm back into the brush under your boat. Again, cast parallel to the bank to be most effective.

7. Near the back of the creek, where the Flat Creek channel makes its last dog-leg to the right, a long point runs across the creek and drops straight off on the upstream side into the old channel. There is lots of brush and rocks along this drop. Work it with the spinnerbait and buzzbait and then the worm.

8. As you head into the cove to the left of the island in the back of the creek, look behind the island and you will see the dragon ­­­— a head and tail that stick out of the shallow water even when the lake is full. When you see it look to your left for the rocky secondary point in the cove. Straight off it, in the middle of the cove, is a rockpile with brush on it. This brush comes within nine feet of the surface at full pool, so you can see it if the water is that far down. Circle it with all your baits, casting across it and working back through the rocks and brush.

“Fishermen have put out brush on every point, in the middle of just about every cut, and on at least 50 percent of the docks in this lake,” Larry told me. It is easy to find brush to fish, and much of it holds spots in December.

Drop by HD Marine to get the latest updates of conditions from Larry, then head to the lake to catch some of its spotted bass. Try these Flat Creek holes and find more of your own for great December fishing.

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