Many anglers believe milder weather means the end of bass fishing season. This is not the case at all.
Now, when the actual water temperatures drop to below 50 degrees, largemouth bass will move to deeper and warmer water but smallmouth bass are a whole different story.
On the coldest, most bitter day of the year, the smallmouth bass are feeding and you would be surprised at how shallow they will feed at times. I have fished many lakes in Kentucky and Tennessee in the month of December. And although I nearly froze to death, I caught some nice smallmouth and largemouth bass. The key to being successful this time of year is to learn bass movements in a lake as the water temperatures change.
The air might be ice-cold but the water this time of year will be much warmer. So decide your fish-catching patterns based on present water temperatures instead of air temperatures. You could be fishing in a cold wind but still catch bass on a top water-style bait or a shallow-running crank bait.
Some hardcore smallmouth anglers actually plan their trips around the colder weather. On lakes like Dale Hollow Lake, which lies in Tennessee and Kentucky, some of the biggest smallmouth of the whole year are caught in the dead of winter — some even in only a few feet of water on baits.
During this time of year some anglers use some live baits like shiners, big minnows and creek chubs. The key thing when fishing live baits is not to cast or retrieve them too much. Try to find an area you like and just let your bait go out into the water and get some line out without pulling on it too much so the bait will live much longer. Slowly drift or troll through an area while watching your pole. You can even fish more poles than one like this. I think this is a great way to catch cool-water bass.