It’s that time of year – the birds, our helpers, are showing up in greater numbers every day. These birds should increase as the month goes on. The November/December topwater bite has been the best it has been in years . Look for the gulls and terns on the main lake for the first couple hours in the morning. These fish are keying on small bait, so downsize your lure. My go -to artificial right now is a 3/8-oz. Captain Mack’s Super Spoon in glitter or white/silver flash. A 7-foot Okuma Reflections medium-action rod paired with a 30-class Okuma Helios loaded with 15-lb. braid and a 4-foot, 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader is a great setup to cast this little lure a long way. This is key as these are fast-moving schools. Most of your bites will come while you are moving the spoon as fast as you can through fish that are blowing up on the surface. If the fish go down before you get to them, yo-yo the spoon on your retrieve. Target the back half of any major creeks, like Latham, Taylor, Johnson, Sardis, Ada, Gainesville and Little River after the topwater action dies down and this same setup will also work vertically on the stripers and spots you find in and around the big clouds of bait in the 40- to 60-foot range you will be. Downlined herring or small trout on an Okuma Striper rod with an Okuma Coldwater 203 fished about 2 feet off the bottom up to 5 feet above the bait schools you will mark with your Humminbird Solix will be your best live-bait option in December. A Captain Mack’s 1.5- to 2-oz. swivel sinker, 3 to 4 feet of 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader and a No. 4 or No. 2 Gamakatsu circle hook will be your best setup for downlining this month. As the water finally cools into the 50s, smaller baits will be the answer to more bites. Remember “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

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