How To

Best Fall and Winter Fishing: Bass in Texas and California

KVD with a catch

Author’s Note: Although water and weather temperatures are cooling down, don’t put away your rod and reel just yet. There are plenty of big bass and fat crappie to be caught in November and December. To find out where to catch the biggest and the most bass and crappie this month, we asked two of the best professional fisherman in the industry – Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, four-time BASS Angler-of-the-Year and two-time Bassmaster Classic winner.

Kevin VanDam’s Picks:

Falcon Lake in Zapata, Texas – This is the best big-bass lake in the nation. There’s never a bad time to fish Falcon Lake, but in November and December, the weather’s mild and the bass start spawning around Christmas time. Falcon is probably the best lake in the country to catch a 10-pound-plus largemouth bass.

To catch big bass in Falcon Lake, fish big spinner baits (a 1/2- or a 1/4-ounce) around the shallow mesquite bushes in the shad patterns. I also fish a number of big plastic lures, such as the 7-inch Ocho, a stick-type worm, creature baits like the Rage Hawg and big plastic worms like the Anaconda. You’ll catch a tremendous number of 3 to 7 pounders, and this is the best lake to catch a 10 pounder at this time of year. Falcon will be my pick for bass fishing in November and December.

Lake Fork near Quitman, Texas – In Lake Fork, one of the premier trophy-bass lakes in Texas, the bass are starting to move shallow for the pre-spawn at this time of year. Fish a lipless crankbait like the Red Eye Shad around hydrilla on the lower end of the lake. Pitch a 1/2-ounce jig in the black and blue colors with a Rage Craw trailer to the trees on the edge of the creek channel.

California Delta near Sacramento, California – This tidal body of water has a tremendous amount of hydrilla and tulies. Plus, the incoming and outgoing tide creates a lot of current. During November and December, the bass will be relating to the main shoots (canals) and the outside edges of the reeds and to the hydrilla. This area is a maze of canals. One side of these canals generally is lined with rocks and the other side is often lined with tulies. There are plenty of little lakes and bays because it’s a Delta region where the Sacramento area dumps into the bay. The bass fishing is tremendous at this time of year. Anglers can catch an 18-pound largemouth there and plenty of other nice-sized bass weighing from 5- to 10-pounds each.

To catch the bass, I recommend using crankbaits like Strike King’s Series 3 and Series 5. Red is one of my favorite colors because the crayfish in this area turn a very red color at this time of year. Because there’s a good deal of matted vegetation here, fishing a rubber frog like a Rage Toad across the top of that vegetation can get your line stretched and your rod bowed up. The flipping tactic also will produce bass here.

This article is part of a series on fall and winter fishing hotspots. Click here for for Ronnie Capps’ and Kevin VanDam’s hot spots for crappie and bass in Alabama.

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.