Guide Andy Fox of Claremont, N.C., has a two-pronged approach to catching bass on Lake Hickory in December, and both prongs can be awfully sharp.

“I’ll fish brush in 15 to 18 feet of water with a pig ’n’ jig, or I’ll hit rocky banks with a KVD jerkbait in the chrome/sexy shad color,” said Fox, who runs Fishers of Men Guide Service on several upper Catawba River reservoirs.

“You can catch some real big fish doing either one of those.”

For anglers who don’t have a milk-run of brush piles to fish, hitting those rocky banks might be the ticket. Fox said fish will be active from one end of the lake to the other, but he concentrates on the lower end, from the NC 127 bridge to Oxford Dam.

“You want to fish any rocky bank that the sun is hitting, warming up the rocks,” said Fox (828-312-8771). “Most of the fish will be on the main lake, but you can still catch some as far as half-way back in the creeks.

“Hickory has got such great topography, such good drop-offs, that some of those baitfish and bass will stay in deep coves and cuts all winter.”

Fox said that Hickory will have a big surprise for fishermen who haven’t spent much time there over the past several years ago: spotted bass.

“The lake is full of spotted bass now, and they’re at both ends of the lake,” he said. “I guess somebody put them in 10 years ago, and they’re really in there. I fished last Saturday, and out of the 25 bass I caught, 15 of them were spots.”