Although it’s best known for producing good catches of rainbow and brown trout, Lake Jocassee in the South Carolina mountains is also a well-kept secret honey-hole for big black bass, boasting state records for three of the four main species in South Carolina.

“Bass fishing in December is usually a good time to catch numbers and size of bass,” said guide Rob McComas of Mill Spring, N.C., who has landed some giant largemouth and spotted bass from the lake. “The fish will be oriented to banks, points and laydowns, and out in the river and creek channels, so there are plenty of areas to choose from.”

McComas (828-674-5041) said largemouth bass fishing is best on points and tree laydowns over deep water.

“I like to fish baits up in the water column, as fish are feeding pretty good and will give chase to a bait,” he said. “Fish spinnerbaits¬† swimbaits and even some topwater. The water will be warmer than you might think, especially since the early fall water was so warm.”

To catch spotted bass, look for them in the middle of river and creek channels, he said.

“They move a lot, so be sure you do, too. Keep moving until you graph fish, and fish for them with jigging spoons, medium live minnows and underspins. The fish may be as shallow as 20 feet or as deep as 80 feet, depending on the weather and bait location.”

Fish located on the bottom are best caught on jigging spoons, and fish suspended in the channel are best caught on live minnows, he said.

“You might also catch some big yellow perch and some stocker trout fishing like this. The perch will usually die after being reeled up from deep water, so they are good for the table.”

In January, the fish will mostly be transitioning to points, McComas said.

“This is the best time for me to catch smallies on Jocassee. Jigging spoons, float-and -fly and drop shots are good choices,” he said. “Fish may be on bluff banks as well. Don’t worry about graphing fish, just fish areas thoroughly and slowly.”

Jocassee holds state records for three of the four bass species in the lake Рsmallmouth (9 pounds, 7 ounces), spotted bass (8 pounds, 5 ounces) and redeye bass (5 pounds, 2.5 ounces Рalso the world record for the species).