Where to look:
I like to focus on drops. This could be a creek channel, road bed, or just a steep contour. If the weather is post-frontal, you can count on the bass being on the steepest drop in the area. If there has been a warming trend they can be shallow - even really shallow.
Given that it is December, it will likely be cold more often warm, so let's focus on those drops.
The steepest drops will be on the outside bends of creek channels or where a road was built up high before that the lake was flooded. Often, where a road intersects a channel is your steepest drop and a great spot to look for winter bass. Sometimes, there will either be brush planted by crappie fishermen or some small trees and cover that was hard for the clearing crews to get to before flooding the lake on the these drops that make them even better for big bass.
Finding the drop:
Start by studying a map at home and try to determine where you think these steep drops will be. Idle over these places to confirm there is a steep drop. I use a Humminbird 998. If I have trouble finding the drop, I'll look at the side imaging to point me in the right direction. You can even throw out several marker buoys down an edge to help you visualize what's under the surface. See if you notice bait or the bass on the edges if you do that is great, if not don't get frustrated. Sometimes bass will be hunkered so tight to the drop and even under the roots of stumps that you cannot see them.
If you notice bait on the ones that you have success on, by all means stop fishing the ones with no bait and try to duplicate you success.
If the water is cold, make relatively short casts with a heavy spinnerbait - I like a ¾-ounce Assassinator in shad colors or chartruese and white with double willow-leaf blades. Cast it just far enough to be 10 feet or so on the top of the drop. Let it fall straight to the bottom like you would a jig or worm by pulling out line. Reel just a little (three or four feet) and let if fall back to the bottom on a semi-tight line. This will let you feel any bites - often your line will just go slack as a bass rises up and sucks the bait in with forward momentum. Keep repeating the slow reeling and drop to maintain bottom contact all the way down the drop. On some lakes I've visited, the drop is so severe that you can't hit bottom again (without letting it drop to 40 to 50 feet or more), so you want to let that spinnerbait fall close to that vertical drop where bass will be suspended. Any deeper than about 25 feet other lures become better options, but most North Carolina lakes that will be deep enough.
If you have a warming trend, you want to make long casts to figure out how far up on the flat they have moved. Do the same basic retrieve, but you'll not have to drop it as much to maintain bottom contact on a flat.
I like a Daiwa Steez or new Ballistic 7-foot medium-heavy graphite rod with 15-pound fluorocarbon line for feel. My reel choice is Daiwa's new T3 model that let's you cast way farther with little effort thanks to its new levelwind system that reduces friction. It is impressive how tackle and electronics have evolved in recent years.