Last updated on October 27th, 2020
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The sun is shining, the trees are green, and summer bass fishing is in full swing. You can be a very successful angler in the summer months if you have a good understanding of how bass behave when it gets hot. Keep these five concepts in mind the next time you go out on the water and you will catch more summer bass!
1. Locate the fish
Are you fishing in the shallows?
If so, the summer heat can cause water temperatures to reach beyond 90°F. These sizzling conditions will reduce the amount of oxygen in the water and cause bass to become lethargic.
Shallow water bass will be looking for areas that are a few degrees cooler than the rest of the lake. This typically means that you will be able to find them in the shade near some kind of structure and in the thick of vegetation.
Because the temperature in the shallows will be warmer than in deep water, bass will be in the shallow water for easy feeding and the extra oxygen provided by lilies and other greenery. Many bass fishermen tend to overlook the potential of fishing shallow water in the summer. Don’t be that person!
Do you prefer going deep when the water gets hot?
Most bass anglers do and for good reason. Deeper water means lower temperature, which is attractive to largemouth bass.
Finding fish in the deep is fairly simple if you have a handy depth finder or a good understanding of the geography of the lake. You should be looking for submerged structure and sharp drop-offs from shallow flats. These types of areas are ideal for largemouth bass because they hold Bluegill and spawning Shad.
Largemouth bass are cold-blooded creatures whose metabolism increases with hotter temperatures. If you know where to find them you will surely be able to catch a few (hopefully)!
2. Try Fishing on Top
As mentioned earlier, bass can get lethargic as the water temperature rises. This means that the swimbait that you had major success within the spring may not get as many bites in the summer.
An effective way to get a reaction out of these lethargic fish is to throw topwater baits, like a popping frog or a Whopper Plopper.
Topwater baits, like the popping frog, are extremely effective summer bass fishing lures when fishing shallow water vegetation. These lures are weedless which means that you will be able to cast into the thick of the vegetation without getting hung up. This is very important because, as mentioned earlier, bass will be in the middle of the patch of grass to get out of the sun.
When fishing structure, like Cypress trees or a boat dock, topwater baits like the Whopper Plopper will be successful. These lures have an aggressive action in the water that largemouth bass seem to hate. Using these baits is also a good way to cover a lot of water, which is useful when you are trying to locate the fish.
Topwater blowups seem to be more violent during the summer months and I absolutely love it. From the suspense of working the bait through the water to that huge splash that came seemingly out of nowhere, fishing the top is one of the most exciting aspects of bass fishing.
3. Go Finesse When Things Slow Down
Not having any luck with your crankbait?
Then switch it up!
Finesse fishing with soft plastic baits during the summer will slow everything down and get you more bites.
Sometimes covering the most water that you possibly can is not the best tactic to catch largemouth bass.
If you find a patch of vegetation that has activity, like bass hitting the top of the water or swimming shad, then you should really hone in on your technique to properly fish that area.
You will not catch big bass in vegetation by using the same tactics and lures as you would fishing offshore structure.
During the summer, largemouth bass like to hang out in the thick of the vegetation because it tends to be cooler. This means that you will miss out on these heavily covered fish if you cannot throw a lure that is capable of going through the weeds.
Finesse fishing is the best way for anglers to thoroughly dissect grass-filled areas. Texas-rigged soft-plastic baits, like a Zoom finesse worm, work through vegetation beautifully without getting hung up. These baits are irresistible when properly presented to a bass in the thick of the vegetation.
Let the bait do the work!
Too often I see fishermen that work their baits faster than they should. If you make a good cast, especially in vegetation, then you should let the bait fall through the weeds. This gives off a more natural look and allows the bait to work through the thicker parts of the vegetation (which is hopefully where the big bass are).
Slow down, find the vegetation, and use finesse tactics to get BIG Summer bites.
4. Moving Water Is Your Friend
You will undoubtedly have success when summer fishing for bass if you can find moving water. This is because a current will provide a consistent source of food and more oxygen in the water, which is very attractive to lethargic summer bass.
If the lake you fish has rivers that feed into it, consider yourself lucky!
It is rare that you will not be able to find moving water in a lake or reservoir that is connected to a river system. You should look for land that comes to a point in the water, drop-offs and natural channels to find some moving water.
What lures would you use to fish moving water situations like these?
You will find success using crankbaits and rattle traps in moving water because it will give the same appearance of a Shad stuck in the current. If the water is deep then you would want a deep-diving crankbait to get to those bass holding in the cooler water.
If you fish in a standalone lake (like me) it will be harder for you to find moving water because of the lack of connected waterways, but it is not impossible.
Without any natural current, I resort to the unnatural aspects of the lake to find any type of water flow. Look for things like trails in the vegetation left by passing boats and drainage systems that feed into the lake.
Don’t be surprised when you find a storm drain with a small amount of water coming out of it and get bite after bite. During the summer any amount of water movement is worth fishing.
Also, try to fish the windy side of the lake when you cannot find any moving water. The wind will push baitfish toward the bank and create ripples which will put more oxygen in the water.
It may be harder to cast, but fishing the windy side of the lake is your best bet when you cannot find any moving water in the summer months.
5. When in Doubt, Throw a Spinnerbait
The spinnerbait may be one of the oldest lures out there, but many anglers still consistently use and find success with it. Some fishermen even swear by it and use the bait exclusively.
On days when you cannot find any fish no matter what you do, tie on a spinnerbait and see what happens. You might be surprised by the result.
Fishing with a spinnerbait is not the most enjoyable form of fishing, but it gets bites because bass seem to hate them. Every bass I have ever caught on a spinnerbait has absolutely slammed it, which is the best part about the bait.
Using a spinnerbait is a great way to cover a lot of water, which is helpful when trying to locate fish on a slow day. You want to work the bait past structure and points of cover to catch those ambushing bass.
Fish the spinnerbait at different depths until you get your first bite. Then try to stay at that same depth s because summer bass tend to school up and feed together.
Blue, white, and chartreuse are the colors you want on the skirt of your spinnerbait during the summer because it gives the appearance of a Perch or Bluegill. The sun reflects nicely off of the spinner, which makes it a great lure for sunny summer days.
That about wraps up our little post. Hopefully, you have found it useful. I firmly believe that if you keep these five concepts in mind the next time you go fishing during the summer months ahead, you will certainly have more success!
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A fantastic article filled with a lot of tips and gems worth trying out. I have only been bass fishing for a few years now and I don’t have an exact science for it yet. I do find that lake fishing (what I do most when it comes to bass) is the easiest when it comes to catching the big guys. My son nearly got pulled into the lake when he had thought he was poking a dead bass. The sucker whipped around and grabbed his bait, took off like a bat out of hell. Ended up snapping the line.