- 10 Ways to Catch Bass in the Heat of Summer When Others Can't
10 Ways to Catch Bass in the Heat of Summer When Others Can't
by: Dylan Hayward
Summer bass fishing comes with its challenges. The blistering sun drives bass deep into the water, and the unpredictability of clear weather can make timing a good day on the water, a bit of a chore. But don’t be discouraged. When fished right, this can be one of the greatest times of the year to hook a monster largemouth.
Here are a few of my tips and strategies to make the most of the summer time weather, and boost your success of landing that lunker bass.
If you're looking for a more comprehensive overview of bass fishing gear and strategies be sure to check the article titled "GoWild's Bass Fishing Lures Guide | Lures, Rigging Types & Retrieving".
1. Fish the Cover
Just like humans, during the grueling summer heat, bass are going to look for shade. Water temperatures can be well over 10 degrees cooler under fallen trees, docks, etc. Not only do the bass like to be in cover, but so do baitfish, making this a perfect spot for bass to camp out in and wait to feast.
Make note of these areas and cast out a jerkbait, reeling in just under the water service with pauses every few seconds. When the weather is hot, bass are typically lazy and you’ll need to pull that lure right into the strike zone in order for the bass to bite.
2. Find the Ledges and Dropoffs
If you can spot areas where shallow water quickly drops into deep water, this is a great place to try. A lot of times, especially during the summer, bass will idle right at the bottom of that ledge. If you can set up in the shallow parts, using a football rig, and work slowly up that dropoff, odds are you will get a bite.
3. Fish Heavy Vegetation
Finding a spot of heavy vegetation can be a gold mine. Bass love to hang out in these areas of dense cover as they wait for craws, frogs and other prey. Spots with a cover of lily pads are a an anglers dream and the perfect opportunity to cast out a topwater frog. This could easily be one of the best fishing experiences you’ll ever be apart of.
4. Go Where the Bites Are
A lot of times we can have false hope about a spot that might look perfect on paper, but just isn’t providing the action you’re looking for. In pretty much every aspect of life, the philosophy “patience is key” is very accurate and should be taken as wisdom. But not in this situation. If you’ve casted out multiple times and there has been little to no interest, write that spot off and head to another one.
When the bass aren’t biting, casting for another hour isn’t going to make a difference, in fact, it will likely have the opposite effect and make them even more paranoid and shut them down. In order to catch bass, you'll need to find a spot where the bass are biting.
5. Follow the Oxygen
Bass can e more high-maintenanced than some people realize. They generally prefer areas of the water where the pH levels are perfect, and oxygen levels are high. However, there is usually a compromise to finding that sweet spot that bass have to accept, and you can take advantage of that by finding what those levels currently are.
Bass prefer areas of high oxygen, such as the warm shallow areas the water. However, those same areas generally have a much more acidic pH level, resulting in bass using excess energy to regulate the pH, making the added oxygen essentially useless. Because of this, they typically like to find an area of the water with the perfect mix of oxygen and pH levels. This is called the themocline and and the depth of this layer can vary throughout the year, although it’s usually in the area where water is between 65-75 degrees. Find this spot, and you’re in for some incredible fishing.
6. Follow the Shad
Towards the tail end of summer, you’ll start to see shad school up together, and as we transition from August to September, these schools tend to congregate in more shallow pockets of water, where it can be a feeding frenzy for largemouth bass, and one that you should capitalize on.
Use a lure that immitates a shad, and try to make it match the size of the shad you are currently seeing, as this will seem more natural to the bass. Reel in at different speeds and different depths until you notice action, and take not of that sweet spot.
7. Fish the Right Depths at the Right Time
I touched briefly about the importance of finding the right depths when targeting bass, but it truly can’t be overstated. During specific times of the year, bass will congregate to different depths of the water, and in order to land that giant bass you’re after, you need to know which depths to cast in.
8. Throw Summer Lures
Using the right lures is critical to summer bass success. Focus on using lures that imitate what bass are feeding on at the current times. A few lures I like to use are:
Shop Dog Gear
9. Pay Attention to Water Temperature
Monitoring water temperature can help make the most out of your summer fishing. Bass will still bite your lures even in the brutal summer temps when water temperature can get up to the mid 80s. However, studies have shown that bass are most actively feeding when water temperatures hover around 70-75 degrees.
It’s always a good idea to take note of the water temperature and adjust your strategy accordingly. On those hot days when the sun is beating down, bass are going to dive down deeper into the cooler water, and will be much lazier when going after a lure.
10. Get Your Casting & Retrieving Right
One of my favorite strategies for summer bass fishing is to find a ledge or a steep drop off, set up on the shallow side and cast a few feet past, while doing a steady retrieve upwards along the ledge. Bass can be extremely lethargic during the warm summer months, so a steady retrieval that is smooth enough to catch a bass’s attention is very important.
Following these Summer bass fishing tips should put you in a good position to land some big bass while your friends stand by and scratch their heads as to why you're catching them and they aren't!