How To Catch Bass In Summer
The Bassonline guides have created an in-depth guide with tips for summer bass fishing, including where and how to catch fish regardless of the predicted heat index.
Top Tips for Summer Bass Fishing:
Look in deep pockets, especially near structures like ledges, points, and brush piles. Live bait will generally draw more strikes. Skirted jigs, plastic worms, lipless crankbaits, or topwater frogs are usually the best artificial lure choices.
Summer bass still like to eat, but they will put in less effort to do so. So knowing how to find the bass and entice that hard strike that doesn’t require much movement from the fish is critical. Largemouth bass moving less but still eating a lot is a recipe for more trophy bass for the summer bass fishing anglers to enjoy!
Summer Bass Fishing
How To Find Bass
Summer bass are most likely to be found under overhanging cover, near ledges and drop-offs, near humps, and points, in areas with water currents, and near dense floating vegetation.
The overhanging cover provides the largemouth bass with shade which is crucial during the hot summer. Look for docks, boathouses, trees, or anything that makes a shady area for the bass to hang out in.
Shady water can be 10 degrees cooler than the water only feet away in the hot sun, so this means there is more oxygen in the cooler water. Bass and the small fish that bass eat both like the oxygen. The shaded areas are also ideal because small baitfish gather in these spots to avoid birds and other avian predators and makes for an excellent place for bass to ambush the bait.
Ledges and Drop Offs
Look for areas where the water drops off from a shallow area into a deeper pool. These are especially common in reservoirs and a great spot to check. During low light times, anglers can start the search on the shallower part on top of the ledge casting down into the deep part and retrieve up the ledge. During times of full sunlight, anglers sit over the ledge and cast parrel to the ledge retrieving straight up. The other option is to sit deep and cast into the shallow area retrieving down the ledge. In general, the big bass tend to stay closest to the ledge, whether below or above it.
The water current brings food and oxygen to the bass, so they will strategically position themselves so the current will bring food and oxygen to them without any need to move. Some of the biggest bass are found near moving water, especially in the summer. Also, the current can be very minor to attract fish; as long as it can move any food, it’s an excellent place to cast.
Dense and Floating Vegetation
It’s always a good idea to look for bass underneath living, floating vegetation, especially in natural lakes. Look for hydrilla, lily pads, and hyacinth, the favorites for largemouth bass. The bass seek shelter underneath these areas for shade and for a good spot to ambush prey. The strategy is similar to the overhanding structure, except the bass generally prefer the floating vegetation since the cover extends into the water, adding extra shelter for them to hide and ambush.
If you find a place where a raft of hyacinth drifted into a bed of lily pads or hydrilla, you may have found a gold mine and should start casting your line. More than likely, there will be bass there and likely the big bass. To catch big bass under the floating vegetation, it’s best to use weedless muck baits such as rats or frogs then drag them over the top. Then, be ready for the hardest strike of your life!
When fishing below the surface under vegetation, small craws are generally the best way to go. Usually, the prey living near matted vegetation are small such as crawfish or sunfish, so using a smaller bait is the best way to match the hatch in this scenario.
When To Fish
Bass ultimately can be caught all day, every day using various techniques; however, when it comes to the overheated largemouth bass, it’s best to avoid the hottest part of the day in the summer. Late evening and early morning will almost always provide anglers with the best opportunities of landing a big bass in the summer.
Night fishing is another great option for summer fishing. As the sun goes down or once it is down, go fishing for some bass that have cooled down enough to be motivated to find their next meal. Topwaters are a great lure choice when night fishing near humps, points, and shallow water near ledges.
Summer bass are generally thought to be in deeper water to cool off, which is often true; however, it usually helps look for water features and structures over depth. For example, fish will often be in shady areas undercover in a water depth of only a couple of feet deep.
Also, the type of conditions on each day will be a factor as well. For instance, on an overcast day, fish may stay active longer, moving from the deep holes if they were in one.
Cloudy and overcast days are your friend during the summertime. These are the days when the fishing is usually best this time of year since the fish will be more in ambush mode and roaming to seek prey rather than holding tight under heavy cover or in deeper water.
Summer Bass Fishing Lures
Big or Small Lures
The general fishing rule of thumb for choosing a lure will always be to “match the hatch” or use a bait that the local bass would naturally be eating.
When it comes to size, many anglers believe that big baits mean big bass. And that may not be a bad idea especially come mid to late summer when Brim, shad, and other baitfish are generally larger in size. But you will typically get fewer bites if you reach for that giant swimbait, jig, or spoon. For this reason, it’s worth considering the smaller bait since the hot sun in the summer already means fewer bites overall many days. In addition, some of the biggest recorded bass have been caught on small baits under two inches.
The most important things in bass fishing to remember are that bass are unpredictable. Their preference may change each day; if something isn’t working, don’t hesitate to try a smaller than average or larger than average bait.
Best Types of Lures
The best summer bass fishing lures are spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, skirted jigs, topwater frogs, and plastic worms.
The type of lure to use depends on where you are casting. Reaction baits such as crankbaits, topwaters, and vibrating jigs are excellent for shallower areas.
Spinnerbaits can be effective in any condition, but they truly prove themselves in muddy or murky water because of their flash and vibration. Cast it near the edge of grass or drop-offs and use a slow, steady retrieve to bring it back. These are ideal on sunny days bumping it around structures where the bass would seek shade, such as near logs, vegetation, or branches.
Lipless crankbaits can be fished in both shallow water and deep water just with a change in retrieve speed, so these are a good idea, especially during the early summer times when schooling bass may be found at various depths. First, shoot for a crankbait that resembles the local baitfish, then brace yourself for the ultimate hook-up!
Skirted jigs paired with a heavy to medium fishing rod will prepare you for big summer bass. This jig is one of the most versatile lures an angler can use during summer bass fishing. Flip your lure into heavy vegetation, work along drop-offs, cast out near structure, or drag along the bottom. Skirted jigs have more extensive profiles, which seem to be the key when targeting lethargic summer bass.
Topwater frogs are among the best lures to use if you’re fishing in an area with plenty of lily pads. Hopping a frog from leaf to leaf is very enticing to the bass hiding underneath the lily pads. The attention a popping topwater frog draws is hard for an aggressive bass to ignore.
The plastic worm is excellent at enticing the summer bass in the shady areas near the bottom of a water column. Soft plastic worms that are rigged either Carolina or Texas style are summer bass fishing winners. The Carolina rig is best when used in deep open water as a search lure, and the Texas rig is best when bass fishing shallow spots with vegetation or heavy cover.
Live bait will generally produce more strikes from the lethargic summer fish. Shiners, either wild or domestic, and shad are usually the best baits to catch fish consistently. In addition, live bait will usually help attract the big bass that may not have been eager enough to move from their holding spot for a lure. Other popular forms of live bait are crawfish and worms, which both usually work and will attract fish even while it’s hot out.
Are Summer Bass Smaller
Often the bass caught during the summer seem to be smaller fish, this doesn’t mean there aren’t big bass to be caught, but smaller bass are more abundant during the summer season because they can withstand the heat better than big fish since their bodies require less oxygen to function.
Since smaller bass have a higher tolerance for warmer waters, they usually hang out higher in the water column than the big bass.
If there isn’t much vegetation or spots with the cover providing a good amount of shade, then more than likely, the big bass will be in deeper water, and fishing a drop-off or other deep areas will provide the best shot at a big bass in the summer.
Final Thoughts From The Pros
- Bass are most active around dusk and dawn during the summer or whenever the sunlight is reduced, which puts them at an advantage over most prey. The cooler water temperatures in the early morning or late evening will spike both the prey and the bass activity.
- Look for and target transition points within the features of the fishery. For example, look for sudden drop-offs with deeper water, heavy cover, brush piles, or current.
- Largemouth bass will usually congregate into the shady spots to cool off as the summer temperature spikes. So you may have to head deeper if there arent any shallower shaded areas for the fish to gang up in.
- If fishing deep water areas for big bass, be prepared to get hung up and lose a lot of tackle. This is another reason to look for shady areas or thrive on the small bass that roam closer to the surface.
- Another pro tip is to keep the bait in the strike zone longer when summer bass fishing. When water gets hotter or colder than usual, there is less oxygen in the water, which slows down the metabolism of the local bass, which means less energy. Therefore, it’s essential to slow down your retrieve and keep the bait in the strike zone longer for a better chance at a bite.
The Ultimate Summer Fishing Adventure
Experience the best summer fishing with a professional guide to take you where the bass hang out to stay cool during the summer. Your guide will teach you all the insider tips based on years of experience, showing you how to catch fish regardless of the time of year. Even on the hot days of summer, most locations can produce if you know where to look. Spend relaxing time on the water catching numbers of bass or hunting to catch big bass that are avoiding the heat.
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