EDITOR’S NOTE: HottyToddy.com and Team Renegade Outdoors have teamed up to feature hunting, fishing and game stories. Team Renegade Outdoors is comprised of individuals from all over the South who “eat, sleep, and breath the Gamekeeper lifestyle, always trying to better the habitat so the wildlife we love to pursue can thrive and be around for generations to come.” Today, William Wilder shares tips for bass fishing in summertime.
Fishing in the summertime can be some of the most exciting, grueling, and rewarding fishing out of the year. I’ve been fishing since I could walk, and I’m a firm believer that other than the heat of the spawn summertime fishing can yield some of the biggest fish in your local pond or lake. Over the years I have developed and grown accustomed to fishing in the dead heat of the summer. In this article, I will share with you some of the basic strategies and techniques for catching quality and quantity.
Hit ‘em early:
As any person knows, summertime brings out some of the hottest days of the year. Temperatures so hot that it will make you put your rods up and jump in the lake and call it quits (I know from experience).
This brings up one of the most important and simple tactics any angler can use to his advantage during the summer. Hitting the water at daylight and a couple of hours after daylight can make a huge difference. The water is cooler and calmer. The fish are more active, and the fish are at more consistent depths. You can make it easier on yourself by not baking in the 100-plus degree temperatures.
I found last summer that there was a major difference in the way the fish bit at daylight and an hour and a half after daylight. Almost 90 percent of the time, I would catch fish in the same spots, structure and depth at daylight. Daylight also provided some of the bigger fish of the summer rather than later in the day, moving into the evening.
When fishing large lakes, it can be easy to throw in the towel after fishing a few hours and not getting many bites. That is just the way summer fishing can be at times. Bass are lethargic and not active when fishing into the mid-day and early evening. You really have to grab their interest. Throw a bait into the same spot a couple of times before hitting a new area, fish slowly and consistently and don’t get frustrated. The main thing I see a lot of people do in the summer is they fish too quickly. They will throw one cast near a sunken tree or boat dock and then move up twenty yards and throw another cast. Consistency and patience will yield quality and quantity. Trust yourself and your approach.
The best tip I can give to a new angler that is getting into fishing big lakes and new territory would be to have patience and ability to adapt to new conditions.
Really, really use the depth finder. Spend the first hour or so looking at the lake from your depth finder. Sometimes I will even use Google Maps to see depth changes from a satellite perspective. Ask locals. When riding around, look for large drop offs or ledges, deep-water structures, rock structure and deep creek beds in shallow coves. The deeper the better. Trial and error really come into play here, you will spend more time on your first few trips learning the lake and the structure than catching fish. That’s the way it is most of the time. It all pays off in the end.
Structure and Depth Approach:
My go-to line in the summer is: “The deeper the better.”
I have caught more/bigger fish in the heat of the summer in water over 20 feet than I have on boat docks and grass beds. One of the best approaches I found is pulling a worm slowly along a deep ledge or structure. That doesn’t mean I haven’t or don’t catch fish in shallow creeks or off of boat houses in the summer. I do, but I just prefer the deep water.
The best places I could tell anyone to fish in the summer is deep pockets, bridges, under boathouses, grass beds in deep water and creek beds. Fish love shade with cooler water in the summer. The more shade and depth you can find, the better your chances will be. Hit the boat houses and bridges early to mid-day and then deep water in the middle to later part of the evening. For the middle to later part of the day, go to grass beds and creek channels. Throw top water baits before the sun go down.
Deep Water: I will throw deep running crank baits and plastics, Texas rig style. Brush Hogs and red shad colored worms produce the most fish for me, along with a jig and pig, and a variation of crank bait colors. I like a heavy bullet weight so that the bait can get to the bottom as fast as possible. This also provides greater tension on the line. This gives you a better chance to feel that fish down deep.
Boat Houses, Structure and Rocks: Plastics. Slowly fished plastics are usually the better bait in these situations. Really let the bait soak in the structure, sometimes jig it to try and attract attention to lethargic fish. Brush Hogs, Jigs, Wacky worms, and flukes are what I prefer on this approach. Use the flukes early in the mornings as well as the jigs. Brush hogs and regular worm in the later part or the morning or early evening.
Late Evenings: Nothing is more exciting than fishing top water in the late hours before the sun goes down. To me, the only thing more exciting than a huge bass exploding on a top water in the sunset is a mallard drake decoying into the spread. You can’t put a price on it. Frogs, Heddon lures, zarra spooks, flukes, and jitterbugs are the go-to items in this situation. Fish boat houses and grass or lily pads in coves late in the evening and I can almost guarantee that you will catch a fish on a top water bait.
My final basic tip is to look for schools of bass. Many times I have caught fish in schools when I can’t catch fish anywhere else on the lake. You can’t beat catching fish cast after cast when you can get in the middle of a couple of groups of schooling bass. Most of the time I find schools in the early mornings or late evenings near dams and off large points in the lake. Most of the time, the effort just takes driving around with the motor and looking for splashes to find schools. I have had most success throwing flukes and crank baits in the schools.
Put these basics to good use and you can have a better chance at catching the quality and quantity. All it takes is come common knowledge and a little can-do attitude and you can turn a hot day on the lake into the trip of a lifetime. Have fun and enjoy the time you have in God’s creation. It’s not all about catching the huge fish to put on Instagram or to have bragging rights, but enjoying the memories and opportunities you have to better yourself and life.
Go catch ‘em and have fun.
William first got introduced to the outdoors by his father when he was able to walk. He began fishing the local and private ponds around his hometown and then followed his dad’s footsteps into hunting deer, turkey, hogs, and ducks. He loved nothing more as a child than packing up on a Friday afternoon and heading out to the deer camp to hunt in central Texas with his dad. Hunting is something that William became accustomed too on an everyday basis once he could drive and go out on his own to pursue the game that he had his eyes set on. His favorite animal to hunt, however, is Rio Grande turkeys in the mesquite brush of Central,Texas. He continues to chase Turkeys in the woods of Mississippi, while he attends Ole Miss. He is a managerial Finance major, looking to become a stock broker.
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