Sometimes the beautiful, sunny days of summer can actually be too much of a good thing for fishing. Once water temperatures get into the upper 80s, fishing gets downright tough and bass and other gamefish start getting heat stressed.
Fortunately, there are ways around that, and we put together some tips to help you succeed when the mercury’s pegged.
1. Go deep
When it gets too hot in your house, what do you do? You probably turn on your A/C. When it gets too hot for a fish to be comfortable, they move to deeper (and cooler) waters. Temperatures just 10 feet below the surface can easily change by 5 to 10 degrees, which is generally enough to make a fish comfortable.
Look for deeper fish by combing structures like points, ledges, ditches, humps, and brush piles with deep-diving crankbaits, Carolina rigs, and football jigs. Bass will often gang up on likely spots to cool off when the water temperature spikes.
2. Fish at night
It’s a no brainer that the coolest temperatures each day occur during the night, and the fish know it too. Surface temps can drop up to 3 to degrees at night, making it an ideal time for bass to come up and feed.
Night fishing is especially effective for anglers that enjoy shallow, power fishing techniques. The worm, spinnerbait, and jig bite slows down for most anglers once the heat of summer settles in, but that’s not the case for fishermen willing to brave the darkness. You can power fish till your heart’s content at night and cooler water will have the bass choking your baits in no time.
3. Speed up
When the water’s hot, bass seldom feed during the hottest part of the day. For that reason, if you’re going to get bit – it’s usually going to come from a reaction strike. By fishing fast and not giving the fish a good look at your bait, they will strike at it out of instinct instead.
In shallow water, try burning a spinnerbait, buzzbait, or fast twitching a fluke-style plastic jerkbait as fast as possible. Flip and pitch a heavy jig or plastic to maximize the rate of fall. Out deep, try “stroking” a football jig by hopping it hard 3 or 4 feet off the bottom and letting it fall – burning a deep-diving crankbait can also be effective.
4. Find current
Another thing people do to find comfort when it’s hot is to turn on a fan. For fish, that equates to finding some current. Current not only contains more oxygenated water, but it also allows bass and other predatory fish a steady stream of food in baitfish that move downstream with the current.
It’s no secret that fish in most power-generating reservoirs bite better when they are generating current. Check with the utility in charge of your local lake and see when the peak power generation times are and plan your fishing trips to overlap. On natural lakes fish the windy side of the lake, as wind generates a natural current that anglers can take advantage of.
5. Fish shade
You guessed it, when it’s hot; people like to get in the shade. Bass are no different. Whether it’s the shade from a dock, a laydown, a shoreline willow – whatever. Bass use shade to obscure themselves from both predators and prey, something that savvy anglers should take advantage of.
When the sun’s really beating down, if you’re not fishing shade you’re not going to get bit. Try running spinnerbaits or buzzbaits along the shade line of a dock, bridge piling, or laydown. Skipping a stick bait or jig way back into the darkest parts of shoreline cover can also be effective.