When the temperatures are sweltering during the dog days of summer, and the heat becomes unbearable, the bass near you will be seeking cooler water. Thick patches of aquatic plants like milfoil, coontail, lily pads, or pondweed are all places where bass can camp out and stay cool. The rich plant life provides shade and pumps out oxygen during the photosynthesis process that bass can take in through their gills. Mixed in with the bass will be packs of bluegill, green sunfish, perch, and crappie, all hanging around for similar reasons.
Now that we know where the bass might be and what they're likely eating (panfish), it's time to think about which baits can be worked most efficiently in the areas just described. While there are dozens of techniques for situations like this which all have their time and place. But to keep things simple, we're going to cover three of the most popular and effective for catching bass this time of year.
1) Neko Rig
A black & blue BioSpawn ExoStick Neko rigged.
The Neko rig is a relatively new finesse technique developed by Japanese anglers but has since made waves across the United States. Essentially, it's a wacky rigged finesse worm with a small nail-shaped weight jammed into the bait's head. Instead of rigging your hook horizontally like on a traditional wacky rig, run the hook parallel with the bait so that the hook point is faced away from the weight. The weight increases the fall rate, allowing anglers to fish faster and more efficiently in water, ranging from 8-15ft.
Fish the Neko Rig on a medium-powered spinning rod with 8-10lb fluorocarbon and target the grass you see sitting in moderate depths. The Neko Rig will fall headfirst as the nail weight pulls the rig down, slipping in and out of the vegetation as it descends. By gently popping and pulling, you'll be able to slide the rig through the grass as it continuously flaps and flails on the way down.
Neko Rig Soft Plastics, Weights, And Accessories
2) Swim Jig
Unlike standard jigs that are pitched to targets or slowly crept across the bottom, a swim jig should constantly be on the move. The bait's slender head design allows it to swim in and out of grass patches with ease without rolling or twisting. When you pair a soft plastic trailer with a little bit of kicking action, you now resemble fleeing bluegill, sunfish, or crappie dashing through the grass in a frantic and chaotic motion. Use a medium-heavy rod spooled with stout fluorocarbon or braided line and start making long casts with a swim jig into shallow grass flats, patches, or weedlines. Once the bait hits the water, begin winding the reel handle instantly and keep a steady retrieve throughout each cast. Working a swim jig at a slow to moderate speed will entice the weary bass when the fishing is tough. Burning the bait with a few quick cranks of the reel handle and then instantly transitioning to a slow creep will also draw a ton of strikes. The change in bait speed, especially from fast to slow, seems to draw aggressive bites from fish who might see that change of speed as an opportunity to strike.
The Best Bass Swim Jigs
3) Texas Rig
It'd be hard to write an article about summer grass fishing without mentioning the Texas Rig, so here it is. First, slide on a bobber stop, then attach a weight, preferably tungsten, ranging in sizes from ¼-1 oz. Finally, attach a stout flipping, worm, or EWG hook that will match the soft plastics you intend on throwing.
3/0-5/0 size hooks are the most used sizes for Texas Rigging, so I'd suggest starting there. Once you're rigged and ready, start targeting shallow water areas with thick patches of grass. Move up in weight sizes to punch through the pads, patches of grass, or thick mats on the surface. If you're fishing sparse grass or along the edges, try downsizing your weight.
Bass will seek shelter under the thick canopies that grass mats provide, so don't be afraid to beef up to braided line and start targeting the big ones in the slop with a Texas-sized rig.
Texas Rig Baits & Tackle
Updated November 3rd, 2021 at 5:20 AM CT