Summer Fishing Tips
Summer fishing can be tough. It seems one day you have them figured out and then the next you can’t buy a bite. While some anglers stick shallow this time of year while others move deep while looking for an offshore bite. Whether you’re power fishing the bank or finesse fishing deep structure, this rundown will help you catch more bass this summer.
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Beat The Bank All Summer Long
Shallow summer fishing around matted aquatic vegetation is probably the easiest spot to find bass on any given lake, but it is also the toughest cover to penetrate and haul out bass from their weedy hideouts. You can catch bass from grass year-round, but the best time to target bass in hydrilla and milfoil is from the dog days of summer throughout the fall. The grass is thickest then so it allows more bass to congregate under the mats.
Summer Weather Patterns
Weather plays a key role in where bass position in the matted vegetation during the dog days. If it is cloudy or windy, the fish will hold loosely on the edge of the weeds where they are more susceptible to action lures such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits and bladed jigs. Calm, sunny weather is preferred for flipping and pitching to bass congregating in the thickest part of the mats.
Openings in the mats, indentions and any irregular features in the grass are ideal targets for flipping and pitching. However, punching bass baits through the thickest part of the mat produces best since novice anglers tend to shy away from these spots and fish the holes in the grass.
You can penetrate the mats with a 3/4- to 1 1/4-ounce jig with a plastic craw trailer. You can also use a plastic craw or other soft plastics on a Texas rig if you want to give bass a different look in weeds receiving heavy fishing pressure.
Pitch your jig or Texas-rigged soft plastic bait on a 7-foot, 9-inch heavy-action rod rather than a standard 7 1/2-inch flipping stick to get more leverage when trying to get a bass out of the grass. Your line choice for pitching in the weeds should be 50- to 60-pound braid in low visibility green.
Shallow Summer Fishing In The Mats
After punching your jig through the mat, let it fall quickly to the bottom. Try to let the bait fall vertically uninhibited by your rod or reel. Once it gets to the bottom take up the slack and then lift it up to see if it feels like whatever size weight you are using at that time. If it feels too heavy set the hook because it is probably a fish on the line. If it feels normal, work the jig up and down until you establish where the fish are located, whether it’s high right below the canopy of weeds or down on the bottom.
Livin’ On The Ledge: Summer Fishing Out Deep
Ledge fishing is a classic river system technique in the summer when many bass leave the bank for the wide-open spaces of the lake. Finding them was easy when the fish were close to shore, but now it becomes more of a challenge. While the novice angler continues to pound the shoreline and catch small bass, savvy anglers target off-shore structure that produces for them throughout the summer. Once hot weather arrives, you can locate bass along ledges, a structure with many of the same features (lay-downs, stump rows, brush and rock piles) you find along the bank.
Ledge Fishing Is Structure Fishing
Two productive techniques for probing the drops are cranking a deep-diving crankbait and stroking a jig. During early summer, try a deep-diving crankbait for aggressive postspawn bass bunched up on the ledges. You should crank with 8-pound test line, which allows you to make longer casts. The lighter line also gives the lure more natural action and allows it to dive deeper.When retrieving the crankbait make sure it bangs into cover or use a stop-and-go retrieve to create an erratic action in the bait.
Ledge Fishing: Strokin' The Jig
As the sun gets higher and the fish become less aggressive, you should switch to the jig stroking technique. The stroking aspect of ledge fishing is getting a reaction strike from relatively deep-water fish (in the 10- to 20-foot range). This technique involves jerking a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce jig and plastic trailer along the top of the ledge all the way to the drop.Initiate the stroking technique by casting your jig to the ledge and letting it fall to the bottom on a semi-taut line. Be sure to watch your line the whole time because strikes frequently occur on the initial fall. When the jig hits the bottom, jerk your rod from about the 10 o’clock position to about 1 o’clock to make the jig hop along the ledge.
Relieve the Midday Heat
During the summer months when the days are long and the sun is high, it’s important to target cover. Aside from current, bass are often looking for vegetation or shade during the summer months to help keep cool.
When the bite gets tough, don’t be afraid to pick up a spinning rod and get to work. High skies and heavy fishing pressure can put fish into a funk so try downsizing your bait to offer a more inviting option.
Fish aren’t going to jump in the boat so it’s on you to grind it out and figure out where they are and what they want. One single bite can completely change a day of fishing so it’s important to keep your lure wet and keep fishing, even when the odds are against you.