Late summer bass fishing can be great if you have a few of these tricks up your sleeve.
Late summer bass fishing is where the rubber meets the road for many anglers that still have the time to hit the water.
It's just that the water still hasn't cooled down all that much and the high sun has big affect on fish, especially bass. Spinnerbaits and buzz baits will help find actively feeding fish, but they disappear without a trace at times leaving you scratching your head.
Even when the bite is tough during the "dog days," the bass are still there. It's just a matter of finding them and targeting them in ways that we're all familiar with.
Now is the time of year when fish will move from deeper water to shallow water, it's just that they're still seemingly out of reach. All that can change with a few easy tips.
1. Live bait
While not all bass anglers want to try live bait, it can be integral in finding fish. Shad and even simple night crawlers can and will take some of the guess work out of locating fish in the summertime.
Use a simple split shot rig in deeper water (18-plus feet) while keeping the bait suspended off of the bottom. Drifting can be a great way to comb the open water of the main lake.
Patience is a must here, but we can't reiterate enough that once you've discovered fish—and possibly a pattern—stopping to cast with your favorite deep diver, Texas rig, or Carolina rig can put bass in the boat.
2. Unlock the Vegetation
How well do you know your water weeds? From coontail to hydrilla, and lily pads to bulrush, every bass angler needs to have the artificial offerings in his or her box to tackle the grass and what lives underneath.
Heavy action rods and reels filled with some good quality braid is recommended to keep your bait in the strike zone, and big bass from taking you to school once you hook up. Here's where soft plastics, jig-and-pig, and even topwater frogs are worth their weight in, well, largemouth bass.
3. Slow Down
Finesse baits fished deep are the go-to for anglers during a cold front, but a Texas rigged worm or a wacky rig dragged as slow as you can stand it will entice strikes from fish that didn't even know they wanted to eat.
This sometimes works quite well around heavy cover during the summer months since the cover can still be very thick and difficult to penetrate. Getting hung up can be an issue, but here is where that heavy action rod is worth the price that you paid for it.
4. Night Time is the Right Time
One good piece of advice when fishing after dark is that once the sun goes down, you need to be patient, and really give it some time. The fish have spent their day in deep water hiding out from the sun and need to acclimate a little bit.
Once they can be found, say with a jitterbug, hula popper, or even a buzzbait, try slowing things down again as even a big largemouth may miss, but can be enticed to return if it feels that its quarry is hiding from it.
Late summer break lines and points are good bets to start. Don't let a little deeper water—eight to ten feet—dissuade you from trying topwater at this time as bass can detect your offering by sound as well as sight.
5. The Fish Are Still Deep
With water temperatures up to 80 degrees in some areas, bass, (especially big bass) can be sluggish. You'll need to be thinking in the 18-20 foot-range and deeper, especially if you're targeting smallmouths.
Some folks like to use deep diving and even lipless crank baits simply to find fish before changing over to a Texas rigged plastic; sometimes your best bet is to get out that tried and true jigging spoon to mimic a wounded baitfish.
Water clarity, color, temperature, depth, and barometer play such a crucial part in bass fishing that none of them can be overlooked. Summer fishing tips come and go, but basics like a heavy weight rod and reel combo for dense cover along with fishing deep (and a deep tackle box) go a long way towards making the most of late summer bass fishing.
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