Thankfully, it’s summertime. With summertime, means in comes the heat, and not just with fishing, but literally! If you’re booking a fishing trip in a Southern region like Galveston, Texas, Destin, Florida, or Orange Beach, Alabama, the heat will hit you!
Heat can get the best of all of us, and that doesn’t fall short of bass fishing. High heat and summer weather changes the behavior of bass, and they will begin to look for cooler water. If you’re looking to hook a bass with Captain Experiences this summer, or in the heat at all, it’s important to know all about how the weather may affect bass, and the best techniques and tricks to make sure you can catch one!
One of the number one tips to know going into summer bass fishing is to keep an eye out for shadowy waters. This could mean shadows near a tree, large structures that would shield bass from the sun, or lots of weeds and vegetation. Bass are just like us in the summer, they're all about comfort and staying out of the heat.
While you may more often find yourself fishing in the deep end, a hot summer paired with low lake levels helps to push huge numbers of bass into the bank, and shallower waters.
Look for dark black or grey shapes in the water that would provide shade for hot bass.
While of course we know the deeper waters are probably cooler, we also know fishing is not as simple as that. Keep in mind temperature and its relation to your environment. For example, if you notice shadows over 10 feet of water, give it a shot because it may be cooler than 30 feet of water out in the hot sun.
A realistic swimbait in early June proves to be especially useful in rivers or bodies of water with trout or kokanee. In the first couple weeks of summer, June bass will attack any realistic-looking swimbait.
With big swimbaits, try slowly dragging the bottom or cruise it along in the water column.
Although swimbaits may work best in early June or spring, you can never go wrong with a big bait, bass always seem to love em!
Of course, the best way to catch a big fish is to use a big bait! Big fish like eating big baits, and if you’re looking to catch a record-breaking bass, give her a bait that’s worth her time eating. Big bass love crankbaits and jerkbaits.
In the summertime, bass tend to suspend themselves over the thermocline. The thermocline is the transition layer of water between what's been heated, from the cooler water below.
For more casting distance, use suspending or slow sinking jerkbaits because they usually weigh more. Since suspending and slow sinking jerkbaits are not floating on the surface, they also stay longer in the strike zone. If there are only a couple of feet of water between the surface of the water and weeds, you can then try floating jerkbaits.
There are also a lot of different retrieve methods when it comes to jerkbait fishing. There's always the standard retrieve by jerking, adding a 1-second pause, a double jerk, reel it in, and then another 1-second pause. Here you can begin with a 5-foot running jerk bait and then eventually move down in running depth.
When picking out a lure for big bass in the summertime, consider a big worm or swimbait. Another great way to lure in a bass is by fishing with a fluke.
When temperatures are high and the sun’s out, bass fish tend to hide out and cool down in the grass. A great way to target these hiding bass fish is to throw weedless, Texas-heavy rigged flukes into the grass.
To get the best result from this lure, try positioning yourself with your back to the wind and cast high in the air. This allows the wind to maximize your casting distance.
Flutter the fluke through the grass or vegetation, and the bait will hang amongst the weeds. You can move it around and cause some commotion, this will catch the attention of the bass. Another helpful tip is to use a lighter, weightless fluke. If the fluke is too heavy, it will quickly sink to the bottom, whereas a weightless one will hang among the weeds which makes it an easier target.
A topwater frog lure is another great option for fishing in heavy vegetation, which you probably will be in if you’re fishing for bass in the summer. One type of frog lure is a frog with a cupped mouth. Popper-style frogs with cupped mouths splash up water on the retrieve. Often these lures can be thrown over open water or when it’s windy. Retrieve them slowly, with a couple of twitches and then a long pause. Don't forget that pause, because the bass will usually bite during it.
There are also frogs without a cup. These are especially useful in thick weeds. Using these lures, try positioning yourself in line with small areas of open water that you can find. While the bait is being dragged across the weeds use a steady retrieve in. When you notice one of those areas of open water, pause because the bass tracks the bait beneath the vegetation.
Use a steady retrieve while the bait is running on top of the weeds, then pause it when you reach a hole in them. Bass will track the bait under the vegetation and wait for the perfect chance to strike. Once the bait hits a pocket of open water, they will take advantage of the opening. Even though bass usually strike the lure when it’s paused in open water, be ready for a hit at any moment because they’re still probably going to hit the bait through the weeds.
Keep in mind that when you’re using hollow body frogs, don’t hook too early right when the bass bites. Pause for a couple of seconds to really let the bass swallow the frog and get it into its mouth. If the frog is deeper into the bass’ mouth, the hook is more likely to set.
When using a frog as a lure, it’s also important not to keep their legs too long. If the frog has long legs, the bass will bite the legs, rather than the body where the hooks are
With jigs, you can really go either way, larger or smaller. A lot of people will catch a bass on a buzz bait, but there’s an upside to downsizing on your jig and going smaller. When the heat turns up, crayfish often move towards the ground and a smaller jig will look more natural or believable for a crayfish.
You may want to rig a 10-inch power worm in a thicker timber and peg a 5/16 to 1/2 ounce sinker tight to its nose. This setup is strong and often anglers can reel it through anything, even the thickest of areas.
In sparser cedars, try going for a 4-inch Powerbait Split Belly Swimbait.
Bass often move towards sunfish nesting grounds, so if you find yourself near a sunfish nesting ground, this is a great chance to string a 4-inch PowerBait Chigger Craw on a ½-ounce football head jig and bounce it through the colony. If you throw the bait past the beds and bring it through, the sunfish will start rapidly attacking the bait, causing the bass to rush after them and take it. If the fish still aren’t biting, you can also try a Powerbait Crazy Legs Chigger Craw. These drive the sunfish (and then of course the bass) crazy with their high-action appendages.
Bass fish, especially largemouths, also love hanging around in vegetation or deep brush. These areas serve as a hideaway during the summer commotion and heat. Key spots in vegetation to go for include inside turns, points, and hard structures intersecting the weed line. In these areas, you will find many hiding bass.
Another important spot to note in brush areas is the outside edge of healthy green weeds. When you're in these edges, try using jig-borne presentations such as a 5-inch Berkley PowerBait Power Shaky Worm. In order to get the bait out of the weeds more aggressively so that the bass will notice, rig the bait weedless on a mushroom-style head.
You can then slowly drag the jig along the bottom of the weeds. A hungry bass won’t hesitate to lift the soft bait off the bottom. This means that you can’t hesitate either! If you feel something, set the hook!
When bass fish move deeper into the water after they spawn, look towards bluff walls for some success. Bluff walls are essentially rounded cliffs that border a beach or any type of coastal area. Bluffs that face west generate a lot of shade in the morning. This means that in the evening, eastern-facing bluff walls then have a lot of shade (and of course bass trying to cool off).
If you find a big rock group, don’t go for the middle. Instead, try fishing the transitions of the rock where the bass tend to school up with the rocks and mud at the front of the rock.
In the summer specifically, nighttime bass fishing is a great way to reel in a big bass. If the bigger bass are facing a lot of fishing pressure during the popular daytime fishing hours, they will probably begin to feed at night. While nighttime fishing brings new challenges, you can avoid boat traffic, the intense summer heat, and find a new way to catch big bass!
Often big bass will head out into deep waters after they spawn, so deeper or offshore shadows are where these bigger bass will be hanging around. Compared to shallow water bass, the bass hanging out in deep waters will school up in much bigger numbers, especially in the summer.
Stay on the lookout for docks that are over deeper water. These docks help bass find shade.
During the summer, a lot of bass school up offshore. Interestingly, big bass will school with smaller bass, making the big female bass much less powerful. Take advantage of this because when they are with a group, they aren’t as smart. No longer do they work alone, but are usually rely on the strength of the group, which is only as great as it's weakest link.
If you use a reaction bait like a glide bait or jerkbait, the smaller fish will probably go into a craze, and the bigger female will push through them to win the bite.
Now that you’re an expert on fishing for bass in the summer, put on some sunscreen, a hat, and head out to get yourself a big summertime bass with Captain Experiences!