In the summer when midday temperatures rise, the tendency is for bass and fish, in general, to get lethargic and stop biting. The same lures and times of day you fished for them in the spring are not going to be conducive to trophy Instagram photos in July and August. You’re going to need to completely reprogram your approach. Start with these three tips:
Get up early! Fish in the early, early morning and late evening. Big bass are feeding in the times right between the dark and light. If you can pull yourself out of bed, throw on a shirt and some shorts and down some coffee while turning on the ignition to the truck all in a 5 minute time period you might be cut out for this type of fishing. Best advice: get to the pond or lake while it is still dark. As the first light hits the sky, toss 5-7 inch plastic worms quietly to weeds, lily pads, downed trees, rocks, or other structure from the bank or comfort of a kayak or Jon boat. Sit back and hold on. The biggest fish feed at dawn after a night of prowling the shoreline.
Go topwater! Big bass like frogs. Let’s face it: they’re big, they’re juicy and they’re full of protein. Kermit is like a walking bag of tofu. The second best way to catch a big bass is to fish for them in the early to late evening all the way into pitch darkness along the edges of lily pads using a topwater frog lure. Lately, my lure of choice is either a bone-colored Whopper Plopper or the Booyah Pad Crasher. You’re going to want some 20lb braid line on your reel and be ready to haul the bass of your dreams out of thick cover to play this game.
Ditch the artificials! Normally I’m a bit of bait snob. I like the thrill of landing a big fish on a lure or fly. Extra points if I tied the lure myself. But in the summer I drop all the pretensions and when the fish are at their most difficult I give them what they want. Live minnows. There is something about putting a nice big fat shiner on a hook and setting a bobber about two feet above it and casting to structure or pads that is unparalleled in the sport. With this cast, you are going to quickly find out just what lurks in the murky bottom of that lake or pond. Everything eats the minnow. I was once out with a guide on Lake Okeechobee in Florida and I watched as he put the biggest golden shiner I had ever seen in my life on a hook and told me to cast out by a hole in the weeds. “Now if something hits that bait we gonna have a little talk…” he said to me only seconds before a 10-pound largemouth sucked in the footlong shiner and took off for the middle of the lake. The photo of that fish still hangs on my wall today.
When the fall weather arrives you’re going to want to go back to what worked for you in the spring, but during the summer try to change it up and try new techniques until you find what is working best.