The bass have spawned. The shad have spawned. The post spawn recovery is over…so now what? SUMMER FISHING!
I love this time of year but there are days where I wonder “why can’t I get a bite?” Successful summer bass fishing is all about following the baitfish. If you find the bait, the bass are close by. I find that during the summer months the bass are spread out throughout the lake and the water column. There are fish shallow, deep, and everywhere in between. The “hot area” on the lake changes weekly. Summertime bass fishing can be a challenge but also make for some very fun days.
My approach in the summer is as follows; I’ll look for areas with active signs of life; bait, birds, grass, etc…and I start with a topwater bait. My 2 favorite summer baits are a Rico pop bait and a buzzbait. I fish the pop bait slow and the buzz bait fast. I like to cover water fishing both flat and steeper banks. If I come across some grass I will throw a frog on the thickest part and around the edges. I also like to jerk a fluke around the grass if it is “sparse” grass or clumpy with holes.
I keep my eyes on my Lowrance HDS unit a lot in the summer. When I see large shad schools on the graph over deep water I’ll drag my drop shot rig or swim a scrounger/shad bait around. If the bass are in the mood that day to chase shad to the surface I will go chase the “busting” fish for a while. It is important to point out even if those school fish aren’t busting on the surface chasing shad (like yesterday) they are still down there and you can catch them. If you locate those schools over deep water a tailspin, A-rig, scrounger/shad bait, and Rapala ice jig are my weapons of choice.
By late morning/mid day I will focus my efforts on the deeper bite 15-40ft of water or fish shallow anywhere there is grass. For me those deep fish seem to hold deep on the larger structure, channels, and trees as opposed to small rocks and bushes but it depends on the lake. This is especially true at El Cap where at Hodges it’s not. At El Cap I’ll fish big points and main lake rockpiles with a drop shot, crig, and jig. At Otay I’ll focus on the grass beds and at Hodges I will cover the shoreline throwing at every bush and rock.
In the afternoon I like to switch gears again and go back to the bank. If it’s windy I like a crankbait, jerkbait or A-rig. The wind seems to push the bait and bass up to the bank. In the afternoon the key is to keep moving until you run into one. When I do catch one I pay close attention to where that fish is positioned and try to duplicate that cast around the lake. What I like most about Summertime fishing is that you never know what you may run into and it’s always different. If you happened to stay on the lake till sunset you may be in for some great topwater action in that last hour. Keep casting!