The calendar says summer is here and that is no news to people around the country who are experiencing record-high temperatures. Summer arrived June 21 andthe heat is already here.
Some people think that the summertime is not the best time to catch bass – much less big bass. The hotter and higher the sun gets, the better sitting in front of the air conditioner begins to sound. It’s during this time of year that too many anglers opt for sipping iced tea instead of fishing.
I fish for a living, so retreating to the climate-controlled house when it gets hot simply is not an option. I have to be able to catch bass in the wind, rain, sleet, snow and the heat. In fact, I really like to catch big fish during the summer. When it’s hot and sunny, bass – like a lot of anglers – like to get in under the edge of a shade line and will feed looking out. The fish will suspend under cover, so what I like to do is get up close and pitch right down the edges, letting the bait free fall.
In the heat, I will target both structure and vegetation. In these environments, I like to pitch a Berkley 4-inch Power Flippin’ Tube, a bait I helped design specifically for these situations, or a Berkley Classic Power Jig. In heavy wood, I might go with a 10-inch Berkley Power Worm with a big half-ounce sinker. The big weight is critical at this time to help sink the bait pretty fast, which can go a long way towards making a sometimes sluggish summer bass excited enough to strike.
When targeting summer bass with these finesse presentations, make sure to keep an eye on your line. When you pitch a big worm and a sinker into heavy cover, you have to watch the line, because when it stops, you want to immediately lift up on it and see if there’s tension or weight. The perfect line for this is Vanish Transition because it changes color in the sunlight, which allows anglers to see it better and detect the subtlest movements. And because it has little or no stretch, you can strong-arm that big bass out of its shady hangout more easily.
There’s no sure-fire way to catch big bass. Different presentations work in different places at different times, regardless of season. But being on the water is the first step towards a successful and memorable summer fishing trip. So if you’re out there, find the cover and make sure that you have the gear you need to be able to get them out of it.
Larry Nixon is a former Bassmaster Classic winner with more than $1.5 million in career earnings on the BASS Tour. Nixon, who currently fishes the FLW Tour, lives in Bee Branch, Ark.