It’s mid-summer and the weather is hot. In many areas of the Midwest, the bass fishing is pretty hot also. Some of the most consistent bass-catching of the year, for largemouth and smallmouth, can take place during the hottest period of the year if you keep a few things in mind. Here are some of those things.
Some of the best bites will take place early and late in the day. The bass will get more active and be more willing to chase baits when light levels are a little lower. Largemouth will wander farther away from cover when the sun isn’t beating down as intensely on the water, and smallmouth will move shallower on the structures they’re working during lower light. Overcast days will also encourage them to move around more.
That doesn’t mean bass won’t bite at mid-day; they will. You just have to remember that, especially largemouth in the shallows and mid-depths, will be closer to cover. In fact, they’ll probably be right in the middle of the cover. If you can find a clump of coontail or some other heavy shallow cover, you can have some outstanding action.
When the sun is directly overhead, largemouth will be tight to cover. You have a much better idea where to put your bait. If you put that bait where the fish is, it will often eat the bait. A rubber-legged jig like a Jungle Jig tipped with a PowerBait Power Hawg in the four or five inch size will be good. Use a jig heavy enough to get through the top layer of vegetation.
Smallmouth at mid-day can be very susceptible to a live-bait presentation. I have many memories of catching smallies on Roach Rigs tipped with crawlers or leeches in twelve to fifteen feet of water right on the transition where rock changes to sand. But, you’ve got to be using healthy crawlers and leeches. Keep them cool and out of the sun. The Lil’ Fisherman crawler container with moist Super-Gro bedding from Frabill does an outstanding job of easily keeping crawlers healthy.
When the light is low and the fish are wandering, you have to cover water to find them. If you can get on the water when the sun is coming up or going down, work the areas around the heavy cover or the weedline for largemouth, and try the tops of rock humps or rock points for smallmouth. Rushes near deep water can be good for either specie. Topwater baits, minnow imitating baits, swimming jigs, and spinnerbaits will fool largemouth and smallmouth. A Lip-Stick Jig-Worm with a white four inch Power Grub is a proven bass-catcher, but maybe the hottest way to catch smallmouth right now is the new Bug-a-Boo marabou jig. Anglers are fishing them without any trailer and doing very well. Black or brown/orange colors have been especially productive.
While some anglers refer to this time of year as the dog-days, there are lots of fish, especially largemouth and smallmouth bass, to be caught. Get on the water and find out how good this bass action can be.