Provided by FLW Bass – July 2009
If fishing under the blazing sun doesn’t exactly sound thrilling, wetting a line under the July moon could be the escape you need. There are many reasons to fish under a full moon in July. First, July is one of those times when pleasure boaters flock to the lake. Second, lakes have warmed and nighttime waters cool down just enough for a fish feeding frenzy. And lastly, the risk of sunburn and other heat-related health concerns are virtually eliminated.
Bass wander aimlessly through hot water looking for a cool place to rest. At night, the wanderers turn into predators searching for their next meal. Typically, they will hang around your daytime hotspot.
Finding bass at night requires using your electronics, which will pay off when trying to navigate under the full moon. If you go without electronics, you might as well be looking for a needle in a haystack. One thing I have noticed about fishing under the evening sky is a spot that I frequent during the day will hold just as many fish at night. Use your time in June to locate fish for your evenings in July.
I target steep bluffs and rocky points. These areas produce a greater amount of quality fish because rocks cool down more quickly than most lake bottoms. Also, an east-facing bluff is a favorite target because it will have the coolest water around. I hit these cooler points early in the evening and move to some rocky, main-lake points. Running over these areas will produce a quality bite throughout the night.
Every angler has a different theory about what to throw during the evening hours. Some anglers like to use a lot of flash and others believe in throwing smaller baits. But I like something with a bigger profile. Using larger-profiled baits ensures that they are seen, and they seem to attract larger fish. I like to throw a ½-ounce Berkley Jay’s Flippin’ Jig with a Berkley PowerBait Crazy Legs Chigger Craw. An added bonus to using the Crazy Legs Chigger Craw is the use of PowerBait scent. Fish will not only see the large profile, but their olfactory system will go into hyper drive with a PowerBait scent trail. This setup gives me the perfect action with the Crazy Legs trailing the flippin’ jig, and the big profile is ideal for a nighttime bite.
Another issue that every nighttime angler faces is the color of lure. I hesitate to throw a lighter color of bait because when moonlight shines through the water, light-colored lures seem to disappear. The flippin’ jig I throw is black and blue with the Crazy Legs Chigger Craw trailer being black with blue fleck.
I like to keep my jig in 20 feet of water or less. Bass tend to go shallow during the evening hours to ambush baitfish, so I want to stay shallow and near cooler waters. Generating more strikes at night is made possible by keeping the jig in the strike zone longer. At night, I like to make longer-than-normal casts with the jig. This helps me keep the jig in the strike zone longer and increases the possibility of a strike.
When fishing a bluff, casting down the edge of the bluff keeps the bait in the strike zone longer without pulling the bait away from the bass. I keep the boat within 10 feet of the edge and work my way down the wall. To work the jig, cast out and let the jig fall to the bottom. If nothing gets it on the way down, I will pick it up and shake it a little and let it freefall back to the bottom; pick it up and move it a little and repeat the process. Usually by then, I’ve covered the area where I think that a bass is going to be, and I will reel it in and fire it out toward another bed.
The rest of my gear is pretty simple. I prefer a low-stretch and low-memory line like 20-pound Spiderwire Ultracast 100% Fluorocarbon. I tie all my lures with a clinch knot when using fluorocarbon. The clinch knot does not dig into itself like a Palomar knot, and I have found it to be just as dependable as the Palomar knot. I spool the line onto an Abu Garcia Revo STX that is mounted on a 7-foot, 6-inch heavy action rod. This setup sounds heavy, but you will thank me later when you are ripping fish off a rocky point.
Fishing for big bass is an addiction that keeps us on the water. But intense heat can drive even the most dedicated anglers to the friendly confines of an air-conditioned room. Don’t let heat get the best of you. Hit the water at nighttime to cool your summer time blues.