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Catching Bass In The Dog Days Of Summer

MNKFA Board Member Grant CarstonIt’s mid summer in the Midwest. The heat index is in the 90s and water temps are climbing into the 80s. Spring has been in the rear view mirror for awhile and your waving good bye wishing it wasn’t. You have hope that fall will be great and the dog days of summer will soon pass bringing fishing back to a slug fest. But don’t count out the dog days of summer.

In the spring, ninety percent of fish are in ten percent of the water. This is why we love spring and the fishing that comes with it. In the fall, the fish put their feed bags on stocking up for the long winter ahead. What happens in the mid summer months? Where did these monsters bass go? And how can I catch them?

During summer the morning action in the shallows can be extremely active. This goes the same way for the evening or night time. But in mid day when the sunlight starts brightening things up and you’re reaching for your water to cool off, the bass do the same. Bass will look for that shaded resource in the form of docks, pads, trees and shady bays. They also have a tendency to go deeper and find comfort in darker water, and follow the food lingering in these shadows.

To start targeting these fish, I’ve had best success in deeper weed lines. How deep? This is going to depend on the body of water you’re fishing and the water clarity. In most cases you’re going to find these edges from 5 to 10 feet in northern natural lakes. This is when that $300.00 graph your hard earned dollars payed for comes in. Learning is never ending when it comes to fishing. And when it comes to your sonar it’s the same. Learning the basics of your unit and knowing what to look for. Time on the water is key; in addition to, using the internet to find videos to guide you through the process.

To give some insight on what to look for, look at your tooth brush…. On the bottom of your graph you’re seeing the bottom of the lake. When structure starts to appear in your screen like the bristles of your brush, Bingo! You have now found a likely weed line edge. Zigzagging will help narrow the search of which way the line is going. Throwing a waypoint down when you see that tooth brush will give you a bread crumb line to throw your baits. If you don’t have GPS,… Remember buoys still work.

Now you found your line and hopefully some bass to go with it. Start slow, bass have fed in the morning, mostly on your top water lure I hope. It’s not fall so the feed bag is still to come. This time of day bass can be finicky and unlikely to chase that double bladed spinner. Start with a small bass jig tipped with craw trailer. Then try a shaky head with a 4 inch worm, or a Texas rigged 7inch power worm. The key is going to be a slower presentation and confidence there’s fish hanging inside that edge.

Looking for irregularities on that edge can also help your success. Inside turns, points, rocks, change in bottom composition, all can play a role in holding bass. Knowing what to look for also comes down to time on the water. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find these fish. Keep trying, keep learning, and keep doing something new. Change colors and sizes, speed up or slow down. You’regoing to catch these lurking lunkers in time.

There’s always going to be a population of bass in shallow water during summer, but if you find quality of size to be smaller then you hoped for, give this a try next time you find yourself baking in the sun. Or after you beat up the docks and trees but want to let them rest awhile. While other guys pack it in for the day, you could be breaking your line on a 6 pounder.

The first time I tried this tactic, I was killing time waiting for a top water evening bite.

It was the mouth of a shallow bay. The bay was about 4 feet and the weed line was right at 5 feet. I positioned myself diagonally from mouth and the line in 7 feet. Throwing my Texas rigged creature bait into 4 feet, bouncing it back to my yak. When it broke into clear water, slam! 3 pounder. I tried again fan casting the edge, and proceeded to catch 2,3, and 4 pounders.

The next day, with a new body of water I tried again but this time I found a deeper edge. This edge was in 7 feet and I positioned myself about 9 feet. Yet again, I caught bigger fish and learned something new. These bass were staging out here to beat the heat waiting for unexpected prey to swim by for an easy meal. I remembered reading about this in magazines but never put it to use. Now it’s in my bass arsenal of data and yours too.

So next time you want something new or need to kill some time, give this a try. And remember not to just give up when the shallow bite goes cold. There is always a hungry bass biting somewhere, you just need to narrow search. Hopefully these tips will help you achieve that catch of the year!

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