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Shallow Bass in the Hot Summer Months

By Chad Morgenthaler

There is no doubt that fishing mid day during the hot summer months can be very uncomfortable making it hard to maintain any type of focus.  Normally for tournament anglers there is very little choice, so making the best of the time you have, and understanding bass habitat is important.

Itís no secret that in deep clear lakes, especially the ones without vegetation that fish relate to deep water structure.    So it only makes since to search out deep ledges and rock piles.  But for Midwest anglers who have an abundant of shallow water lakes with tons of cover and vegetation a different strategy applies.   Just because itís hot doesnít mean that the lunkers swim deep.

The key component to fishing shallow water lakes in the summer is vegetation. 

In the cool morning hours the fish are usually loose cruising around looking for breakfast and can be a little easier to catch.  During this time I use weedless buzzbaits and frogs to cover a lot of water when targeting vegetation, rip rap, banks, and main lake points.   While using these search baits I pay particular attention to the cover the fish are relating to so I can return later in the day.

Due to the photosynthesis process oxygen in the water gets really rich around the areas that have heavy vegetation.  Besides putting much needed oxygen in the water, vegetation also provides cover and shade for all fish species.  This is true for largemouth and the bait fish they prey on.   These are the main reasons not to discount shallow water fishing during the hot summer months.   I like to specifically target heavier clumps of vegetation that will create the most cover and oxygen.  

Around 10 oíclock when the sun starts to get high and the day is quickly warming is when most anglers begin to lose confidence.  Generally this is the time when a small adjustment is needed to continue getting bites.

Using 20-pound Trilene Fluorocarbon line, 7í9Ē Carrot Stix rod, and a 3/8-ounce or larger Lunker Lure jig I go to work.  With this equipment I stay pretty close to cover and as stealthy as possible paying particular attention to any noises or objects that are in the water.   I make short flips and pitches covering every angle and every inch of the clumps and vegetation.    If I choose to use soft plastic baits like a Chigger Craw, Iíll also use a heavy slip sinker and peg it so the bait will actually penetrate the vegetation where the fish are living.   The only way that this can be done successfully is to be close enough to make an accurate pitch and the line doesnít droop over or get wrapped up in the vegetation.  Itís important to make sure that the bait goes to the bottom.   Pitch the bait in, shake it a couple of times, and maybe lift it up and down.  If that doesnít cause a strike then target the next spot. 

When the bite comes pay close attention to the pattern that develops.   Normally the fish will hold in the heart of the vegetation, or on an irregular feature like a point.    Bass also really like to relate to isolated clumps of vegetation on the main lake or secondary points.    Once the pattern develops try to replicate it in different areas of the lake.

I know itís hot, and I know it is work, but these are just a few of the ways to adjust in order to continue to catch fish.  Donít overlook a good piece of structure thatís located within a vegetation patch such as a laydown or stump.  These are great places to fish as well.  Docks provide shade too.  This is why during the day the fish will relocate underneath the docks.   The lower the dock is to the water the more productive it will be. 

So when the hot summer months come around donít think for one second that the only fish to catch are located in deep water.    I can promise that there is some phenomenal shallow water fishing to be had especially in the Midwest region during the hot summer months.

 A special ďThanksĒ to all of my sponsors: Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Phoenix Boats, Lunker Lure & Hawg Caller, Svanda GM Motor Group, Trilene Line, Abu Garcia, E21 Carrot Stix, Minn Kota, Plano, Optima Batteries, Solar Bat, Power-Pole and Nameoki Village Marine.

Make sure and log on to my website and signup for my fan club.  E-newsletters are forwarded monthly and one lucky winner each month receives a prize.  Tournament summaries are posted after each tournament and pro tips are updated often.  Itís a great source of bass fishing information.