Summertime. A time when boat traffic is at its highest. A time when the water temps are climbing. A time that frustrates many anglers. I am referring to the dreaded “dog days” of summer. So many anglers dislike this time of year and struggle. I am here to bring an end to the bad wrap that summer time bass fishing has got over the years. Here are five go-to areas to find on your favorite lake to help you overcome the dog days and help you catch more than just a sunburn on your next summertime bass fishing adventure.
Off Shore Humps. They are not all created equally.
Humps like flats are great areas to fish in the summertime. They provide a variety of cover for fish whether its rock, grass, or a combination of both. Humps can be very prominent and come up very shallow or can be deeper in nature and less obvious without the aid of GPS. The key to finding humps that hold fish are finding humps that are just a little bit different. One that has a sharper break on one side, maybe it’s a hump with isolated grass on top, or maybe it is a hump that always has one side getting beaten by the wind. Not all humps are created equally and it’s finding and exploiting those unique characteristics that will help your summertime bass fishing. Humps much like flats will not hold fish in the same spot all day long. Fish will use humps as stopping points throughout the day or will move up and down them into deeper water throughout the day. It’s like fishing bridges in a river; they aren’t always on the bridges, but when they are, they are on them hard; then you want to run every bridge in the river.
The “right” grass.
Grass grows differently from lake to lake. Different types of grass will vary from lake to lake as well. Finding the “right” grass can be different from lake to lake but regardless of the lake; there is always the right type of grass they are on. We have been on lakes where the really small isolated patches of grass can be fished with a texas-rigged worm are the ticket, and other lakes where it is the big leafy cabbage grass with a jig is the way to go. Offshore grass will always hold bass in the summertime. The grass helps bring more oxygen content into the water and doubles as an ambush point for bass to use for prey. You always need to tell yourself they will always be in the grass and then keep searching for other types of grass if one certain type doesn’t provide you positive results.
If you can find that magical stinky grass offshore for smallmouth; get ready because chances are you just found the mother lode of smallmouth. Avid smallmouth anglers will always be looking for that stuff, it always holds them.
Deep undercut banks.
We wrote an article for New England Fishing a few months ago about the phenomenon that happens during the full-moon in peak summer. This window will bring big bass up tight to the bank that are deeper and run tight to shore. Any undercut bank you can find should be holding bass during this time period. If you can find an undercut bank with some trees hanging over it, with grass, wood, or boat docks; you should be able to develop a great pattern.
Sure there will still be plenty of fish out on deep summertime spots during the summer months, even when the moon is full; but if you are in need of that bigger quality fish, get to the bank when the moon is full. We have had great success flipping a jig and flipping texas-rigged soft plastics on undercut banks during this period. The bass will use that deeper running water and the shade line as an ambush point for shallow prey. One of our favorite things about fishing in the summer time.
Anytime you can find a major flat that fish will feed on in the summer time you will be successful. The key is to get the timing down because fish will move on and off a flat throughout the day to feed. The best flats that I have found have easy access to deeper water on the ends and sides of it. Fish will move up and down the deeper breaks when they want to pull up shallow and feed then pull back into deeper more oxygen rich water after they have finished feeding. This will occur many times throughout the day so timing is everything. Put the time in on your local lake and find these areas, make notes about times the fish move shallow and hit these areas hard when they do. When they pull off onto deeper spots they can still be caught; you just need to slow your approach.
I will spend quite a lot of time idling around a big off shore area with my side imaging and down imaging on. Any isolated rock, stump, or any other structure in an area surrounded by nothing; will always result in me dropping a waypoint on it. I will come back and fish these areas and pick them apart. This has always been a go-to summertime technique for me, especially for smallmouth. This has approach has yielded many successful trips to Winnipesaukee, Lake Champlain, and other northern lakes. A school of bass will gang up on one boulder on a deep flat. The more time you spend canvassing an area and dropping points on every abnormality the better you will be. I take a large deep flat and grid the entire flat out with my GPS. I will do big crossing patterns up, down, and across the flat and drop waypoints on anything that I see, then go back and fish the area with a dropshot, drag a tube, or drag a jig around it. Not every rock will hold fish but at some point in time they will.