|June 13, 2005
Frankfort, Kentucky - The first real sweat inducing, can't walk
across asphalt barefoot, feel like you are on a broiler heat of the
year is here. The lines of the horizon grow fuzzy by 9 a.m. as the
heat and humidity turn the air into an uncomfortable, steamy sweater
that covers everything and makes it hard to breathe.
The bass we chase feel similar summertime doldrums. As surface water
temperatures climb above the 80-degree mark, bass fishing during the
day can get pretty tough, especially on clearer lakes like Lake
Cumberland, Laurel River Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, Herrington Lake and
Green River Lake.
On bright muggy days in summer, bass either burrow into deep cover
and wait for an easy meal to happen by or they suspend over drop-offs
and pick off baitfish dumb enough to swim close to them. They won't
chase bait until night time, a light rain shower or a dark, cloudy
day gives them an advantage over the baitfish. Low light conditions
and unstable weather disorients baitfish and bass take advantage.
Other than those types of days, summer bass are tough bass to catch
during the day. They selectively feed on easy prey and don't expend
much energy in doing it. The way to entice these wary, neutral bass
to strike is to go light.
Use the lightest possible jig or soft plastic bait you can get away
with throwing for bass in the summer heat. Sometimes, using no weight
at all is the best presentation. Lighter lures fall slower and stay
in the strike zone longer and appeal to idle, neutral bass. Lighter
lures also look more like natural baitfish because they react to wind
currents or deep currents produced by releasing water from a
Bass in summer ignore a crankbait that zips quickly by or a 5/8ths
ounce jig that rockets to the bottom and sits there like an anchor.
There are times these presentations out produce anything, but summer
is not one of those times.
Take a 1/16-ounce lead head and shave some of the lead off with a
pocket knife to about half its former size. Pair this with a 3-inch
grub, a 4-inch worm or a 4-inch lizard and work the edges of weed
beds, drop-offs and along the edge of creek channels to appeal to
bass that won't strike anything else.
A slow moving lizard that slowly tumbles and glides along while
probing the holes, cuts and pockets along the edge of the weed bed
will often get inhaled by a large bass lurking deep in a pocket of
the weed bed. One flex of their gills is enough to inhale light soft
plastic baits. Good colors for this time of year are natural subdued
hues such as smoke, natural blue, plain watermelon (no black flakes),
motor oil and grape.
The new four-inch soft plastic stick baits like the Senko are
excellent for this type of fishing. Rig the Senko type bait
weightless on 2/0 or 3/0 wide gap worm hook and toss it pockets in
weedbeds or down bluff walls. Targeting bluff walls in an overlooked
and deadly summer time technique for catching suspended fish.
Bass in the heat of day will suspend among the shelves, cuts, cracks,
pockets and overhangs common to rocky bluffs. A weightless soft
plastic bait that shimmies its way down a bluff wall will be picked
off by the bass suspended in hides along the bluff. This is an
excellent technique for smallmouths in the lower ends of lakes that
Bass also like to suspend in summer away from the bank. They often
suspend four to six feet deep over a drop-off that falls from 25 to
40 feet into the old river channel that is 100 feet deep or more. The
way to catch these fish is to use your electronics to find bass and
baitfish suspended over the channel and count down your lure to get
them. This is the technique to try when all else fails.
After you find fish arcs on your electronics or balls of baitfish
relating to these channel drops, throw out marker buoys to show the
drop-off. Cast a 4-inch straight tailed worm and count down to four
and reel in a rhythmic manner. Count "one-thousand, two-thousand" for
each turn of the reel to insure a good rhythm on the retrieve. Keep
counting down deeper with each cast until you feel pecks and pulls
from baby bass and baitfish. Slow down a little more and watch your
line intently. A gentle tap followed by line moving left or right,
getting suddenly slack or tightening means a bass is on the line.
For more information about summer fishing opportunities, log on to
the internet at