When To Stay Shallow in Summer
Most anglers think about bass fishing in the summer and picture catching big bass from deep haunts with big worms, deep diving crankbaits, and the like. In most bass lakes, this can happen for sure. However, many times good bass can still be caught shallow in the summer conditions. Let’s take a look at how, when, and where to do that.
Know the Lake Level
If you know the normal summer lake level, see where it is in comparison. If the lake is higher than normal, that usually means more flooded shoreline cover. All that cover means the bass will follow suit to find easy meals. We just saw this in the June tournament on Lake Eufaula, Alabama for the Bassmaster Elite. Many pros caught plenty of fish in the shallows since the water was a little higher than normal. I have even seen this phenomenon happen on a big river system in the St. Lawrence River for smallmouth. The common denominator is the higher water.
Grass Keeps Them Up
Aquatic vegetation, aka grass that grows in the water, emits oxygen in the water and also provides shallow cover for bass. Water willow, milfoil, lily pads, and gator grass are all some examples of grasses that bass will stay in during the summer. Shallow grass is usually better during low light conditions like early morning or in the rain but it can produce all day under sunny conditions as well. Sometimes you will have to find the right part of a lake or river that have the best or preferred shallow grass to hold the best bass.
How To Catch Them
Flipping and frogging are my 2 favorite ways to catch shallow bass in the summer. I will not hesitate to grab my Cashion 7’6” heavy action flipping stick with 25 pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon and a Missile Baits D Bomb when I see shallow cover in the summer. I will generally go for the heavier type weight that creates a fast fall and gets more reaction bites. The frog is so much fun that it can be hard to put down. I will usually grab a SPRO Bronzeye 65 or a Popping Frog on a 7’ Cashion Frog Rod with 50 pound Sunline X-Plasma braid. Just put that frog in, under, or behind the thickest shallow cover you can find. Don’t forget to jack them when you get a bite on that frog. It is so much fun!
Docks Do Right
Docks can also be one of the best shallow cover options in the summertime for bass. Many fish live around docks all summer like bluegill and crappie. We all know bass eat those smaller fish. That is why a jig is hard to beat under docks in the summer. I love a ½ ounce Ike’s Mini Flip in green pumpkin with a full-size D Bomb cut down. It skips great and falls fast plus it is good for coming through brush and rocks under the docks. I put that workhorse on a 7’6” Cashion medium heavy flipping stick with 20 pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon line.
As you can see, there are a few options in the summer to stay shallow. If you observe and give some of these options a try, you can catch bass shallow during the summer as well. Just a warning, boat traffic can hurt some shallow bites later in the day but sometimes it actually helps. Be safe and enjoy some good old shallow, warm water bass fishing this summer.