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Fishing Tips

DON’T OVERLOOK SHALLOW WATER FOR HOT SUMMER BASS ACTION

Posted 9/14/2012

Living in Florida as he does, Bobby Lane certainly understands hot weather bass fishing, but what surprises many is how much time he spends fishing shallow during the summer, rather than probing deeper water like other anglers do. 

“My first advice to anyone going bass fishing in the summer is not to overlook the possibilities of catching bass shallow,” emphasizes the Yamaha Pro. “I used to think the only time you could catch bass in shallow water this time of year was very early in the morning, because after the sun came up, bass left the shallows and moved to deeper depths. 

“Now I know that isn’t necessarily true. Some bass probably do move deeper, but a lot of the fish actually stay shallow. Sometimes I catch my biggest bass at mid-day in water less than three feet deep.” 

Lane believes locating heavy cover such as stumps, laydown logs, or vegetation is the primary key to catching bass shallow in warm water. He prefers milfoil, hydrilla, and other leafy plants, all of which grow during the warm weather months. 

 

“I look for the greenest vegetation I can find because it will contain the most oxygen, which is what both bass and the forage they feed on are looking for,” continues the Yamaha Pro. “Bass do not move deep because of water temperature, but instead, to find oxygen. If there is enough vegetation present in a lake, bass will stay in it the entire year.

“You can also find bass shallow in other types of cover, and especially in shaded areas like underneath piers and boat docks. If you can find a tributary creek that has flowing water, you’ll usually find bass there, too, since moving water also contains more oxygen.”

When he’s fishing warm, shallow water, Lane likes to throw topwater lures, either the large, floating baits and frogs he can “walk” slowly over or through vegetation, or a buzz bait he retrieves much faster beside logs, stumps, or pilings. He also really likes small swim baits he fishes along the edges of vegetation, around boat docks, and rocky points.

 

“I believe summer bass may only feed once a day, instead of two or three times daily like they do in spring,” he adds, “so I try to bring pure reflex reaction strikes, and these types of lures are really good at that. With the slow walking topwater lures, I’m splashing water and making a lot of commotion, while with the buzz bait I’m using speed to make a bass hit. 

“The swim bait allows me to fish just below the surface, and with it I can retrieve fast or slow. It produces a lot of vibration, and because it looks so realistic, bass just grab it when it goes past them.”

Like many tournament pros who have been experimenting with small, soft plastic swim baits in recent years, the Yamaha Pro has been surprised at their effectiveness in a wide range of conditions. In calm water, Lane often fishes them slowly and steadily a foot or so beneath the surface, while in windy conditions and rougher water, he retrieves the lures faster and may bounce them off cover the same way he fishes crankbaits.

“I think it’s especially important in the summer months for an angler to fish the way he likes to fish and use lures he really has confidence in,” concludes the Yamaha Pro, “and for most bass fishermen that means fishing shallow water. That’s where I like to fish, and no matter where I am, if I think I can catch bass shallow, I’m definitely going to be there trying.

“Cover is absolutely critical to shallow summer fishing, and the most productive type of cover is green vegetation, the thicker the better. On other lakes, the dominant cover may be rocks or laydowns, but these will also hold bass, even during the heat of the day. 

“The important thing to remember is that you really can catch bass shallow in the heat of the summer.”