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Sizzlin' Summertime Bassin'

Summertime Bass fishing can be great fishing. If you key on several things, you can greatly improve your odds of catching nice bass during the summer. These are Time of day, Location and Water Depth. In the hot summertime, many bass feed at night, early morning and early evening. During these times, you can catch bass in the shallows, on the flats with surface lures,
spinnerbaits etc. as they are actively seeking food and their strike zone is very large. This means that they will chase down most baits that they can see or hear. But what do you do when the sun starts getting higher in late morning and afternoon ? During this time, the bass will usually do one of two things. If they fed well, they will move deeper to the next drop-off in depth where there is some cover such as stumps, brush, rocks or weeds and rest where the water is cooler. If they didn't feed well, many times bass will school up and SUSPEND over main lake structure and wait until an unlucky school of bait fish comes by. Here's the $64 tip that can make or break a summer afternoon. How do you locate these suspended bass? Two ways. One, bass will usually suspend over some main lake structure. Take your Topo map and look for humps and larger points in the main lake. The best ones will have submerged trees or brush on them. Bass will suspend in or over these trees waiting for schools of baitfish to pass by. Then the bass rush to the surface trapping the baitfish between the surface and them. At this point, a feeding frenzy will occur. This leeds to the second method of finding these bass. Glassing. You simply position your boat near a submerged hump or where you can see several main lake points and look for this feeding frenzy with binoculars. Sometimes, birds feeding on the injured minnows or shad will give the school away also. When you find the feeding school, approach them very quietly. If you rush into the feeding school with your outboard on high speed, the bass will dive to the bottom and quit feeding. This is where the original planning comes in. If you position your boat where they are suspended then you just have to cast surface lures to them to enjoy a great fishing afternoon. If you have to motor over to them, cut your outboard well in advance of the school and move in QUIETLY with your trolling motor. Stay outside of the school and make long casts to avoid spooking them. My favorite lures for this method are Excaliber poppin shad, Pop-R, 4 inch sinking Rapala and a Rattletrap. Sometimes soft jerkbaits such as the Zoom super spook or Fin-ess fish will work well also. Once you find these areas where the fish are feeding, Mark them on your map. Bass will use these areas over and over because they are good ambush points. You may also try fishing for these suspended bass with verticle fishing methods such as jigging spoons or plastic worms. This can also be very productive. So remember, when the fish quit biting in the shallows in the morning, give the schooling bass a try. It can lead to a very productive day.



Spinnerbaits are a great bait to fish with -- basically because they are so versitile. They can be fished Deep, Medium or on top. Let me give you some of my tips on their use. 1. Use a Colorado blade in stained or muddy water - gold blade on cloudy days, silver blades for sunny days. 2. Use a willowleaf blade in clear water or around weedbeds because they go through the weeds easier. I like using the silicone rubber skirts such as those that come on Stanley or Strike king Spinnerbaits for example. As for skirt colors, I recommend White for clear water, Chartreuse for stained water. Black for nite fishing or at sunrise or sunset. In Shallow water, use 1/4 to 3/8 oz. spinnerbaits. DEEP WATER -use 1/2 to 3/4 oz.

Fishing the Spinnerbait -Use a constant retreive in shallow water, keeping the bait just above or ticking the weed tops will trigger strikes. For deep summertime fishing, the SLOWROLLING method works best. Cast to the area you want to fish and let the bait sink to the bottom Watch the line to see if you get bit on the fall. Once on the bottom,lift the rod tip and reel slowly to get the blades moving. continue to reel slowly all the way back to the boat or shoreline. Ocassionally, stop the bait during the slowroll let it sink back to the bottom. Lift the rod tip several feet to make the lure jump off the bottom and let the blades flutter back down. This generally triggers inactive bass into striking. When fishing around stumps or dock pilings try to BUMP the bait into the wood to make the blades flutter and mimic some wounded baitfish trying to get away. I recommend using a 6 ft, med. action  rod for spinnerbaits. this gives the best performance for casting and "Feeling" the blades turning. The spinnerbait is one of the best lures for catching bass. Jimmy Houston and Kevin Van Dam have won tons of money using them. The 6 pounder at the top of this page hit a gold bladed spinnerbait cranked quickly over the weed tops in shallow water.



Plastic Worms

The plastic worm started to become popular in the 60's and since then the market has exploded into hundreds of colors, shapes and sizes. The Reason - THEY CATCH FISH . The plastic worm is my favorite bait because of its versitility and simply, it works great!! There are very few situations where a worm cannot be fished and produce bass. Experts say that natural worms are a favorite of bass because they offer no resistance, have no spiny fins or claws to catch in their throat, and simply taste good to them. It is said that bass can retain a memory of a bait they have been caught on but the memory of being caught on a worm lasts about 15 minutes and then can be caught again. Bass love Worms!!! Top Pros win plenty of tournaments using them.

Worm Styles -- Worms come in various styles such as ribbon tails (Culprit or Mann's Manipulator), Straight tail (Floating or Mann's Jelly worm), paddle tail, curly tail (mister twister Phenom), and the short straight French fry type. Each type has its particular fishing niche. I will give you some general guidelines on how to use them,but remember it's up to you to experiment with styles and colors in your fishing area. If bass were biting on a red shad straight tail worm and suddenly quit, switch to a black or purple ribbon tail to give the fish a different look.

Which worm to use?? - Use my general guidelines as a start and then be creative. Worm COLORS - You don't need every worm color made to fish for bass. My favorites are Black, Purple, Red Shad, and Junebug. In clear water, use lighter colors. Blue, Watermelon, Pumpkinseed and Blue Pearl are good choices. In stained water, Darker colors seem to work best. Black, Purple, Red Shad etc. In Muddy water, use colors with Hot Tails. Black with chartreuse tail, or Electric Blue with Fire Tails work well. There are almost as many colors and combos as there are fishermen. Stick with these basics and you will catch fish. If the water is heavily stained, but not muddy, use a color with a metal flake such as Junebug or red shad with green metal flake. This tip has paid off big for me.

Worm Length - Again as a general guideline, worm length should be determined by the ACTIVITY LEVEL of the fish. By this, I mean that when bass are actively feeding, (stable weather) you can use larger worms 7 1/2 to 10 inches. When bass are holding tight to cover, (Cold front conditions) use smaller worms 4 to 6 inches and SLOW the presentation down. Bass will NOT be chasing when holding tight to cover so you need more of a verticle presentation. Place your boat nearly over the weedline or brushpile and let your worm fall straight down. Shake your rod tip to impart worm action without moving it horizontally. Watch your line on the drop. Any tick or movement in the line, SET THE HOOK. This method has put many bass in the boat for me and it will work for you.

Texas Rig - The Texas Rig with a 6 to 7 1/2 inch worm is the most common method for fishing worms. This rig is weedless and is designed to be fished into the cover where the bass hang out without getting hung-up. Fish the Texas rig in weed edges, brush piles, Stumps, points, - almost anywhere in and around COVER.

The Jig-worm - The Jig-worm is the ultimate EDGE bait designed to catch bass off weed edges. The Jig-worm is made by using a common leadhead jig into a 4 or 6 inch worm with an exposed hook. You can't fish this bait in heavy weeds but at the weed edges (outside or inside) this bait is dynomite. Use this bait as a verticle presentation during cold fronts when the bass are holding to the weed edge. If your bait snags in the weed edge, simply lift the rod sharply to rip it free. This usually entices finicky bass into striking.

Floating Worms - Floating worms are usually about 8 inches long and come in all kinds of HOT colors. Rig the floating worm Texas Style without weight to fish floating weed mats and Lilly pads. Simply cast the worm out and slowly work the worm back, letting it drop into holes in the pads or weeds. When you feel or see the strike, you must react quickly keeping your rod tip high and reel fast to get the fish out of the junk. Try to keep him on top and constantly coming toward you or he will bury in the weeds to try to get off. This is very exiting worm fishing and I love fishing the pads.

Carolina Rig - The Carolina rig uses a heavy weight, glass bead, and swivel. Attached to the swivel is a leader whose length is determined by what cover your fishing in. Recently, the popular worm to Carolina rig is the "do nothing" worm or sometimes called french fry. Many Pros have won major tourneys using this method and worm combo. I personally prefer to use a 6 inch Lizard on my Carolina rigs with a 3/0 Mustad Mega-Bite hook. This rig has cought me many bass fishing in stump fields and around points with cover on them. Here's my tip - Use a short leader (12 to 18 inches) for gonig through brush. The thicker the brush, the shorter the leader. In weedy areas, or stumps use a longer leader. (24 to 36 inches) If your rig is getting snagged in the weeds, slow down, lengthen the leader, and use a Riverside AIR fry or Mann's floating tube bait. this should get you well up off the bottom and in the prime ZONE to catch fish. Remember, you sweep the rod low to set the hook on a Carolina rig, then bring the rod up to fight it. A high hook set will miss half the strikes.

Fishing with Jigs

My Favorite Jig is the Strike King Pro model in Black/Blue color and 3/8 - 1/2 oz, Where do you use Jigs?

Mainly in heavy cover. Jigs seem to be the best lures for probing thick weed beds, brush piles, submerged stumps

and logs etc. I flip using a 6 1/2 ft. to 7 ft. medium heavy rod and 20 lb Stren Sensor line. This line has almost no

stretch and you can bury the hook home instantly. Use a jig with a slower fall in cold/clear water and a faster fall

in warm/stained water. You control the rate of fall by the trailer and jig head weight. For example, I use a 1/4

to 3/8 oz jig with a large pork frog in the late winter or early spring when the water is clear and cold. I use a 3/8

to 1/2 oz jig with a plastic trailer in the summer. This falls faster and is more of a reaction bait.

HANDY TIP - When flipping your jig into a brush pile, pay CLOSE attention to the line. If you see the line tic or move in any direction, set the hook. If you don't get bit on the drop, shake your rod tip slightly to make your jig dance. If you dont get bit in a few seconds, then pull it up and flip it into another spot in the brush. Many times, you will not feel a strong bite. It will be very subtle or just a slight movement in your line that will let you know that he's on. Try to envision what your jig is doing as it hops and drops through the brush or weeds. This lure requires your full attention. If your not focused, you will miss many strikes.


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