Summer Bass Fishing Tips – Fisherman’s Authority

Written By Jimmy Martin

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In this post the author shares 10 expert summer bass fishing tips to help you catch more fish, including lures, cover, bait, and fishing rods. We also describe how to choose the right fishing equipment for your needs.

Find Cover, Find Bass

Jimmy Martin with a trophy smallmouth bass

When we think about finding cover, we often think about lily pads, logs, tree limbs, rocks, ledges, and grass. These are great places to find cover, but not all cover is created equal. To find the best cover, you need to see what is there. Now technology comes into play more than ever before. Modern depth finders allow you to see structures in deep water and also suspended fish in deep water. If you can't see anything, you are probably wasting your time. Look for things that look like they have something hiding underneath them.

Bass like to hang around cover because they can hide and quickly rush prey. Sometimes bass roams in open water, making them more challenging to locate.

Matching Natural Hatch

Matching the hatch is usually something you hear when fly fishing, but it applies to bass fishing as well. A wide variety of lures are designed to imitate different types of forage. There are many baits on the market, but only a few reliable go-to's get results. In the summer heat, you will need to fish lures that imitate shad, crawfish, worms, and frogs. These types of baits are successful at various depths and speeds.

Bass are voracious eaters and often eat out of pure instinct. They will react and bite even though they are not feeding. For instance, seeing a dying shad will cause them to respond out of instinct. Lures that have flash and vibration will also trigger a strike. For this reason, minnows or shiners can also be an excellent bait choice. Live bait is an option and is often the most reliable.

Be a Versatile Angler

Skeeter Bass Boat on the lake

As bass fishermen, We know how frustrating it can be to spend hours fishing a specific area only to catch nothing but bluegills. I've learned that it's not just about proper technique but also the right place at the right time. If you're looking to catch bass in a particular body of water, you will have to spend time exploring. As deer hunters, we understand scouting is of utmost importance. Scouting fish habitats is just as important. The more you explore the water, the more likely you will find active fish. 

It's all about adaptation; when you fish a lake, river, pond, etc., you should not only adapt to the fishing conditions there but also adapt your technique and equipment to suit the conditions. If you are fishing in clear water, you may need to use heavier gear and lighter colors to. On the other hand, when fishing in muddy or dark water, it may be better to switch to more lightweight gear, darker lures, and finesse tactics.

Different times of the day will also make a big difference; during the summer heat, we often go nocturnal to catch more fish. The cooler temperatures at night allow sluggish fish to become more active and begin to feed, resulting in a much more successful catch. Also, the cooler air is more comfortable for the angler.

Understand How Weather Impacts Bass

4 nice bass

When the weather is hot and sunny, most bass hold tight to cover in the shallow water or deeper water where it's cooler to escape the heat. They are not active and won't be coming up to eat during the scorch of the day. When this happens, a good texas rigged worm will work great for working tight to cover. With a bit of extra weight, this type of rig is useful when wanting to get down deep to those fish lying on the bottom.

You must consider the wind. The wind is a force of nature that can be a friend or foe when fishing for bass. The wind can make it hard to control a boat. You should consider fishing a bank when the wind is blowing against it. The wind will blow the bait up on that bank. Where the bait is, the fish will be there also. It can be difficult to cast and hold boat position on windy days, but never give up fishing. The wind will often cause bass to bite.

If you’re having trouble holding your boat, try to anchor yourself with a large rock or tree. If you’re a beginner, you might even try using a floating dock. Shooting the docks is always fun and usually successful.

Bass fishing is an exciting type of fishing. It takes a little bit of patience and some practice to become a skilled angler. It takes time to learn, and let nature teach you to read the water conditions and fish behavior.

Watch The Water Temperature

Limit of bass at the weigh in

The water temperature can vary greatly depending on the time of year and location. The activity level and feeding patterns of the bass are affected by the water temperature. It's best to throw slower moving baits in cooler water and more aggressive baits in warmer water as a general rule of thumb.

Bass are opportunistic feeders. They are not real picky. They will feed on anything able to be caught for an easy meal. When fishing for bass, the slightest change in water temperature can make or break a trip. Watching the local weather will let you know when a front is coming through that could cause a cool down in the surface temperature and turn the bass on to feeding.

Most of us have been anglers all our life and love to fish for bass. There are a lot of superstitions and old wives' tales, but we have learned by experience one of the most vital elements when catching bass is being mindful of the water temperature. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the thrill of the fishing trip and forget to watch the water temperature. A change in temperature of just 2 or 3 degrees can make all the difference in the world.

Become A Knot Tying Pro

There are various types of knots for diverse situations, and if you're a beginner, it might be best to start with a basic knot that you can use for all situations. Tying a good knot can be the difference between pulling up a monster fish or it getting away with your bait and hook. 

Knot tying can be intimidating, but there are plenty of great resources online to help beginners learn how to tie knots like the Palomar and Clinch knots. These are two of the most basic knots that you can tie. Practice tying different knots and get comfortable in your ability to ensure the hook stays on the line. Not only is it vital for catching fish but also crucial for the fish's health. 

This tip is from an oldtimer, “fish are fooled by the color red.” In shallow cover with trees, stumps, and clumps of grass, use a spinner bait with a red or pink head and a crankbait with red hooks. The red makes the fish think the bait is injured, and an easy lunch.

Do Your Research

There are many things to contemplate when planning a fishing day. It's essential to research and find out what is going on in the area you plan on fishing. First things first, check online to see what is going on with the weather. This will help you determine if it is going to be a good day of fishing or not. Once you have finished your analysis and have favorable conditions, it is time to pick a spot to fish.

We know how frustrating it is to search for information on bass fishing online only to find that you have to do hours of research before getting the answers you are looking for. 

Be Persistent

Woman Summer Bass Fishing

There is no doubt that persistence is vital when fishing. You must persevere through trial and error. Bass can be finicky sometimes. Scout, explore, and use a trial and error approach. It isn't easy finding the honey holes, but it sure is fun after you do. 

Learn from professionals and also learn from your local anglers. Don't expect them to tell you all their secrets. Just like hunting, there are a few things that are better kept to yourself.

Your Rod is a Tool, so Use the Right One

When choosing a rod, you will find a great abundance of choices and different rods for every type of fishing. We have fished for more than 40 years and have lots of different rods and reels, but you will find that the best rod for bass fishing, most of the time, a nice medium action rod that is 6 1\2 or 7 feet with an excellent affordable spinning reel spooled with 10 or 12-pound test line will handle most anything you will need to do.

RELATED: Spinning Reel vs Baitcaster

If you are looking for a budget fishing rod that will last a lifetime, try out an Ugly Stik.

For more specialized presentations, you may want a baitcaster, but please don't put a baitcasting reel on a spinning rod!

Being comfortable with your rod and reel is essential. It takes practice to cast and have your bait fall in the intended place. Practice casting at different depths and with different weights. Get to know it. Also, rod and reel maintenance and care are essential to ensure it will be ready for the next trip. 

And remember, even some of the best anglers get hung up sometimes—practice patience.

RELATED: Are Shakespeare Rods Good?


Trophy Bass on a swim bait lure

In fishing, a lure is an artificial bait used to attract a fish. It is attached to the end of a line and used to catch a specific type of fish. Lures are designed to look like prey and imitate their movements. For example, a lure that looks like a crawfish is meant to mimic all the attributes of this natural food source.

As with everything else, when you begin to explore lures, there are millions of options, but we have found that there are a few reliable must-haves for every tackle box.

Having a few crankbaits packed in the tackle box is a good idea. Try getting a few for shallow water and some for deeper water as well. These baits come in various colors to mimic shad, such as white, silver, or other bright color combos. A popular color combo is called sexy shad. These are also useful for covering a lot of water quickly.

Another go-to bait that should be in your collection should be a jerk bait. These come in various options. Some will float up when retrieval is stopped. Others will suspend at the same depth when stopped, and others will sink when stopped. These are great for targeting lethargic fish suspended at different depths in the water column.

When you reach a time to slow things down or go deep, a classic jig with a skirt and a trailer of some kind, like a crawfish, is deadly for those smallmouth bass feeding on the bottom. There are many colors available, but we have found the most successful colors are usually green and pumpkin combo and green and watermelon combo. Motor oil is another popular option.

Keeping soft plastic baits such as worms and grubs rigged in a texas rig or a Carolina rig can be fished slowly to work the structure and deeper water. Plastics are available in the same basic colors as jigs. These are not the only colors that work but are the classics.  

RELATED: Best Spinners For Trout

Final Thoughts

"1. Learn and understand fish patterns for Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.  2.  Keep it simple but learn what baits do what.  Example reaction baits,  top water, and finesse baits.  3.  Remember 1 and 2 can be googled, lol. 4.  You learn the most by being on the water. 5.  Have fun. 6.  The most important thing is fish your bait slow, and when you think your doing that, slow down more."- Mike Lawson— Expert Bass Angler

Summer bass fishing is a fun activity. You can do it with friends and family. You can also do it alone. The best time to catch bass during the summer is evening, night, or wee hours of the morning. This is the time of day when the water temperature cools a bit. Bass love to eat insects and small fish. They are also attracted to shiny objects and vibrations. To attract them, you can use a variety of lures. Find a lure that you are comfortable with using. You can fish in lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, and creeks. Each may vary slightly on habitat and the best techniques to not only fish but catch. Everyone has a better day when the fish are biting well. Understanding nature's patterns will help you become a better angler.

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Photo of author

Jimmy Martin

Jimmy is an outdoor writer and frequent contributor to Fisherman's Authority. Jimmy fishes 12 months a year and is an expert in bass fishing, panfish, catfishing and more. He loves to fish from his boat, but he also does a lot of fishing from the banks of rivers and the shoreline of lakes and ponds. Jimmy is proud to share his methods with others, so that they can enjoy the outdoors with their friends and family. He has a passion for introducing kids to the outdoors and the sport of fishing.

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