Summer Bass Fishing Secrets
Mature bass have definite routes that they use during the summer. In a study by The Tennessee Technological University on the migration of bass released following a tournament, it was proven that they will eventually return to the approximate area that they were caught from. By tagging tournament fish as they were caught on Dale Hollow and electronically tracking them when released, the biologist proved the theory that they are territorial creatures of nature. Some fish only moved an average distance of 200 to 300 yards to forage after returning to the location where they were caught. With this knowledge it is now known that by naturally following the break lines or channels from their primary haunts to forage ambush areas, bass become even more predictable creatures.
Many of the larger bass are solitary specimens spending time alone and taking advantage of less competition for food, however in seasonal feeding periods territory can overlap, and when schooled they naturally school by size. Forage areas near points, ridges, or humps can get congested in the summer months as the fish seek the bait that is drawn to these areas. In water ranging from ten to twenty feet in depth the large bass feed on schooled bait fish. The amount of light and weather conditions directly affect the duration of feeding periods for bass. On overcast days, the bite will often last longer than on sunny days. The key to locating a trophy bass is knowing these routes in which the bass take to the feeding areas and understanding what time or conditions trigger them to move.
By understanding the travel of the big bass will make you a better summer angler. By nature they will suspend deep over structure, but will follow break lines up to humps, ridges, and points to feed, just as other fish that hold around heavy cover do. Bass tend to follow break lines to feeding areas. Most will feed in summer between ten and twenty feet deep then move out to deeper more oxygenated water to rest, returning to deep water by the same route following the break lines.
Study your topo map or electronics looking for deep areas that have humps, ridges, points, old creek beds, old road beds, or a grass line in the ten to twenty feet range. Superior electronic maps like the Lakemaster Maps from Humminbird can highlight the target range, quickly eliminating non-productive water. The types of structure in the target range of depth will attract the bait followed by the bass that can be caught on several different lures.
Many anglers fish the deep structure such as ledges with a big Carolina rigged worms, and there are those anglers that go to the deep-diving crankbaits for summer success. Colors choices will vary depending on the lake and weather and light conditions. During summer the angler’s choice in color can make all of the difference. During a slow bite in summer do not be afraid to try different colors in extreme contrast from natural to florescent colors.
One favorite summer techniques for catching bass in the summer is swimming and shaking a jig and trailer. Start the retrieve from the target depth of ten to twenty feet with the rod in a raised position while shaking the jig on a slack line with quarter-turns of the reel handle, almost as you would walk top water baits on the surface. Bass suspended over deep water structure or deep grasses can often caught with this simple jig presentation in summer.
During summer bass fishing cannot be expected to be as productive as it is in spring and in the fall, but by understanding migration and feeding habits of the fish, anglers can gain an advantage by using technology and proven techniques. Be careful in the heat, protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun and stay hydrated. Your safety is an important part of fishing.