Go Offshore for Summer Bassin'
Through the spring, bass anglers had their fun in the shallows. With summer approaching, it’s time to buckle down and begin to look at little deeper. Spawn and early post spawn periods are over for much of the country, anglers need to turn their backs to the bank and target bass on offshore structure.
For the past two months or so throughout much of the country, anglers have been able to put the trolling motor down and make presentations at visible targets. When the spawn is on, the chances to catch a true giant are very real. For many anglers, just the thought of a monster bass is enough to keep them warm through the cool mornings of spring.
With the spawn in the rearview mirror, this is the time of the year when fish tend to school up on offshore structure. Instead of hunting and pecking to locate a few willing biters here and there, anglers can now locate offshore structure, multiple casts to one area and catch multiple fish. If there’s one quality bite there, chances are good there could be more.
In fact, 2013 Bassmaster Classic Champion and Major League Fishing Select angler Cliff Pace recently told me this is his favorite time of the year to fish. He said despite the uncomfortable warming conditions, the fish are responsive.
“I actually prefer this time of the year to the spring,” said Pace. “You have to cover a ton of water to catch enough big ones to be competitive. But right now, a guy can find a group of fish and make the same cast on structure and put several big ones in the boat on consecutive casts.
So, how does an angler begin to look for the right stuff? Start with a little map study.
Navionics offers anglers the ability to do a little pre-scouting with their online app. By clicking the WebApp link on their website, anglers can explore most of the lakes and waterways across the country. For example, I’ve selected a screen shot here of a spot on my home waterway, Lake Neely Henry on the Coosa River in Gadsden, Ala. The area features an incoming creek bed that intersects with the main river channel and a road bed on both sides where there was quite obviously a bridge that crossed the river before it was flooded.
Using a Navionics chip in a Lowrance HDS9 Gen2, I can travel to the area and see what is there before even making a cast. All of these tools can help anglers locate more obvious fish-holding structures quickly and efficiently.
At this spot, I would likely to find some rubble from the bridge demolition. The rubble cover located on the outside bend of the main river channel would make me assume fish are holding there this time of the year. I would visit this spot several times throughout a day of fishing, to see if/when it’s holding fish. If it is, then I would take mental note of the time it to be there.
Great tools for offshore fishing this time of the year are deep-diving crankbaits, heavy football jigs with action trailers, and swimbaits on heavy jigheads. Those three baits will work on lakes throughout much of the country. For anglers in the West and North, a dropshot, tube on a jighead, and a lighter-weight football or finesse jig can be excellent this time of the year.
Of course, there are lakes with a shallow bite this time of the year, such as tidal waterways, and shallow rivers and creeks. For those, anglers might want to try topwaters and a flipping bait.