Pssstttt ... want to know a big secret?
Ok, then that secret is this - sometimes, you can catch the year's biggest bass in the summertime months, not the spring.
Before anyone accuses me of suffering from heat exhaustion, let me add that the biggest bass I've ever hooked – a fish pushing 11 pounds or better – was hooked, fought and lost at the boat on an August day while I was fishing Lake Fork with guide Randy Oldfield a number of years ago.
Then consider that the two biggest bass of my life – a 9.85-pound largemouth and a 9.52-pound largemouth – were caught in a little more than one hour's time while I was fishing with my friend Chris Bobo on Fork four years ago.
On an early September day with the mercury pushing 100 degrees, no less. And what's more, I added an 8.10-pound fish to that haul and lost a fish that we guessed at nearly 7 pounds.
My bass fishing pal Bobo is also a believer in that idea of behemoth bass in the dawg days heat of summertime – he lost three fish in that same hour and a half long stretch. And all were all pushing 7 pounds or better.
But don't just take my word for it.
Because John Stanley is certainly a believer, having landed a 16-pound largemouth from Fork on July 3, 1989. Jerry New is also a summertime big bass convert after his Aug. 29, 1990, lunker from Fork tipped the scales at 17.63 pounds – that’s the fourth largest bass ever caught in Texas! And Bill Howell is a summertime believer too after his Aug. 18, 1990, lunker from Fork checked in at 15.38 pounds.
Convinced yet that you need to leave the comfort of the air conditioned man cave? Good.
But whether it's Fork or another lake known for huge bass, how and where do you fish for big bass during firecracker weather?
“If you’re going to fish (a lake like) Fork in the summertime, you’ve got to target the creek channels, particularly the bends in the creek channels, and humps and roadbeds,” says Lake Fork guide – an Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide at that – Rob Woodruff.
But deeper water and offshore structure isn't the only place a good sized bass can be caught when the late summer heat is on.
“The thing that a lot of people overlook is that there still are fish up in the shallow water around weed lines or shady areas with access to deeper water," said Woodruff. "That’s especially true early and late in the day."
Woodruff, who has landed bass up to 11.75 pounds on his Orvis fly rod at Fork, provides a few more details.
"Fishing east-side, west-facing banks in the morning along the shade line and vice versa in the afternoon can produce some good fish," said the Quitman resident. "Timber helps – if it is a timbered shoreline, you’ve got a longer shadow line to fish.”
Where a behemoth bass might be lurking, even during the triple digit heat of late summer.