Late Summer Bass Fishing
During the "dog days" of summer don't make the mistake of packing up and heading home after the morning bite slows down. Just because the bass “suspend” doesn’t mean they are dead, they still must eat. In fact in the latter part of summer with their metabolism in overdrive due to the warm water, their digestion is acting at a rapid pace. This requires more food. In a world where big fish eat little fish, maintaining size and growing is survival. One thing that anglers must realize is to fish the condition not the calendar. Fish do not know it is mid-August, but they know when the water is warm or when the water level is falling due to drought conditions. Most of North America has experienced an unusual summer with record rain fall. This increases oxygen and cools the lake, and rising water is always good for the bite. Late summer can mean great fishing. Here are some things to think about.
Anglers should target shady banks and the shaded sides of boat docks from late morning through the middle of the day for a good chance of catching some big bass. This is a good pattern if the body of water is warm enough for the thermocline to diminish the water quality in the deeper water, especially true of small lakes and ponds. Jigs and soft plastic worms pitched into the shade can produce fish in the middle of the day.
During late summer lakes begin to stratify and create a layer of water known as a "thermocline" or middle layer with the cooler water in the bottom layer called the hypolimnion that is depleted of adequate oxygen. Once this occurs it forces the bass to move shallower between the warm top layer called the epilimnion and the middle thermocline.
This is where the bass school in relation to structure such as main lake points. You can find at what depth the thermocline has developed by monitoring your electronics. The thermocline is normally from 12 to 15 feet deep in most late summer conditions. Cold water fish such as trout will be found in the lower part of the thermocline and bass will be on the upper layer.
Find the depth of the bass and then you can start fishing on structure at that same depth. Gently sloping points from the mouth of a creek out toward a main river channel can be such structure and enhanced even more with current. Fish these lake points with deep-running crankbaits, Jigs and Carolina Rigs for some great summer action.
As anglers find their selves approaching the end of summer with pleasure boaters buzzing all day, local anglers nightly and tournaments every weekend, bass have seen every new lure and the old tactics. The fishing pressure has left them with sore lips and fatigued. They seem to be near impossible to catch, however downsizing and slowing down can turn the bite back on. A Carolina rig, shaky head or a drop shot rig can be great during the summer months but a 4" wacky rigged worm can give bass something they’re not used to seeing. Downsizing your bait alone may not be enough; smaller line can enhance finesse fishing even more from late summer until the fall migration begins in a few more weeks.