In the middle of July, baking in the sun and not catching fish can ruin your relaxing day of fishing. Fortunately, even if you are bank fishing, you can still catch bass in the hottest part of the year.
To catch bass from the bank in summer, you need to focus on shady areas, access to deep water, and oxygen producing features in the water. Follow the tips below and you might be surprised how many fish you can pull from the bank in the middle of summer while your friends are still baking on the boat.
Find the Shade to catch summer bass
If you’re fishing from the bank there is one advantage you have over the boat fishermen who can reach the middle of the lake where bass are hanging in deep water – you have shade from trees and brush hanging over the water.
When it’s a hot day and the sun is beating on your neck, do you stand out in the middle of a field or under a big nice, shady tree? Well bass feel the same way. Look up and down the shore where you are fishing and look for that spot with a large tree or bush hanging over the water casting shade. A boat dock is even better, having a large area of shade underneath. Even floating docks will give enough shade to potentially hold bass during the hot months trying to stay away from the sun.
The key to this approach to fishing is to get as close to the cover creating shade as possible. Bass aren’t going to want to extend beyond their shady hiding spots, so you need to cast right on top of them and entice them into a bite. But find the right piece of shade and make the right cast, you can pull out multiple bass from one shady hole.
My favorite lure to throw into shady areas in the summer is a weedless, weightless stickbait like the Gary Yamamato Senko. Simply throw it into or around cover and let it sink to the bottom, then reel in and cast to a different spot. Bass can’t resist coming out from their shady hiding places to eat a worm falling right in their face. The weedless, weightless presentation lets you not get stuck in thick cover as easily and a stickbait can be skipped well under docks and other shade-creating structures.
Finding deep, cool water from the bank is key to catching hot weather bass
Most fishermen know when it gets hot, fish go out to the deeper water where it’s cooler. However, many fisherman don’t know that the “middle” of the lake doesn’t always mean the deepest part of the lake. Many times creek channels can run right alongside a bank and the middle of the lake is actually shallower than 20 feet from the bank where you can cast.
If your lake is on the Navionics Webapp or has a contour map available, you’re in luck. You can precisely identify which spots of the lake are deep and where you might be able to reach from the bank. If possible, try and position yourself where the channel “swings” or near points by the deeper water. Bass don’t often sit in the middle of deep water, they hang out near the edges where they can use natural contour of lake bottoms to chase prey. Position yourself in these areas and you’re sure to be in a hot spot for bass activity.
Unfortunately, contour maps do not exist for the majority of lakes. Instead, use your instincts and what you CAN see to tell you where the deep water is. Does the bank on one side of the lake gradually taper into the water and the other declines sharply? The deep water is on the side where the land drops sharply. Similarly you can look a few feet out into the water. Can you see for several feet? Then chances are it’s shallow for a good ways. Can you only see a foot and then it gets dark? Chances are it keeps getting deep more quickly.
Use this to try and find a spot where the water is deeper, and again try to focus on areas where maybe a point of land comes out farther into the water. If you have a spot where the land gradually tapers directly next to an area where it drops dramatically, bass are likely holding in that deeper water right beside it.
There are many presentations you can use here but I try to focus on things that I can throw far and drag the bottom with. A casting jig is often a good choice for this scenario, or if you want to downsize and go even slower to really catch those finicky bass – try a shaky head.
Incoming, moving water can also help you find bass looking for oxygen
Another great location that often gets overlooked when finding summer bass is to find where water is coming into the lake. For many places, this is a creek channel if it feeds naturally. A dam could also provide moving water. But most bodies of water have some sort of fresh water running in to replenish it. This water that is moving into the lake provides oxygen, a necessary resource for all kinds of fish and life in the lake. Just like humans, all fish need that oxygen to survive.
My favorite local pond does not have a creek channel or naturally incoming water. However, a few years ago I discovered the local pool runs off their excess water into the lake. Sure enough, I started fishing right where the water comes in and I started pulling in fish after fish. The running water introduced into the lake created feeding opportunities and the fish were just there waiting to be caught.
So if you don’t have a natural creek running into the lake think creatively about how running water may be coming into the lake. Fish are likely to migrate to it for easy food and more oxygen.
Any bait will work great here but I try to focus on moving baits to match the current since it can blow away many lighter baits and make bottom fishing more difficult. A spinnerbait is always a good choice in clearer water or a chatterbait if more muddy.
Where the green grass grows... you'll find bass
The last potential area to hold bass that you can easily reach from the bank is an area covered in nice green grass or any aquatic vegetation. If you paid attention in biology class, you might remember that plants absorb carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. Fish, like humans, need oxygen to survive. So bass often remain close to lake vegetation during the summer when the water has much less oxygen.
Additionally, grass and vegetation can create natural shade and cover for bass as well. These bass are usually harder to reach as they will hang out in the thickest part of the vegetation, but if you can put a bait in front of it’s nose you’re sure to get a bite. And one heck of a fight pulling it out from the vegetation it’ll dig into!
Fishing topwater frogs is a common way to fish for these bass in the summer, and it’s probably the most fun as you’ll get to see some crazy blowups from bass annihilating your bait. However, if you have the necessary equipment, “punching” the dense vegetation is also a great way to catch quality bass. Simply put on a very heavy weight – up to an ounce – and throw a slim creature bait right into the thick stuff. You often can only hit one area before getting too much vegetation on the line, so casting accuracy is necessary. Basically you are “punching” a bait through the thick vegetation and shaking it, then finding a new spot and doing it all over again. Make sure you put on heavy line (20 lb test minimum) and a heavy rod – you won’t just be pulling out a bass. You’lll be pulling out a heap of grass with it.
Fishing in the summer can be extremely tough, especially when your neck is red and you’re sweating like a pig. Follow the tips above and aim to fish as early as you can and as late as you can to avoid the hottest times of the day. You may even consider night fishing if you have the ability. But even in the peak of summer, you can catch bass from the bank. Try the methods above and let me know you’re favorite way to catch bass from the shore in summer below!