It’s mid-summer and the temperatures are at their highest and the lakes are starting to feel like hot tubs. During these dog days of summer, most fishermen will tell you that you need to fish deeper water to catch bass. That is certainly true but from my experience, I’ve found that even with scorching temperatures you can still find quantity and quality bass up shallow and in less than 3 foot of water.
The big thing that will keep bass shallow, no matter what time of year is, is bait or forage. If it’s lifeless then odds are there won’t be any bass around, however, that is hardly ever the case. Think about what kind of cover you have shallow; sunken trees, bushes, docks and rocky structure just to name a few, and all of which, have the potential to inhabit smaller forage which will attract predatory fish like bass.
I think one of the main things that appeals to bass about shallow water in the summer time is an easy meal. Take schools of bait fish for example. Shallow water means less room for baitfish to escape as well as allowing bass to pin schools up against the bank. Early morning seems to be when you’ll find the bigger fish up shallow. Getting on the water before sunrise in the summer is a must for me every time I go out. The bass will specifically use this window of lower light to take advantage of baitfish up shallow.
Bait selection is key when fishing shallow in the summertime. Because bass will be super aggressive with a fast metabolism this time of year, you want to throw moving baits. Topwater spooks, Plopper style baits, chatter baits and shallow crank baits are my go-to’s during the morning. I’ll usually start off with a top water bait and if it’s not getting bit I will then move to the chatterbait and then the crankbait.
Around 10 am or so is when I find a percentage of these fish will start to either move to deeper water, or, and what I find a lot of people overlook, is tight to cover. This is the cover we mentioned previously such as bushes, logs, rocks, etc. I won’t rule out the previous baits I was throwing in the morning but now I’ll look to baits that will get into the cover and into the strike zone more efficiently such as a jig, Texas rig or worm.
This big thing to remember this summer is to not be afraid to venture shallow while everyone else is out deep even if it’s noon. Some of the biggest fish I’ve caught in the summer have been in less than a foot of water in 80+ degree water. Get on the water early, have the right baits tied on, find signs of life and get ready to swing the rod. As always, stay safe and tight lines!
About Greg Blanchard: Greg has taken the YouTube kayak fishing community by storm over the past few years. His approach to kayak fishing technique is unique and powerful. Greg fishes from a Native Watercraft Titan Propel 10.5 as his primary craft. You can subscribe to Greg’s YouTube Channel by clicking the button below.
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