The weather has been miserably hot. It did break a little this week, but only a little. We could complain about it but the reality is that it’s summertime. It’s been unusually hot but it’s always hot in July and August. That’s life. We need to deal with it.
That means understanding that the fish have moved deeper and they’re going to be a little harder to catch. I said last week that the number one thing most guys do is fish too shallow. I guarantee you that’s truer today than it was before this heat wave came in on us. Most guys are fishing too shallow, right now. Go deeper if you want to catch them.
In my part of the country that means 25-30 feet — at least. A little deeper might be even better. But depth is all relative. Your lake might not be that deep. No matter, you’ll find them in the deepest water that’s available. And don’t kid yourself about the upcoming cooler weather. It won’t help that much.
The surface temperature might drop a degree or two overnight — maybe three degrees if the wind’s blowing real hard — but that won’t make a bit of difference down deep where the fish are. Besides, it’ll heat right up again the next day. The fish won’t move much. They’ll still be deep until a real cooling trend arrives. That’s fall.
The reason I’m being so blunt about this is because I think sometimes we want things to be the way we want them to be so much that we convince ourselves they’re that way when they’re really not. I include myself in that group. Stephen Headrick is as bad as anyone else about that. We can’t help it. We want to catch smallmouth so bad we’ll do almost anything, even fooling ourselves.
There are no magic solutions for the middle of the summer. Believe me when I say I’d share them if I knew any. It’s just a matter of fishing at night whenever possible. If you can’t or won’t fish the graveyard shift I’d suggest the early morning. You might think about getting up in the middle of the night and fishing a few hours before you go to work in the morning.
You might also think about fishing streams in your shorts and tennis shoes. Even if you don’t catch very many at least you’ll cool off and have a good time. That’s worth something. Beyond that it’s a matter of waiting out the calendar. Mother Nature will cool things off in a few weeks. The bite will get better. Shortly after that we’ll all be complaining about the cold, and about the fact that the bite’s slowed down.
One final word of warning: if you fish in a boat during the day be careful. Use lots of sunblock and drink lots of fluids, before you feel thirsty. Extreme heat like we’ve had lately is nothing to fool with. It’s dangerous. No fish, even a giant smallie, is worth your life.