The weather has been miserable, and it’s going to be some time before it gets any better. Temperatures in the 90 degree plus range and violent thunderstorms are the new normal this year. A lot of anglers are thinking this makes for tough fishing conditions, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Before we get into how to fish these current conditions, however, I want to give everyone a word of warning. Lightning is not a joke. It’s serious. It can be deadly. If you’re out fishing, pay attention to what’s going on around you. Check your weather app. If you can see lightning or hear thunder, it’s too close. When in doubt go back to the ramp.
The first thing about the temperature is that you shouldn’t think it drives the bass deep. It doesn’t. You’ll find them in this weather surprisingly shallow. I’m talking backs out of the water shallow.
The wind from the thunderstorms along with the inflow of water from creeks and ditches makes shallow water more oxygenated than deep water, and it often makes it cooler than the deep, main lake water. This holds most of the forage up shallow, and it holds the bass up shallow.
The one problem with what I just said is mud. Fresh mud is a turnoff for bass. They go almost dormant when their water gets real muddy, real quick.
Think of it like you would your house or your car. If you have a kitchen fire or a minor auto accident, your world is a mess for a day or two. But you still have to eat and you still have to go to work. In a couple of days you learn to live with the issues. You don’t have any other choice.
Bass are the same way. Fresh mud turns their world upside down. They don’t do much of anything at first and they are really hard to catch. They still have to eat, though, and so after a day or two they get back to normal even if the surrounding conditions aren’t perfect or to their liking. You can catch them then.
My best bait for largemouth holding super shallow in hot weather is a TL52 Tightlines UV Bill Lowen Flipp’n Tube. I rig this 4-inch bait Texas style with a 1/2-ounce Reins tungsten weight. It has an erratic action that attracts largemouth at this time of the year, and it’s virtually weedless. Pick a color that matches the local forage.
If I’m targeting smallmouth, I go with a finesse setup. I start with an 1/8-ounce Slip-Shad head from LurePartsOnline in any natural looking color. I add an Optimum Opti Shad swimbait body in a complimentary color.
That’s the style of lure that seems to attract smallmouth when they’re up real shallow. I think it’s because it looks and acts exactly like the real thing. They attack before they figure out it isn’t real.
The weather is horrible, and there’s nothing any of us can do about that. But we can change tactics, and if we do we can still catch them.