Crews: My favorite summer baits

The heat of summer is upon us. For many anglers that means tough fishing, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you pick your lures and your spots carefully. In fact, I love July and August. It’s one of my favorite times of the year to go bass fishing.

Here are my four top lure choices and the places I like to fish them:

Frogs and creature baits

Frogs and creature baits in shallow grass are my favorites, and they’re the most productive overall.

I start with a frog. If the grass is far enough along to mat, I recommend fishing them first. At the same time, though, don’t neglect any holes you find in the thick stuff. They’ll produce, too.

You can catch bass by fishing a frog over shallow vegetation in almost any weather, but I personally like some shade. It seems like that moves the fish around a little more and gives you more opportunities for a consistent bite. If you’re fishing in the sun remember that the fish will hold tight under the cover most of the time. Be precise with your lure placement.

Another great option for shallow grass is to flip it with a creature bait. You want a rig that’s heavy and that’ll give you a fast fall. Don’t give them a chance to look things over. This is about a reaction bite.

My lure preference is a Missile Baits D Bomb in Candy Grass or Bruiser rigged Texas style. I rig it with a weight between 1/2 and a full ounce.

Walkin’ sticks

I know, the water’s 85 degrees and the air temperature is in the 90s. So what? Bass will still smash a Zara Spook style bait if you make long casts over weedlines, humps and transition breaks.

Walk it back and forth with short, quick jerks as you bring it back to the boat in a straight line. Bigger and louder lures in shad or baitfish colors are the deal. Feathers on the back make for a nice touch and seem to give the bass a little something more to key in on.

Always take advantage of low light conditions when you throw a walking stick. Early in the day, late in the evening and whenever there’s a heavy cloud cover overhead are prime times for this bait.

Deep crankin’

I like to crank deep when it’s this hot because you can cover a lot of water quickly, find active fish fast and catch them — all at once. In this business that’s about as good as it’ll ever get.

You can fish a crankbait deep just about anywhere there’s enough water to do it. My favorite places include underwater breaks, ledges, drops, channels and over weeds if they’re deep enough. Deep wood and rock can produce, too.

My favorite bait is a Spro Little John DD in Cell Mate, Citrus Shad or a finish that looks like a local gizzard shad. I always use a long rod so I can get enough distance out of my cast to get the bait down and keep it down.

I fish my crankbaits on 12-pound-test Sunline Super FC Sniper line — fluorocarbon gives you better feel — with a 6.4:1 reel. That seems to give me the best combination of speed and depth and, at the same time, allows me to make a solid hookset when she bites.

Don’t buy into the notion that bass won’t bite in hot weather or that you have to go nocturnal to catch them. They’ll bite just fine during the day if you fish versatile and think positive.