Hackney: Let's talk shallow summer bass

First off, I want to thank everyone for the quality of the comments that were posted after my last column about sharing water. I asked everyone not to use names and not to call people names in their answers to my questions. You all did that. And, your thoughts were right on point. I have the information (opinions) I asked for. That’s great. I thank you.

Now, let’s get back to catching fish.

It’s summertime. The water’s hot and so is the air. Nevertheless, don’t let that fool you about where to find bass. I know it’s popular to talk about deep water — ledges and such — but the truth is that you can catch a ton of bass in shallow water, and when I say shallow I’m talking about water a foot or so deep.

This is an important topic, one worth mentioning, because I know a lot of anglers are uncomfortable fishing deep. I understand that. It’s an acquired taste. It takes a lot of time on the water to learn how to do it and have confidence in it when you are doing it. 

The best places are in reservoirs that have little or no current and that have thick vegetation along the shoreline. If there’s an algae mat or scum on the water so much the better.

I fish mostly topwater in those kinds of spots. If the cover is thick and nasty I like to throw a frog. Because of their design they’ll fish almost anywhere without hanging and snagging on stuff. I generally walk them when I can. Otherwise, I’ll twitch them along until I can walk them. The idea is to make them look like bream. I honestly don’t think the fish are feeding on shad so much at this time of the year.

I always use braid with my frog. It’s tough so it doesn’t get nicked and damaged by the heavy cover, and I’m not worried about getting a good hookset or about the fish throwing my lure.

If I’m in an area where there’s more open water I’ll switch to a propbait or a popper. They’ll catch just as many fish as the frog, but they won’t stand up in heavy cover. The treble hooks will hang on anything and everything.

I like 20-pound-test Gamma monofilament for this type of fishing. It floats and that’s really important. Floating line allows your bait to ride higher on the water’s surface which gives you better control over its action. The other thing is that monofilament has just a little stretch to it. That helps with hooksets.

So, when you go fishing over the next couple of months take the time to explore some of the really shallow places you fished this past spring. You just might be surprised at how well they produce.

Hey! I want you to do me one more favor before I go. Think about what you want me to talk about in future columns. Maybe it’s a lure type you’re having trouble fishing. Or, it might be a kind of structure or cover that challenges you. Put your questions in the comments section. I’ll do my best to answer them in a way that’ll help you catch more bass.