Hot weather bassin' strategies

It’s the middle of summer and it’s been as hot as can be lately. I know a lot of anglers are complaining about the fishing, but if you approach it right, this can be a great time to be out on the water. That’s especially true if you’re looking for a big fish. There is absolutely no reason to wait for fall.

Picking the right place to fish is the first step. I know a lot of guys tell you to go real deep at this time of the year. That’s good advice. You can most definitely catch them that way. But I have a couple of other things you might want to try. Not all the fish are deep, and not all the fish are lethargic just because it’s hot.

My first choice is to fish either under heavy, matted vegetation or around it. The fish like to get under there, in the dark shade, and wait things out. My best bait for under the mats — actually my only bait for this style of angling — is a Gambler BB Cricket. I usually put a big heavy weight on it and let it punch right through the mat. Move it around a little bit and then do it again. If you don’t get a bite, move along. I like colors that match the local forage. They seem to work best.

If I’m working around the mat, I throw a Snag Proof Frog. If you don’t have a favorite color, go with something that looks natural.

Another great place is anywhere there’s running water. Summertime brings strong rainstorms and they make for heavy water flows into the lake you’re fishing. It cools the water and washes food in at the same time. I’ve made some great catches over the years in those kinds of places.

I approach these areas with a Luck "E" Strike RC 2.5 square bill crankbait. Work it all around the moving water, and don’t be afraid to vary its speed. Again, I try to match the hatch whenever possible.

After you’ve been fishing those spots for a while, you’ll probably be hot and sweaty. That’s when it’s time to cool off. Put on a pair of swim trunks or just take your wallet out of your pants, and jump overboard. That’ll cool you off in no time. Then, get back in the boat and do everything all over again.

A word of safety is in order here. Make sure the water’s deep where you jump in. You can get hurt real bad jumping into shallow water. Never jump in headfirst. You’re asking for trouble if you do. Another thing is to have a ladder off the back of your boat. It seems easy to climb in a bass boat when you don’t have to. It’s another matter when you’re tired. And always have a lifejacket nearby. Throwing one into the water before you jump in isn’t a bad idea.

I’ve had a lot of fun catching summer bass and swimming in my favorite lake. You can, too.

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