Man, it’s hot right now. The dog days of summer are brutal and, for me, this is the time to unplug, relax and just enjoy a much-needed break.
I did just that when my fiancee McKenzie and I joined a bunch of friends for a week in Key West. That’s what the dog days of summer are for — relaxing by the pool, spending time with friends and family. If you do go fishing, it’s not like the spring, but there is some good fishing in the summertime.
What was nice about my Key West trip was that fishing was just one of the things we did — it wasn’t the demanding, high-pressure routine I’m used to during the Elite season. We fished offshore, and I caught my first permit and a tasty fish called a yellowjack. We also caught a bunch of bonito and a few others.
Trips like this make me appreciate the casual side of fishing. When you fish for a living, it’s not that you don’t love fishing — you do. But it’s nice when you don’t have to grind it out and have the wheels constantly turning where you’re thinking about the next spot. With all the decisions that go into bass fishing, it’s good to be able to turn that off and just go enjoy it.
Now, if you have to fish for bass during the dog days you should know that August is a really good time to sight fish on a clear impoundment where you can see pretty good. Those fish will get up there in little wolf packs of four to five fish and cruise the bank, looking for bream.
I find that with the polarized view of my Costa sunglasses, I can expect some really good topwater action with a Zoom Horny Toad, a buzzbait or a Pop-R. Those wolf packs are usually relating to a blowdown, dock or shade and they’re up their looking for bream.
And don’t be surprised to see bream beds this time of year. If you find one there’s usually going to be at least one, and usually several big fish on it.
Now, the good thing about this time of year is the chance to do several different things. Usually, first thing in the morning, I’ll get out on a main lake point and look for schooling fish chasing the bait rising to the surface. You can also find fish in deep brush piles.
What you have to keep in mind is that this time of year is not like the spring — you’re not going to catch a lot of fish, but it’s a good time to catch some really big ones.
Here’s one more option: Bridges. The shade is nice, but these structures will attract the bass because they funnel current and the bait stays there for oxygen purposes.
The fish are usually targeting really tiny threadfin shad, so you need to be prepared for some really finicky behavior. First thing in the morning, you can catch them on a small walking bait like a Spook Jr. If that doesn’t work, you can try a Zoom Super Fluke Junior or the Casey’s Classic Runner.
Summertime schooling fish can be frustrating, but if you ever figure out what they will bite, you can catch them really good. Just remember, don’t get into too big of a hurry; slow down and enjoy fishing at a relaxed pace during the dog days of summer.