Too hot for shallows? No way!

It seems, no matter where you live, it’s been a hot, hot summer.

Because of the high water temperatures, you may be inclined to believe the fish moved off the banks and into deeper water.

Well, not all of them. I’m convinced there are always fish in shallow water. They may not be bunched up like on offshore structure this time of year, but there are definitely areas of a lake where the shallow bite continues into fall.

I might add the shallow bite should get even better these days given the number of anglers who have added forward-facing sonar to their boats. Many of them have moved out to deep water to chase bass around bait balls.

So what shallow areas are best for hot-weather angling? Here are five places to consider:

Bridge choke points: On many reservoirs, the lake narrows down around bridges. While the current in the main lake may be slow, these narrowing “choke points” speed up the current, and bass love that. The bridge areas offer an abundance of riprap, and the bottom is often strewn with wood and debris, providing a lot of cover. Bass will sit just off that current waiting for an easy meal to swim or drift by.

Grassy flats: It seems there are always a few bass in grass beds up shallow. The vegetation tends to cool the water beneath it and draw in baitfish. I would look for grass near deeper water, but I’ve caught them in July on grass flats a long ways away from the main channel. It’s always worth a look.

Boat dock slips: Bluegills and other kinds of forage use the shade around docks. Bass will get up there and work them over, regardless of how shallow the docks may be sitting.

Shady banks: Tree branches that overhang several feet off the bank provide great sanctuary for bass seeking cooler water and a great ambush area. Skip a bait under those overhangs and be ready for a hard strike.

Rain runoff: Anytime you’ve had one of those hard summer rains, seek out those places where water is running off the bank into the lake. Those are bass magnets, as the fish are either feeding on stuff washing into the lake or on baitfish that are there with similar intentions. I’ve known local anglers who make a beeline to those runoff areas shortly after a heavy rain. They tell me there are always fish in the immediate area of the runoff.

And what about baits? Frogs are ideal for fishing over the grass and skipping around boat docks and under overhanging trees. However, one of my favorite baits for shallow-water spots is a Texas-rigged Strike King Rage Bug in black/blue or blue craw with a 1/4-ounce sinker and 16-pound line. You can cast it and work it like a jig, flip it, punch grass with it or drag it like a Carolina rig.

So, there’s my recipe for shallow-water fishing fanatics during the summertime. As Bassmaster Elite Pro John Cox has proven, you don’t need a lot of fancy electronics, and those vicious shallow-water bites can be a lot more fun.