Crank up the summer bite

We’re headed into the time of year when I can pull out the big arsenal and catch a lot of fish.

Historically, in the South and Mid-South this is the best time of year to fish offshore with traditional tactics.

From now through the next three weeks is the best time to find big schools of bass bunched up on hard spots and shell beds. On grass lakes, you want to be flipping grass.

I like this time because the bass are less likely to suspend and will get on the bottom where you can catch them on a plug.

I fished three days for fun this past week and caught a lot of nice fish on deep grass on one lake and on hard bottoms around channels on another lake.

I would guess that there are schools using hard bottoms on Kentucky Lake in 12 to 20 feet while you might find bass on breaks in 3 to 8 feet on shallow spots.

You can really fire up those schools with a crankbait and catch them on every cast.

My lakes are relatively shallow, so I’ve been wearing them out with Strike King 2.5, 4.0 and 8.0 squarebills, depending upon the depth.

I may use the 2.5 to fire up the school and move to the much larger squarebills to catch the bigger ones.

The 8.0 is a big plug that runs fairly shallow. I can get it to about 12 feet if fishing 14-pound Gama Fluorocarbon, but I typically use 16- to 20-line sizes when I need it to run shallower. These are heavy plugs, so you don’t want to throw them on light line.

Also, what’s cool about the 4.0 and 8.0 is the bigger line doesn’t affect their actions like it does on smaller baits.

The key is you want to hit the bottom and move the lure at a fast speed to trigger the bites. The 6XD or 10XD are bigger baits too, but you can’t reel them as fast because they are digging along the bottom too much. The squarebills run shallow and deflect much better.

Another reason this style of fishing is effective now is there have been storms moving across the South that have created more flow and current on southern lakes. That current makes the crankbait bite much better.

As summer progresses and the fishing pressure mounts, finesse tactics tend to become a bigger player.

But for the time being, I’m going to enjoy catching big fish on crankbaits!