Think about bites this summer

Everywhere you can think of right now it’s the dead of summer, and that means it’s the toughest time of the year to think about size when you’re bass fishing. It’s better to think about bites. Let the bigger ones come whenever they get around to it.

I usually start my fishing — if it’s early morning — in shallow water. I’m talking about water that’s less than 2 or 3 feet deep. That’s where you’ll find most of the fish. They relate to those places I think because there’s probably more oxygen in the water.

Early on like that you can catch them all over the place, off the bank. They’ve been roaming all night and usually don’t relate tightly to cover or structure. But, as the sun comes up and things start to get hot they’ll move back towards the protection of cover and structure and then finally almost exclusively into the shade. 

That’s where I’ll be fishing if it’s later or if I stopped for a good breakfast, which I am likely to do most mornings. I’ve seen my share of sunrises. 

I’m talking about numbers here. Like I said, there’s little reason to try for a big bite in August. I just want action because I know that from time to time I’ll catch a decent one. And, because I’m after a numbers bite I’ll downsize my lures.

One of my favorite baits is a Strike King popper, the HC KVD Splash. It comes in two sizes. I like the Jr. for summertime. It’ll drop down on shallow fish without scaring them to death, and it’s small enough to attract ordinary size bass. 

I also like to throw a small Sexy Dawg. It’s a basic walking bait but the Jr. size is smaller than most so, again, it’s the right choice for numbers. If the bite’s not on top, I’ll go with an 1/8-ounce spinnerbait.

Color is an open question. This is mostly a reaction bite. I’m not sure that color makes a huge difference. If I had to make a favorite choice, it would be something that looks like a bluegill. They spawn off and on all year up shallow where I’m fishing. That’s probably what most of the bass are eating. If that doesn’t work, go with something that gives you confidence.  

Regardless of color, I put my lures right up there in the dirt. Most days the bass won’t chase anything very far so you’d better drop whatever it is that you’re using right on their heads. It might startle them for a second, but they’ll turn around and grab the easy offering. They can’t help themselves. It’s what they are and how they’re made. 

But, just because I’m targeting numbers doesn’t mean I’ll not catch an occasional quality fish. It’s just that bass tend to mix under the circumstances I’m talking about so it’s almost impossible to fish for only big ones. They just don’t set up that way when the water’s hot and when they’re real shallow. 

Here’s the deal: Fish smart. Play the odds, fish for bites this summer and things will probably go your way. If they don’t, blame the unstable weather we’ve been having.

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