Hot weather and big bass

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Seigo Saito

I’m writing this a few days before the Fourth of July. Merciless hot weather is right around the corner. The heat will change the behavior of big bass. If you expect to catch them, you’d better make some changes, too.

As a general rule you can expect them to move deep, but that’s not because they want a lot of water around them or over their heads. Nor is it because they have some evolutionary need to move because the weather is changing. It’s nothing more than comfort.

They’re looking for cooler water. Like humans they want to live in an environment that’s more to their liking. Cool water is heavier than warm water. We move into places where the air conditioning is working. They do the same thing only with Mother Nature’s help. They don’t have compressors. 

So, while you move your search deep you should also be thinking about temperature. If there’s shade for most of the day over 10 feet of water, it may be cooler than 25 feet of water that’s out in the sun.

That’s the real reason you find some of them under mats, lily pads and in thick grass. Even though the water in those places may not be as deep as some of the surrounding water it’ll sometimes be cooler. 

And remember, deep and shallow are relative concepts and so are hot and cold. Deep in a Midwest Corps of Engineers impoundment is one thing. Deep in a Louisiana bayou is something else. Likewise, cool means something different up on the Canadian border than it does in Phoenix, Ariz.

Absolute values are meaningless. Don’t even think about them, not for a second. It’s about what the fish experiences and her need for comfort. 

This movement also has a profound effect what big bass do once they find the most comfortable water available. Their only concern at this time of the year is to eat. Everything is about food. If there’s plenty to eat where they’re at, they won’t move at all. Once you find them you can figure on them being there until they start to move in the early fall. 

When (if) they’re forced to move for forage that movement will almost always happen early in the morning, late in the evening or, more frequently, at night. 

My lure choice for big, hot weather bass is limited. I usually start with a big worm or a big swimbait. Again, big is relative. Think about big as it relates to the average size of the local forage. It’s summer. Everything has had time to grow. Things are bigger now than they were in the spring. 

My third choice is a jig. I do just the opposite with it, however. I go small. The reason I downsize  here is because crayfish tend to go to ground when it gets hot. The biggest ones are hard to find, for both us and the bass. A smaller jig will look more natural than a big one.

I know I’m going to get some blowback on what I’ve said. I don’t care. There’s no doubt that some of you have caught giants at noon on a buzzbait in shallow, 90 degree water with the sun shinning. I know you’re telling the truth when you say that because I’ve done the same thing. Nevertheless, my thinking stands. 

What happens every now and then isn't what this discussion is about. Don’t play the exception. Play the odds.

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