How I fish the hottest water of the year

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Bassmaster Marshal

It’s almost August. This has been a really hot year in much of the country.  But this is always the hottest time of the year. This year is just a little worse than most so the water’s a little worse than most.  

One thing we have to keep in mind, though, is that “hottest” is relative. In the South the hottest water of the year might mean 95 degrees. Whereas, up near the border with Canada the hottest water might mean in the high 70s. It’s all the same, though, regardless of the actual temperature. 

No matter where I’m at I approach my bass fishing at this time of the year by targeting three types of water — the deepest water available, the shallowest water available and anyplace where there’s current.

Let’s take a closer look at each one…

Find the deepest water around

In some places that might be 4 or 5 feet but in others that might be 40 or 50 feet. Either way that’s where I’m going to start. Deep water in most cases will be the coolest because hot water is lighter than colder water. That makes it rise to the top. 

The temperature difference might be a lot or it might be a little. But, regardless of how much of a difference there is in your lake or reservoir, the bass will gravitate towards water that’s more to their liking.

It’s impossible to make specific lure or tackle recommendations for this approach. I have no idea where you will be fishing. But I will tell you that you need to work with slow, finesse type lures and with bigger, power fishing presentations. Cover everything with everything. Bass that are deep in hot water can be very finicky. 

Find the shallowest water around

This one is a little easier to describe. My idea of the shallowest water available is water that’s less than 3 or 4 feet deep. A lot of the time this water will hold high concentrations of oxygen and, depending upon the weather, it can also be the coolest water around.

Heavy cover is something that’ll really enhance a shallow water area. A twisted mass of tree limbs and grass is perfect. Big rocks and overhanging trees are pretty good, too. Anything that breaks the sunlight and provides bass a place to hide is good.  

The combination of oxygen, cooler water and heavy cover will attract baitfish and other types of forage which, in turn, will attract bass.

I prefer natural-type bait presentations. It seems like I catch more fish with them, but I also have to say that some really good bass anglers swear by big, noisy lures. Not giving the bass any time to look things over is the way those anglers see it. Try both and do what works for you at the time. 

Find the current

Current isn’t just water running towards a dam or spillway, and it doesn’t have to be strong. It can be generated by wind, water running in from a creek or other type of inflow or by temperature differences between the shallow water in the upper end of a reservoir and the deeper, lower end. It all does pretty much the same thing — puts oxygen in the water and cools it at the same time.

Plastic jerkbaits and spinnerbaits are two of my favorite lures when I’m fishing current. They present well in moving water and they look like something a bass would eat. But, let local conditions dictate your choice of baits. There’s no one rule for fishing summertime current.

Approach the hottest water of the year like you would any other fishing situation — with a logical plan. You’ll catch ‘em. 

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website at, mikeiaconelli.com.