Looking for summertime bass in all the right places

Lynn Burkhead
Herald Democrat

Want to catch a largemouth bass of bragging sized proportions this summer?

To be truthful, such fish aren’t always as easy to find during June, July, and August as they are earlier in the spring during the shallow water bass spawn.

But as a glance at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department record book proves, the can still be caught. Especially if you’ll search in the right spots on your favorite bass water.

Where should you look? Give these key areas some consideration on your next bass fishing trip:

Shallow water – fish such locations early in the day, especially near cover, structure, or vegetation using fly rod poppers, conventional Pop Rs, or buzzbaits.

Hydrilla or aquatic vegetation stands – Fish around the edges of these beds early in the morning, then over the top of them or back in the imbedded potholes later in the day as oxygen supplies increase. Good baits include flies that get deep along with conventional tackle lures like pig-and-jig combinations, Fluke or Sluggo type baits. Texas-rigged soft-plastics and crankbaits just tickling the top of the grass will also work.

Shaded areas – Around boat docks, boathouses, or overhanging cover from oaks or other standing timber, shady spots are tough to beat during the summer months. Use topwater or suspending flies if you like using the long rod and conventional lures like spinnerbaits, tube jigs, jerkbaits, squarebill crankbaits, jig-and-pig combos, and of course, Texas-rigged soft plastics.

Deep water humps and roadbeds – Bass will often suspend over these deepwater structures during the heat of summer. One key here is to pay close attention to where you catch that first fish. Why? Because where one bass is lurking on a hump in 20-feet of water, he’s usually got plenty of other bass hanging out nearby. Use either flies on a full sinking line or conventional lures like deep diving crankbaits or Carolina-rigs with French Fries or Ring-fries. Swimbaits fished at the right depths or big flutter spoons can also work in this situation.

Creek channels – Fishing this type of structure can produce a lot of fish in the right situations. On a trip I once made with Bass Pro Tour veteran Kelly Jordon, we boated more than 30 largemouths at Lake Fork in the middle of a hot July afternoon. Mixing deep diving crankbaits and Carolina-rigs, when the bait suddenly felt heavy, it was time to hang on!

Deep water flooded timber – Sometimes, summertime bass will suspend near submerged timber. Often, while the timber will be in 20-feet of water, the bass will hold at a higher depth, say five to 10-feet below the surface of the water. You’ll need good electronics—or maybe an old school paper map—to find such gold mine spots, but when you do, you can milk them with a variety of baits including lipless crankbaits, deep diving crankbaits, swimbaits, and of course, jigs and Texas-rigged soft plastics.

On a hot-as-blazes summer trip to Lake Ray Roberts several years back with my good angling buddy Steve Hollensed, now an Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide on Lake Texoma, we clobbered Ray Bob bass on such a pattern using soft-plastic jerk baits fished through the tops of this submerged timber.

I honestly don’t remember how many bass we caught that afternoon or how much the biggest one weighed. But it was enough in both cases that I’ve never forgotten the lesson that the outing taught.

And that’s if you’re willing and able to look in the right spots, big bass can be caught, even on the hottest days of the summer.