“Topwater Action!” I always image that Shakespeare was talking about an African summer when he said: “I speak of Africa, and golden joys.” – Dewald Viljoen
I always image that Shakespeare was talking about an African summer when he said: “I speak of Africa, and golden joys.” Summertime on our continent is truly a golden time and so much more so when one happens to be a bass angler!
Abank angler might be forgiven to think that the summertime exists purely to provide him with good sport, and with good reason. Firstly, most bass start to feed in accessible areas at predictable times, thereby radically increasing the success ratio of the prepared bank angler. Secondly, the long summer days provide us with much more fishing times and those more predictable fishing times now fit in nicely before and after office hours. When it comes to techniques and lures it is also a great time for you to experiment with a number of things and to build some confidence in some of the lures you may not be so familiar with. In general though, the low light and warm water conditions of the prime fishing times is perfectly suited for surface lures. Whether you like hard or soft baits, this is usually a good time to throw them! Before we talk about lures though, let’s discuss a bit of bass behaviour.
To improve your success in summer a bank angler needs a basic understanding of two key factors in nature that affects a bass during summer. These factors are light and temperature. As the long days of summer roll on, the water temperature steadily increases and a chain reaction is started that affects our slimy green friends in a number of ways. As the temperature rises, the metabolism of all the organisms in the water increases with it. This higher metabolism means that the bass starts growing and needs fuel to support this growth. Fortunately most of our indigenous tilapia and barb species also start breeding profusely around the same time, proving the bass population with an endless supply of food. Since most of these species usually nest in shallower water and relatively close to shore, it works well in favour of the stalking bank angler. Unfortunately the bright light conditions that usually go with the long summer days means that bank anglers have two relatively short windows of opportunity every day to really jump on some proper fish. It works like this: imagine you are standing outside on a bright day at noon. If you were to look at your
surroundings and take in how much detail you are seeing right then, you have a rough idea of what a bass can see at first light in the morning! Now imagine staring into the sun at noon trying to spot a bird flying around it, well that is what a bass in a clear body of water has to contend with from about 8am to 4pm! Bass have no eyelids so to get away from the sun during the day they have two options, either go find a hiding place in the shade or go sit in deeper water where the light is less intense. Unfortunately for bank anglers, warm water holds less oxygen too so most bass will rather opt for the deeper, cooler water choice, which more often than not take them out of the range of bank anglers. Because of these factors, summertime bassing for bank anglers is an early morning and late afternoon exercise. During the low light times, aggressively feeding bass are often found moving around in relatively open water, chasing down schools of bait fish. Throwing a surface lure around is often a very good and very exciting way to get active fish to react.
A prop bait
A pencil bait