A Sim­ple Strat­egy for Big Sum­mer Bass

SA Bass - - Contents - >> Bruce Cooke

“Big Bass Burnouts” Of­ten in life, when it comes to strat­egy, the same rule ap­plies to ev­ery­thing; whether play­ing a game of rugby or fish­ing for big bass. That rule is sim­ply known by the acro­nym K.I.S.S, or Keep It Sim­ple Stupid – Bruce Cooke

Of­ten in life, when it comes to strat­egy, the same rule ap­plies to ev­ery­thing; whether play­ing a game of rugby or fish­ing for big bass. That rule is sim­ply known by the acro­nym K.I.S.S, or Keep It Sim­ple Stupid.

Whilst we all hope we’re not stupid it’s the for­mer part of the acro­nym we must ap­ply to our fish­ing strat­egy by look­ing at the sim­ple things that make us tick and ap­ply­ing the same prin­ci­pals to our fish­ing tech­nique.

As the sum­mer months ap­proach we all start im­prov­ing our catches as it’s not only us who love a hot sum­mer’s day. Be­fore the peak of sum­mer ar­rives it may seem like bass can’t stay of your hook and they will eat al­most any­thing you throw at them. Some­times, when the re­ally hot sum­mer days set in, you start to doubt your­self and won­der where all the bass have gone. The truth is they are all still there but you may have to change your strat­egy and pre­sen­ta­tion to get their at­ten­tion. Once you’ve fig­ured out what the bass are do­ing you can catch them on even the hottest of days. Though we may all dif­fer in bi­o­log­i­cal make-up most crea­tures un­der the sun will seek out a bit of shade on a swel­ter­ing day. It’s ap­ply­ing this strat­egy to your fish­ing that may up your game; and as sim­ple as it sounds ob­vi­ously there is more at play than just a burn­ing sun.

Top­wa­ter lures can be ef­fec­tive on th­ese re­ally hot and still days. Sum­mer­time brings life to an aquatic ecosys­tem and its sur­round­ing grass and wet­lands. Fish, frogs, small mam­mals and in­sects all in­crease ac­tiv­ity as the days heat up and breed­ing cy­cles com­mence. On th­ese days we of­ten er­ro­neously as­sume bass move out into deeper wa­ter where it may be cooler though this is not al­ways the case. Top­wa­ter lures fished slowly in the shal­lows more of­ten than not get the at­ten­tion of the big­ger fish out for an easy meal. Like hu­mans and mam­mals, fish love a shady spot on a hot day. Bass will also use the dark­ness of this shade and their nat­u­ral cam­ou­flage to lie in am­bush for un­sus­pect­ing prey, and whilst their sum­mer me­tab­o­lism is nat­u­rally on a high the rule of ‘big­ger is bet­ter’ still ap­plies. This is not to say that bass won’t hit a smaller lure but I like to go a bit big­ger as I be­lieve even fish’s eyes are too big for their stom­achs’ and the tempt of ex­pend­ing less en­ergy on more food is one they can’t re­sist. Big top-wa­ter lures like the su­per spook or the 5.0 Stut­terStep are the way to go in th­ese in­stances.

Al­ways tar­get the shaded side of the struc­ture first but don’t ig­nore the op­po­site as long as you’re fish­ing tight to cover. As the day pro­gresses tar­get re­ally thick weed and veg­e­ta­tion as this al­ways makes a nice haven for lazy bass. Al­ter­nate to flip­ping or pitch­ing heavy, Texas rigged crea­ture baits or weed-less jigs into the thick­est of cover. This type of an­gling is not for the faint of heart and re­quires some stout tackle. Braid of a min­i­mum 40lb break­ing strain is es­sen­tial for its weed cut­ting abil­ity and hors­ing big fish from deep cover. Crea­ture baits and large weed-less skirted jigs bulk out in the wa­ter, pre­sent­ing a larger meal, and heavy bul­lets or jigs are needed to pen­e­trate the cover.

“I be­lieve even fish’s eyes are too big for their stom­ach” Al­ways tar­get the shaded side of the struc­ture first

An­other hot sum­mer’s day tech­nique is the use of noisy, large pres­ence baits. If you’re bat­tling to get any ac­tion on top-wa­ter and heavy pitch­ing into thick cover is not pro­duc­tive then the likes of a spin­ner­bait or a larger square­bill crankbait is the way for­ward. Big bladed spin­ner­baits or rat­tling square bills might raise a re­ac­tion bite out of a lazy fish. Too many an­glers give up on th­ese baits when after twenty casts they haven’t raised a strike. It may be the twenty first cast, or the fifti­eth that proves the un­do­ing of a big fish, as hap­pened re­cently when at the eleventh hour on fi­nal day of a com­pe­ti­tion I caught nu­mer­ous bass, one over five kilo­grams, by per­sist­ing with a square bill. The day was hot, the wa­ter was dirty and the fish­ing had gen­er­ally been dif­fi­cult. By fol­low­ing this strat­egy, mov­ing into the shal­lows and fish­ing tight cover, nu­mer­ous fish, in­clud­ing the ‘big un’ were ‘per­suaded’ to come on board re­sult­ing in a last minute in­di­vid­ual ag­gre­gate ‘win’.

Warm wa­ter tem­per­a­tures make fish feed more ag­gres­sively be­cause their me­tab­o­lism speeds up. On the hottest days, be­cause we’re all in­her­ently lazy, bass will of­ten feed more ac­tively at night dur­ing and you’ll find that early morn­ings and last light be­come pro­duc­tive. Dur­ing the wee and late hours open wa­ter be­tween cover and struc­ture is the area to tar­get, I be­lieve be­cause the sun casts longer shad­ows and prey be­comes eas­ier to pin­point. This com­bined with cooler tem­per­a­tures is ideal for us­ing your favourite search bait; plug­ging away at the gul­lies be­tween shore and anthill or weed bank.

To sum up I think the key to bust­ing big bass on scorch­ing days is to fish the ob­vi­ous bait hold­ing chan­nels be­tween struc­ture at sunup and sun­set. Dur­ing the day fish the ar­eas where bass can lie up in am­bush in the shade. Th­ese ar­eas are not al­ways deep off­shore ar­eas but of­ten the shal­low shore­line struc­tures and banks of thick veg­e­ta­tion. I can’t re­mem­ber the times I’ve heard of, and ex­pe­ri­enced, a sit­u­a­tion where the shade side of a sin­gle tree in the mid­dle of nowhere, in five feet of wa­ter, has pro­duced a tro­phy bass. It is also im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that the hot­ter the day and wa­ter tem­per­a­ture the more lazy a bass can be­come. It of­ten takes a slow pre­sen­ta­tion of your bait, or mul­ti­ple casts at a par­tic­u­lar struc­ture to trig­ger that strike! Good luck and tight lines.

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