Fishing the “Dog Days” of Summer
ell even if we wanted it or not, the “Dog Days” of summer are fully upon us. With temperatures starting out in the mid to high 80s in the morning and zooming up to and beyond the 100s by mid-day it’s time to fish early and leave early. Does that mean that we should stop fishing? Heck No! Some great fish are caught this time of year but like always you have to know where to go and what to fish to entice the bite.
I am sure you are savvy enough to know once the sun breaks the horizon and that temperature start its daily climb it is time to also change baits and begin working deeper structure. Sure the early morning bite on top water is great but when that sun pops the fish drops, and if you want to catch them you have to drop with them. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule and yes I have caught bass with the sun high on top waters but these are exactly what they are…exceptions!
Okay, you want to discuss exceptions? Never pass up a tree or bush along a deep shoreline that provides good egress for the bass to get down into deeper water. That tree or bush provides shade so the bass will stay there longer than they will on open un-shaded water. So as you are working down a deep shoreline and you come across a trees or bush giving shade, pop that top water back in there and you may just get a wonderful surprise just like I did at our July tournament on Lake Buchanan. It took big fish for the tourney. Another exception is a huge boulder that is sitting in shallow water. That boulder also provides shade and the old bass will just snuggle up to it and stay there until the sun gets higher and takes all the shade away with the same principle as the bush. You want to throw past the boulder and bring it back into the shade. Let it sit and twitch it just to make it slightly move and hold on because she may be coming.
Okay, now back to the rule! Sun is getting high and all the shade appears to be gone, now what. Well you have to be able to visualize the structure you are reading on your depth finder and be able to understand that Mrs. Bass is going to move around that structure as the sun gets higher and higher. What is the shady side? That’s the side you want to bounce your crankbait off of or pull your plastic by on the shady side. She will be waiting in the shade to ambush whatever swims by. The shade also help provide her with cover and concealment and helps provide a perfect ambush point. Remember the bright sun also affects the bass’s vision and they cannot see as well when the sun is beating down upon them so naturally they are going to find a shady place that they can use and see well from. Smallmouth bass are an exception to this rule. They can see just as well in clear sunny water as they can in shade. Smallmouth also are wonderers and they keep on the move until they find forage and they will get after it until it’s gone then move on again.
Now what to use? Well, in the early morning darker colors seem to work best for me. Green Pumpkin, Black, and Purple, have worked well early. As the sun gets higher you need to change to more translucent colors like Watermelon Seed and Watermelon Red. Also you want to use your depth finder more in the full sun so you can better identify what is down there that is going to provide the bass what they are looking for…shade.
A lot of folks say the water temperature in the dog days makes it very hard to catch a bass because it’s just too hot; not necessarily so. If you understand cold-blooded animals, which a bass is, the warmer the water the higher their metabolism. The higher the metabolism the more they have to eat to sustain that metabolism.
That’s why early in the morning you will see a lot of schooling bass feeding feverishly on shad on the top of the water. They understand that soon the sun’s going to get higher and their metabolism is going to start burning more calories so they have got to eat fast, then take a good long nap in the shade of something. Yes, the big boys will do the same thing so never pass up schooling bass on top in the early morning. The thing you have got to remember is that those schoolers are generally those that spawned in the spring and will be only 11-13 ½” long so if your tourney fishing they will be fun to catch, but will also waste your time. Do larger bass follow the schoolers? Yes, but you have got to get to them. They are generally deeper in the water column and are there not to eat the schoolers but the shad that the schooler injured and is floating down through the water column. That’s when to use a deeper diver and work it like an injured shad. Short quick jerks once it reaches the running depth is what has produced for me.
Well, I hope this help you better understand how to cope with the “Dog Days” of summer and still put quality fish in the boat. If you have any questions and or comments please send them to Hook_up66@Yahoo.com and I promise I’ll get your questions answered. So now get out there and defeat those “Dog Days” by having a great day on the water. Let me see the pictures of those bass you catch using one of these methods. Now go catch a big’un!