Summer bass are scattered, true. And yes, as the water temperature rises toward the
80's hot weather fishing can get tough, but not for the reasons you might think. The bass
are still there and if you can find them you can catch them. Some bass will remain
shallow or very close to shallow water, others retreat to deeper water structure.
Where you'll likely find summer bass.
* Shallow grass and other vegetation
* Deep structure and deep is relative
* Suspended over structure
First of all, largemouth bass don't stop feeding when it's hot. They feed continuously and
they feed well. The difficulty anglers have catching bass when hot weather fishing, the so
called "dog days of summer", is not a consequence of largemouth not feeding.
Bass function very well at temperatures between 55° and 85°. The water temperature at
which a bass most efficiently digests its food is between 75° and 85°. Obviously bass
are in a comfort zone in what we might consider "warm" or even "hot" water.
Think about that. Clearly there is a wide range of temperature and habitat within which
largemouth can live, which includes feeding. Not doing so is not in the cards for summer
bass. Where they choose to reside and feed is the real "summer puzzle" the angler must
solve when hot weather fishing.
Secondly, all bass do not, in fact, move to deep water for the summer. Especially with
natural lakes where there is ample aquatic vegetation. The popular notion that they do so
to avoid the summer heat is simply untrue. Quite simply largemouth bass like heat. At
least until it reaches the area of 97° or 98° where it can be fatal. And remember, deep is
always relative to the structural characteristics of a given body of water.
The body temperature of a largemouth bass in summer is "up" like that of the water. So
too is its metabolism which in turn causes increased energy levels and active feeding to
match or exceed its racing metabolism. In summer, the bass enjoys high energy which
supports fast, powerful swimming needed to catch prey. Now is the time to eat!!!!!
If food is shallow, that is where some summer bass will be. Look for them in and around
aquatic grasses, coontails, lily pads and duckweed as that will be where there is shade
(to hide in for ambush, not necessarily to avoid the sun) and/or a higher level of oxygen
saturation. They will primarily be there because that's where the crawfish, frogs, baitfish
and bluegill will also be. They can also be found under docks, stumps and laydowns.
If the largemouth's primary food source are baitfish like gizzard shad or threadfin shad,
they may very well venture into deeper water to feed. This is a common pattern in man
made reservoirs where aquatic plants are scarce. The preferred water temperature of
most baitfish is much cooler than that of their nemesis, "old bucketmouth". So if the latter
wants to eat them he/she will find it necessary to forgo the "perfect temperature" and
pursue this prey into deeper water.
Lastly, a largemouth will indeed seek out that magic "preferred temperature" range of
86° to 89°, where all is good and their metabolism functions most efficiently. Often it is
found in shallow water. However, even though temperature may be just right, the oxygen
saturation level and/or availability of food may not be. Thus,largemouth bass must often
leave the comfort of home to feed or find more thoroughly oxygenated water which may in
fact be cooler than the "perfect" water temperature they desire.
So make the sacrifice to get out in the heat and you will likely increase the number of fish
you catch. Locate the baitfish, establish a good pattern, and the hard work in the heat will
pay off. If all else fails, look in my nighttime fishing techniques for some cooling fishing
http://www.bassfishingandcatching.com/summer-bass.html Permission by BassBum1