Once the excitement of the annual spawn tapers off, catching bass in the summer months can be somewhat challenging. Bass will be looking to recover from the intensity of the spawn and are usually a bit more laid back compared to the aggressive behavior they showed in the spring.
Bass will usually make their way into deeper water and take cover in or around certain types of structure as the sun and the heat begin to raise the water temperature. There are a few tactics you can use to draw them out of cover during this time, but selecting the best bass lures for summer can be a mystery for some anglers.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the lures that are ideal for summer and explain the best ways to use these lures to target bass in deep cover.
Best summer lures for bass by category
Rapala just released its newest crankbait lineup last year and it includes the new OG Slim 6. The bait is designed by legendary bass angler Ott DeFoe and the “OG” stands for Ott’s Garage, where the angler commonly works on and designs his own custom lures.
This lure is made of balsa wood, which offers a much more subtle action in the water that’s much more lifelike compared to a plastic lure. The lure’s overall design is unlike any other crankbait due to the shape of the body, as well as the thickness of the diving lip. This lip helps give the lure its distinct, tight wobbling action. The line also ties to the nose of the lure instead of the lip, which helps give the OG Slim 6 a more lifelike action in the water.
Kevin Van Dam is one of the most famous bass anglers in the sport and he’s best known for his affinity for crankbaits. Strike King worked with Van Dam to develop it’s KVD 2.5, which is easily one of the best crankbaits for summertime bass fishing. This lure is equipped with a short, square-bill lip and doesn’t feature the rattle that most other crankbaits do.
This crankbait will entice fish to bite due to its erratic movement as it’s being retrieved. Unlike other crankbaits, the KVD 2.5 will dart and duck in a way that looks much more natural than swimming in a straight line. It’s a shallow-running crankbait that is made to be used near cover as it can pull bass out from the shadows to chase this lure down.
Swim jigs and tubes
Jigs have probably caught more bass than any other type of lure and can be fished very effectively in the summer months.
The Z-Man CrossEyeZ Snakehead is a uniquely-designed lure that is made to work its way through thick vegetation and cover without getting snagged. The lure can be used with a heavier rod and wide variety of trailers and color options to let you specifically target bass under lily pads, docks, or downed trees in the water.
It features a heavier wire than most other swim jigs, which is better for using braided line to pull the bait through thick cover where summer bass like to hide. This one is great for pitching or steady retrieval.
The Z-Man Jackhammer StealthBlade is considered to be a variation of the swim jig, but features a distinct blade that many anglers consider to be a true gamechanger. Most professional bass anglers refer to this lure as a ‘chatterbait’ as it can be fished with a steady retrieve, or in the same way you might normally work a swim jig around heavy cover.
Senkos, worms, craws and soft baits
Soft baits rank just behind jigs as the most successful bass lures of all times. Here is our list of the best soft plastic lures to use to catch bass in the when the sun is shining and the sunglasses are on.
Bass will usually retreat to the deeper water in most lakes to escape the sweltering sunlight and heat. In most cases, they will suspend or find some type of cover in the summer, but they can still be caught if you employ the use of a Zoom Super Fluke with a weighted hook. This weighted presentation helps the lure reach depths of at least 15 or 20 feet and will produce bites on days when fish are picky and not willing to chase after lures.
The Yamamoto Senko Bait is one of the most versatile kind of plastic worm you’ll find. It can be used with a medium rod in a Texas or Carolina rig presentation, but summertime calls for the fabled wacky rig. Any angler should have a stock of these in their tackle arsenal and they are extremely productive when used near structure or cover where bass will hold up during the heat of summer. This one is great for when you need to entice bass out of their hiding spot.
Bass will eat almost anything during the summer, including crawfish and any other creature they find in their habitat. The Googan Baits Bandito Bug is specially designed to allow anglers to fish the lure in a wide variety of presentations. This is one of our favorite crawfish type lures when it comes to pitching or skipping around thick cover or even docks.
Fishing topwater baits is our favourite form of bass fishing. Who doesn’t like a slashing surface strike leading to a solid hookup and a nice bass on the bank? Here are our top picks for topwater summer fishing.
The Megabass PopX is an excellent lightweight popper that is widely considered one of the best summer bass lures. These lures are best used with a lighter rod at dawn and dusk when there isn’t so much light on the water. What separates these lures from every other popper design is the flow-through gill, which let’s water pass through small ‘gill’ slits on the lure. This creates more small bubbles and makes the water around the lure appear to be much more natural than any other popper.
Molix Lover Buzz SS Mini
Buzzbaits are easily one of the most exciting lures to use during the summer, but they can sometimes be too big for adequately fishing around cover or edges of structure. The Molix Lover Buzz SS Mini is a small, compact buzzbait model that allows you to cast with greater precision and accuracy near weeds and vegetation. This one is great for using in shallow water as bass can’t resist striking at what seems like an easy meal.
Topwater frogs are among the most productive lures for summertime bass. The SPRO Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin Frog is easily one of the most natural-looking of any other frog model on the market today. This frog is perfect for working over thick vegetation and weeds to draw bass out from behind heavy cover.
Jerkbaits and swimbaits
Paddle tail swimbaits are among the best lures to use when bass are actively feeding during the summer. The Strike King Shadalicious is one of the most versatile of these types of swimbaits as you can rig it with a weighted presentation, or weightless for certain depth ranges.
The Rapala X-Rap is one of the few jerkbait that’s capable of suspending without floating upward during your retrieve. This allows you to fish the lure as slowly as you want, which is perfect for targeting sluggish summer bass that might be holding close to structure or weeds. This is an excellent lure to fish across points and throw in areas where bass normally chase after shad throughout the summer months.
Summer bass fishing tips
In this section we break down which factors impact the bass during summer and how your should tailor your approach.
Time of day
When it comes to catching summer bass, morning is often the best time of day as it presents you with the opportunity to take advantage of low-light situations. Bass will also use these lighting conditions to hunt and find food, which means they are usually most active in the early morning until the sun is up. Temperatures will also be cooler during this time.
Contrary to popular belief, you can still catch bass in the middle of the day during the summer. The heat and higher water temperatures will often drive them down into deeper water, but this simply means you’ll need to use a lure that’s capable of reaching them. Deep diving crankbaits are good, but you can usually toss worms and other plastics with a heavy enough weight to target bass in deep water.
As the sun begins to set, dusk can be another very productive time for bass fishing. Most fish will begin to be more active during this time, so you can take advantage of their instinctive drive to feed by using topwater lures. Buzzbaits, popper, frogs, and other topwater lures are usually best at dusk and will catch fish on into the night.
Temperature has more to do with the bite of summer bass than almost anything else. When fishing on warmer days, you’re most likely going to have to draw bass out from cover or target them in deeper water. A plastic worm or other deep water lure is usually best to target bass on warm days.
If you have a brief period of cooler weather during the summer, you can bet that bass will usually be more active. Just like any other creature, bass will feel more comfortable when the water temperature isn’t so hot and will often feed throughout the day on cooler, overcast days.
Stage of season
Early summer (May to June)
Right after the spawn, bass will be looking to replenish their energy and gear up for hot weather. You might have to target them with a slower-moving lure during this time as they are usually not willing to expend much energy chasing after their prey. You can usually find largemouths in offshore areas or a location that features some kind of structure.
Mid summer (July to August)
This is typically the hottest time of the year (don’t forget an insulated drink bottle) and you should expect largemouths to take refuge in the depths of any lake or river system. Any areas of the lake that feature deep-water cover or structure such as standing timber, brush piles, or rocks present ideal habitats for bass during this time of year.
Late summer (August to September)
Bass will usually be feeding more actively during the brief cool weather periods that might move through during late summer. While there still might be very hot periods in August or September, you can expect bass to be holding close to deep cover like stumps, timber, and other areas of the lake that will attract bait fish.
Final thoughts on bass fishing lures for summer
Bass fishing in the summer might appear to be tough, but it’s important to remember that fish have to eat in order to survive. If you use the right lures and presentations at the right time, you can usually have great success catching bass during the summer months.