Many anglers tend to avoid the sweltering summer heat as spending a day on the water in blazing temperatures can often be miserable. Enduring the summer heat is hard enough, but there’s also the dilemma of figuring out where the fish are during hot weather.
There are a few key points that all bass anglers need to know when it comes to fishing in hot weather if you want to catch fish during the hottest months of the year. In this article, we’ll cover some of the best tips for hot-weather fishing success.
Tips for finding the fish
Most species of fish will move toward deeper water when the outside temperature climbs well above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Bass tend to move away from shallow cover once the water temperatures start to hit the 80-degree mark and will begin traveling deeper in the lake.
They will always gravitate toward any type of cover around 20 feet below the water surface, so look for deep cover like brush piles, standing timber, stumps or any other kind of natural structure that will protect them from being out in the open.
Bass are much like humans when it comes to how they react to extreme heat or cold temperatures. It’s common for people to seek cooler areas in the shade and be much less active, especially during the hottest times of the day. You can expect bass to behave in a very similar fashion as they typically search for deep cover where there are shadows and structure they can hide under.
The best type of lures to use during hot weather are ones that are capable of reaching deeper waters in the lakes you’re fishing in. By using your fish finder, you should be able to pinpoint certain areas where there is deep structure and depth changes or ledges where bass like to hang out and avoid the sun.
In many cases, you’ll have a better chance of getting a bite with a lure that stays in the lower portion of the water column than one that goes straight to the bottom. Once you get about 10 feet below the surface, the water temperature drops quite a bit. At around 20 feet deep, you’ll feel a drastic difference and this is often the coolest part of the lake.
Any type of tackle that’s especially heavy will be your best choice when it comes to fishing in deep water. This includes any type of weighted rigs, heavy spinnerbaits, Texas and Carolina rigs, large or small jig, deep-diving crankbaits and other kinds of baits.
Locate the water current
Have you ever noticed how fast-moving mountain streams and rivers are always much cooler than low-lying lakes or slow-moving rivers? This is because moving water takes longer to heat up since it’s not sitting still. Bass will very often seek out the fastest part of the water current in any lake or reservoir because it provides them with a number of benefits.
Fish will always feel cooler when sitting in the water current—much like humans enjoy standing in front of a fan when the weather outside is hot. The current also brings with it more oxygen, which means the fish in this area will be more lively and active.
In addition to providing relief from hot temperatures, the current also expands the menu for many bass since it carries with it a number of different creatures and prey that bass like to feed on.
When fishing in the current, try using a crawfish imitation lure, flat-sided crankbaits or lipless cranks, jigs, or jerkbaits. Virtually any type of lure will work when fished in fast-moving current, but these are lures that mimic certain prey that bass often expects to see in the current and might produce a strike or bite from hungry bass.
Speed up your retrieve
When the weather heats up, bass become extremely lethargic and will often suspend at or near the bottom for the majority of the day. They will not be as inclined to chase down their prey as they would during the cooler months of fall or spring. Bass will be most active in the early morning or in the evening before dusk.
Most of the bites you do get during those tough summer months when the water temperatures are high will be reaction bites. A reaction bite is simply when a bass bites a lure out of sheer instinct because it comes very close within striking distance. If you’ve ever gotten a bite as soon as your lure hit the water, you’ve experienced a reaction bite.
The solution to maximizing your efforts is to increase the cast rate and try to cover an area with a high number of casts instead of slowly working the lure through the water or across the bottom. This high-speed strategy works exceptionally well in the early morning hours when fish will feel be more likely to feed.
Some good baits to use for quick casts with speedy retrieves are buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, weightless flukes, jigs, and lightweight Texas rigs or shaky heads. Instead of making your normal cast, you should try to pitch or flip these into the water near cover and quickly pull them out to make another throw.
Fish in the shade
As we’ve already noted, bass are a lot like humans when it comes to how they react to heat and sunlight. They often seek out any type of shade they can find, especially during the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest.
Bass often stick very close to fallen trees or logs and other types of structure as a means to have shade from the sun. It’s very rare that bass will be sitting out in shallow, open water during the heat of the day, so focus your efforts around shaded areas.
If you’re fishing in a lake with deep standing timber, be sure to pay attention to the angle at which the sun is hitting the trees and which direction the trees’ shadows will be cast. By fishing on this side of the trees, you’ll have a much better chance to catch some bass in the middle of the day.
Fish in the dark
The best overall tip you can get for fishing in the summer when the weather is extremely hot is to fish at night. Fishing in the dark eliminates much of the issues that cause bass to be lethargic and go into hiding.
You can take advantage of the nighttime hours and fish them just like you would during the daytime, but remember to use darker-colored lures as fish will rely on their sense of feel instead of sight during the night.
Fish will very often feed in shallow water or at the surface during the night. You can take advantage of the cool night air and lower water temperatures throughout the entire summer with great success. Anglers like to use topwater lures at night to catch monster bass.
When it comes to summer fishing when the water is well above 80 degrees, you’ll need to use every tip and trick you can in order to have the best chance to catch any bass. Anglers should pay special attention to the weather during this time of year because the time just before an oncoming storm can be very productive.
Another important thing to keep in mind for summer bass fishing is to get creative. This is a good time to try some new rigs and strategies that you have never used. Many anglers find that using things like a wacky rig or strange topwater lures like mice or snakes can be surprisingly productive in the hours just after dawn or right at dusk.
Final word on Hot weather bass fishing tips
Don’t let the hot, sunny weather of the summer season force you to stay inside when you want to catch fish. If you get out on the water and try these techniques and strategies, you’ll find that it is possible to catch fish during the summer.
Remember, fish have to eat to survive, so it’s just a matter of being on the water at the right time with the right presentation. Be sure to brave the heat with the right gear and use plenty of sunscreens, but most of all, have fun!