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The summer days that are here with some intensity signal what are called the “dog days of summer.” Fishing becomes a bit more challenging as the heat builds up, because the water temperature is also on the rise, forcing most of the fish to seek out cooler water.
For some fish, like walleye and perch, that means diving into deep water; for bass it can mean either plunging into deep water or burying themselves in the weeds that provide a canopy of shade and cooler water.
Fish are very sensitive to changes in their environment, so “cooler” is a relative thing. A temperature difference of just a couple of degrees makes a great deal of difference to the fish’s comfort level and their eating habits. For most fishermen, reaching deep water is hard from shore. But there are techniques for fishermen who want to catch bass in the shallow water they can reach.
Fishing the local area lakes during these “dog days” can be fun, with some really big fish accessible to those looking in the right places.
Bass are going to locate on the shady side of downed trees, in the shade under docks or on the shaded side of break walls. They will be looking to ambush their meals, so a good lure choice would be a 4-inch plastic worm hooked in the middle; it will float down into the strike zone. The other possible location for bass is under the heaviest weed cover.
The best strategy is to look for holes in the weed cover and cast floating frog baits past the opening, then work them back through the hole. Another possibility is to try a 1/2- to 3/4-oz. jig with a large plastic creature hooked on – a crawfish, for instance, or similar-looking plastic bait. Using something large makes it possible to penetrate the cover and get the bait down to where the fish are.
When fishing the weeds, it is essential to upgrade the line to 20-lb. test or a braided line to get those fish out of the weeds once they are hooked.
Now is the time to get out there, enjoy the summer weather and put a few big fish on those resumés. Until next time…keep a tight line.