When the weather warms up, so does the bass fishing. The arrival of sunshine and heat means that bass starts out in search of food!
With my guide and summer bass fishing tips, you’ll be in a prime position to take advantage.
Today, I will share some great secrets for bass fishing success and even answer a few questions that I commonly get asked.
Let’s jump right in!
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Table of Contents
- 18 Great Summer Bass Tips & Tactics
- Use Big Baits
- Swimbaits are the Key
- Be an Early Bird (or Late)
- Changes in the Weather
- Back to School
- Look for Shelves
- Go for Shadows
- Changing Ground
- Rockin’ the Bass
- Our Friend Kermit
- Heavy Cover
- Careful in Clearwater
- Fewer Hooks is Better
- Consider Night Fishing for Bass in Summer
- Consider the Moon
- Tread Lightly
- Summertime Bass Fishing FAQ
18 Great Summer Bass Tips & Tactics
Use Big Baits
After spending all winter burning fat, big bass are getting ready to spawn. What nicer way to ‘get in the mood’ than a nice big dinner first?
At the start of the summer, bass tend to be a little lower on energy, so you’ve got to make that expenditure worthwhile.
Make them an offer that’s too good to refuse. A big swimbait pulled lazily through the water makes a tempting treat. Give it the occasional stop and start to imitate a wounded fish, and the bass will be powerless to resist!
Furthermore, by using big swimbaits, you appeal only to the larger bass capable of guzzling down such a mouthful. To get the lowdown on swimbaits as well as other lures, check out this great guide.
Swimbaits are the Key
When the bass are getting going, so is everything else. Pike, Perch, Trout, and all other species begin to spawn. As a result, the water will be awash with a whole manner of smaller fish during the summer.
Your key to success?
Make sure you’ve got a swimbait out there amongst it.
Bass will be less wary as your lure will look very similar to what they expect to see anyway.
This is more of a general tip. While it works during summer, it is effective all year round.
I always say, to catch a fish, you’ve got to think like a fish. Knowing the area, you are fishing is 90% of the battle. Take some time, possibly early in summer, to really get to know the water you are fishing.
Where are the drop-offs? Where do bass tend to congregate at different times of the day? What is on the lake bed?
Knowing the answer to all these questions will pay off throughout the summer.
Be an Early Bird (or Late)
You’ve got something that the bass haven’t…
There are few species of fish that like being sat in bright sunlight for extended periods. Especially bass. Big bass don’t get big by sitting out in the open. Clear water and bright days will have them running for cover.
This is possibly one of my best summertime bass fishing tips…
Go fishing when it is guaranteed to be less bright. The ideal times are very early in the morning at dawn or late in the evening towards dusk. You’ll tend to find that the water is much more ‘alive’ during these times. It is nearly always calmer, too, so you can see what is going on on the water.
Changes in the Weather
I’ve had days where the water began to boil with fish as soon as a cloud crossed in front of the sun.
Use any change in weather to your advantage. Going from bright to dim conditions can work, and also the other way as bass use the change in visibility to demolish shoals caught out in the open.
Another change in the weather that acts like a light switch for bass feeding in the summer is when it stops (or starts) raining. You’ll often get a golden 5 minutes on either side where your hook really needs to be in the water.
Back to School
Bass aren’t naturally solitary.
Where you find the little ones, you’ll also find the big ones. If you’ve caught a few smaller bass, keep going! Bigger bass tend to be far less wary when they are surrounded by company, so there’s every chance you might just hook into something sizeable.
Look for Shelves
Remember I talked about reconnaissance? Well, if you’ve done your homework, now is the time to take advantage.
Bass love nothing more than hiding in deep water while also having the ability to make a quick dart into the shallows to annihilate their prey.
Shelves where the water depth changes rapidly are prime spots for catching big bass. This is especially true in summer as the deeper water tends to be relatively cool too.
Go for Shadows
Just because the sun is high overhead in summer doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to catch bass! Even at midday!
The bass don’t just hunker down. Instead, they behave as anybody does in bright sunshine. They seek shade. If it has warmed up and the feeding has stopped, cast to some of the following locations, and you might just be surprised with what is lurking underneath…
- Big Lilypad’s
- Overhanging banks
- Understructures like jetties or piers
- Under your own boat
Most predatory fish love a feature or two…
Yes, this includes bass.
While you might think ‘features’ are only things like structure or weeds, you might need to reconsider. Any change in the topography underwater can be enough to hold fish. If you know of rocky areas and change to shale, mud, or shingle, cast out and see!
One of the best areas on my local lake is at the crossover, from mud to grass. The bass can be seen regularly patrolling along ‘the line’. Normally my hook stops them.
Rockin’ the Bass
Summertime bass are cunning predators that love to wait behind rocks in an ambush. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
If you can see any rocks above the surface or are aware of rocks beneath the water, this makes for an ideal mark to cast and try and catch bass.
For rocks above the surface, try and cast as close as possible without going over the top. Be sure to let your swimbait stop and ‘rest’ for a while nearby. You can even use the current to get as close as possible to a big rock.
Our Friend Kermit
There’s a species that you’ll only ever find in the summer when fishing for bass.
I’m talking about frogs.
From late spring onwards, the bass have been conditioned that anything green and swimming makes for a great meal.
Be sure to acquire a few frog lures to take full advantage of the abundance of this natural summer food source. Here are some more of my best bass lures.
Bass are never less wary than when they are tucked up under really heavy cover. They will eat practically anything provided they feel safe with a roof over their heads.
Try casting a heavy lure out or punching your bait through dense foliage. You will need to beef up your tackle to deal with the inevitability of hooking this cover.
I’d recommend going with a really strong braid. It will be less likely to break and can work really well to cut through stubborn weeds and plants.
Careful in Clearwater
While bass are warier in high visibility conditions, they can still be caught if you play your cards right. Here are my top 3 tips to avoiding spooking bass in clear water in summer:
- Go smaller. By putting something tiny and more realistic on, you are less likely to set a wary bass’s nerves on edge.
- Go Lighter. You will need to go lighter, especially on your line. Thinner diameters are often the way forward. Consider using fluorocarbon, too, as it is less visible in the water.
- Go Slower. The bass won’t thank you if you come charging at them with your lure. Be slow and methodical. Remember, they can see further in summertime conditions, so you don’t need to work that lure for all its worth to encourage a take.
Fewer Hooks is Better
One of the key reasons why bass are more active in summer is that more plant life is blooming below the surface.
Do you know what that says to me?
While you might miss the occasional hookup, you’ll catch more in the long run by using fewer hooks on your lures.
Nobody has ever caught a bass while their lure is anchored to the bottom under a ton of weed.
Consider Night Fishing for Bass in Summer
If the summer sun just isn’t working out for you, I can suggest a time when it definitely isn’t a problem.
Bass are just as active during the night as they are during the day. They have excellent eyesight and are also very sensitive to vibration, meaning they could still find your lure, even in darkness. For more on bass fishing at night, check out this awesome guide.
Consider the Moon
If you ever speak to a saltwater fisherman, he’ll tell you how much the moon influences catch rate. Most predators are driven by moon activity, and bass are no different. You don’t need to be an amateur astronomer. Provided you’ve got a good fishing app, you’ll be able to time it perfectly during the summer.
But when to go?
Go fishing for bass 4 days before and after the full moon, or a few days on either side of a new moon, and you should see great success.
If you are fishing at night, you want to ensure that the bass can find their target. Any lure that creates a lot of vibration, or noise, is going to yield results.
I tend to opt for a lure with a bead or rattle over anything visual.
Oh, and before I forget…
When bass fishing at night during the summer, make sure not to start your retrieve too early. Cast high and try and get that ‘plop’ on the water. Then, wait a few seconds before retrieving. To bass, this is as good as a dinner bell.
If you want to see what lures, I use at night, be sure to check this guide out.
Last but not least, be stealthy. Especially if you are fishing around dawn or dusk. As I said before, bass are super sensitive to vibration. Yes, this does include you stomping about.
Summertime Bass Fishing FAQ
Still, got questions? Hey, don’t sweat it… Here’s what folks ask me all the time:
What is the best bait for bass in the summer?
For me, I’d say my all-time favorite summer bass bait has to be crankbaits. In the summertime, bass can get super territorial and aggressive. They love nothing more than to tear into any fish that gets too close.
Alternatively, my go-to option has to be topwater frogs. Want to see how fun they can be? Check out this video… (notice they are fishing over cover too!)
What is the best time to go bass fishing in the summer?
If you have struggled to catch a bass in the summer, you need to change your game plan. I’ve found the most effective times to catch bass when the weather is warm are during the early morning and the hour just before the sunsets.
There is still enough light to see their prey, but the water hasn’t got so warm as to make the bass feel sluggish.
What colors do bass like in the summer?
Alright, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
My go-to color in summer is always chartreuse. For some reason, summertime bass seems to love anything that is bright green. Here’s another handy rule of thumb I use to devastating effect for summer fishing:
- Dark day, dark lure.
- Bright day, bright lure.
What pound test should I use for bass fishing?
I tend to go for 10lb as a bare minimum breaking strain for bass fishing. This is thin enough to cause me no issues with casting or spooking fish, but that extra few lbs gives me just enough pulling power to handle something bigger.
How do you get stubborn bass?
I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for when the bass are being picky:
- Try different retrieve speeds. Mix it up!
- Go shady. If in doubt, bass is always around shaded areas.
- Go smaller, not bigger, on your lures if bites are slow. A spring bass lure might work where summer lures don’t.
- Take a break. Sometimes the bass just aren’t hungry. Give it half an hour before trying again.
Summer bass fishing is about as good as it gets. I love it! Now you are armed with the best summer bass fishing tips, there should be nothing stopping you.
Before you go, why not check out my guide to the best rod and reel combos for bass fishing? Have you got any summer bass fishing secrets to share? Why not let me know in the comments below?