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Three Patterns for Summer Bass Fishing Success

If you want to catch bass in the sweltering summer heat, these three patterns can help you locate and catch fish even in the middle of the day.

The go to times to fish in the summer have always been really early and really late. Basically, don’t fish if the sun is up. The problem with this logic is it is more about human comfort than piscatorial science.
Fish can and often will eat at many times during the day. The trick is locating the hungry ones and then the pattern or bait they are willing to chew on.

Building a pattern during the summer heat depends on the location of the fish in the lake related to structure (points, ledges, grass et al) as well as their location in the water column. Once you’ve found some fish on your electronics determine if the bass are near the surface, suspended, or on the bottom. The location will determine how to pattern them and suggest what baits the fish might eat.

Summer Bass Pattern 1: Bass Near the Surface

Bass near the surface in the summer are usually there to feed. You will likely see blowups where bass are ambushing baitfish. For these fish my go to bait is a walking style pencil or cigar shaped bait. The walking motion imitates a wounded fish and can be fished at many different speeds. If the bass are in a chase mode, a fast walk the dog approach usually gets bitten. If the blowups are less frequent, slow the presentation down to a couple of twitches and then a three or four second pause. Water clarity also has a lot to do with speed and color selection. In clear water a slower presentation in a natural baitfish color usually works well. In stained water, faster retrieves work well to gain the attention of hungry bass and I prefer a white or bone colored bait.
Surface Bait Recommendations
Heddon One Knocker Spook in Bone Color
Lucky Craft Gunfish 117 in Ghost Minnow Color

Summer Bass Pattern 2: Suspended Bass

Suspended bass are easy to find with electronics because they don’t look like anything other than fish stuck between the surface and the bottom. No deciphering needed. You know what they are. The harder question is how do you catch them?
Often these bass are hanging out in the middle of the water column either relating to baitfish or the thermocline. A thermocline is the transition layer between the warmer mixed water at the surface and the cooler deep water below. The thermocline also offers a better oxygen saturation level for fish during the hot summer months.
If you don’t see baitfish around the bass you are marking, chances are, they aren’t in an active feeding pattern. Don’t give up though. Often anglers will say you have to fire up a school of fish and this is the perfect time to try. Because of the suspended location, I recommend a bait that you can fish fast, slow, and at differing depths to get them going. Long casting and burning a tail spinner or yo-yo fishing (like vertical jigging) a blade bait with exaggerated rips upward can achieve this.
If the fish are feeding or are fired up, make a long cast across the school and burn it back quickly with a pause every three or four cranks. Make sure to keep a good grip on the rod at all times.

Suspended Bait Recommendations
6th Sense Gyro Tail Spinner in Ghost Spanish Pearl Color

SPRO Carbon Blade TG Tungsten Blade Bait in Chrome

Summer Bass Pattern 3: Bottom Dweller Bass

In the summer bass will often lay on the bottom waiting for something to swim by that will be a good meal. On your electronics this will look like turtles sitting on a log. Black bass (largemouth, smallmouth) won’t stack on top of each other like crappie. They will be one after another on your graph on the bottom. These fish are typically more lethargic and won’t go far to chase a bait so it’s necessary to get down to them.
A tried and true way of doing this is throwing a boot tailed swimbait on a heavy jig head and slow rolling it back to you. Long casts and waiting until your line goes all the way slack before reeling is key. You want to make sure the bait is right along the bottom and stays there.
If you are a power fishing styled angler and want to fish faster, tie on a deep diving crankbait and go pound the bottom of the lake with it. Remember to pair your crankbait depth to the water depth plus a couple of feet. For example, if the fish are sitting on the bottom in 18 feet of water, you’ll want a crankbait that can get to 20 feet.
Bottom Dweller Bait Recommendations
Basstrix Paddle Tail Swimbait 5″ Shad Spawn

Blade Runner Spintrix Underspin Jig Head 1oz in Grey Shad

River2Sea Tactical Bassin’ DD Crankbait DD Minnow

Final Thoughts on Summer Bass Patterns

Fishing in the summer can be very rewarding if you know how to locate and entice bass. One of these three patterns should work and if not, pack it in and head to the nearest ice cream shop.