The dog days of summer are here and it’s hot out! With these hot temperatures naturally comes warmer water temps, which is one of the number one things to affect fish and how the behave. Numerous things affect bass behavior, but water temperature affects the metabolism and how active/ inactive they will be. This is why times of year like the spring are notorious for great fishing. During the winter they fish slow down due to cold water, then fire back up as it warms in the Spring. Right now you have the opposite affect going on. Summer has the water very warm, as of late around 85-87 degrees, which also slows the bass down. Once Fall arrives the fishing will fire back up again since the water will cool again.
So what does this mean for bass fishing and how to target them? Fish Deep! Bass will move offshore or away from the bank to find cooler water further down in the water column. Lately I have been finding a lot of fish in that 20-40 foot depth range. Points, bluff walls, and offshore structure such as rock piles or brush piles can be especially good. During this time of year I rely a lot on my fish finders to help me locate these offshore schools of bass.
Once you have found some fish, or pulled up on your favorite spot, there are a couple baits I recommend you have tied on. A Carolina rig, a drop shot, a deep crankbait, and a heavy Texas rig are all essentials this time of year. When I find fish out deep I pay attention to how they are positioned on the fish finder to help me decide what bait to throw. If they are higher up off the bottom, the deep crank can work well to get the school fired up. Do not expect to get bit on your first cast by any means. These offshore fish tend to be lethargic and it can sometimes take a lot of work to get them fired up and chewing. Once you catch one, get back in there quick with a follow up cast as you can often trigger a feeding frenzy. These feeding windows are often short lived, so don’t waste time taking selfies, measuring the fish, or Face Timing your fishing buddies, get back to fishing!
If the bass you are targeting are not getting fired up with the fast moving bait, slow down. A slow dragging presentation with the Carolina rig or subtle twitches with the drop shot can be very enticing to a bass. Small movements, long pauses, and constant bottom contact are key. A trick worm in Green Pumpkin or Red Bug is an excellent soft plastic to throw this time of year. It is subtler moving, as they don’t have lots of appendages flapping around. For the Texas rig I recommend a senko rigged on a small tungsten bullet weight. Go with as light of a weight as you can and still feel the bottom. The slow fall of the bait can often get you bit.
Early in the mornings there is still a marina bite to be had. If you are out there early either fishing from your boat, or at your marina getting ready for a fun lake weekend, have a rod at the ready rigged up with a small 3” swimbait… smaller the better. Lately I have found more success downsizing my swimbait selection to mimic the little Threadfin shad the bass have been feeding on. Keitech is typically my favorite brand, but any small paddle tail swimbait in a shad color will work. The key to getting bit though is a well-placed cast. If you see fishing jumping you need to be quick and accurate. Cast right on top of them when they are boiling on the surface. If you are too slow they will go back down deep and never see your swimbait. If you are not seeing fish busting on bait, get your casts close to structure such as the sides of docks or behind boats. Look for places you could imagine a bass concealing themselves in preparation to ambush a baitfish.
While the bite this time of year can be a little more hit or miss, if you put in the work you can still have some very rewarding days on the water!
Fall is just around the corner and I am already starting to get bookings that far out! Historically some of the biggest bags I have caught on Lake Travis have been in the fall, so don’t be afraid to book in advance if you don’t have a flexible schedule and want a certain date! Check me out online at www.torwicksguidingservice.com