Beware: it’s easy to overlook the less obvious places where bass may be holding up.
Many bass anglers think the hot days of summer drive bass to deep water hideouts. In some cases this may be true but there are several different areas on any given lake that will hold bass during the summer. Some of these locations may be more prominent or abundant on certain lakes.
These locations are not in any particular order. However, savvy summer bass anglers should check out these areas before heading for some shade.
Upper ends of creeks
On most reservoirs the upper reaches of creeks will hold bass during hot weather. Water pulled though the dam will create some current in the creek. Look for logs, stumps, rocks or anything that might break the current. Bass will hold on the down-current side of the obstacle.
Also, after a rain shower, fresh water will be draining into the creek. The rain will wash insects and other critters into the creek. And the fresh water will cool the water temperature and set the bass into a feeding mood. Use small soft-plastic lures like worms or creature baits. Small crankbaits in shad or crawfish color are also a good choice.
Grass and weedbeds along the lake shore are sure to hold bass under the summer sun. If the weeds are thick enough, they will provide shade and cover. Weeds also attract baitfish like bream and shad. Bass will hang around to feed on these summer snacks.
Look for grass or weedlines adjacent to deeper water or at the bend of a creek or river channel. The larger the weed patches the better chances of bass hiding out. Anglers can use a floating worm or spinner bait in the weeds. In more open grass areas, lipless crankbaits can be ripped through to trigger a strike.
Roads and causeways along the lakeshore are lined with lark rocks called riprap. Also, railroads and points have riprap in place to prevent erosion. These areas are sometimes overlooked by other summer bass anglers. The rocks can extend out into deeper water. Small minnows and crawfish use these rocks to hide for lurking bass.
Early morning bass chasers can give a buzzbait a try along the riprap. Fish the lure parallel to the edges. Begin casting along the shore and work your way out to deeper water. Spinner baits and crankbaits are other good lure choices for riprap bass.
Most manmade reservoirs had timber cut before impoundment, leaving plenty of stumps. Look for the stump flats in the coves and pockets off the main channel. A quick pass with a quality sonar unit will have the sumps showing on the screen. In clearwater lakes, some stumps may be visible just beneath the surface.
Square billed crankbaits are a good choice for stumps. The bait will bounce off the stump to trigger a strike and the baits are less likely to hang up. Anglers should fish all sides of the stump because a bass could be holding on either side. Soft-plastic sinking worms are another top choice for stumpy areas.
Piers and boathouses offer plenty of cover and shade for summer bass. Look for the structures that are larger and sit on a channel edge or near deep water. Isolated or single piers will also attract bass and are sometimes overlooked by other anglers.
Fish the outside edges first, targeting the corner posts. Flipping jigs and Texas-rigged worms are the lures of choice. The baits can be flipped or pitched directly to the support posts and underneath the platforms. Spinning rigs tipped with a shaky-head type jig and finesse worm can be skipped way back under the pier.
Some pier owners may have placed brush tops in front or to either side of the pier for crappie. Summer bass also like to hang around this brush. Back off from the pier and search the area with a Carolina rig or slow roll a spinner bait.
Living on the edge
Summer anglers will benefit from a good topographic lake map. They should look for channel and creek ledges. These ledges will usually drop steeply into deep water. Any cover like an old rock or stump and the bass will be nearby. Also, bass will use the channel ledges to position themselves in comfort zones.
Deep diving crankbaits in shad or crawfish colors will produce strikes from bass. Make long casts and fish the lure down the ledge toward deep water. Strikes will not usually be aggressive. Anglers will feel a mushy or some resistance during the retrieve. If the action fades, reverse your approach and fish the lure up the ledge. Spot Stickers or shaky heads rigged with a 4-inch finesse worm works well on sluggish bass.
Many bass anglers ride right under bridges and never consider bass could be hiding out. The vertical pilings can be set from shallow to deep water. Anglers should target the pilings at all depths. Small minnows will feed on the algae on the concrete or wood pilings. Also the bridge overhead offers shade to both the bass and the angler.
Drop shot rigs and jigging spoons can be fished vertically around the pilings. Allow the lure to flutter slowly down and adjacent to the piling to imitate a wounded shad. Expect the strike to occur on the downward fall. Once the lure hits the bottom, use a quick snap of the rod to pump the lure up a few feet and allow the lure to fall again slowly.
Water discharged from dams during power generation can trigger bass and other game fish into a feeding frenzy. Anglers should use caution when approaching these areas. Look for eddies for breaks in the current. Bass will hold along here to ambush baitfish. Shoreline breaks downstream of the current are also good holding spots for bass.
Anglers fishing the current can select crankbaits, in-line spinners like the Rooster Tail or jerkbaits to catch fish. Look for fish breaking the surface and cast to these areas.
Every lake has a point or two jutting out form the shore. Summer bass will position themselves along points to feed and to escape the summer sun. Water depths along points can vary, depending on the terrain of the lake bottom. Anglers can judge a point by looking at the shoreline topography and how steep or flat the bank edges are.
Deep diving crankbaits and C-rigs are good selections for catching bass along points. In early morning or late evening, give top-water baits a try.
Mouths of creeks
Looking at the lake map, anglers can locate the mouths of creeks and ditches intersecting with the main channel. Baitfish will school up in these areas. Also, any current in the river channel will position the bait and the bass near the down current breaks. Look for sudden depth changes on your sonar unit.
Lipless cranks and inline spinners are top choices for open water bass. Productive lure colors are blue back / silver and white or chartreuse respectively.