Summer Bass Fishing Tactics
After having such a great day of fishing yesterday, I thought I would share some tactics that I used to have such success on a hot summer day. While I attribute much of my good day to the moon phase yesterday, there were also some things to figure out for me to get all those fish on the line. I mentioned that I caught four different types of fish (largemouth, smallmouth, trout, and walleye), and surprisingly the same tactics worked for all but the smallmouth.
Knowing that it has been very hot and dry here in Colorado for well over a week and that the water level is pretty low at Chatfield Reservoir, I wanted to target the deeper pools in the lake that were left by gravel mining from years ago. The best areas are on the southwestern portion of the lake, but because the water level has dropped so much this year, the normal place that I put my canoe in has been cut off from the main part of the lake, so my only option for the canoe was to put in near the Plum Creek inlet, which was OK since there is a large gravel pit not far from there.
Using my topographic map of the lake bottom I identified the area I wanted to target, and without having sonar on my canoe, I had to do a lot of searching to find the gravel pit. Most of the lake in that area is fairly shallow, less than 15 feet, and pretty flat, so I paddled to where I thought the pit would be, dropping my anchor over and over again until I found it; my anchor went from falling 10 feet to dropping over 40 feet.
Once I found the deeper depression in the lake, I wanted to explore what the bottom surface consisted of, and to do this I used a heavy, weedless jig on a bait casting rod with heavy line. In a situation like that I expected to get hang-ups, in fact I was looking for them. I hopped the jig slowly along the bottom, one hop at a time letting the line go slack between each hop, and I paid attention for contact with submerged trees, stumps, rocks, and vegetation. After several casts and maneuvering around in my canoe, I had a good idea of what lay beneath the surface, and I even caught my first two fish of the day in the process.
Both of those fish were caught in about 20 feet of water, so I chose a deep-diving crank bait in a tiger pattern that resembled a small perch, a shad pattern crank bait, and a suspending count-down Rapala silver minnow. According to my map this gravel pit was about 80 yards long by 30 yards wide, and I spent the rest of the day fishing along the 20’ depth of that depression, and it turned out to be a fabulous day of fishing. What seemed to be important was the depth I was fishing, not so much the lure; I only changed lure patterns three times after a certain pattern seemed to stop working, I can’t explain why that was.
One important thing to note from the day was that the shady side of the gravel pit was more productive than the side that received more sun. I don’t know if that would always be true as the side that receives more sunlight will have more vegetation, and therefore hold more bait fish. But yesterday the fish were holding on the shady side, maybe because it has been so hot lately. It’s also important to remember that the visible outline of the lure body is a critical factor in catching fish; a dark bodied lure will present a stronger profile from a fish’s point of view when the water is clear and bright.
I hope these tips will help you catch more fish, let me know if you take my advice and have some success. Tight lines!