If it weren’t for the tenacious nature and wide-spread availability of bass, I wouldn’t be an angler. Actually, most of us wouldn’t have ever picked up a rod in the first place if there wasn’t a local bass pond to cut our teeth on.
No fish is chased as fiercely as bass, both largemouth and smallmouth, but things get a little tough during the dog days of summer. Before you give up and try picking up golf instead (ughh), use these tips from the experts to hook up all season long.
Pop It And Lock It
Start early in the morning to get the chance at a big bass on topwater before the day heats up. Photo: Joe Rotter
“Start early and start with poppers. Get your butt out of bed and get on the lake before the sun hits the water and once the sun is up, focus on the north and eastern shorelines to take advantage of the subtle shade offered on those banks.
For the retrieve, start with a pop, pop and lock pattern. Give them a chance to eat when it stops and make sure the cast hits with a tight leader, as the fish can actually see it land much of the time, so it can't sloppy.”
–Joe Rotter, Head Guide and Partner at Red’s Fly Shop
Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
Experimenting with fly choice will help you discover the pattern bass want. Photo: Jesika Elizabeth
“If I had one tip for bass fishing right now it would be to try different flies–don't just stick with one or two patterns. I tie on up to 10 different flies within a couple hours.
If you cast a fly and get no action, don't hesitate to tie on something different! I might feel like a certain fly looks perfect and majestic, but bass eat some weird stuff. Try lots of flies and you'll eventually find the golden ticket!”
–Jesika Elizabeth, Postfly Ambassador, Texas
Don’t Go Home, Go Big
Don't be afraid to throw something too big, bass will eat it all. Photo: Juan Veruete
“Go with big flies when chasing river or creek bass, three to five inches long. Big bass in moving water are hard-wired to get the maximum calories for any effort that they put forth to feed. Sure, they will feed on small targets given the opportunity, but they will attack a bigger target with enthusiasm, because they know the effort will pay off.
Be sure to have a selection of larger flies that will cover the entire water column from top to bottom. River bass are notorious for being laser-focused on feeding in a specific level of the water column depending on time of day, water conditions, weather conditions and the availability of forage.”
–Juan Veruete, Guide/Owner at Kayak Fish PA
Find Them Deep
Postfly Ambassador Jonny Barbuto likes to find deeper water once the sun is up. Photo: Jonny Barbuto
“These days here the weather has been wicked hot for us. Right now we are looking in 12 to 20 ft of water as the fish are moving deeper now that we are getting into summer. I'm using electronics to scan and looking for ledges and areas where there seems to be a little current or windy points. I'm using 10 - 12 test leader and 6 ips (inches per second) sink tip line on a 6 to 9wt rod to reach those depths.
I live by the articulated crawdad in olive or brown this time of year, but anything with weight, like a big streamer, is money so you can feel around on bottom. I'll cast and count my line down and by the time it's reached I start a realllllllly slow strip, almost like a sweep motion lifting my rod tip up as I go and they usually hit it on the rise. Occasionally you'll have a nice big catfish take it and then you're in for a ride!”
–Jonny Barbuto, Postfly Ambassador, Tennessee
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