By David MacDonald Founder of Lunkerhunt
During late summer, largemouth bass can be found in both shallow and deep water. Mother Nature will play a big role in where they locate and how they are feeding. Water levels, water temperatures, and oxygen play a major factor. So if some largemouth bass go deep and some shallow, how can you find the most fish and catch them.
The real trick to finding largemouth bass in the summer is to find healthy cover.
What is cover?
Cover is a physical object that is separate from the bottom contour of the lake or reservoir you are fishing, such as
- Weed beds,
- Lily pads,
- Fallen trees, or
- Overhanging trees.
Cover can include virtually anything that’s not a part of the lake bottom that creates an ambush point or hiding place for bass.
Although cover can include many things, not all cover is created equal. Look for cover that is healthy (i.e., oxygen rich) that provides a lot of shade. Healthy vegetation will provide oxygen and so will current. Look for either or both of these oxygen creators in and around cover.
When fishing cover, look for shadows, dark holes, or rock openings—anything that provides bass with an ambush point that will also provide security and a comfortable place to hang out.
Keep in mind that bass do not have eyelids. When the sun is high and bright, they are looking to shade themselves from the sun.
If you find cover or a mix of different types of cover holding forage such as crawfish, bluegill, shad or frogs you are in the right place. Match your presentation to what you are seeing and you should start catching fish in no time.
Forage and presentation tips
Crawfish: Flipping Jigs, Flipping Tubes, Creature baits (weighted and unweighted depending on the depth of the cover), and crankbaits
Blue Gill and Shad: Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and swim jigs. Flipping heavy weed beds using bluegill colors can also represent small Blue Gill darting through cover. The key is to match your patterns to the baitfish you are mimicking.
Frogs: Your frog choice should match the conditions you are fishing. For sparse cover or cover with openings, I really like to fish Lunker Frogs and Popping Frogs. When bass are active, you can make long casts with the Lunker Frog using frequent pauses during your retrieve. When fishing a Popping Frog, cast to cover areas that you think are holding bass and work the Popping frog with quick twitches on slack line so it hangs in the strike zone longer and calls fish in.
Fishing cover is a great way to catch largemouth bass as well as most other freshwater predators. If you are looking to consistently catch bass, take a close look at the cover you are fishing after you catch a fish. Pay attention to the little details in and around the cover you are fishing, and make note of:
- Where the fish were located.
- The depth.
- Whether there is current or forage.
- The structure make up beneath the cover. Is it a rocky bottom or sandy bottom?
Using the information in this blog post, you can try to replicate your success by finding and fishing similar conditions in other parts of the lake. You may have put together a pattern and unlocked some of the best fishing the season has to offer. If you catch a bass off of a premium piece of cover make sure to revisit it at different times of the day or on future outings. The biggest, most dominant bass in the area will often take control of a prime piece of cover.