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Fishing with Kenny: Shallow Bass in Summer Heat

By Meagan Russell
In Fishing with Kenny
Jul 29th, 2019
0 Comments
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article by Kenny Covington

In fishing circles I am known as a mudder. Regardless of the time of year I try to find and fish for shallow water bass. My logic has always been no matter the lake or water clarity there is always fish to be caught in shallow water. Even in the dead August heat of the summer, in the shallowest of water, bass once they are located, can be caught.


In our region it isn’t unusual for water temperatures to get into the high 90’s, but the thing to remember is that fish are products of their environment. Extreme water temperatures doesn’t bother the bass and other game fish because they are used to it. Another thing to point out is that in the hottest parts of summer the oxygen content is usually much better in extremely shallow water than it is out in the deeper depths.


The three keys to fishing shallow bass in extremely warm water are: baitfish, available cover, and lure selection. All three play a major role and are equal in the total equation. Bass are opportunistic in their feeding habits and tend to feed when they can get full without exerting a lot of energy. They love shade, comfort and an easy meal.


The first thing I will look for is an area that has signs of baitfish. Schools of shad that move along the surface are easily noticeable but also I try to find signs of small bream holding along any wood or grass cover. Both bream and shad as well as crawfish are easy prey and are usually in abundance in two foot of water or less. As we mentioned before the oxygen content is better in these shallower areas so the food chain follows suit.


Now that I have identified our food sources, what types or areas and cover are available for the bass to use? If grass is the main cover source that can be your best area. Grass fish are usually easier to pattern and will be dependable throughout the rest of the year. You will have to pay attention to the subtle areas in the grass where you get your bites because in a big grass flat they will congregate in smaller areas. Also pay extra attention to the type of grass or combination of grass where a fish was caught.


Wood cover is always good but I have found that logs are bass magnets, especially when fishing a river or bayou type of water system. Logs, even in extremely shallow water offer a bass everything he needs to survive. He can hide right beside the main truck, he can suspend underneath it if possible or they can relate to the ends of logs, especially if they lay in deeper water. To a bass that is used to living in and around a log in a foot of water, the end of a log that is found in two foot of water is considered a deep sanctuary and a bass will relate to it just as they would a drop off in a regular lake.


One thing to always remember when fishing shallow in the heat of the summer is that you can never fish too shallow. If you have an abundance of baitfish and cover, don’t believe the water isn’t deep enough or is too shallow. I have caught fish so shallow when they struck my lure the water would muddy up from their movements. The more off color the water you are fishing the shallower the fish tend to be.


Lure selection and presentation is the last part of the equation and can be the trickiest element. Hot water bass can be picky so the size, shape and color of your lures is important. One of the rules I have always followed is to use smaller spinnerbaits, crankbaits, soft plastics, and topwaters this time of year. The larger versions still catch fish but I have more luck by scaling down. The fish are finicky and don’t want to exert much energy so smaller lures and casting accuracy is critical to late summer success.


For a spinnerbait, my first choice is a 1/8th ounce single willow leaf version. Usually the shad are small and I want to mimic what the bass are feeding on. My second choice would be a ¼ ounce double willow leaf version. Even in muddiest of water both lures will catch fish. I don’t get too picky on color as I usually stay with chartreuse/white.


My crankbait is almost always a smaller squarebill. The 1.0 or 1.5 versions tend to work better because I am trying to keep my bait as close to the size of the baitfish the bass are feeding on. I think color is really a matter of personal choice but chartreuse/black is probably the best all round color for our area fisheries. This time of year is an excellent time to use the crappie style of crankbait such as a Norman Tiny N. These small crankbaits are deadly!


When choosing a soft plastic I have found, day in and day out, a Zoom Baby Brush Hog is hard to beat. A watermelon/red with the tails dyed in chartreuse is arguably the best choice when targeting hot water shallow bass. The brush hog is a perfect imitation of the bream that the bass feed on and may be the best choice for targeting bigger fish. Make sure when flipping/pitching to make sure you lure lands as close to the target as possible. The less effort it takes for a bass to strike the better your odds will be of getting a strike.


No fishermen’s day would be complete without throwing a topwater and this time of year is no exception. A small ¼ ounce buzzbait would be my first choice. Color doesn’t matter as long as it is black or white. This lure will allow you to cover water and pin point the areas that hold concentrations of fish. Once these areas are found then you can slow down and work through them more thoroughly.


Well, it looks like we have run out of space once again. I sure hope we have been able to give you some information that will put more bass in your boat and make your next fishing trip more enjoyable. Remember to use a lot of sunscreen and drink a lot of water every time you are on the water and don’t forget to catch one for me.