Hot water, shallow bass

Don’t believe everything you read about the big bass moving deep in the summertime. There are plenty of them to be caught shallow. And yes, I know the water’s over 80 degrees in most parts of the country. It’s just that I don’t care.

In rivers I target main river spots where there’s a current break. I don’t care much what makes it so long as the bass can get out of the current and have an ambush point. Big laydowns, rock and gravel bars and even man-made stuff will all hold the fish we want to catch.

Another good place to look in river systems is up in the headwaters of the system itself or in any major river or creek that’s flowing into it. When I say the headwaters I’m talking about going so far back that you run out of water. Don’t stop until your trolling motor is fighting mud, and even then let your boat drift on in a little ways.

If your preference is a lake or reservoir, I’d suggest you start in the back of a creek arm or a bay. In most of those places the water’s deep as you go back, then it shallows up, and then it gets deeper just before it turns into dry land.

The last of the deep water is almost always good, but so is the shallow flat just before you get to it. My theory is that bass move on those flats from two directions. Some of them come from the main lake after they’ve spawned, and some of them come from the last patch of deep water after they’ve spawned. Either way they’re up in skinny water.

Anytime I’ve said shallow water in this column that’s exactly what I mean. If it’s deep enough to cover their backs, it’s deep enough. Largemouth bass like warm water. It’s what they’re about. They don’t need the air conditioning of the 20-foot depths to make them happy. And they don’t need foot after foot of water over them to make them happy.

Regardless of where I’m fishing, I target these bass with a variety of shallow baits. I like really shallow running crankbaits. Square bills are the best option here because you’ll be casting into heavy wood most of the time. Phil Hunt makes good balsa models and ima makes a great square bill.

I also like a dark colored, Texas rigged 10-inch worm. My preference is for the ones made by Tightlines UV. I weight them with a 1/4-ounce Reins tungsten weight. My thinking here is that not very many anglers will throw a worm that big in shallow water. That gives me an opportunity to show the bass something different.

Of course, I also keep a flipping and pitching rod rigged up on my boat deck at all times. The combinations are endless. Fish with whatever you like best.

My favorite bait of all however is a Lure Parts Online buzzbait. Shallow bass, even those in less than a foot of water, will slaughter them if you bring them back just fast enough to stay on top. And I’ll tell you, there’s no better way to catch a bass than with a buzzbait in shallow water. The fight will be on top all the way to the boat.

There’s no reason to ignore shallow water just because the water’s hot. If you don’t say anything to the bass, they’ll never know they’re supposed to be out deep.