Unlocking August’s dog days

The dog days of summer for anglers are a real thing in the South, and that dreadful period is really accentuated in August.

We’re talking about those long periods when it’s very hot outside, high humidity and little if any wind. And the bass seem to be few and far between.

It’s not only tough on you if you don’t wear protection from the sun or hydrate properly, but the fishing conditions can suffer as well.

You can’t go to a lake and think, “I’m going to catch them this way” because that mindset rarely works this time of year.

Look back at some of the old Bassmaster Classics held during the dog days. One year, George Cochran won by fishing in 2 feet of water in a shallow, off-the-beaten-path bay. Another year, David Fritts won by deep cranking.

You have to be prepared for anything come August. The fish you were catching on deep structure earlier in the summer might be schooling in 2 feet or 40 feet over open water. Or, they may be up on the bank or in a shallow backwater.

Oddly enough, you may catch one with a specific technique and not be able to duplicate it the rest of the day.

That’s why you have to check all of the patterns and be willing to utilize several tools in your tacklebox to fill out your limit.

You have to be ready for it all. Bass just aren’t very dependable when we get into this crazy time of year.

Of course, finding baitfish is key but remember that any cast you make at anything could yield positive results.

It’s a time when you might find a dozen rods on my deck rigged with everything from a topwater to a football jig or a drop shot and baits to fish all water depths in between.

Although schooling bass aren’t very dependable, I’ve had good success catching bass that I saw chasing bait in deeper water. Often times the fish will suspend under bait schools because the oxygen quantity and quality isn’t as good near the bottom. So, schooling fish are always a target for me on a lake with any kind of clarity.

The message here is you really have to keep an open mind and not discount any pattern when fishing these dog days.

It’s not the best time to be on the water, but if fishing is what you love to do, you can still have success if you are willing to try a number of things.

The bass are still there and they still eat. They just make you work a little harder.