Fishing in Warm Weather
Welcome to the hottest time of the year, or as many like to refer to it – the dog days of summer. During this time of year, days are often characterized as hot, muggy, and often downright miserable. At times, it can be hard to convince even the most avid of outdoorsmen and women to spend time in the blistering, summer heat.
Fishing during this time of year is often looked at as a challenge. In fact, there’s many anglers that give things a break for a bit – and that’s understandable as conditions aren’t exactly ideal. That being said, there’s a number of things that anglers can do to catch fish during this timeframe.
Where to Find Them
During the heat of summer, water temperatures are at the highest they’ll be all season. In some areas, it’s not uncommon to find water temperatures beyond the 85-degree mark. As humans, we often seek out some sort of relief when it’s warm out. Fish are really no different.
Look for areas that have some sort of shelter, like vegetation, brush, or docks. These areas offer shade and as a result, cooler water. For example, largemouth bass are known to utilize docks, boat lifts, or other manmade structures to find some relief on a hot day. Many panfish species rely on thick vegetation to provide cover and dull the effects of the warm, summer sun.
In addition to relying on cover, many fish species move to deeper water during the warmest points of the year. Deeper water is less impacted and as a result, stays cooler throughout the warm summer months. The common assumption is that fish move to deepest areas in search of reprieve, which can certainly be correct in some situations. However, there’s plenty of examples of fish using the upper portions of these deeper areas as well.
Beyond find the right locales, fishing during the right time of day can be particularly important during the warm weather months. When the weather is hot, fish are generally more active during the mornings and evening as temperatures are cooler. Taking advantage of these key windows will result in more fish.
How to Catch Them
Techniques for catching fish during the warmer months come in a wide range. In general, these options are often relevant for specific species in specific situations. Regardless of your target, it’s important to stay versatile.
During the hottest time of year, fish can be found across a variety of locations. Thick vegetation, submerged wood, rock piles and deep-water basins are all equal opportunity employers for summertime fish. Perhaps the most versatile techniques for tracking down fish during this timeframe are horizontal in nature – ex. swimbaits, crankbaits, etc.
Cast and retrieval methods are hard to top no matter the season, but the ability to cover water quickly can make all the difference during the summer months. Jig and paddletail combinations, like the Eurotackle 2” B-Vibe and Soft Lock Tungsten Jig Head, are hard to top. The versatility of this category of lure makes it a top choice no matter the season. They can be fished deep, shallow, or anywhere in between. They can be fished as fast or slow as an angler would like. A quick change in jig head size or retrieval speed gives anglers the ability to cover nearly any scenario.
In situations involving vegetation, these lures can be fished over the tops of weeds or rigged in a weedless fashion to infiltrate the thicker cover. For anglers targeting fish roaming over open water basins, there’s arguably no better choice than a jig and paddletail combination.
While jig and paddletail options are great options for most scenarios, there are some lure options that perform well in very specific scenarios. Enter the crankbait. Most crankbait options are developed for use is specific situations under specific circumstances and in the right scenario, there’s no better tool. For example, look at Caperlan’s WXM CRKDD 60. This crankbait features a small profile but is designed to reach depths of up to 10 feet. Additionally, at 3/8 oz it has the ability to be casted long distances. A lure in this category is perfect for targeting bass in deep water.
As mentioned previously, several fish species make the move to deeper water during the summer months to take advantage of cooler water. In many bodies of water, fish, like crappies and bass, call deep cover and structure home throughout this timeframe. In these scenarios, vertical presentations will typically outperform horizontal ones.
One of the more common areas utilized by summer panfish relates to submerged wood, like cribs or brush piles. Whether man-made or natural, these cover types are truly panfish magnets during this period. Without a doubt, vertical jigging is one of the best presentations for catching fish in these situations. It gives anglers the ability to control exactly where there lure is at any given time. This is particularly important to avoid snagging on the submerged wood. On the business end, plastics, like Eurotackle’s 2” Fat Assassin, are hard the beat. This bait was tailormade for these situations – as the slightest twitch works the tail of the plastic.
Other scenarios call for more apt presentations. Take deep rock and gravel, for example. These areas are ideal locations for finding largemouth and smallmouth bass during the heat of the summer. While certain horizontal presentations work for these areas, a vertical presentation, like a drop shot, can be downright deadly. When set up properly, and paired with the right plastic, a drop shot is arguably the best choice for these scenarios. The technique allows anglers to present their choice of plastic to slightly suspended fish, while still maintaining contact with the bottom. Ideal plastic choices for drop shot presentations have the ability to move freely with little manipulation. Good options include Eurotackle’s 3.5” Fat Assassin or the all-new Hellgrammitte (especially for finicky fish).
Fishing during the summer months can be a challenge. As the heat of summer rages on, many fish species make the move to cooler water. Find the right areas, fish at the right times, and rely on the right presentations for the situation. The proper combination of these aspects will lead to success even when the conditions aren’t right.