Summer has arrived. In the fish’s underwater world, lots of things are going on. All these things affect what the fish do and affect the ways that we can catch them. Consider some of the following ideas for catching more fish in the summer.
You may have heard of the “Dogdays” of summer and how fish don’t eat during the dogdays. Although fishing changes in the summer and fish habits also change, the fish still must eat. In fact, they eat more often in the summer months. This is good news for anglers. Fish that eat more often can be easier to catch if you do just a couple of things.
We hear it a lot as anglers, but we hear it a lot because it’s such an important consideration. It’s the most basic concept of fishing. If you want to catch fish, you need to put your bait where the fish are. The newest boat, rods, reels, and lures will be of no help if you don’t put your lure where the fish live.
Some fish will be in deep water, some will be shallow, and some will be at mid-depths. At times, the deep fish will be the biters, at other times the fish in the other depth ranges will be most likely to bite. Anglers will need to spend some time working the various depths to determine which fish are most willing to bite. Often the shallow fish bite best early and late in the day, deeper fish might be a better target at mid-day. Weather conditions and cloud cover can change everything.
If the fish are schooled tightly, which they often will be in the deeper water, a slow presentation will be most productive. It’s hard to beat a live bait rig with either a leech or crawler wiggling right on the fish’s nose.
At other times, especially when the fish are spread out, a faster moving bait will be best. If walleyes are the quarry, Lucky Shad or Hornet crankbaits will enable an angler to cover water quickly and effectively. Walleye tournament Angler of the Year Drake Herd is consistently a threat to win a contest, and in the summer, a crankbait will often be found on his line.
For largemouth bass, a crankbait worked along the weedline, or over deeper structure will be good, and a jig rigged with an Ocho plastic worm will almost always take some fish.
A live bait rig is a traditional favorite for smallmouth bass in the summer and the fall, and rigs continue to be effective for smallmouth. However, smallmouth bass enthusiasts have learned that drop shot rigs catch smallmouth just as well as live bait rigs, and drop shot rigs offer several advantages over live bait rigs. Drop shot rigs are tipped with plastic, so there’s no live bait to care for. Additionally, plastic baits come in lots of colors, shape, and sizes. Live bait doesn’t offer that variable.
Modern electronics do an excellent job of showing where the fish are. Pay attention to your electronics. If they show fish, fish for them. If you’re not seeing fish, try somewhere else.
The summer months can provide some of the best fishing of the year. When the opportunity to go fishing presents itself, get out there. You’ll find that the “Dogdays” of summer can provide some outstanding fishing.
– Bob Jensen of fishingthemidwest.com