Big and Slow Has Its Time and Place
article by Kenny CovingtonWe live in a fast paced world these days. Everything seems to go at full speed all the time and if you aren’t careful, the world will pass you by. Many times after we have spent a day on our favorite lake, we would swear there isn’t a fish to be caught. While we like to blame it on the heat of our Louisiana summers, many times it was simply a matter of not being thorough enough and fishing with confidence.
Bass are like humans when it comes to the summer doldrums. They like to be comfortable. If they get hungry, they want an easy meal. They will tolerate warmer temperatures as long as the oxygen content and food chain is prevalent. And they prefer to do both with as little effort as possible. Does this sound familiar?
The fish in our local waters are accustomed to dealing with bath tub like water temperatures. However most people who fish fail to realize just how many fish that can be caught in water less than three foot deep even in the hottest water temperatures. It has been proven the best oxygen content in the mid to late summer months can be found in this extremely shallow water.
Many people assume that for this to be possible that their favorite lake or river needs to have an abundance of grass to help provide the oxygen but this simply isn’t so. When I think of my tournament successes over the years in the hottest months of the year, they usually came from water most people wouldn’t consider fishing. Stained, clear or muddy water conditions, it doesn’t seem to matter.
Other factors to consider, while they are simply other pieces of the puzzle, can increase your catch rate. Shade on the water can be important as can be the presence of baitfish. Spawning bream is always a good sign. Bigger bass love to hang around and grab these pesky panfish for an easy meal.
Lures and techniques:
My number one lure and technique for fishing this particular situation is a Texas rigged plastic worm. Typically, I will use a bigger worm, at least 7 ½ inches or even larger, but I want a worm with either very little tail action or one with that will displace a lot of water with movement. For some reason, it is either one extreme or the other. Remember, the bass are sluggish this time of year, so you want to match your presentation to the mood of the fish. Over working your lure appears unnatural and will likely go ignored. Another key element to this technique is that I will use as small of a slip sinker as I can get away with. The slower the fall of the worm, it seems the better the results I have had. I am not particular with worm color as my first choice has always been Red shad.
Another great lure for late summer time bass fishing is the Wobblehead. I have always believed the key to this lure is its natural appearance in the water. The slower you can retrieve the wobblehead, the better thefish tend to strike it. There is a tendency to overwork this lure when all is needed is a slow steady retrieve and let the lure’s natural action do the work for you. This lure is extremely deadly in areas with shallow grass and cypress trees. The natural colored worm is pretty much the standard choice for this presentation.
My third favorite technique is throwing a slow moving topwater. My two choices are a Crazy Shad and the bigger version of the Pop R in a shad pattern. The key with both lures is strictly in the presentation. You can’t move them slow enough. Erratic movements of the lure do not seem to be as effective as a slow steady cadence or rod movements. The idea is to move the lure without moving the lure too far in the water column. With each twitch of the rod tip immediately point the rod tip back at the lure. This will move the lure naturally without the rod movement pulling the lure out of the strike zone too quickly.
In each of the aforementioned techniques, I can’t stress the importance of patience. We are dealing with fish that are at best lethargic and usually feed more at night than they do in the day time. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be caught; it simply means you are going to have to work for them a little bit.
I hope the previous information will help put more fish in your livewell this summer. Remember to be careful on our waters, and take care of yourself as well as the fishery you are enjoying. See you next month and catch one for me!