For summer bass anglers, the rule of thumb tends to be “fish deep.” Like many rules, however, there are exceptions, and summer bass anglers can still find trophy bass in shallow waters during the hot season. When should you go against the grain and move towards the shore in the summer, though?
Sometimes the shoreline is the only game in town. When the lakes in your neck of the woods are popular, and everyone on the water is offshore, it can get real crowded real quick. Heck, sometimes the ideal holes are so crowded, it seems like you have to take a number just to get a few minutes in. It’s times like these where you can either spend your time waiting, searching for another “ideal” deep spot, or throw caution to the wind and move shallow with a topwater lure like a buzzbait. With everyone else fishing deep, these shallow fish aren’t getting hit too hard, so the gamble can pay off.
Keep a Handful of Lures On-Hand
I’ve found that the best way to target non-conforming, shallow, Summer bass is to arm myself with a five-lure setup that covers various levels of bass behavior. Often times, these fish are looking to feed on shad, so that’s what I try to imitate. To do this, I always keep a soft swimbait on-hand, like a Berkley Havoc Grass Pig, which is especially effective in shallow water vegetation. I also like to have a few topwater lures, like a Zara Spook and a buzzbait. If I’m feeling bold, I’ll tie on a square-bill crankbait, like a Mann’s 1-Minus crankbait. Finally, when the fish want something slower, I’ll fish docks and submerged timber with a Texas-rigged plastic, such as Berkley Pit Boss.
Most people tend to think that, in the Summer, you only fish shallow in the morning or in the evening. However, the shallow bite can last all day. Moving towards the shore when deep water structure beckons isn’t everyone’s first choice, but you’d be surprised at the rewards that may be hiding near the shore.