Written by Andrew Schadegg
Today is the 1st day of August, which typically is the sweatiest, stickiest part of the summer. This time of year most of us will spend lots of time outside, go on family vacations at the lake, party with friends and for all too many anglers...miserably long days scorching in the sun and NOT catching fish.
In the heat of the summer, staying cool can be tough and finding finicky summertime fish can be even tougher. Here are a few ways to keep you going on the water, when the weather is at its hottest.
1. BURN THE MIDNIGHT OIL
The easiest answer to the question "How do I beat the heat in the summer?" is pick the coolest parts of the day to get on the water. It's not rocket science, but it makes sense, right? Spend the majority of your time fishing early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the temperature is more bearable. Not only is this going to cut down on the misery of withering in the hot sun, but it typically is going to be when the fish are most active.
When water temps start getting up in the high 70's and 80's, bass are constantly going to be searching for shade and the coolest temps they can find. They're just like us! You don't like to mow your lawn when the sun is high and it's 100 degrees out. In the same way, bass don't want to run around when it's super hot either. They will typically feed up and be most active during those cooler times. Another great time to fish in the summer is at night. If you haven't tried it, it can be some of the best fishing you'll ever experience. Try a black buzzbait or a big, black jig and be ready for a ton of fun!
2. WEAR PROTECTION
If you're like most anglers, the first option is not gonna be good enough. After working all week, you want to squeeze every second of the day on the water that you can. Before you even think about techniques for figuring out the fish, you need to think about taking care of your body and mind when the temperature starts to sizzle.
This starts with what you wear and in the last few years there are a ton of great options for sun protective clothing on the market. Many clothing brands have full-lines of UV shirts that block the harmful rays of the sun and work to actually wick moisture away from your body, keeping you cooler. Not only shirts, but sun gloves, hats and a good buff that you can keep around your neck and up over your face, are all essential to making sure you don't get overheated and that you stay protected. Don't forget a quality, high SPF sunscreen and continue to reapply throughout the day.
3. GET YOUR DRINK ON
If you're planning to do some hardcore fishing this summer, then leave the beer on the dock and load up your cooler with some good hydration. We've all been there, you get focused on fishing and forget to eat, drink or do anything except pitching that jig under those tree limbs or throwing that frog over the lily pads. You have to make a conscious effort to stop and drink. You sweat and burn a ton of energy while fishing, so drinking a lot of water is super important. In addition to water, make sure to have something that replenishes electrolytes. Pedialyte (like they give to kids) is excellent for this! Also things like coconut water and Gatorade work as well. Seriously though, avoid those sugary drinks and alcohol. Both of those can lead to dehydration.
4. PLENTY OF HOT ACTION
Alright, now for the fishing. If you're taking care of your body while on the water, you're already way ahead of the game towards catching fish in the summertime. When the sun gets high and the fishing gets tough, remember a couple of things that will help you get more bites.
First, find the shade. Bass are gonna migrate to docks, weed canopies, overhanging trees or anywhere they can shield themselves from the harsh rays.
Second, slow down! Capt. Mike Gerry of Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service says one of the things he notices the most in his guide clients is they fish too fast:
"There is just no question that in the heat of the summertime, the slower you present your bait, the better the bite becomes. It's hard to do, but as the sun gets higher, you have to mentally tell yourself to slow way down. Drag, shake or let your bait sit on the bottom will increase your bite opportunities a whole bunch. You can do it, if you really set your mind to it."
Focus on the shade and cool parts of the day, protect your body, stay hydrated and slow your bait way down and you'll fill up your boat a lot faster this summer when it's hot and the fishing gets tough.