Written by Andrew Schadegg
Summer is here! Time for flip flops, shorts and bikinis, jet-skiers that run too close to your boat and long, hot, sunny days. It also means bass are going to be in one of three places – shade, current or deep. If the deep fish are your target during those dog days of summer, a crankbait will quickly become your best friend.
Depending on the body of water you’re fishing, the bass will tend to sit either in the mid-depth 10-15 foot range or the deeper 15-20 foot range. For the mid-depth bass, you’re typically looking to find the first break line off the bank from shallow water. This first ledge will almost always hold a population of bass year-round, but they will really school up there when the water temp starts climbing up past 70 degrees.
Use the Right Crankbait
When the bass are lethargic in the summertime, they tend to only move around when they see an easy meal or when something comes over them erratically that instigates a reaction. The former is more of a slow, worm or jig approach (also very effective in the summer), but the latter is what crankbaits are built for.
When choosing a crankbait, make sure you pick one that is the right diving depth. For all crankbaits, you want to make sure it is maintaining contact with the bottom for as much of the cast as possible. The Livingston Lures Divemaster 14 (included in the June LTB Box) is a perfect option for that 8-14 foot range, but there are many brands that have a mid-diving crankbait that will get down to that depth. Bounce it off of rocks, stumps or other structure to really trigger those fish to bite.
FLW Tour pro, David Dudley says that sound is key as well, “When I’m cranking those breaks or ledges, I want to make sure that I have every advantage possible. What I like about the Livingston Divemaster 14, is that it not only has great action and deflects cover well, but it also has the [EBS] baitfish sound technology that adds that extra attraction. It brings the natural to the unnatural.”
Target the Right Areas
A lake may have hundreds of miles of shoreline with ledges and break lines in the depth range that you’re looking for. However, only about 10 percent of those ledges will be holding fish. So it’s extremely important to eliminate dead water and only target those high percentage areas. If you own a boat, good electronics can be really helpful, but if you don’t have all the latest technology there are some things you can look for that will help you determine a good area to start in.
“It’s really not as complicated as some make it seem,” explains Dudley. “If there is a cove, a point and an inlet on the shore, most of the time there is a cove, a point and an inlet underwater as well. Target those areas.”
Start shallow and work your way out, making sure to maintain that bottom contact. If you start to lose contact with the bottom, switch to a deeper crankbait until you find the fish. Once you have an area that is holding fish, many times you can make the same cast over and over again, catching multiple off of one spot.
Summer fishing can be difficult and slow at times, but with the right crankbait in the right area you can put a lot of fish in the boat in a big hurry.