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Summertime Bass Behavior

As the summer sun blankets the water and turns up the heat, the underwater world transforms, and largemouth and smallmouth bass behavior takes center stage. Understanding their preferences in the summertime heat is imperative in unlocking the mysteries of their whereabouts. Bass preferred water temperature range typically spans from 65°F to 85°F. When the water hits around 80°F, bass will seek deeper sanctuaries. However, in fertile lakes, low oxygen levels in the depths can thwart this migration, forcing bass to linger in the shallows, making them more alert and, at times, challenging to catch. In addition, increased fishing pressure in the summer can make largemouth bass more wary, necessitating stealthy approaches and thoughtful presentation for success. Mastering the art of summer bass fishing requires tapping into a ninja-like mindset, blending awareness, stealth, insight, and the patience needed for a precise and focused approach.

Summer Hideouts: Targeting the Lurkin’ Largemouth

Much like a ninja finding refuge in the shadows, largemouth bass gravitate to specific summertime hideouts. During this season, bass will stick to shallow waters, especially in low-light conditions. Areas boasting submerged vegetation, lily pads, docks, fallen trees, and rocky structures become their homes. Abundant food sources such as minnows, shad, sunfish, suckers, yellow perch, frogs, crayfish, and others are readily available in the shallows. Come summer, bass feed heavily but have shorter feeding periods, especially if the cover is dense or if the water is murky. The prime time for bassin’ is at dawn, dusk, and night, when big bass venture out of heavy cover to prowl flats, enticing them to the surface, eager for an easy meal. Summer emerges as the most stable and predictable time to catch bass.

During the peak summer season, bass establish their preferred habitats for the entire season. Weedbeds in lakes and reservoirs become critical areas for bass activity. These locations harbor baitfish, which thrive among the weeds, feeding on zooplankton while utilizing the weeds for protection from predators. There are three areas or kinds of vegetation that bass will gravitate to – along deep weed edges, mid-depth weeds on flats, and dense shallow weeds. As the sun ascends during the day, largemouth tend to transition to mid-depths, prompting a shift to mid-depth lures. During midday, bass often gather in deeper structures and cover. Structures like submerged brush piles or drop-offs become prime targets. Adjust your retrieval speeds to discover the rhythm that triggers aggressive responses and work different angles of your target areas. If wind is present, use it to your advantage and cast with it for long casts.

When fishing in deep water, it’s best to target drop-offs, ledges, and underwater structures. Use your sonar to pinpoint offshore structures that most anglers cannot locate, as many tend to comb the shoreline all day instead of looking for these prime spots. These offshore structures can be great spots to catch big bass with little fishing pressure. When the fish retreat to deeper waters, you can try bottom-bouncing techniques like Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, or jigs that mimic natural prey movements. Additionally, a deep diving crankbait can be effective. Make the crankbait come in contact with the structure and bottom of your chosen target. Using bright colors or natural patterns is recommended to catch the attention of the bass in the abyss. It’s wise to pay attention to subtle bites, as largemouths in deep water may approach more cautiously.

Targeting the Nomadic Smallmouth

Smallmouth bass are known for their tendency to roam. During the summer, they can occupy various water depths. At sunrise and sunset, they typically will venture into shallows. However, during the mid-hot summer days, they will inhabit deeper waters of up to 50 feet or more. Mid-lake humps are particularly productive during summer, with many smallmouths positioning themselves between 25 to 35 feet deep. Depths ranging from 12 to 25 feet are also good spots, especially during the afternoon, when there are intermittent clouds, on rainy days, and or before an approaching front.

In natural lakes, smallmouth bass move to deeper waters during the hottest part of the day, where the water temperature is cooler. To locate smallmouth, look for areas such as points, break lines, and offshore humps, which often have rocks or scattered grass. Smallmouth bass are savages and opportunistic and share a similar appetite with their largemouth cousins. However, they primarily feast on crayfish, which is their preferred delicacy.


Understanding the summer habits of largemouth and smallmouth bass can considerably increase your chances of catching big bass. It’s vital to observe their behavior and adjust your fishing techniques accordingly. Always be mindful of your actions, and practice catch-and-release techniques to ensure the sustainability of bass populations and promote the long-term survival of bass fishing. Respecting the environment and being aware of your impact on it is crucial to preserving natural habitats for all species, including bass.

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