BoatUS ANGLER: Seasonal Fishing Tactics
Summer Change-Ups For More Fish
by Bob Jensen, courtesy of The Fishing Wire
Every year we learn more about fishing. In fact, much of the time, every time we go fishing we learn something. The past few summers have been a very good learning experience. Here are a couple of things I've learned relative to summer fishing that can help anglers catch more fish.
On the largemouth bass side of the world it has again become obvious that we need to keep doing things differently if we want to be successful. Just this past week my nephew and I were chasing bass in shallow water. We were fishing reed beds. Action was ok, but it wasn't as good as it usually is on this lake using the same techniques at the same time of year on previous trips.
When fishing reed beds, spinnerbaits are usually a good bait to throw. They come through the reeds with minimal hang-ups, the blade calls fish, and you get bit often. Not on this trip though. The bass just didn't seem to want a spinnerbait.
When fishing reeds it's a good idea to pitch a jig to the heavier clumps or wherever you see darker water. Pitch the jig in there, let is settle to the bottom, jig it a few times, then pitch it to another clump.
We did that. Interesting thing happened. The bass didn't eat the jig when it was jigged slowly, but when we started reeling it quickly back to the boat, they smacked it. We started working the jig the same way we working the spinnerbait. We would cast it out and just starting reeling. We would delay it just a split-second near heavy cover, but mostly it was a straight retrieve. The bass liked this presentation. They really liked it.
The best set-up was a three-eighth's ounce Jungle Jig with a four inch Power Grub. A watermelon jig with a white grub was good.
Maybe the blade on the spinnerbait was too much for the bass, or maybe they had just become conditioned to the spinnerbait. Whatever the reason, the jig fished like a spinnerbait was clearly the way to catch 'em on that day.
Another break in tradition. Walleye anglers often stop using minnows in the summer. It has been believed by some walleye chasers that after a certain point in the summer, walleyes prefer crawlers and leeches to minnows. While it is true that crawlers and leeches will catch walleyes in the warmer months, minnows will too.
Some anglers suspect that minnows lost favor because they're hard to keep alive in the summer. With the advent of effective aerated minnow buckets, minnows are now easy to keep alive even in the warmest weather. Frabill is the leader in aerated minnow storage systems. Their units are quiet and effective, and walleye anglers are finding out that walleyes like to eat minnows in the summer, sometime even better than leeches and crawlers.
It's important that we don't get locked into fishing ideas too firmly. The fish don't always do what we expect them to do. If we keep an open mind to fishing presentations, we're going to catch more fish.