Early Summer Patterns

By Kurt Dove

While most anglers like to keep their fishing success secrets to themselves, Bassmaster Elite pro Kurt Dove has a a few that are too good not to share.

With so much competition in bass fishing these days it is not very often your friends are telling you their most valued secret tips and techniques. I get it ... for most part they like to tournament fish and they want to be in the winner's circle and anglers need every advantage to get it done. For other anglers it's a belief that the more they know over other anglers fishing the same waters then the more potential they have for success and enjoyment on their own fishing trips. This month I am going to give you three early summer patterns that aren't talked about much at your local dock ... but be sure some anglers are catching fish and winning using them!

Mayfly Hatch

You will find these little bugs around trees near the bank and usually on a tree that overhangs the water. They best way to locate a tree or area with mayflies is to look for the birds flying around wildly eating the bugs in the trees. The bugs drop out of the trees after maturing and the bite is on! Bluegill will gorge on the mayflies and the bass will gorge on the bluegill. Popper style baits will work well once the mayflies are located. I like to hit these areas in the early mornings for best results but you can catch fish around the mayfly hatch all day. If little success is found on the popper topwaters then try small walk-the-dog bait like an ima lures skimmer. The key is that these fish can't often resist a finesse topwater technique.

Bluegill Beds

Finding bedding bluegill will take some time and commitment on the trolling motor. Visually looking for these dish- sized beds in the shallow waters can lead to some very explosive and giant largemouth bass catches. Once you find the bedding bluegill in the shallow water the bass will be milling around the outside areas of the beds picking off the bluegill when feeding times occur. Typically first light in the morning will produce consistently. To continue your catch rates throughout the day you will have to locate several bluegill beds and rotate through them over and over to catch the bass at those feeding times. Topwater prop baits work very well as they mimic an injured bluegill around the nest. I also like to use small plastic presentations on a shaky head around the perimeter of the bedding area as well.

Up the River

Often a neglected area of a lake in the summer is the river or headwaters of an impoundment. The river provides many favorable environmental conditions a bass likes and makes it a great place to continue catching fish when the rest of the lake hits those dog days of summer. The river provides high oxygen levels due to the moving water. The water in the river can also become cooler in the summer due to the natural current as well as the cool water runoff from summer rains and thunderstorms that affect it quickly. When fishing the up the river I like to concentrate on any wood cover. Flats or channel bends are prime places for bass to set up on the wood utilizing it as ambush points to feed on baitfish drawn down with the current. I like to pitch El Grande Lures tubes and hatch-match sticks for a quiet presentation. When working to find a reaction bite I like to use the ima lures Squarebill or Optimum Baits Double Diamond swimbait on a bladed jig. A new Optimum Baits product I believe will be very productive this summer is the Opti Shad and Victory Tail. These finesse swimbaits and soft stick baits are sure to be go-to lures for many years to come.

Get out there ... take advantage of my secrets and 'WIN'... just don't tell anyone!