Hot Weather Bass Fishing

By Ed Harp, Courtesy of The Fishing Wire

Flippin' and pitchin' heavy vegetation is an often overlooked tactic for hot weather largemouths.

Photo of pro bass angler Kevin Wirth

Fishing The Cover

The heat of summer can bring some of the toughest bass fishing of the year. But, according to many experts, much of that toughness is caused by anglers themselves. That's because far too many believe that all the bass are deep. They aren't. Many fish, in some cases the biggest ones, head for the heavy weeds and vegetative growth of July, August and September. Such places offer high dissolved oxygen levels, shade and protection from the sun. At the same time they are darn near perfect for ambushing prey. That's all a bass needs to be happy.

Fishing vegetation can be tough, however. To do it effectively we need a plan. A day on the water observing professional angler Kevin Wirth fish lily pad fields helps us develop such a plan.

"That's the thing most anglers miss, the pattern within the pattern," says Wirth as he lips his fish and heads towards the livewell. It's a respectable 4-pound largemouth that fell for a plastic bait tossed precisely to the base of one lily pad among a field of thousands.

When asked to explain the pattern within the pattern he quickly points out that all the pads don't hold fish. And even if they did he couldn't fish them all effectively. The Southern impoundment he's fishing this day is full of pads, tens of thousands of them.

"You notice I'm fishing only the pads on the end of the points (made by the pads) and further refining my pattern by only fishing those with big, thick stems. That's where the big ones are holding."

Wirth goes on to explain that big, mean bass are much like rich humans. They claim the best neighborhoods. In this case, the best neighborhood was under the huge, thick root of the lily pad with the biggest stem growing on the end of the point.

In Midwestern impoundments look for a spot where brown meets green, mostly that'll be wood, drift, laydowns, stumps, near weeds. Old wood and thick, mossy weeds are usually best. Keep moving until you find a bass or two.

And remember Wirth's advice; don't try to fish all the good looking spots.