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I don't know what it is about summer, but I suck at bass fishing during July- August.

I fish mostly within a 2 hour reach of pittsburgh, pa and fish mostly smaller lakes that lack good visible structure. I either fish from shore or kayak, but from shore about 80 percent of the time. Today I fished sunrise - 10 am and 6 pm through sunset. I covered water from 0-9 feet with crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners, swimbaits and 9-13 feet with dropshot or Texas rigged worms, tubes, creature baits, etc. what am I doing wrong, I always seem to be researching this and never seem to get any definitive answers.

Extra: stable weather, sunny, no wind, temperature estimate is upper 70's low 80's.

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When I fish the summer months down here in VA,

I tend to slooooow down presentations...

 

But not all the time, LOL.

 

It can be a crap shoot to find what they want, but 

when I stick to wacky worms, I will often downsize

presentation from a thick worm to something like a

Zoom Finesse worm.

 

So if I could suggest, try to slow your soft plastics

down.... 

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do you throw a top water early morning? If so I would suggest throwing a wacky rig and if you fish the first hour with a 6 inch senko and don't get bit then I would put a three inch senko on and fish lt as slow as possible.

The main thing is don't get frustrated, because when you do you're going to think about the problem instead of the solution.

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Shore bound anglers are at a big disadvantage during the summer and winter seasons, mainly because the majority of fish aren't within casting distance.  Those that you can reach with a decent cast are spooked easily, have seen most of the lures you mentioned on numerous occasions and likely are only active for short periods.  Add to those the lack of cover and I doubt that many fish actually see your offerings.

My advice is to find some form of cover within casting distance. Small patches of weeds, an isolated deadfall, or anything the fish can use as an ambush point can hold fish. Then it's just a matter of provoking a strike. Multiple casts to the same target may be needed, but if the forage uses the area, the bass will be there. If there is absolutely no cover available, structural changes are what you need to look for and without the aid of a depthfinder to locate them, you'll need to rely on your gear to find them. A crank that dives deeper than the water you're fishing will relay the bottom content and any sharp drops in depth. Although the structure itself may not hold fish, they will use it when they move around and so will the baitfish.

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Summer is a stable season, but it's also a mixed bag.

One part of the population will move to deeper water, while another segment will remain shallow

and cling to shallow vegetation. The metabolism of bass in summer is the highest of the year,

therefore food intake is also at a peak annual level. With nature in full bloom, summer is a horn of plenty

and forage is at peak levels. As a result, the high demand of summer is easily satisfied by a rich supply.

So instead finding bass feeding wildly in summer, we're dealing with well-fed bass. During early and late summer,

bass tend to respond to a faster retrieve and more action, times when frogs, spooks & buzzbaits do well.

But during the highest water temps of midsummer bass tend to overheat and bass action generally slows down.

One of the best defenses against the "dog days" of midsummer is to fish after dark. 

All that said, one of the best cold-plans in summer is to focus your game on the outer edge of weedbeds (deep weedline).

 

Roger

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I second fishing after dark. Had similar conditions today as you described and couldn't put much together till the sun went down. Everybody has their own way but I like patchy weeds outside of the main weed line if I can find them at night. If I can find that close to a structure transition it's always been good for me. Daylight I like to be closer to the actual main edges. Whether its structure or weeds.

Don't get frustrated. You'll not get a definitive answer. It's fishing so what works for one guy may not work for another. There's just so many variables. You can literally be in the same boat with somebody who is killing it. You're fishing the same lures in the same water and you're hauling water. We've all been there. Just stay after it and you'll put a pattern together.

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 I can go to my local 200 acre lake in the summer and almost always catch bass from bank . I'll go to the dam and use a sinking bait most often. Pre rigged swimbaits work great and are inexpensive because I will lose one or two ,  but anything that sinks. Cast out into deeper water and let the lure settle. As soon as it hits , lift it and reel it in. The lure will follow the bottom contour from deep to shallow . Sometimes i let the bait fall back to bottom.  Its a pretty dependable way to catch fish .

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Everyone is providing really good advice. Its about knowing where the fish are or should be first and then trying to get them to bite. I fished a local lake for a solid year learning every depth change, cover locations, patterns of fish, etc. Scouting is critical unless it's a small pond. Now I focus on where I know from experience to find them and then fish those spots hard. July means small baits and slow presentation. Yeah you check for early morning top water action but then saddle up on the holding areas and go drop shot or shakey head or pitching into heavy shallow cover. If they don't bite I don't worry just plan to attack those spots again with a different presentation.

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I'm with you, Summer fishing can be very frustrating. But like others have said, you need to stick with it.

Bass always need to eat, the hard part is figuring out the when, where, and what to use. There is a stretch of shore line on a lake we fish. You can fish it all morning and catch nothing. Come back mid afternoon and catch fish. It took us a long time to figure it all out.

Jim

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If i had a kayak(which I do) I wouldn't be able to fish from the shore without thinking I'm missing out on something.

My personal experience is that with a boat you seek out waters that you know probably have fish you just have to pick the bait they want. With shore fishing you don't always have access to waters that hold fish or that don't have a ton of fishing pressure, add in the fact that they could be hitting any bait you have with you and you have an annoying experience.

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Catching bass in the Dog Days of Summer is almost always a challenge - for everyone.  During July & August 2015 the Bassmaster Elite series is only holding 3 events; which are in NY, Michigan & Maryland. 


 


 Review how many Big Bass photos we see here in the summer as compared to spring & fall when the bass are shallow.  Doesn't mean you can't catch them, just shows it's a little harder, so don't get bummed out.  


 


Very often the shallow bite is very tough in the summer.


Fishing at night can help put the odds in your favor.


 


If you can get off the bank (kayak),  I agree with Roger - look at deep weedline as a place to start. 


 


Good Luck


 


A-Jay


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I think I just needed a pep talk. I fished the creek behind my campsite this morning and caught tons of perch, rock bass, and 1 nice rainbow. Really built my confidence back up.

I thought I was fishing pretty slow. Crankbaits I would get them down to depth and very very slowly crank the handle. It's a 6.4:1.

With my t rigged or drop shot rigs, I was fishing tubes with a pop-pop-pop pause 5-10 seconds. I did have one bite and lost one fish on a crank.

The problem with fishing after dark is that most of the lakes that I fish are dawn-dusk. Maybe I will try the river one day when I get time.

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You are fishing the best time periods, the bass are not cooperating with your lure selection where you are fishing. Since you are fishing at different lakes, both from shore and from a kayak something you are doing isn't working. You know the depth you fish at, do you have a sonar untit on the kayak? If you do, are you metering any fish? Or just trying areas you have caught bass before, during other seasonal periods?

What type of tackle are you using, line size and reel type?

Tom

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I have a sonar unit. I Haven't launched my kayak out since early June though. Most of the lakes I've been fishing I've only fished a handful of times. I've been fishing the places that seem the most productive to me: a cove of the lake, a deeper weed edge, and honestly, this particular lake, there's not much else visually so I just roamed the shores and fished every spot of the lake.

Morning: started with top water then switched to cranks on a 7'4 medium action, revo sx reel - 6.4:1, 12 lb co-polymer, 12 lb flouro leader.

7 foot medium heavy, revo mgx 7.1:1, 30 lb braid with 15 lb flouro leader with a 2/0 hook for tubes, worms , etc

Pm switched to a lite action rod throwing small rapala originals, husky jerks, and shad raps. Also kept using my MH rig.

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You fishing where you like to fish using tackle you are comfortable using and getting the same results.

Something needs to change to change the results!

Your light tackle outfit, is it a spinning rod & reel?

This is what I would;

Launch you kayak near the dam area and fish the entire dam from where it starts and stops, including the bank areas within 100 yards. Look for baitfish or any signs of life suspended within the water column. If you notice a few baitfish or fish suspended at or near the same depth, that is the depth you should focus on.

Using the light tackle I would set it up for a slip shot or mojo rig using 6 to 8 lb mono of FC. If the outfit has braid with a leader, use the 6 to 8 lb leader about 30" long, the weight and Carolina Keeper or pegged bead located at the knot or about that far up the line. You will also need some finesse worms; Roboworms oxblood w/red flake and MM II or Aaron's magic in 6" straight tails, Owner 1/0 # 5133 hook, 1/8 oz mojo weights. Hook the worm weedless skin.

Try your other stuff first and then slow down and fish the slip shot rig by casting to shore and dragging it down to around 15', about a 45 degree angle. Do this until you get bit, then focus on that depth. This is boring and the reason I want you to use your other stuff first, but it's also very effective during the summer.

Tom

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Yes, I have a light rod with spinning reel spooled with 8 lb fireline. I have another question ... Is a 2/0 gamakatsu EWG worm hook considered light wire or heavy or somewhere in between? I use this hook with my M to MH rods. Also, I use a heavy duty flippin hook with my MH, is that OK? Or would you recommend something else?

 

Thanks,

 

Steve

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Gamakatsu EWG hooks are available in both standard wire and heavy wire, which Gamee calls 'Superline'.

Even a standard wire 2/0 EWG is pushing the envelope with a light or medium power 8-lb spinning outfit.

 

Roger

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Yes, I have a light rod with spinning reel spooled with 8 lb fireline. I have another question ... Is a 2/0 gamakatsu EWG worm hook considered light wire or heavy or somewhere in between? I use this hook with my M to MH rods. Also, I use a heavy duty flippin hook with my MH, is that OK? Or would you recommend something else?

 

Thanks,

 

Steve

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Yes, I have a light rod with spinning reel spooled with 8 lb fireline. I have another question ... Is a 2/0 gamakatsu EWG worm hook considered light wire or heavy or somewhere in between? I use this hook with my M to MH rods. Also, I use a heavy duty flippin hook with my MH, is that OK? Or would you recommend something else?

Thanks,

Steve

EWG hooks are medium wire too heavy for this presentation. Gamakatsu #49110 light wire , size 1 or 1/0 Rubber Worm hook (that is the hook name) or Owner 5100 light wire hook & 5133 (Down Shot hook) are light wire finesse hooks needed for split or split shot presentations. You also need a mono 6 lb to 8 lb leader using a double Uni knot to join the leader to the braid, details are important.

The EWG 2/0 ie OK for Teaxas rigged 7" worms with 3/16 oz using your MH casting outfits.

Tom

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Summer fishes pretty good around here if you understand a basic idea. On a hot summer days the fish avoid the sun. On cooler summer days fish crave the sun. (this is mostly for LMB) 

 

If its hot you must strike hard and fast hitting your most productive areas first. The fishing usually peaks around 8am and lasts about an hour. After this dies you need to chase shadelines, docks, fish deep and slow, or heavy cover. Your best bet would be the slow and deep deal until you get really good at the other stuff and have a boat. The dock deal might work from the kayak if you could find a concentration in a good marina (maybe one that holds big tournaments).

 

When its cold save your best stuff until that moment in the late morning or early afternoon when you can really start feeling the heat from the sun beat down. Before that I try not to get temped by a potential shallow bite and stay deep fishing something pretty boring. Sometimes playing defense of your best spot by fishing the deep edge next to the spot. You are going to catch fish but its not going to be a clinic until it that sun starts going to work. The good biting fish will be around those hot spots in deeper water or in it but not biting. 

 

You are on your own in finding these spots that hold fish but just make sure that you are not discounting productive areas because you are not timing them right. Areas with good depth next to shallow water and main lake current just about always have fish on them in the summer. 

 

I hate leaving long posts but just cant help going on about the summer bite. No time of the year I would rather be fishing. 

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I do most of my fishing during the summer time and I have the most luck fishing tight to structure. I know many anglers prefer to work deep crankbaits over humps and other offshore structure during this period but I usually stay fairly shallow. During the morning and evening use any topwater bait you like. I typically fish them in the shallow water on top of a tapering point or around any sort of cover. A Zara Spook is a great choice during this time. As it heats up I head for cover particularly floating vegetation, where I use a frog or throw texas rigged baits. Try using a BioSpawn Vilecraw as your texas rigged plastic in this situation, it works very well for me. Don't necessarily think that summer time means working deep. It is a very good way to fish, however I am very successful focusing on more shallow cover.

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Ok cool. Please keep the suggestions coming. I'm going to apply most of these techniques this weekend when I fish lake arthur. Wish me luck?

Thanks again,

Steve

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Lake arthurs alot of area to cover for a yak

I get the sense you may be trying to be like KVD and scurrying up and down the banks trying to powerfish

Anchor your yak on some prime locations and fish them thoroughly

Here in the Northeast there are still big fish in the thickest weeds but they need slow prodding to trigger and get out

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