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Whats too hot for bass in shallow water?

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There are grass mats in the lakes I fish in about 2-3 feet of water. The surface temperature of the water has been between 89-93 degrees. I haven't tried fishing grass because I've been having luck fishing deep structure (which is new to me), and I just think it would be way too hot under those mats. What do my pros on here think? Thanks for the advice!

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i've caught fish in lilly pads, with surface temps in the 88- 93 range, consistently.  That would make me think that mats would be even more likely as it blocks more sun and also creates a more oxygen rich environment.  I am a believer that there are always fish shallow no matter what the temperature of the water and having caught fish in under 5' of water in temps ranging from 34-90+ makes me think i am not crazy lol

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I'm certainly no pro but there's only one way to find out if they're in there. 

I have caught some good fish very shallow in pretty hot water that were right on the bank. There have never been numbers there for me but usually if I can catch one like that they're a heavy fish. 

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I'm not a pro by any means but a week or two back, I had a shallow water hot streak in water less than three feet deep. Water temp was 87. No overhead cover, but it was early and cloudy.  No need for me to go deep that day. There were probably bigger fish deeper, but my only competition is myself. I never completely ignore shallow no matter how hot it is if I think there is any thing at all that might be drawing them in. Bass have a tendency to take all of the knowledge that we gain and toss it out the window.  

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yea the other day (Sunday) I was fishing a river, and I couldn't get a solid bite, then I went into a shallow pocket 3 ft of water, and boom caught my first keeper 15.5 inches. haha I was like man...these fish should be deep with how hot it is. Guess I'll give those mats a try, I just cant tell if there is space under those mats...guess there is only one way to find out. thanks for the advice guys.

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A few of years ago in one of the hottest summers on record, a friend and I were pre-fishing a tournament a couple of days before it started. We tried everything with no real success. Finally, against my judgement, we went way up in the creek in shallow, muddy water. The surface temps were 90+. I told Dave this was the dumbest thing ever. We finally ended up blowing through mud to get into a slightly deeper spot. We killed them in there. Big fish in the thickest cover, in no more than 2' of water. We would have easily won the tourney if the water hadn't dropped over a foot by blast off. We could not get back in there. We didn't catch a keeper and  only 2 small keepers (for 2 fishermen) won it.

I learned a valuable lesson. I love fishing off shore structure, but I always try a few shallow water spots regardless of the weather. You just never know...

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I fish a power plant lake even in the summer. The discharge can be 105 to 115 degrees and the fish are in there.

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basseditor I have caught both largemouth and smallies in our local power plant cooling lake in the hottest weather. It is always surprising to catch bass that are warm to touch! I haven't done it for a couple of years though. I don't like roasting in a hot tin boat! I must be getting old...

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38 minutes ago, basseditor said:

I fish a power plant lake even in the summer. The discharge can be 105 to 115 degrees and the fish are in there.

well then..that tells me all I need to know haha

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My opinion: hot days = find cooler water. This can be deeper, like you mentioned, or shallower water with good cover to shade. I've had great success fishing shallow cover during the past few hot hot days I've been out. I even won a friendly bachelor party tourney (10 ppl) and I was 1 of 2 in a kayak (the rest boats). Stayed close and worked the shallows.

If the entire area is shallower, I will work it all. Pitch/punch and/or work any openings I have - dependant upon the type and thickness of cover. If any of the cover is relatively close to deeper water or a known channel, I'll work the snot out of that edge as well.

 

 

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If you can find a drop-off close to shallow water, work the depths, close to the drop-off.  If there is no drop-off, fish the shallows with heavy cover.   Look for the greenest cover available.  Besides providing shade, there are increased O2 levels, with the green veggies.  Find an area with two or three different types of vegetation in close proximity, the odds get better for you.  Now, put that vegetation close to a drop-off, and you may have hit a home run.  Bass will move into the flats during low lite, and at night, to feed.  Daytime they may seek out the depths of the drop offs to cool off.  If you find current close to anything we already mentioned the odds go up again.  Current will usually improve water quality, and provide easy ambush points.  Just a few thoughts on summer fishing.

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Bass can always be found shallow, but that doesn't mean they are active or willing to bite anything. If I'm fishing shallow when it's hot I concentrate on any cover that creates shade or cooler water and especially anywhere where a creek, river, or source of cooler water enters the lake or pond. Also current will help a lot with fish being active because it is usually cooler water. I remember back when George Cochran won the bass masters classic in august in super shallow water and the whole rest of the field was fishing deep ledges. I'd say it's definitely worth a shot

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It's not always about water temps, hot water doesn't hold enough dissolved oxygen levels to sustain bass needs unless there is something producing DO. Green aquatic plants produce oxygen during the day light, wind produces DO from wave action and some lakes have aeration systems that help produce DO. Decaying plants consume DO, if chemicals are used to spray aquatic plants that consumes DO. 

If you see baitfish in and around the weed mats, bass will be there.

Tom

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A bass's metabolism is finely tuned to its circulatory system temperature which is the same as the surrounding water temperature. In warmer water bass digest their food fast requiring them to eat more.

"Dead" vegetation does not necessarily deplete oxygen, decaying vegetation does. Some vegetation may appear to be "dead" but are only dormant.

While most anglers prefer the quite approach in grass I prefer to cause a commotion; bass in grass rely of their lateral line to "sense" movement of prey & the bulkier lures provide that. 

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I don't think there is a temp too hot for bass to be shallow. I'm in that boat that thinks there's at least some part of the population that is up shallow all the time. A few weeks ago we had a major heat wave in WI. It pushed water temps into the mid 90's which is incredibly hot for around here. I fished one afternoon/evening and caught most of my fish out of less than 3' of water. 

Only way to find out if they're shallow around you is to give it a try!

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On 8/18/2016 at 1:17 AM, timsford said:

Bass can always be found shallow, but that doesn't mean they are active or willing to bite anything. 

I've seen a similar effect in my waters. I fish many small shallow waters and the bass don't have a choice. What I do notice is that high temps -mid 80s- can knock em down. Some waters during this time have a first light bite, when temps are coolest, that is amazing. When that hour is up, things get tough. There is no corresponding evening bite, so light is not the only issue. This year we had record high temps in June -100F days- and the fishing was tough. The bright sun played a big role, of course, but it was as if those bass were dormant. The ones I did scratch up were mighty thin. Then I've had years that stayed cool, and caught barrel fat bass all summer. I've come to prefer water temps below low 80s in my waters. Lotsa evidence out there that bass will feed well in high temps, but not, I believe, if food is at all hard to catch. They seem to lay low during such times.

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WRB and Catt are both on point.  Also, it's a matter of what's available.  If shallow vegetation is providing oxygen and shade, holding bait, providing ambush points on a bright sunny day, and is more readily available than 10-20' ledges to slide down, odds are good you're going to have a sizable shallow population even on sunny days.  Similarly, on overcast days or in low light, you may find them breaking cover and roaming flats (less direct sun light).  Bass, and fish in general, don't likely think about being deep so much as they likely think about staying comfortable and finding food and that's relative to every body of water.  Bass can thrive in some pretty shallow, swampy water so long as there's something dissolving oxygen, be it wind, weeds, or current.  

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Dee Thomas who popularized the flipping presentation always said "shallow bass are biting bass" and went out and proved it by winning tournaments in deep clear rocky structured lakes or shallow heavy cover delta sloughs 

My preference is fishing rocky structure with sparse cover because that is where I fish. Dee would flip floatsum trash in small pocket in deep water and catch bass that everyone else passed up, it's how he fishes. The water wasn't shallow, the bass were uptight shallow against the floating cover.

Tom

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7 hours ago, WIGuide said:

I'm in that boat that thinks there's at least some part of the population that is up shallow all the time. 

I've read research that shows on certain size bodies of water there are 3 "groups" of bass.

One group lives their entire lifetime within a certain distance from the shoreline.

One group lives their entire lifetime on offshore structure & if the body of water is large enough these bass may never see a shoreline.

One group follows bait fish over undetermined distances in both shallow & deep water.

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You all want to know how hot it is in South Florida right now?It's hot enough that I found a completely melted Crayon on the floor today.Even with this heat I am still  having success catching decent sized bass,so you can definitely catch bass in warm water.

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I've caught fish in the metro ponds of Tucson and Phoenix at night that the water was so hot the bass didn't have color anymore. They'd bite right at shore, so you're looking at water well into the 90's that would come up to 18" of water. 

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There's only one way to find out. Throw a bait in there. Simple as that. I'm also a firm believer that no matter what time of year, there will be fish shallow. There may not be as many in summer as there would be during the spawn, but some will be there for sure. Whether it's resident fish who spend their whole lives in that particular area, of they're in the shallow vegetation looking for better oxygen content in the water. You'll find fish shallow no matter how hot it gets. They love laying in the shade, and munching on the bluegills and sunfish that are often hanging around shallow in the summer. 

Now, I have it pretty good up here in upstate New York because rarely will it exceed 90 degrees in the summer, and with that, the water temp rarely ever exceeds the low 80s. I'll fish docks year round with success. So it doesn't get hot up here, but we get one less season to fish on open water. But I love ice fishing too so I can't complain!

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On 8/19/2016 at 0:29 PM, Paul Roberts said:

I've seen a similar effect in my waters. I fish many small shallow waters and the bass don't have a choice. What I do notice is that high temps -mid 80s- can knock em down. Some waters during this time have a first light bite, when temps are coolest, that is amazing. When that hour is up, things get tough. There is no corresponding evening bite, so light is not the only issue. This year we had record high temps in June -100F days- and the fishing was tough. The bright sun played a big role, of course, but it was as if those bass were dormant. The ones I did scratch up were mighty thin. Then I've had years that stayed cool, and caught barrel fat bass all summer. I've come to prefer water temps below low 80s in my waters. Lotsa evidence out there that bass will feed well in high temps, but not, I believe, if food is at all hard to catch. They seem to lay low during such times.

In reference to shallow water fishing:

I've found something similar once I hit the typical temperatures of late July and August.  When the water temps are high 80s and low 90s and after the early morning timeframe, I get more bites with a dropshot bait just sitting there dangling over shallow weeds.  I love to fish jigs and plastics on the bottom, but often (not always) in the worst heat of summer, they won't bite those baits before they are fouled with weeds in the shallows.  And a topwater or shallow moving bait doesn't seem to draw too many bites either.  The bites tend to be very light at this time of day.  This seems to be somewhat typical for the murkier, highly pressured waters I fish.  In clear waters and if I want to fish shallow, I have the additional option of casting a topwater or shallow moving bait from near the bank out over deeper water and the weed line edge. There always seem to be a fish or two that will come up to hit that shallow bait in the worst heat of summer, especially if I can do this around current.

 

On 8/19/2016 at 6:47 PM, Catt said:

I've read research that shows on certain size bodies of water there are 3 "groups" of bass.

One group lives their entire lifetime within a certain distance from the shoreline.

One group lives their entire lifetime on offshore structure & if the body of water is large enough these bass may never see a shoreline.

One group follows bait fish over undetermined distances in both shallow & deep water.

I've read the same thing in In-Fisherman's Largemouth Bass Location book.  

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So I was fishing in 3 ft of water and cast until inches of water because a stick was sticking out, sure enough a 16" bass destroyed my shakey head! Lol

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A lake I like to frequent always have some bass shallow .  Days I cant find them deep then I seek out  shallow cover . One of the best spots on the lake are these three shallow stumps . What most if not all the anglers dont realize is the water between the stumps is two foot deeper . I never see anybody else use a depth finder because private boats are not allowed . Just casting in the middle often produce a lot of bass . Some days   a large population of the bass are between 5 to 8 foot deep . I catch them by throwing mid diving cranbaits when I'm traveling from one piece of cover to another .

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