Keri: Come on, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty. Here, kitty, kitty, kitty. Here, kitty, kitty, kitty. That time I got you. That time we got you. Yep. Let's see. Easy does it big guy. Easy does it big guy. Stop it. Oh. It fell out, right, when I picked it up.
Glenn: Wow. Nice .
Keri: Finally, look at what we got.
Glenn: Nice, nice, nice.
Keri: Hit the button. Look at what we got.
Glenn: Here you go.
Keri: Here you go. All righty, fishy. He did wanna come play. Here he goes.
Glenn: Hey, folks. Glenn May here with BassResource.com. And today, I wanna talk to you about the nine top baits that I like to fish in the summertime. Now, I know there's a lot of baits out there that work throughout the summer, and especially if you're pretty new to the sport, it can be just overwhelming to try to figure out what bait to use. So I'm gonna tell you the top baits that I know when I go out, I've got them rigged out. I've got them rigged on rods and reels. I'm ready to go because I know I can catch fish on them anytime, any situation, throughout the summertime. So these are my confidence baits, and hopefully, will help you narrow down your choices and be more successful in the summertime.
So, starting off, let's just get right into it. Let's start with one of the top baits I like is...it's actually frogs and toads. I know technically, they're two different baits, but because they're very similar looking, and you fish them in the same kind of areas, I kind of lump them into one. But frogs and toads. First of all, hollow body frog, it's got the collapsible body, and the hooks are right up nestled against that body and so that enables you to fish it over the tops of real thick weeds and into cover that's really thick. It just floats. It sits on the top. And when the bass hit it, it collapses that body, exposes those hooks, and you hook 'em. So these are excellent for throwing over the top of matted vegetation that you see in the summertime, be it hydrilla, milfoil, or something like that, and just work it across...you just throw it out there and reel it back in and just keep it a steady motion. The bass underneath will track it. They'll see something's moving, and they'll blast it from underneath the weeds. And it's exciting, man. It's exhilarating to have those kind of strikes. I mean, that's one of the main reasons I really like it is it's so much fun to see the strike and catch fish that way.
But you can also...because it floats, if you get to an opening in the weeds or maybe you're fishing across lily pads, and there's a little opening, you can park it and just let it sit right in that opening for as long as you can stand it, and maybe just take the rod, just give it a little twitch, and just let it hover in place. And a lot of times, you can entice a bite from a reluctant bass just because they're just sitting there. It looks like a little helpless amphibian that's trying to survive on the surface, and, you know, that's candy to bass, man. That's an easy meal. So, you know, there's a variety of different ways you can fish it when the bass are up shallow.
Same thing with a toad. Now, a toad is a solid body, so it does sink a little bit. But what I like about a toad is the back legs. They kick, and they make a little bit of gurgling noise. So, again, you can throw it over the tops of those matted vegetation, cause a little bit more commotion. I like to weigh it, hook it keel weighted, so it stays, you know, in one position. It doesn't flip flop or flip over, and I'll bring it across that. And again, same thing as the frog, the fish will come up through those matted vegetation and pounce on it. But the difference is when you bring it to those holes in those pockets in the weeds, you'll kill it, and it'll flutter down, just a slow dying action, right into that hole. The bass has been following it the whole time, and here comes a meal right to his face. Bam. I mean, it's so easy. It is so much fun.
And you can also run it across submergent weeds, too. So you don't necessarily to have a matted vegetation. If the weeds are just under the surface like it's coontail or maybe some milfoil that hasn't grown all the way to the top, just gurgle it across the top of that, throw it out, wind it in, just straight, maybe kill it if you see a pocket or a hole in there. Same sort of thing. Boom. The bass will just crush it. So that's why it's one of my favorite baits to use during the summer.
All right. I would be remiss if I didn't include a buzzbait in my list of top baits for the summertime. Buzzbaits are so much fun to throw in the summertime. Obviously, I mean, it buzzes across the surface, and when bass blast it, man, it is exciting. It's exhilarating to get that topwater bite. So much fun and exciting to catch them that way. But what really they do is the bass will bury up in those weeds, and that's when a buzzbait shines because it actually draws them out of those weeds. You can throw it across submerged vegetation, where it's maybe a foot or two or so, three feet under the water, when you've got that little gap of water, that's a perfect place to throw a buzzbait. Just throw it out there, wind it back in, try different cadences, different speeds. But the bass when they're buried up in there, it causes a lot of commotion and noise, and that's what attract them. They have to go take a look and see what that is. And when they see it, they just see something screaming across the surface, and they'll blast it. So it's a great way of drawing those fish out of those thick weeds instead of having to go in and go after them.
One of the problems I see with, a lot of guys do though is they only think buzzbaits work in low light conditions, for example, in the morning, or when it's really cloudy out. Not the case. I've caught actually more bass in bluebird days like today, in the middle of the afternoon on buzzbaits than I have in those so-called perfect conditions because that's when the bass are actually are buried in those weeds. They're not out roaming around. They roam more when there's less light penetration when it's darker out, and so they're more scattered. But when the sun comes up, it concentrates them in those weeds. So I'll throw across those weedbeds in the middle of the day on a bright sunny day like this, and I catch a lot of fish that way. So don't put it away once dawn breaks, and it's done. Keep on going. As that sun gets higher up in the sky, you'll probably catch more fish fishing a buzzbait.
Okay. Another top bait that I like to use in the summertime is a square bill. Now, a square bill, I know it's a crankbait, but I like to put it in its own category for a variety of reasons, but primarily because of where and how you fish it. It's a lot different than other crankbaits. Square bill for one, first of all, it's got a square bill. Now, the reason it has that is because you can fish it through cover. See this body? See how thick that is it? Can you see the hooks? You can't see. Like it actually blocks the hooks. So, for that reason, what it does with the square bill, say you come up against a branch or tree limb, it comes up, hits that limb, and then it pulls up like this. Look at this. The hooks are completely...Yeah, I'm not hooked on my finger. It blocks it. The body blocks it. The bill blocks it. The hooks are protected, so you can bring it across branches, tree limbs, that sort of thing in cover and you won't get hung up as much that you would say using a round bill crankbait.
See, a round bill, when it hits that same branch, it'll roll. It'll roll a little bit, and now the hook becomes exposed, and I'm not going to do it because I don't want to hook myself, but it'll do that. And then that hook will embed itself in that wood. Square bill just squares right up to it and just comes across so you won't get hooked, right?
So, that's why I really like using it in the summertime because the bass will be hung up and, you know, they'll congregate around sunken trees and around branches and any kind of woody cover looking for bugs and insects and baitfish, and you can work this through it. You fish it slower, you know, work it through. You got to work it through that cover. Don't just crank on it and bring it on through like you would normally a deep-diving crankbait, but work it through that cover. When you feel it hit the cover, slow a little bit and you can do one or two things, just tighten up down on the line and let them come across. Or, like this one it's buoyant so you just pause it it'll float up above that cover, then start winding again and it'll take back off again. So, square bill crankbaits are a great way to fish, you know, woody cover in the summertime when the bass are feeding on baitfish, so that's why it's on my list of baits during the summer.
All right. So, another key bait that I like to use during the summertime is the Senko or, you know, the YUM Dinger, that sort of thing. Now, a lot of guys will fish it in the spring. They fish it up shallow because that's where the bass are, and they fish it in sparse lily pads or over the top of submerged weeds, long weed edges, maybe in a stumpy flat, something like that. And those are good areas to fish in the summertime. Unfortunately, a lot of guys, what they do when summer comes around is they put that lure away and don't fish it again until the spring. Now, I think that's a mistake because this lure is very versatile. You can fish in a variety of different ways in the summer. I'm sure you can fish in the same areas that you fished in the spring along docks, my favorite. I like to skip it under docks, and I've caught a lot of good fish doing it that way, but, you know, a lot of times in the summer fish will move off into deeper water, and they'll hang out in deeper structure, so, like rock piles, or they'll be on the top of humps, or maybe along tapering point, or right on the drop off to a creek or a river. Well, just be creative. You can put it in a different kind of rig to get it down to where the fish are.
So, for example, you can put it in the back-end of a Carolina rig, or you can put it on a drop shot rig or a split shot rig. Sometimes I'll even put it on a football head jig, something like that to get it down to the bass, and then you can fish it a variety of different speeds and cadences to attract the fish and you can get a lot of bites that way, man, you can clean house. If the fish are sitting on the top of a hump and you can get that bait down to them, man, you could have yourself a great day. So, it's because of the versatility and the ability to fish at different depths and different speeds during the summertime makes it one of my top baits in the summer.
All right. Another bait that I like to break out in the summertime and I always have tied on is a popper-type bait. And there's a variety of reasons for that. First of all, like I said, bass are feeding on baitfish this time of year, and a popper mimics a baitfish, actually, one that's injured or dying on the surface, which bass are predators and that triggers that instinctual bite, so you just throw it out there and twitch it and pop it back. And it creates that disturbance on the surface and looks like a little baitfish and the bass will clock it.
Now, what I like to do is I change it a little bit. Now, if it's calm out, or the water is really clear, or say, for example, low light conditions, that sort of thing. I like to take the popper, throw it out there, and I'll bring it back at a slow cadence. Throw it out and let it stop, and wait for the rings to dissipate. Just wait, wait, wait, and then give it a little twitch, just a little, just nudge it, give it a little pop. And this is really good if it's a bright sunny day because if you watch a dying baitfish, that's what it does. It just kind of struggles a little bit. It doesn't, like, go crazy and flail about, so I just give those little slight, subtle pauses and little twitches with long pauses in between when the water's glass-smooth like that. And a lot of times, while you're waiting for those rings to dissipate, you know. You just naah! It's really exciting. But that's often what it takes to trigger a bite.
On the other hand, when it's, when you got a little bit of chop in the water or maybe the water is, you know, a little bit dingier, then I like to up it. I like to move it a little bit more and create a little more noise and commotion to get those bass to focus in on that because they won't be able to see it as much if you're not moving it. So, I'll just throw it and just as I'm reeling and just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, as I'm bringing it back, just steady all the way across the surface, especially if you got, like, submerged weeds or something, you bring it across a submerged weedbed. That's a great time to be throwing it. You can just get those bass, you just draw them right out of those weeds, and they'll crush it, just sometime between where it landed and back to the boat, just expect it because they're going to clock it at any time during that retrieve. And it's a lot of fun fishing. So, that's one of the reasons why I like it.
But another reason why I like to have that popper handy is, particularly in the summertime, bass will blast balls of baitfish out on the surface and it might be away from the shoreline, but keep an eye on it or just listen with your ears for bass that are busting the surface. And when they are, and they're chasing those baitfish and they've got them corralled, they do it in schools. They get those baitfish corralled to the surface and you'll see them jumping, you'll see bass blasting it, grab that popper and throw it right in the middle of that frenzy. And I guarantee you, you're going to get blasted. It is so much fun, but you've got to have it rigged and ready on the boat. So that's why I've just got to laying there waiting for that opportunity because I know it's coming, and when it does, you got to capitalize on it with the popper. So, that's why I really like having it in the summertime.
All right. Let's talk about another favorite bait of mine in the summertime, and that's the jig. Now, I know jig works really well throughout the entire year, and I do fish jigs throughout the entire year, but in the summertime, this is when you get to open up the playbook and you get to fish them all the different ways that you can. And there's really four different types of jigs that I focus on in the summertime, and that is, let's just go through them.
The first one is a round ball jig head. This I'll use in rocky areas where it's just, you know, rocky shoreline, maybe it's riprap, something like that. It doesn't get hung up as much because it doesn't have any sharp edges, or appendages, or any weird angles on. It's just round. So, it doesn't get wedged in the rocks as easily, so you're not going to get hung up as much, but even when you do and you just pull on, it just turns the head, the eye toward you and it usually comes right back out. It's easy to get unstuck. So, this is a great bait to use when the bass are hanging out in those rocky areas and feeding on insects and baitfish that are hanging out in that area. That's when I use a round head ball jig.
So, another one that I like to use is a football jig. Football jig, I'll use that in deeper water where it's maybe a soft bottom or a hard bottom, something like that. And I like to just let it...When the bass really aren't super aggressive, I'll put maybe a craw trailer on the end of it and dragging on the bottom, that football jig, it just kind wobbles back and forth, and it looks like a little crawdad just making its way on the bottom. And that's a great way to get bass to bite, especially when they're deeper and they're hanging at those rock piles, or maybe they're by a point or something like that, or hanging around a creek channel, just bring along our deep weedlines. I've had weedlines as deep as 20 feet. Bring it on the edge of that weedline, just slowly crawl it along, and a lot of times you catch bass that way.
Another jig that I like to use is the swim jig. Swim jigs are, you know, it's kind of a hybrid jig. It is a jig head, but really it's designed, you put a little paddle tail plastic bait on the end of it. And I'll take that and use it kind of like a crankbait. I'll go along a weed edge and you just throw it out and wind it back in, just a nice, steady retrieve. A lot of times, that's all you need to do to get bites, so you can bring it along docks, you can throw it across flats, maybe a stumpy flat, or maybe an area where there's scattered chunk rock, or it's even good to fishing riprap. But, because of the weight on it, you can fish it deeper too. You can let it sink all the way down and get down to those deeper depths where the bass may be hanging in the summertime and still bring it across. It looks like a little baitfish, just winding along there. You catch a lot of bass that way. So swim jig is one of my top favorites in the summertime.
But another jig that I like to throw is the weedless jig because it's weedless. And a lot of times in the summer, that's where the bass are hanging out. They congregate in and around weeds. It could be coontail, it could be Hydrilla, or milfoil or any kind of, you know, lily pads, what have you, because that's where the baitfish are. Sometimes that's where the insects are and that's where the bass are going to go to feed. You can take the jig and work it through all these weeds without getting hung up as much as you would with other baits. So, that's what makes a weedless jig or weed jig so effective in the summertime, and this is why I really like throwing jigs in the summer because, as you can tell, you can fish them in all the different types of circumstances and categories, and types of covers, and depths that the bass are in, plus they come in all kinds of colors too to fit whatever light penetration you're getting, and you can match the color of the forage. Jigs are really good to use in the summertime.
Okay. And the other kind of bait that I like to throw in the summertime is a deep-diving crankbait. Now, there's a variety of reasons for that, but the main reason is, during the summertime, man, the bass have the feedbag on. Their whole sole purpose in life during the summertime is to eat. And at the top of their menu is baitfish, and there's very few baits out there that do a better job of imitating the baitfish than a crankbait.
Now, I like deep-diving crankbaits, ones that dive deeper than 10 feet for a variety of reasons. First of all, a lot of times the bass will hang out in deeper structure. They will be on that 15 to 20-foot zone, maybe even deeper, and they will be at the tops of humps, and ridges, they will be in rock piles, maybe some laydowns, or at the edge of a creek channel, and along tapering points, something like that. Well, a deep-diving crankbait can get down to where they're at and you can elicit a strike that way, especially if you can get it down to where there's a school that's feeding on baitfish, man. You're going to have a great day fishing deep-diving crankbaits.
But I also like to fish them shallower than 10 feet, even though it dives deeper than that. What I really like to fish is when it's muddy, when it's got a soft bottom along a weed edge. Throw it up there and three feet of water and then let it dig into that silt. It just does this. It digs, and dives, and darts, and does all this erratic action. And I'm telling you what, I can't tell you how many bass I've caught that if...You’re right along that weedline and that brings out usually really big bass. They come diving out of that weed cover to pounce on that bait. It just gets their attention and triggers that instinctual bite, so it's a great way to fish them that way.
Or, like say for example you're fishing where there's chunk rock or riprap. Throw it out there and get it down to those rocks and let it bang off the rocks, let it hit. You know, it'll do a, you know, pause briefly and then ricochet off that rock in an erratic motion and that sudden change of action will often trigger a strike. So, it's a great way to fish riprap if you're throwing deep-diving crankbaits that dive deeper than where that rock is, and you just bang it off that bottom. Deep diving crankbaits, very versatile. You can fish at different depths. That's why I got to have it in my arsenal during the summertime.
All right. So another type of bait that I like to fish during the summertime is the Texas rig plastic bait. Now, there's a variety of reasons for that. Obviously, they come in a lot of different colors, a lot of different shapes, a lot of different sizes, and different actions which, you know, if it comes to the pick one type of bait, that's probably the one that's the most versatile. But you can also fish it in a variety of different depths. So you can take a creature bait like a lizard or maybe a Rage bug, or you can take a plastic worm, any different size, you can fish anywhere from a 4-inch, maybe straight tail worm to a 10-inch, 12-inch ribbon tail worm, or I've seen 18-inch ones, even longer, and they work. And you can fish them in heaviest of weed cover which sometimes the bass, they bury up deep in those weeds, and you got to go in and dig them out. And Texas rig plastic baits are really, really good lures to use in those situations because you can get them down deep, you can get them in those weeds, and you're not gonna get hung up. You can drag it on through that.
Or, you know, later on in the summertime, mid-to-late summer, those weeds like hydrilla and milfoil will mat over and form these thick mats, and the bass will hang out underneath there. They're eating insects and baitfish. You got to get down to them. Well, put on a 1/2-ounce to a 1 1/2-ounce bullet sinker on it and throw it up in the air, and let it fall right on that mat, and it will punch through it and get down to where those bass are hanging out. So, you know, it's a really cool way to fish in shallow water.
But, a lot of times, in the summer, bass are out deep, too. There's a population that hangs out and stays out there the entire summertime. And so, you know, they might be on a hump or on a rock pile, maybe some deep stumps or trees, maybe, like, on a point somewhere up and down that water column. Well, you just put it on the back end of a Carolina rig or on a drop-shot rig or perhaps a split-shot rig, something like that. You get those plastic baits down to where those fish are, and then you can fish it at whatever cadence it is to match the feeding mood.
You know, if they're really aggressive, you can pop it along the bottom real quickly and reel it almost like a straight reeling it in and get bites that way, or if you hit a day, maybe a front has come through and the bass aren't as aggressive, you can drag it very slowly on the bottom and pause it as much as you need to, and you can catch bass all throughout the entire summertime. So this is why Texas rig plastic baits are in this list.
All right. And finally, on my list of top baits to use. Now, this is, it's not definitely...it ended up being, you know, last in this presentation, but it's definitely not last on my list. Great bait to use is a paddle tail swimbait, you know, those 5 and 6-inch ones like the Rage Swimmer. I really, really like throwing them, not only because it imitates a baitfish but because of the versatility. Just like some of these other baits that have been on this list, versatility is a key. A lot of different colors it comes in different styles, different types of actions, but you can fish it at different depths, and different speeds.
You can simply put it behind a jig head and swim it, you know, along weed edges and along docks, along rock piles. You can fish it over the top of, say, points and even get it down to humps, put it on a heavier jig head or a heavier...like, I could put it on a keel weighted hook to keep it, runs true. I'll just put a heavier keel weighted hook and get it down there deeper and run it across those humps and those ridges and those rock piles and then those sunken stumps and scattered chunk rock. Anything that's down there where the bass are hanging, you can reach it with a paddle tail swimbait and shallow, too.
If they're up on, you know, hanging in those weeds, you can bring it back relatively fast across almost on the surface. Just under the surface, you can create a little wake with the tail right over those weeds and draw those bass up out of those weeds. So it's very, very versatile that way.
But one of the key reasons why I like it in the summertime is because it's a great bait to use when the bass are suspending. And they do this in the summertime. They'll hang out. They'll suspend, say, over 30, 40 feet of water. A swimbait, you can get to them with it.
And what I like to do is just put a lightweight, maybe a 1/4-ounce keel weighted hook on it, throw it out over the top of that school of fish, and let it flutter down right through that school. And a lot of times, it won't make it down through the bottom before it gets whacked. It's a great way. I like it better than using spoons when fish are suspending, just because it's a real subtle, subtle movement, it's a subtle bait, it falls real slow and enticing. You don't have to work it really hard. You just throw it out and wait and watch that line. If that line jumps, pops, twitches, or anything, a fish has nailed. It just engulfed it and you can clean up. You can catch, you just sit on that school and catch fish after fish after fish, letting that swimbait fall through that, you know, suspended fish. When a lot of times, guys aren't catching fish, and they're struggling, you can get suspended bass to bite this lure. So that's why I really like using it in the summertime.
So those are some of the top baits I like to throw in the summertime. Now, I know I probably didn't mention one of your favorite lures. That doesn't mean that it doesn't work in the summer. They do, but these are my top confidence baits that I always have tied on. Yes, I'll throw other baits, and I will catch fish on other baits. But if you really wanna narrow down your choices and have something on board or, you know, when you're bank fishing, have it with you in your tackle box and you wanna make sure that you can catch fish no matter what the circumstances, one of these baits is gonna do the job for you. I hope that helps. For more tips and tricks like this, visit BassResource.com.