Keri: I can't believe we haven't caught anything off this.
Glenn: Really? There we go. Yeah. See? You know they're in here. Boom, boom, boom, boom.
Keri: Bang, bang, bang, bang. Come hither you heathen. He's mad at me.
Glenn: It's a good fish.
Keri: It is a really good fish. Hope I don't have him hooked badly though. Just I hope not. I hope not, dude, because I don't want to do that to you.
Glenn: Hey, folks, Glenn May here with BassResource.com, and today I want to talk to you about the top seven baits that I use in the summer to catch fish throughout the entire season. Now, granted, there are a lot of baits out there that catch a lot of fish and it can be kind of confusing as to what bait to throw and when. So, I know that these seven baits that I'm about to tell you, I can go out with just these and I know I'm going to catch fish no matter what the circumstances. So, let's get right into it.
The first bait that I want to talk to you about is, you know, a plastic bait. This could be any kind of creature bait, like say a Rage Craw, or maybe a YUM Dinger, or it could be maybe a...Oh, a plastic worm or a lizard. They come in so many different shapes and sizes. This is one of the reasons why Texas rig plastic bait is one of my favorites.
In addition, you can get them in different colors and different sizes, and so you've got this whole variety that can adapt to any situation that you're in, whether it's a bright sunny day in clear water or it's dingy water and it's windy out, you can find the bait to fish in this area. But not only that, the versatility of where you can fish it.
So, in the summertime, the bass can be pretty much anywhere. They can be buried up thick in weeds, and this is where a Texas rig bait really shines because it will slither through the weeds without getting hung up in those weeds, or maybe you've got matted vegetation in the middle of summer towards the end of summer. You can punch through that mat, put a half-ounce to ounce and a half bullet head weight, and you can throw it up in the air, let it land on that matted vegetation. It'll punch right through it. A good bait to use for that is maybe the Rage bug or, you know, Beaver-style bait because it's sort of an arrow-shaped body if you look at it. It's kind of a wedge shape and it's perfect for punching through that vegetation to get down to where those bass are hanging out underneath it. Smaller baits, you can skip it underneath docks, for example, or say the fish are hanging out deeper, and they do this a lot in the summertime. They'll go out to, you know, 10, 20, 30 feet of water and they hang out on ridges, and humps, and break lines, and maybe at the end of that long tapering point or something like that.
Well, you can just rig a Texas rig bait at the end of a Carolina rig or put it on a drop shot, or maybe a split shot rig or something like that, just to get that bait down to where they're at, and then you can work it depending on their activity level. If they're really aggressive, you can work it fast, and if they're not in a neutral but negative feeding mode, well, you can slow it down and just slowly crawl it across the bottom and get those bites. So, it's because of the versatility, the different colors you can have, the different styles, and actions of bait, plus, you can fish it throughout the entire water column. This is why I like Texas rig baits.
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. 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. Another type of bait that I like to use is frogs and toads. Now, I know, technically, they're two different baits, but I tend to lump them into one category because they look similar, you fish them in a similar fashion, and you fish them in the same kind of areas, so I tend to lump it in the same sort of thing. So, don't get mad at me because I'm picking two different lures. I know they're different. But, frogs, let's start with that.
Frog is a hollow body frog. I like it because it floats, and it's weedless, you know. The hooks are right up against the body, the collapsible body just, you know, when the bass crushes it, they get impaled on it right away. But because of that weedless nature and because it floats, you can throw it across heavy, heavy cover. So, for example, when Hydrilla, and when milfoil, when it mats over the top, it gets that thick cover that canopy where the bass are hanging out underneath it. That's a great time to throw a frog. Throw it over the top of that matted vegetation and just wind it back in. That's all you got to do. And the bass will see it and they're tracking up underneath it and they'll blast right through that canopy to nail that frog.
It's exhilarating. It's exciting way to catch fish. It startles you. It's so much fun to see that strike. And that's, you know, one of the main reasons why I really like throwing it in the summertime. But also, because it floats, you can bring it across those pockets where there's an opening, or maybe you bring it across sparse lily pads, for example, and there's an opening in there. You can let it sit, just sit in place, and just hang out. All you do is take your rod, give it a little twitch every now and then to make it look alive. And a lot of times you're going to entice reluctant bass to come up and blast it. They just can't stand it. It looks like a helpless creature that's struggling to stay afloat, and that's an easy meal for bass. So, it's a great way to catch fish when they're up hanging around this thick vegetation, frog is it.
Now, toad, very similar, toads are, they're solid bodies, but they have those legs gives that kicking action, and so when you bring it across the water kind of gurgles. Real subtle. You can, again, throw the same thing over the top of the matted vegetation, reel it back in, it causes a bit more of a commotion. So, again, bass will come up, blast through that vegetation. The big difference is, when you bring it across a hole or an opening in the weeds, kill it, and just let it flutter down. It'll slowly slink sink down. If a bass is tracking it, here it comes right in his face and he has to pounce on it. He has to react. And so, it's a great way to catch fish. Say, for example, they don't necessarily want to blast through that vegetation, they'll eat it when it falls through that opening. So, frogs and toads, favorite baits to throw during the summertime.
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. 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.
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.
So, those are some of the top baits I like to throw in the summertime. Now, I know I probably didn't mention one your favorite lures. That doesn't mean it doesn't work in the summer. They do. 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 want to narrow down your choices and have something onboard or, you know, when you're bank fishing, have it with you in your tackle box and you want to make sure that you can catch fish no matter what the circumstances, one of these baits is going to do the job for you. I hope that helps. For more tips and tricks like this, visit BassResource.com.