Summer River Bass Fishing

Summer Bass Fishing Videos
River bass fishing in summer can be a blast, IF you follow these tips. Proven yet untold summer river bass fishing tactics that work!

The Gear:

Simms SolarFlex UltraCool Hoodie:

Simms Women’s Bugstopper Tee:

Dry Creek Tube Bait -

Booyah Blade - Double Willow Blade:

Bandit Series 300 Crankbait:

Rebel Lures Pop-R Fishing Lure:


Yum RibbonTail Worm:

YUM Dinger:

Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon Line:

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Glenn: Hey, folks, Glenn May here with It is summertime. It is hot. It's 90 degrees right now. And it's forecasted to get well above 100 today, so it's gonna be a hot one. And this time of year in the middle of summer, late summer, it can be a little tough fishing out there on the lakes. But on the rivers that's a different story. I really like fishing rivers this time of the year, and really for three main reasons.

A river that is churning and constantly aerating the water so it holds more dissolved oxygen. Typically, river water temps are a little bit cooler than the surrounding lakes. So, that also aids in holding dissolved oxygen. And also that lower water temperature, the fish tend to be a little more active. And finally, and really I should have said this is the first and the main point is the current.

The current positions those fish and it makes them more active. They tend to be shallower, less than 10 feet of water. And the more current you have, the more active that they are, regardless of how hot it is outside. So, I really like going out there and fishing the river.

So that's what I'm gonna talk about today is river bass fishing in the summertime. And just the ways that I go about catching more fish. So, the thing you need to think about here is the current really dictates everything in a river system. The stronger the current is, the more food and nutrients are being washed down the river, plus, it positions the fish behind those current breaks. Those can be bridge pilings, rock piles, can be wing dams, stumps, even islands in the middle of the river if it's a big enough river.

And what happens is you get these little eddies behind these current breaks. And that's where the fish sit in that slack water. And as the food source and stuff washes by them, they dart out in that current and grab it and go back in behind that current break. So, current breaks are the key. Really, they are the key. And you need to figure out what they're hiding behind. And then it's a matter of just going from current break to current break and catching fish. It can be actually a really fun way of doing it.

A couple of things you need to think about though is, if you're working on a river system that has a lot of dams, you're at the mercy of the dam operators as to how much current flow is coming through. And maybe some days are not pulling a lot of water, that can shut down the fishing. Sometimes they just go out in the middle of river and suspend and won't bite, or they just aren't in active feeding mode because there's not as much baitfish moving around and being swept downcurrent.

What tends to happen then is the fish will move up alongside the current break. Say for example it's an island. Let me just give an example. So, you have an island here, the current is going down this way, strong current, the fish will be right behind the island. As the current is less and less, they'll start to move up on the sides of the island. And one area that can be a real hotspot if the current is really slack is what I call the shoulders. So, the top of the island is here, current is coming this way on the edges here. That's the shoulders. The current comes down and it's a little bit faster right here on the shoulders than it is on the rest of the island or any kind of current break. I'm just using this as an example. So, instead of fishing behind the island, those eddies get up in the front to fish those shoulders, because the fish will sit right on the edge of that island and that current washes over, and they'll be right there and darting into that current to grab fish.

So you need to pay attention to the strength of the current as to where the fish may be positioned. If I had my druthers I'd be out where there's a lot of current, just a lot more action that way.

But the one thing you gotta keep in mind is, if you're gonna go out on a boat in strong current, I strongly advise you, you need to have a strong trolling motor at least a 24-volt system. I recommend a 36 volt, that's three batteries dedicated to the trolling motor. Have a separate battery for the cranking motor. If you're in strong current and you have the same batteries are powering both and you have a failure, you turn a fun day and the fishing to a very dire situation. It could be life-threatening. So, just make sure that your equipment is in good operating order, and your batteries are in good shape. So you can navigate those strong current waters without any problems. So, enough of the PSA.

Alright, so before I get into the different lures to use, I wanna get into the kind of the universal foundational way of presenting these lures in the summertime. It's all about the current, guys. These fish, like I mentioned, are positioned behind a current break. So, what you wanna do is throw your lure upstream above that current break. Bring that lure in the current and let it pull into that slack water area where the fish are hiding. What you'll see is this rip line, this current rip, if you will. It's a break where it's a transitionary between the current and the slack water area. You'll see this current seam, right? This rippled area, is this turbulent water and it's a little line.

That area is typically where you're gonna get bit. So you wanna bring your lure through that as it transitions into that slack water area. And this is true for pretty much every bait that you wanna throw. The key thing about it is, when you're making your cast, it has to be relative to that current seam. Now, when you're fishing lakes, you're used to throwing to objects, you're used to throwing to docks and rocks and stumps, and all that kind of thing. Well, with this, that current is constantly fluctuating, and that current seam will move with that.

So, if you make a cast that you're relative to something that's physical located, and you get bit and then you keep casting in the same spot, you might not get bit anymore. You need to watch that current seam and watch it move and make your cast relative to that, that's important.

So, let's get into those lures. There's basically seven lures, seven types of lures that I fish in the summertime and that is crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater, worms, jigs, soft plastic stick baits, and my favorite, the tube. So, let's go through these really quick.

The crankbaits and the spinnerbaits are what I like to use when the water is really moving. I got some good, strong current. Or say for example, there's been a thunderstorm or some rain activity and the water's muddied up a bit. These are really great lures for that. What I'll do is, say for example the spinnerbait that works really well if there's some weeds present, and you wanna pull this across the top of those weeds, you can draw those fish out of those weeds. But I'll throw that again upstream and I'll use a 1/2-ounce to 3/4-ounce bait, it's a heavier weight because of that current, you want it to sink down and get down the strike zone as it goes by you and into that eddy. So I'll use that. I'll use willow leaf blades because they have the profile of baitfish. They have the flash and vibration. They also allow that bait to sink more. Plus, as a little bonus, when it gets downcurrent from you and you're winding it back up, you're not having to wrench it back, you're not all this resistance that you're having, you're gonna wear out your wrist pretty quick if you got a Colorado or Indiana blades on your spinnerbaits. So, added bonus there.

As for the crankbaits, I break it into basically three different types. One is the vibrating lipless crankbaits. I'll throw that, again, same way with the spinnerbaits, over those weed beds right over the top of them draw those fish out. So it's excellent, excellent bait for that. But also, if you're fishing in deeper water, you can let that crankbait fall down through the water column and get down towards the bottom. Or if you're bringing it up say there's a current, you know, something that's breaking the current, you can bring it up shallow, it's got that drop to it, and I've fished a lot of areas like this where it's maybe 1 feet deep and suddenly it drops to 15. And right in that eddy is where those fish are. You can bring it right across that and drop it right down where they're sitting and catch them that way. So that's a really good bait to use for the summertime.

Two others is a deep-diving crankbait. In the summertime a lot of times there's a lot of rocks, not weeds but a lot of rocks mainly due to the strong current. We're using a deep-diving crankbait that gets down to that 10 to 15-foot range and there's some big boulders down there that the fish are sitting behind. You can get that crankbait down there and let it bounce off those rocks and ricochet and dart erratically, and you can trigger bites that way.

Conversely, like I mentioned, a lot of times in the summertime these fish are shallow, they're up less than 10 feet of water, and that's where a square bill crankbait works really well. Same presentation, just shallower. Boulders is what I like to go after, rocks, chunk rock, and just let it bounce and ricochet all around these rocks and just dart erratically, and you can get fish that'll jump out behind these bigger rocks to smash that lure.

So, typically with these lures, with a spinnerbait, I'll use a white color spinnerbait. And with the crankbaits, I'll use natural colors because, again, the water is pretty clear, so, crawdad color, shad colors, I'll throw maybe chrome in there as well. The blades on the willow leaf blades will be chrome. And if there's been, the water has muddied up a little bit, then I'll throw some chartreuse in there to give it a little more color, a little more contrast.

But that's basically it for those lures. Moving on to top water, really, it's poppers, that's what I like to fish during the summertime because it looks like an injured baitfish. And that works really well specifically when there's not a lot of current. And you can work it like you do on a lake. It's almost flat calm sometimes, very little current, and that's when the fish, you can get it up there and behind those little current breaks or those little shoulder areas that I told you about. Let it drift through those areas, give it little twitches and pops. And, man, the bass will come up and just crush it. It's also a really good lure to use if those fish are out suspended. If they're in less than 10 feet of water or so, you can throw it over the top of them, even though it maybe 20 feet deep underneath them. If they're that close to the surface, throwing a popper over the top of them and just subtly popping and giving the subtle little twitches across the top is all it needs. And you'll get fish to come up and nail them. So, a really good fish with this...A really good bait for those suspending fish.

Let's move on to the jigs and the worms. This is kind of the in-between current, when it's not super strong and when it's not really weak. And you can do it when it's super weak too. But I like to use it when it's kind of moderate current. For me, that's when it shines the most. What I'll do is a jig. I'll use a round ball head jig, because when you fish it in the rocks, it has a less tendency to get hung up. And it also, if it does get stuck in there, it's easier to get out because it doesn't have any weird shapes for it to wedge down on the rocks that's why. And the same thing with the plastics. I'll put them on a round ball head jighead weedless and fish that. And these can work really well in the weeded areas, but I like to fish in the same manner I told you before, throw it upcurrent, let it come through that current break into that eddy. The key with fishing them here is, for the weight. You don't want it to get down to the bottom and then jig it on the bottom like you would in a lake. Here, you want the current to kind of flush it down and let it bumble along. Every once in a while ticking those rocks and logs and what's down there, just kind of bouncing off of it, not landing in them. So, a heavy weight is not necessarily a good thing because it'll wedge down in there and sometimes you can't get it out.

I mean, river fishing, you're gonna donate to the tackle gods, that's all there is to it, you're gonna get hung up, you're gonna lose gear, know that going in. But you can do some things to avoid it. And one of them is not to use a heavy, heavy weight with these jigs and worms, but you have to experiment.

I typically I start with a 1/4-ounce weight and I'll move up and down depending on the current. The stronger the current is I may go up to 1/2 ounce, even 3/4 ounce weight. You just want it to fall down through the column and just bounce on those rocks as it goes by into that current break and into the eddy. That's the key. So, if it gets down there and you wedge and you get stuck you know you're using too heavy a weight. If it just gets swept downstream and never hits the bottom, you got too light a weight.

So, and again, I'll stick with the natural colors because of the clear water. So watermelon seed with maybe red flake in there. I like pumpkin seed, any kind of the browns, green pumpkin, I like to use smoke with salt and pepper flake in it. Those type of colors, crawdad colors are also really good to use. If it's really muddied up, then I may even flip to a black and blue jig or some people call it peanut butter and jelly jig with purple in it. Those work really well.

Keri: Right at the boat. Look at that. He caught a little one. It's a monster.

Glenn: There we go. Little dude. Stop it. Well, they all can't be big. But they can all be fun.

Keri: Yeah, that's right.

Glenn: Thank you little guy.

Keri: And he is out of here. He's like, "I'm gone."

Glenn: All right, let's move on to the next bait, which is, the soft plastic stick bait. Now, this can be used whether you have really strong current or no current at all or anything in between. It's really just a matter of how you rig it. I like to use it when the fish aren't biting as aggressively in that slower current. I just rig it weightless Texas rig like you normally would, throw it out there and just let it slowly sink. And a lot of times it elicits a bite, especially if the fish are suspending you can bring this through the suspending fish. And a lot of times it won't make it through that ball of fish before it gets bit.

But I also like to use it in targeting areas like those wing dams and those brush piles, those rocks, those stumps that have a little bit of current break. If there's a little bit of current you can just let it slowly flutter down behind that. It's a great way to catch those fish.

If there's more weight...if there's more current then I add some weight to it. And here I'll use a ball head jighead again, I'll start with an 1/8th-ounce jig head and it's the same premise as using those plastics and jigs. Throw it upcurrent and let it slowly sink as it gets by you. But in this instance, you don't even want it to hit the bottom. It's the slow fall that elicits a bite with this lure. So, that's why I start with an 1/8th-ounce weight. You can go up to 1/4 ounce or maybe even 1/2 ounce, but I wouldn't go much higher than that. I don't want it to get the bottom. I want it to be falling as it gets through that strike zone. That's usually when it gets bit.

If it's already on the bottom usually doesn't get bit. So, that how I rig it. Simple and easy. Just wacky rig with a little ball head jighead, change the weight, you can catch a lot fish that way.

Finally, let's get to my favorite bait which is the tube. I love fishing the tube because it really resembles the two main forages that the bass are eating on, which is the baitfish and crawdads. And you really can't go wrong with that. So what typically I do is I rig it with a jighead up to a 1/4 ounce. Open jighead just open hook, throw it out there same way up the current, let it come on down, drift into that current seam and right into the bass' lair right where he's waiting.

If I need more weight than that. You can't really fit it in the tube anymore. This ball head jigs and the tube jigs are just too big, they're too fat, they won't fit inside the tube. So I'll switch up and I'll throw a split shot rig. Mojo rig is what some people call it. Using the cylindrical weights. These cylindrical weights don't get hung up as much as other type of weights. And so I'll use that and I'll go up to maybe even 3/8ths to 1/2 ounce weight on that and just rig it like a split shot so you've got 18 inches and 2 feet of line past it, and that's where the lure is tied onto it. Throw it out there same methodology applies, nothing else different beyond that. A lot of times the fish will get bit...The fish will bite that lure when it's drifting on down past them that way. So it's a really great way to do it. Typically, I'll rig that bait weedless when I have it on a split shot because I also like to use that rig for throwing in weedy areas too. So I can be really productive for those.

Colors, same colors apply. Use the green pumpkins, I like to use clear with sparkle flake in it or smoke with salt and pepper. I like to use a color people call it baby diaper yellow, it's kind of a blend between green pumpkin and watermelon. Those light color, natural colors is what I tend to use the most and catch the most fish on them.

So, those are the different ways that I fish it. One of the key things I wanna make really clear is, on all of these lures, all these presentations, I'm using straight fluorocarbon line. I don't use braid unless I'm really in the thick weeds and I'm using heavier weights and digging the fish out of the weeds, then I'll use braid. Other than that, it's straight fluorocarbon. No line, no leader, no braid-to-leader knots anything like that. Straight fluorocarbon because the water's clear. So I want less visibility, it has greater sensitivity, and you have greater control. Braid is buoyant, and when you're in that current situation it bows really quick and you don't have as much control and sensitivity of that bait as it's moving through the current. You need to have that, guys, you have to have that when you're fishing this current. So straight fluorocarbon is the best way to go.

All right, so, that's how I fish it in the summertime. That's how I catch a lot of fish and enjoy. Even though it's gonna be super hot out today, get out on the river and catch a lot of fish. For more tips and tricks like this, visit