July Bassin RocksJuly Bassin Rocks In July it is time to leave the shore and head towards the deeper water rock haunts. Try these tactics and you too will soon be singing the praises of deepwater rock bass.
By Scott M. Petersen
By the time that the month of July gets here bass fishing has gone through a few changes. The spawn is done and we have made it through the post spawn blues, followed by the short pre-summer pattern. By the time the month of July hits the calendar pages bass fisherman will be faced with one of the longest calendar period that bass will face all year: the summer pattern. Except for the winter calendar period which bass in our part of the country are not chased or very rarely caught the summer period will keep bass in the same locations and pattern for the next few months too come.
The summer period will generally hit as a rule of thumb the last week of June or the first week of July. This will have a lot to do with what Mother Nature has in store for us it could be earlier or could be later. During this time frame, pre summer- to summer-period, bass will make one of two distinct movements, some of the bass population will head towards the protection of the shallow slop and bury up for the summer months or they will head towards the cooler deepwater haunts.
It has been said many times that deepwater is the home of the big fish and during the summertime this can not be a truer statement if you are looking for big bass. Bass will make movements towards rocky sections of the lakes that are located in depths that range from 8ft to 25ft or deeper in some cases. The main factor that has to be present for the bass to take up residence in these deepwater haunts has to be a food source. The main food that bass will be eating during this time period is bluegills with a few crawfish thrown in here or there.
To find these areas you will need a good depthfinder I use a Humminbird 987. With the depth scale adjusted to be able to see double the depth of the bottom when I see the double echo on the screen I know I am on rocks. Once I find the rocky area that I am looking for I will flip my transducer switch and run the structure a few times with the side imaging capability of the 987 to see what the rock structure looks like. With the side imaging of the 987 I can look for and see boulder areas that stand out and will attract the bigger bass of the school or the structure. These are the areas that I will target first.
Crankbaits will get the first crack at these rock structure summer bass. I have found Rapala DT 16's to be one of the best crankbait to use for this pattern. The DT will reach a depth of 15ft to 16ft on 10lb test line on a regular cast. Simply put, making contact with the structure is key to generate strikes, if you are not making contact with the rocks you will not be getting strikes. With the crankbait you will take the aggressive, active bass and the feeders in the school.
For the non-aggressive bass I will follow up my crankbait presentation with a slower bottom presentation like a football jig tipped with either a spider grub or a tube bait. Outkasts Tackle Touchdown Jig is perfect for this presentation. I prefer a heavier jig so I will fish the ¾-ounce model. This size gives me a constant feel of what the bottom make up is, and if I am fishing in the right areas. If you are not feeling rocks with this pattern you will not get bites. When it comes to tipping the jig you have a few options. My number one choice is a spider grub; my second choice would be an Outkast 4-inch Pigg followed by a tube.
I fish this presentation on a 7-foot or 7½-foot flippin stick spooled with 20 pound P-Line Fluorocarbon line. Make your cast and let the bait sink to the bottom. When it comes to a retrieve you want to drag the bait instead of hopping it like you would a traditional jig. When you come to a rock try to rock the jig back and forth a few times before you lift the jig over rock or structure you are fishing before you get back to dragging the jig. This retrieve tactic alone will get bites when the bite is tough or when it seems nothing else will work.
The last rock presentation to keep in your arsenal is a jig and worm or grub presentation. When all else fails try this finesse presentation before you move onto your next spot. I have had days when this is the only presentation that the bass will bite. I think as the summer goes on bass see a bunch of crankbaits go over their heads and see a fair amount of jigs in their areas. But there is something about a Money Jig and a 4-inch worm or a grub that a big old rock bass can not pass up. 1/8-ounce and 3/16-ounce Money Jigs are the two sizes that I keep stocked and I carry a variety of 4-inch ring worms and grubs to tip these jigs. If the bite is real tough try to tip the money jig with a tube or a spider grub and drag the jig on the bottom to give them a different look. This combo many times has saved the day and caught the biggest bass along the way.
So when you get to the month of July it is time to leave the shore and head towards the deeper water rock haunts. Remember to adjust your depthfinder to be able to see the double echo that the rocks will put off. A food source is the big key, look for signs of bluegills in the area. Cover the area with a crankbait and follow that up with a Touchdown Jig and Money Jig presentations. I bet you too will soon be singing the praises of deepwater rock bass.
Please remember to practice CPR (Catch, Photo and Release). The future of fishing is in your hands. For more timely tips and tactics for bass please log onto fishinginsider.com
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