One of my very favorite bites of the year is the early summer offshore bite. Big schools of bass congregate offshore and are easily plucked from their deep water holes. But, something happens once it gets too hot in July and August. The deep water fish have been beat to death and, all of the sudden; some shallow fish start to show up. Fishing shallow in the dog days is one of my favorite times to make the move to shallower water. The fish are less pressured and, if you get lucky, you can find some resident giant bass.
What To Look For
Fishing shallow in late summer isn’t just about going down the bank making random casts. It doesn’t even necessarily mean you are casting at the bank. For example, stake beds make an excellent place to catch fish during the late summer period. Pods of small baitfish congregate around these wooden pieces of cover and bass are always in close proximity. This can be a great way to get a big bite. Another possibility is fishing the backs of creeks and rivers. These often have a decent population of resident fish that can be caught burning down the banks or flipping the cover. Also, don’t forget about shallow ledges or bars inside of some of the bigger bays. Fish start to move back in the creeks earlier than people think. This can be a great way to collide with a school of fish when the timing is right.
What To Use When Fishing Shallow
Around stake beds, it’s really tough to beat a swim jig or a soft plastic jerkbait. These two lures have accounted for plenty of fish catches over the years, and they do an excellent job around stake beds. Stay as far off of the bed as you can and make a long cast to the target. If you go up a creek or river, rig up a spinnerbait and a flipping stick. Roll a spinnerbait down the bank until you come up to the really juicy looking cover, then bust out the flipping stick. You can really cover water and put some nice fish in the boat. When fishing shallow ledges, I really like throwing a big square bill, like the Lucky Craft B.D.S. I first tried this technique after reading about Rick Clunn’s success in an Elite tournament on Old Hickory several years ago. I have had some really good days throwing an oversized square bill on shallow ledges, and it’s kind of a sleeper pattern.
Fishing shallow in the dead heat of summer can be a really fun change of pace from the deep water grind. I love fishing deep but it gets tough to stay focused when it’s 90+ degrees and there’s not a lick of wind. Late summer fishing is a pretty slow bite regardless but focusing on a shallow bite can result in a decent bag. It just takes patience and paying attention to each and every bite. Try these three late summer shallow techniques, and you’ll come across some above average fishing for the dog days.