Dog days of summer mean tougher bass fishing
Baby bushhogs, when Texas rigged, are an effective plastic bait during the dog days of summer. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of John K. Flores)
When July rolls around, just about every conversation I have with people I come into contact with goes something like, “How ya doing today? Man, it’s hot!” The latter part, though a statement, is more to solicit some response that they agree with me. And what I find during the dog days of July and August is we normally tend to gear everything around avoiding the heat of the day.
We mow the lawn usually early in the morning or very late in the afternoon. We start talking about how instead of walking or riding our bike we ought to consider a membership to Anytime Fitness, because at least we can exercise in the air conditioning.
The sizzling hot conditions also impact the fishing around these parts — bass in particular. And the one thing I’ve learned about bass during the dog days of summer is, just like humans, bass like to be comfortable, too.
Tyler Dupre would rather drive a boat 50 miles than he would a vehicle. The 24-year-old was born and raised in Houma and when he isn’t working as a safety technician for Danos, he’s usually somewhere south of Bayou Black Marina fishing bass.
The young angler also isn’t typical of others his age that leave you wondering if they’re listening to you when they’ve got their faces buried in their cell phones. He actually prefers to talk about bass tactics — many he learned from his late grandfather.
And when it comes to summer bass fishing, Dupre, who isn’t a tournament angler, is someone who would hold his own if he was putting weight on the scale.
“I started bass fishing when I was a kid,” says Dupre. “I was probably 13 or 14 years old and my grandfather wanted to get me into fishing. Up until then, I never really fished. The things he taught me I really took to heart and I learned a lot. One of the things I learned from him is making that transition from the spring spawn when the water is cooler to the summer pattern when the water heats up above 70 degrees. You can fish your bait faster because the fish are more active and more aggressive. I also fish cover when it’s hot, because bass are looking for shade. I’ll also fish deeper, because that’s where the cooler water is that they prefer.”
Shade comes in all forms. Not only will bass get under grass mats in bayous and canals, but they’ll also get under floating camps, wharfs and submerged logs.
Unfortunately, the best time to fish bass and honestly most pan fish as well during the summer is early in the morning and late in the afternoon — the same time you’re supposed to be on the lawn mower.
Nonetheless, one thing is for sure: Whether you’re cutting grass or fishing, once the sun gets up overhead around mid-morning, it’s time to head to the house and find something cold to drink.
Besides the heat, there are other summer conditions that cause bass anglers to make adjustments as well. When there are several days of overcast during the summer, quite often it will lower the water temperature enough where you can put in a full day’s fishing.
One advantage to overcast days is you can often get closer to the structure, grass bed or cypress trees you’re fishing without scaring the fish.
Another condition that occurs during the summer is tropical weather patterns where high and low pressure systems along with rain squalls throughout the week change the water conditions. Perhaps no other condition is as important as watercolor to the bass angler.
Dupre said, “My perfect water would be like a fresh brewed coffee color with a little hint of cream in it. I don’t want to fish in anything too murky. I want to be able to see my bait down to around 8-inches from the surface. But, when the water is muddy, I’ll fish with a darker bait or something louder to get the fish’s attention.”
According to Dupre, the water can be too clear and describes it as when you can see your bait two feet or more under the surface.
Dupre said, “When the water is clear, bass tend to be spooky. They’re not as aggressive as they are when the water is a stained color. Some of it is pressure in locations like the Orange Grove, 70-mile, Turtle Bayou and the Bluebird Canal, where these popular areas get lots and lots of pressure from tournament anglers. The fish just get really spooky.”
Fishing top water baits can be productive during the summer.
Stanley Ribbit Frogs fastened to Double-take Wedgehead hooks is a great weedless combination. Other top water baits to consider are Heddon Torpedo, and Arbogast Jitter Bugs. Buzz baits also work well soliciting a summer top water bite the first thing in the morning.
The later it gets in August, smaller marsh bass tend to school up and the fishing can be fast and furious while sitting on a trenausse during a falling tide. The challenge is getting your mind off the heat and your boat on the water.
If you wish to make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story to share, you can contact John K. Flores at 985-395-5586 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.gowiththeflooutdoors.com.