Summer Bass fishing

Eric Davis

Mayhood’s Sporting Goods

CHENANGO COUNTY – July often starts as a decent fishing with the fish dispersed almost everywhere in the lake from shallow to deep. This is a slight extension from the post spawn as fish are actively feeding to get back to a healthy shape.

As the water temperature rises above 75-80 degrees, bass start to get sluggish to conserve energy. This usually puts them into an ambush-predator type of mode. Look for fish in weedbeds early in the morning or other shallow cover such as downed trees or stumps.

As the sun gets higher in the sky, the bass will either go to deep water where it is cooler or they will hide under cover such as boat docks or lily pads. Fish deep diving crankbaits that run at least 10 feet deep in water that is slightly shallower. This causes the bait to dig into the bottom with the lip and stir up the bottom. This gets fish to come investigate it because there could be crayfish or something disrupting the bottom.

Try a tailless worm such as the Yamamoto senko fished wacky rigged around the boat docks. With some practice, you can skip the worm right up under the dock into the shade where the bass are hiding. Let it slowly sink and wait for the tap-tap feeling of a bass sucking the worm into its mouth. Spinnerbaits can be productive along the edge of weedbeds, retrieve them so that you can feel the lure ticking along the tops of the weeds.

This is the time for my favorite type of fishing, plastic frogs in the lily pads. Nothing beats watching a wake through the pads coming at your frog and then a fish erupting into the air to grab the frog. If you want to try this technique you may need to upgrade some of your equipment to handle the conditions.

You will want to get a seven foot or longer rod with either a medium-heavy or a heavy action. This is so it can handle the weight of the fish plus wads of lily pads that will always get tangled with your line and allow you to make pretty long casts.

The reel you use should be a low gear ratio to ask more of a winch. I prefer to use a bait casting setup for frog fishing since there is no line twist when the line is retrieved plus it has more of a winching effect than spinning reels.

Lastly, the line you use will need to be beefed up. Braided line is useful as you can get very high breaking strength in a smaller diameter compared to monofilament or fluorocarbon. My preference is to use either 50 or 65 lb. test braid, whatever is on sale when I buy the line.

When buying braided line, read the packaging as it can come in smaller spools of 100 yards instead of the 300 yard spools that monofilament usually comes in. It may be smart to buy a small spool to experiment and to get a larger spool once you find the line that works best for you.

A larger spool will allow you to use the same line for two or three spoolings. When choosing your lures, it is easy to be sucked in to buying the ones that look extremely realistic from the top. However, the bottom is what you should focus on. This is the only thing that the fish will see from beneath the water. Try to get at least one frog for each of the following bottom colors; white, yellow, and black.

White and yellow are useful for bright days to better mimic live frogs. The black belly works better in cloudy weather and at dawn or dusk as it creates a better silhouette in low light.

There are a couple of options when you look at frogs, either floating frogs or sinking frogs. Floating frogs obviously float and can be better when the fish are swiping at the frog but not always grabbing it on the first pass. If a fish tries to eat the frog but misses, you can stop, retrieve and let the frog sit still for a second in case the fish comes back. Or you can twitch it on slack line so it doesn’t really move far but still has some movement.

The frogs that sink typically need to be rigged with a very large offset shank work to make them weedless, often termed as weightless Texas-rigged. These require a constant reeling to keep the frog on the surface while its ‘feet’ paddle or buzz. When the fish are aggressive, these frogs can work better as they often have a higher hookset to strike ratio than the floating frogs.

Another good option is to have a tailless plastic worm rigged either Texas-style, without a weight or wacky – depends on how thick the cover is – as a follow-up bait for when fish miss your frog.

A well placed cast with the worm often results in a fish getting caught. I like fishing in the afternoon on bright sunny days and in the evening when using frogs.


– Mayhood’s Sporting Goods

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