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Fishing the Dog Days of Summer

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Fishing the dog days of summer can be some of the most grueling and hard to fish times of the year. Most lakes and reservoirs have water levels down a few feet and vegetation is so thick it’s impossible to fish. Finding the right spots and using the right baits can be very difficult to determine at times. It is also important to know where the fish are schooling and what depths to fish. This is where it is very important to have the right electronics and knowing how to use them. For me, it is also very important to have a mapping chip like Navionics to follow contour lines and look for key areas that these fish congregate to. As you notice in the Navionics picture attached, my trail is in 15-20ft of waters. This hot summer day the larger fish were hanging on the outskirts of the grass line and sitting in 15-20ft of water. Having this chip in my unit was invaluable to finding fish. This shot was taken from a August tournament and having good electronics allowed me a 2nd place tournament finish.

Locating the fish is only the first piece of the puzzle; the next is getting the fish to bite. Once you find the fish, pay close attention to the water clarity. This time of year water clarity is important when it comes to bait selection. For clear water with 5 to 10ft visibility I like to go with a smaller bait with a more natural color like Watermelon or Green Pumpkin. For me, my go to summer time pattern for clear water is a smaller finesse worm about 5” either Texas rigged or on a shaky head. I like to keep the weight around 1/8 to 3/16oz. If that doesn’t seem to be working I will speed up my fishing and go with a square bill crank bait or a diving crank bait. This allows me to cover a lot more water to try and figure the fish out. Having the square bill is important for fishing cover, which is where most fish go during these hot days. If the water is more stained I like to flip cover with a dark jig with a Bustem Baits craw or throw a spinner bait with at least one Colorado blade. The Colorado blade has more vibration through the water and draws more attention to the bait. I like to stay around cover with these baits when the water is stained.


Regardless of all the above mentioned techniques, one bait I always throw in the summer time is a top water bait. I typically have found my bigger top water fish coming on a black buzz bait. I try to throw it up as close to shore as possible and burn it back to the kayak. If I am fishing in a place where there is thick vegetation I will throw a frog. This year I switched over to the poppin frog and I seemed to have more success on it. It keeps the bait in the strike zone a little longer which allowed for a better hook up ratio. No matter what top water bait you go with it is important to make sure you are on the water just before sun up. The bigger fish do most of their feeding either at night or just as the sun is going up. You chances are much better if you get on the water early. Fishing the hot days of the summer can be frustrating, but know where fish go and throwing the right baits will produce more fish when others are not catching them.

Gear User:

7’0 MH Bustem Baits Custom St Croix Rod

Lews BB1 Pro 7.1:1

100% Berkley 15lb Flurocarbon

Columbia Sports Wear PFG clothing.