By Marc Rogers
Early summer is a great time for bass fishing. As a general rule bass are still located in shallow water. Those that have started the summer migration towards deeper water are still staging on the first deep water drop offs near the spring spawning areas. Since not all bass spawn at the same time there are aggressive fish still willing to entertain you. Bass at this time are often scattered from shallow to semi-deep water.
Finding bass in the early summer is best accomplished by using lures that will cover a lot of water quickly. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are ideal for this task. Spinnerbaits can be worked slow or fast and deep or shallow. Crankbaits are effective due to the baitfish imitating characteristics. Bass are actively eating baitfish during these conditions. Choose crankbaits that will run six feet or deeper to take advantage of their diving abilities. Your spinnerbait will cover any depths less than six feet.
When you are targeting shallow water bass they will likely be near submerged cover and holding tight to it. This submerged cover provides ideal ambush points for feeding bass. Spinnerbaits allow you to cover the shallow water quickly and come through it easily without hanging up.
Crankbaits are a better choice for covering the depth change areas close to the shallow water. Choose a crankbait that will dig into the bottom composition for the best results. This offers two advantages to anglers. First, it allows you to feel the bottom with the lure and determine if rock, mud or submerged cover is present. Second, a crankbait is very effective in luring a reaction strike when it deflects off the bottom or cover.
Once an area has been covered with fast moving lures, slowing down with bottom bouncing lures is effective in convincing the less active bass to bite. Jigs and plastic worms are two great choices for less active bass. A plastic worm rigged Texas style is an easy lure for many beginners and novice anglers to use. A retrieve of slowly dragging it on the bottom or using a lift and drop presentation are the most popular and effective. When using the lift and drop technique remember that slightly lifting your rod tip will cause the lure to move about six inches under water making less better than more when lifting your lure.
Jigs are one of the most effective lures for imitating crawfish. A skirted jig paired with a plastic trailer can be used by dragging, lifting and dropping or swam back to the angler. Jigs come in many head styles and can get confusing which ones are appropriate for different situations. As a rule of thumb, a football head jig will be less likely to hang up if the bottom is comprised of mostly rocks. Football heads have a wide footprint without any pointed features near the hook eye to get caught in and under rocks. Also, the design keeps the hook positioned up and away from the bottom.
Football jigs are ideal for dragging slowly on gravel points void of much cover. Dragging the jig kicks up debris on the bottom imitating a crawfish searching for food. Generally a slow retrieve is the most productive but there are times when quickly lifting the jig from the bottom will generate a reaction strike from a bass. The quick movement imitates a crawfish fleeing from a predator.
Brush jig are better for heavy cover presentation where the pointed and narrow head design provides for better penetration into the cover. Their design makes them more likely to hang up in rocks due to the pointed head design. When heavy grass, weeds and wood cover are present this style of jig head is the best choice.
Most time brush jigs are more effective when presented in a vertical manner. Short casts, flipping or pitching jigs into heavy cover and slowly lifting and dropping the bait will often entice a reaction strike. Moving the jig slowly is key to this technique.
Early summer bass fishing tend to scatter bass from shallow to deep water. Mix up your lure choice and presentations until you find what works for the current conditions. Once you establish what is effective you can try this in different areas of the lake or stream.