It’s already the end of July, and with each passing day we are closer to school starting for kids, fall setting in, and days getting shorter and shorter.
But even in the heat of the summer you can still find some good fishing on the local lakes. Yesterday my son, a friend and I took my little fishing boat to Nemahbin lake. We spent the late afternoon hours casting lines for bass while enjoying the cool breezes as the afternoon sun did it’s best to add to our summer tans.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the summer heat wave we’ve had has been tough on the fish populations. Once the water rises above 80 degrees here, they seem to suffer more and be difficult to locate and catch – but that may be because I am predominately a shallow water fisherman.
I have found the bass are somewhat like us; they will seek out cooler surroundings rather than just bake in the sun – this usually means deeper water where the sun’s rays have less affect. So we began eliminating water by fishing shallow and worked our way deeper and deeper.
We had 3 people fishing, so we threw 3 different styles of lures hoping to find one method that was working. After a few hours, my son caught the first fish. ‘Caught’ might be an overstatement as he just hooked one and did the ‘quick release’ boat-side.
We were fishing top-water baits in 30 feet of water and bass were JUMPING two feet out of the water to attack the lures.
After three more fish from him and three more ‘quick releases’ later, we all decided to put on the same lure he was using, and then it was FISH ON! We had a blast catching and releasing many smaller bass.
Just before dark we noticed lots of commotion on top of the water as bass were chasing bait to the surface and feeding. As fast as our fingers would go, we tied on some top-water baits and chased the fish down with the boat. Don’t tell ‘the real fisherman’ this, but we were fishing top-water baits in 30 feet of water and bass were JUMPING two feet out of the water to attack the lures.
What a fun aerial display. I guarantee you will not read about that as a tactic in any fishing magazine! We stayed till dusk and all agreed it was one of the more memorable trips we had made this year.
So how can you do this yourself?
Well, I have no problems telling you our methods and ‘secrets’. We found bass were holding in 8-12 feet of water in the weeds. I like to look for leafy weeds (cabbage as the ‘pros’ call it), so if you find fine leaf plants on your lures when you catch them, keep looking. If you don’t have a depthfinder, just keep the boat shallower and cast into the deep – you’ll find them eventually.
I tried several different lures, but the one that got bit the most (by far) was a simple 4-inch grub (milky white or semi translucent white/blue) on a ½ oz jig-head (to get it down) – just reel slowly back to the boat.
In clear lakes like Nemahbin, you should stick to semi translucent baits; save the bright oranges and yellows for other lakes. We did try the channel to Lower Nashota, but the water is down and I had to get out and push in my little boat. There was a pontoon stalled in the channel and it took 2 guys about 15 minutes to move it through the shallow water.
If you don’t have a boat, you probably don’t want to try any trophy fishing from the lake shore right now. I haven’t seen many fish close in lately, we’ve caught a few here and there, but the spots usually have deeper water nearby. But you could take a mess of crawlers and have some fun with the little gills that always seem to be around.
I think that will be our next trip!