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Examiner
  • Kenneth Kieser: Hot-weather bass fishing

  • Bass fishing is a challenge during hot weather. Most fishermen fish from dusk till dawn on the theory that bass move into the shallows to feed when the sun is gone and overnight temperatures are cooler. While this is true, night fishing is not the only answer for summer anglers.

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  • Bass fishing is a challenge during hot weather. Most fishermen fish from dusk till dawn on the theory that bass move into the shallows to feed when the sun is gone and overnight temperatures are cooler. While this is true, night fishing is not the only answer for summer anglers.
    Bass feed throughout the day. They don't just take a nap all day then feed at night. The key is discovering how to catch bass on the hottest days. Bass are feeding opportunists that feed when food is handy. They are fully active and, in fact, aggressive when conditions are right. A key is discovering thermocline.
    Lakes go through seasonal water temperature changes. This creates different levels of water temperatures. The water becomes uncomfortably warm on the surface for bass this time of year.
    Some oxygen content is maintained on the surface in spite of direct sunlight, an important factor for bass comfort and survival, explaining why bass can be caught on top water during evening hours when the water surface is still warm.
    Several feet below the surface, temperatures are cooler where adequate oxygen content exists. Thermocline is a comfort zone for bass and other fish. During hot weather there is little oxygen content below the thermocline, so most bass are caught at this essential level and above.
    I discovered this years ago with a professional bass fisherman, Bob Pingle, fishing rod engineer. He invited me down to fish Bull Shoals Lake in August where temperatures averaged 95 degrees and occasionally climbed higher. I originally thought we were going to night fish, but started casting about 1 that afternoon.
    Pingle started by graphing out a submerged creek channel about 12 feet deep. Buoys were dropped every 15 feet and when finished, we could see an exact outline of how the long creek channel twisted and turned. We soon started fishing salt impregnated tube jigs, slowly across the creek channel at different depths.
    We soon discovered bass were suspended in the thermocline at about eight feet. Most times they grabbed our jigs on the drop. Bites were light taps, sometimes only one tap that was easily detected through the lightweight rods and thin eight-pound monofilament line. Occasionally a bass would swim up and hammer the jig, but most were light taps.
    By days end we had caught and released 27 largemouth and Kentucky bass. We constantly caught bass until evening. That was my first taste of hot-water bass fishing during the day. I have caught many bass on a 95-degree-or-hotter days since by tubing submerged creek channels.
    Bass fishermen that fish extreme conditions often rely on the same technique. Occasionally improvising from existing conditions will make you successful.
    Hungry bass often leave the comfort of cooler water to find bait fish. Some years back, top tournament fisherman Brent Chapman and I found several bass literally waiting in the shadows of trees to ambush whatever swam past on a 100-degree day. Bass do not like bright sunlight and were sitting behind thin trees in slim shadows
    Page 2 of 2 - Most bass hit 10-inch purple plastic worms with a piece of split shot. We cast out lures past the shadows then slowly fished them back and almost predict a strike each time the worm touched shadow. Chapman caught a six-pound largemouth bass using this technique.
    Cloud cover during hot weather can offer a clue of bass activity. We regularly take advantage of clouds while planning hot-weather bass fishing.
    We look for creek channels on cloudy, hot days then fish the flats that move into shore with tube jigs and crank baits. I throw a lot of top-water lures when it is raining too. The key is establishing a pattern then experimenting with it.
    Hot-weather bass fishing is a challenge but not impossible. Just pay attention and let bass tell you what they want.
     
     
     
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