Lure Choice Usually More Important During Hot Summer Months
Anyone looking at Bobby Lane’s boat this time of year might be surprised to see eight to 10 rods on his front deck and each rigged with a different lure, but for him such a mixture is standard procedure. The Yamaha Pro believes lure choice is more important than location when it comes to catching bass during the summer months.
“After bass finish spawning in spring and move to their summer structure, they gather in big schools, and they may stay in one general area for weeks,” Lane explains, “and of course, location is always a factor for any fisherman because he has to find that general area where the fish are before he can begin to catch them.
“In the summer months, however, this isn’t always that difficult. Anglers who study their electronics carefully should be able to find bass in fairly predictable places, such as the ends of main lake points, the edges of flats that drop into deeper water, or on ledges, high spots and other structure out in open water.
“The problem, however, even after you do locate a school of summer bass, is that those bass often hit one lure for just a short time, then stop completely,” he continues. “You could easily believe the school has left because the action ends so abruptly, but they probably haven’t. The fish have just become accustomed to your lure, and you may start catching them again with something else. That’s why I keep so many rods rigged and ready to use.”
Lane’s June victory in the 2009 Bassmaster® Elite tournament on Kentucky Lake illustrates just how finicky summer bass can be. He’d located fish on an underwater ledge, and the first morning of competition he quickly caught nearly 30 pounds on a deep diving crankbait. The following day the fish completely ignored the crankbait, but Lane was able to fool them with a swim bait. The third day the bass still shied from the crankbait and action slowed on the swim bait, forcing the Yamaha Pro to change to a 12-inch plastic worm. On the final day, none of those three lures worked, but a Carolina rig did, giving Lane the win with a total catch of more than 97 total pounds.
“In the summer, you absolutely have to make yourself believe bass are still present where you’re fishing,” he emphasizes. “With all the fishing pressure bass receive today, I really believe they do start recognizing the same lure, or perhaps its vibration. When I stop getting strikes, I don’t hesitate to change lures.”
Because summer is not only a good chance to catch a lot of fish but also to catch a big fish, Lane’s rods are always rigged with big lures. These include large deep diving crankbaits, swim baits, bulky ¾-oz. jigs, noisy topwater plugs, and 10 to 12-inch plastic worms. When he is initially looking for a school of fish, the question remains of when to switch from one lure to the next, and Lane has a system for that, too.
“When I’m still searching for bass in the summer, I’ll spend about 30 minutes on a really good-looking spot I think should have fish on it,” explains the Yamaha angler. “I’ll make five to 10 casts with each of my different lures, and if I don’t have a single strike I will move to a different spot. I don’t do anything special with my retrieves, such as stopping and starting or changing speeds, either, because I feel confident there are enough fish present that one will strike.
“All I’m looking for initially is just one healthy three to five-pound bass that confirms fish are in the area. If I do catch one, I know there’s a reason for it to be there, and that it will seldom be alone. That’s when I really start studying the area carefully.
When I won the Kentucky lake tournament, all my bass came from the same small spot on that ledge less than 20 yards square, but it took four completely different lures and presentations to catch them.”