The dog days of summer occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the season. Webster defines “dog days” as the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere. The blazing sun and oppressive heat can make an angler wish that they were ice fishing again (OK, maybe that’s a stretch). Daytime temperatures here in Eastern Ontario can easily top 90 degrees and water temps hover around the 80 degree mark. Sure it’s hot and slightly uncomfortable, but it’s nothing that a 2 gallon jug of frozen drinking water and some sunscreen can’t fix. Besides, the bounty of mid-summer bass fishing is fleeting. My theory; Take advantage while you can!
Temperatures in mid summer has most Northern creatures looking to cool off. Bass are no different and can become predictable as they look to hang out in shade, under structure and in deeper water. Sure the bass may be somewhat lethargic on these hot days, but put your bait behind the curtains of a big momma’s hideout, and guaranteed your reel will be sizzling!
Arriving at the lake super-early (an hour before sunrise) may be obvious, but it’s really paid dividends for putting bass on the hawgtrough this summer. During the first few hours of low light conditions, largemouth buckets are roaming the lake in open water. This is my favourite time of day to bass fish, as the top water bite can be HOT! Lures such as the classic jointed jitterbug or a Jackall Firecracker buzzbait with a Keitech 4.8″ Fat Swing Impact Swimbait as a trailer (trailer hook a must!). I’ve found these lures to be most effective when fished above weeds that are only a foot or two below the surface.
For smallmouth, I’ve had success fishing near islands, chunk rock and sunken timber using a Ned rig tipped with either a TRD TubeZ or TRD finesse.
As the sun reaches its zenith, I typically search out the greenest weeds I can find in the lake. My home waters are 12 feet at the maximum depth, so getting down quickly is easily accomplished using a ½ ounce tungsten bullet sinker coupled with a Keitech Mad Wag worm. I cast the worm out, let it hit bottom and then reel it back slowly. Any time I feel the worm getting hung up on weeds, I sweep the rod forward and pick up the slack in the line. This ‘rips’ the bait through the vegetation, enticing even the laziest of bass to munch (and munch HARD!).
If I can’t find bass in the weeds, my next go-to is to start pounding the bank. In this situation, I’m looking for the gnarliest tangled timber which often contains the darkest shade. A Jackall Archelon is a creature bait that has a slim profile. Add the lightest tungsten bullet sinker you can get away with, and you have a winning combo that can penetrate even the darkest bass fortress. I cast out the bait, let it sink, then slowly hop it along bottom and up and over the woody stuff. Often times the bass will hit just as the tungsten makes contact with the wood. The shock waves the tungsten-on-wood creates can make the coolest largie come un-glued. This combo is fished using a heavy action rod in the 7’4” range.
So head to your favourite lake and watch the sun come up. Sure the day may be hot, but the fishing can often be even HOTTER!