With the spawn in the rearview mirror and summer in full swing, big bass areas that were productive during the spring are now void of bites. Mystified anglers struggle to find fish while veteran anglers like YakGear Brand Ambassador Paul Lopes know where and how to catch them when the heat cranks up.
Lopes is a lifelong bass angler. After years of being stuck on the banks of his favorite ponds and lakes, Lopes made his first foray into kayak fishing in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. Fishing from a kayak has completely changed his approach to fishing for bass.
“I always wanted to buy a boat but couldn’t afford it,” said Lopes. “I just got sick of being stuck fishing from shore. In a kayak, I can do so much more. Fishing from the bank limits you to a few spots. But now, I can fish the whole area and each piece of structure.”
The kayak angler fishes year-round and has tactics for every season. Once temperatures begin to rise, he knows it’s time to switch to summer bass techniques.
“I fish a lot of cover – any fallen trees, branches,” explained Lopes. “Bass are looking for shade during the hot summer months and they will hang out in some type of cover. Lily pads are my favorite structure to work. Lily pads serve as a perfect ambush point for bait so the big bass hang out there. I have caught bass more than 24 inches long from lily pads.”
While Lopes has had success fishing a frog in the lilies, his go-to bait is a 10-inch worm.
“I throw the worm right at the edge of the lily pads,” said Lopes. “I have caught some really big bass doing that. I really love jig fishing too. I really like the rage Strike King Rage Tail – Rage Craw. I have fished all types of other baits around lily pads but those two have been the most successful.”
Another go-to bait for Lopes is a swim jig with a black and blue trailer.
“I love the swim jig,” said Lopes. “It’s so versatile as opposed to a football jig. I have had the most success using a black and blue swim jig with a matching trailer.
While live bait is considered by many “old school” for catching bass, Lopes says live bait does have its place, especially with new anglers still honing their fishing skills.
“I use shiners every once in a while, but I mainly bring them when I take an inexperienced angler like my grandson,” explains Lopes. “I will bring along a dozen or so shiners so they can catch fish and enjoy the day. I have found the new YakGear Cratewell, does great with a bubbler if I take the shiners and the kids out on kayaks.”
When the days get long and hot, Lopes also takes advantage of the cooler temperatures and calm winds offered by dawn and dusk. The angler throws wake baits and topwater baits to capitalize on the calm conditions.
“The best times in the summer for me are very early in the morning and just before sundown,” said Lopes. “I like to fish frogs on the heavily-weeded areas and wake baits and topwater baits like a Spook when it is calm. Fishing just before a front hits is also a great time to be on the water. They seem to be very active and always feeding before a front comes through.”
Summer bass fishing offers great action if you know where to find them and what to throw. Bass aren’t always deep during the summer so don’t rule out shallow water either. Once you can establish where bass are hunkering down during the hot summer months, it’s just a matter of getting out on the water and tossing your favorite baits.