Summertime Shallow-Water Fishing


This is the one word that comes to mind every time I head out onto the water. Whether fishing a lake I have been to a hundred times, or searching out a remote area I have never been to, it just always seems to raise my blood pressure a little bit.

So now it’s summer, and the air and water temps are skyrocketing. So many questions are asked: “Where do I go?” and “What do I look for?” Well, that right there, my friends, is the million-dollar question.

Dock fishing in SummerThere is no right or wrong answer for this. I know most of you are thinking deep, right? When I say deep, I’m talking anywhere deeper than 10 foot of water. Well, in most cases, you’re right, but in some instances, it’s just the opposite.

I’m going to talk about those few cases that pertain to shallow water in the summer.

Three instances come to mind as to why fish would be shallow when the water temps are reaching in the 80s and 90s. They are: lakes that are shallower than 10 feet max, muddy lakes, and rivers. Now you’re thinking, “Hey, this guy is onto something!” Well, you’re right.

In 10-foot max depth lakes, they can’t go deeper than that; in muddy lakes, the light penetration doesn’t get deep enough for them to feed properly; and in the river systems, oxygen levels are usually more abundant around current and weeds.

That gets me to the point of the “where and how” to catch not just bass, but most any species that are in your particular lake.

In muddy water lakes, I am searching for wood, docks or some kind of cover that the bass can use to ambush their prey. I look for these fish in water 5 feet and under. When it’s muddy, the tighter to the cover is the norm. What I use exclusively are Bass Pro Shops Enticer jigs with a Strike King Rage Tail Craw or a Net Bait Paca Chunk. Try to make repeated casts to the same target from different angles.

The other two -- 10-foot max depth and river systems -- tend to have a lot of weed growth. In these systems, I’m looking for large matted grass areas (slop fields).The reason being is it will stay a few degrees cooler under the mats.

Just think of yourself on a hot day, standing around in the sun, and there is a big maple tree sitting there all by itself. Are you going to sit in the sun or under the tree in the shade?


Now what to use in the mats? Two things I will always have in my hands are a couple flipping sticks, like the Johnny Morris Carbonlite combos. I use a 7’6” heavy rod with 65-lb braided line. This rod works great for both flipping and frogging. When flipping the mats, I like to throw a ¾ oz. – 1 ½ oz. weight, depending on the denseness of the matt, with a Yum F2 Big Show Craw. This combo slides through the mats with ease.

When frogging, you can’t go wrong with the Spro Bronzeye Frog. Again, I use the same rod to frog as I do flipping. I also use 65-lb braid with this setup as well. Color you ask? Don’t ask me, ask the bass.

Written by Kary Ray