As August makes an appearance, the fishing action — much like the water temperature — continues to be hot here in Ontario. A day on the water yesterday had me scouring the lake for largemouth bass. Did I find any? I sure did! And they weren't where most people look.
There's Shallow, Then There's REALLY Shallow
A favorite mid-summer tactic of mine is to find the shallowest shoreline cover on a given lake. While most are content to pick apart mid-lake humps, deep weedlines and points, I aim my boat to the skinniest water I can find — especially if it is holding isolated cover.
How shallow is too shallow? A favorite saying of mine goes, "if the water can cover the back of a largemouth bass, they will make a home in it." The two fish pictured here were both caught on my outing yesterday. The chunky one on the left was caught from undercut cane in 12 inches of water. The other was found under a small matt of floating grass, pushed up against a shoreline in about 14 inches of water. They were the two biggest fish I put in the boat.
What to Look For
Not all skinny water is created equal. Look for variances in shoreline cover. Isolated cover, be it pads, slop, wood or an undercut, make the area much more likely to harbor a fish.
When largemouth bass head out in search of food during early morning periods, sunny conditions later on generally cause them to take cover. For those fish that hunt shallow water, the structure areas I listed above are often the most inviting. And when you think about it, they are also the least likely to receive any sort of angling pressure. I counted a dozen boats on the lake yesterday. Not one was fishing as shallow as I was.
Hard Work Can Pay Off
Targeting ultra skinny water is not easy work. Getting my boat to the area that housed the big fish yesterday took me 20 minutes. The bow mount received quite the workout. But, I was fairly certain no one had ever hit that spot. Untouched bass often equates to easy-to-catch bass. Let's face it. They have probably never seen a lure before.
Tools of the Trade
I employ two tactics when fishing shallow: flipping and pitching. I also only throw two baits: a flipping jig and a Texas-rigged creature bait. That is all you need. And if the action was anything like yesterday, your bait won't reach the bottom before being sucked up by a hungry bass.