Blistering heat is all that Bassmaster Elite fishing pro Josh Bertrand has ever known having grown up in Arizona so triple digit temps don’t even phase him. Sure, extreme heat can be hard the body. But, as long as you take care of yourself by following some of the tips in Josh’s article hook up the boat and get ready to catch some bass!
How Fish Behave When It's Hot
Bertrand gets excited to fish during the hottest days of summer because he believes the bass will be fairly predictable and easy to locate.
“In the mornings and evenings, they’re very aggressive. There’s no doubt they will get a little more lethargic during the day,” he said. “When they become lethargic, sometimes they are more predictable. When they get down in the brush piles, and deeper grass lines, they are very catchable even in the heat of the day.”
|Tip: Current seams where a river flows into a lake is a good place to find bass. Moving water has higher ozygen levels than stagnant deep water in summer. The flow of the river also brings food to the fish.|
Where to Look for Fish When Temps Rise
When air temperature rises, so do water temps. As a result, Bertrand looks for bass to seek out the most comfortable environment while still having access to food.
“If you have cooler water somewhere, that is where they want to be whether it is in the shade our out in deeper water,” he said. “In a lot of places where the water gets so insanely hot, the most oxygen is shallow so they’ll be in super shallow water in the shade.”
Looking for top places to find summer bass under such conditions is tough, Bertrand will check out grass, docks, and overhanging trees.
In deep clear bodies of water, he’ll check out deep grass edges, rocks, brush, and cover that provides cover and shad.
Typically, he doesn’t target suspended fish unless they are chasing bait near the surface
Water Cues to Find Bass
When the water clarity is stained and muddy, Bertrand will look for bass to be shallow. If it’s clear, he believes they’ll move as deep as they need to as long as bait is present.
Tip: The best-case scenario is being able to find a cool-water run-off that will act as a magnet for bass to congregate at.
Watch Video: Josh Bertrand, Rigging for Deep Clear Water Bass
|Abu Garcia Revo ALX Baitcast Reel|
Bertrands Go-To Summer Fishing Techniques
First thing in the morning, Bertrand favors topwater baits believing that bass do a good portion of their feeding for the day during that time. He’ll throw a walking bait that matches the size of what they’re feeding on. He favors a 7-foot Abu Garcia Veritas medium-action rod, Abu Garcia Revo ALX baitcast reel spooled with 15-pound Trilene Braid Professional Grade line.
Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits can also be productive when trying to cover water and locate schooling bass.
|Berkley Dredger Crankbait|
Bertrand also uses a deep crankbait to cover water and catch deep fish. “I think it’s one of the best big fish baits for mid-summer fishing,” he said.
He prefers the Berkley Dredger crankbait in the 17.5, 20.5, and 25.5 models in Sexy Back and Honey Shad colors. To get his bait to the bottom, a Revo Winch with a 5:4:1 retrieve to get his crankbaits to dive to their maximum depth.
Sometimes he’ll throw a deep crankbait just to fire up a school.
Watch Video: Berkley Hardbait, The Dredger Crankbait
He’ll continue to pick away at the school drop shotting a softbait green pumpkin Berkley Bottom Hopper worm rigged weedless on a 1/0 Fusion 19 extra-wide gap hook 10-inches from his ¼-ounce tungsten sinker. He’ll also rotate a tube and shaky head worm into the mix as well.
|Berkley 10'' PowerBait Power Worms|
A Texas-rigged plum colored 10-inch Berkley Power Worm is another of his favorite summertime baits to throw. “That’s a great summer time bait when the fish are deep because they like that big profile,” he said. He’ll fish it on a 7’6” medium heavy to heavy action rod paired with an Abu Garcia ALX reel sporting 8:1 gearing. He’ll rig the worm on a 5/0 Extra Wide gap Fusion 19 hook and ½-ounce tungsten sinker.