Shallow Summer Bassin’


Summer is one of my favorite times to chase largemouth bass. These fish are now fully recovered from the spawn and are actively feeding. Plus, many are still roaming shallow to mid-depth waters and can be caught throwing a swim jig, one of my favorite bassin’ presentations.

This month you’ll find bass roaming flats with cover present like pencil reeds or other emerging weed growth. Also, shorelines with lots of man-made cover like docks and boatlifts will be potential hot spots. When fishing reeds, I move along throwing swim jigs to the edges of the reed patches or right through them—if not too thick—and quickly retrieve them back. Often, as the bait caroms off a reed, an aggressive bass will come up and eat it. Then it’s fish on.

When docks and boatlifts are targeted, I like to position the boat so that I can swim the jig along the sides of the dock or lift. Then I’ll make casts to the end of the structure. It pays to make note of where the bites are coming from, as oftentimes a pattern will emerge. For example, maybe most fish are holding closer to shore along the shaded side of the dock. I’ll then make multiple casts to that area to try to get the most bites.

My swim-jig setup may consist of a skirted-style bass jig that’s designed for the technique, and then I’ll tip it with some form of soft bait action tail. However, when fishing clear water, a plain jig and soft bait trailer is preferred.

I like 1/4- or 3/8-ounce Slurp Jigs, which have big-bite hooks and bait collars that work great when rigging soft trailers. I tip the jigs with the new Impulse Core Swimbaits in either the 3 1/2- or 4 1/2-inch sizes. These baits have soft ribbed bodies and boot tails that provide vibration and maximum action that work great for attracting bass and triggering bites.

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When the fish are aggressive or when I’m in a bit deeper water, I’ll opt for the heavier jig and bigger bait. But while in shallower water, the smaller offerings get the call.

In the clear waters I usually fish, natural color patterns often shine. For example, Slurp jigs in Emerald Shiner and White Shad work great when paired with silver shiner and white pearl swimbaits.

This style of fishing can be done with heavy-action-spinning gear, but also works well with baitcasting rods and reels. I have had great success this year on my bass trips using the new Cabela’s XML bass rods too, which come designed for specific bass techniques. I’ve also been using the new XML spinnerbait/swim-jig rod in combination with an Arachnid casting reel. The rod is lightweight with the perfect action and power for swim-jig fishing and the reel allows for very long casts, smooth retrieves and has excellent fish-fighting power.

Spooling the rod and reel with fluorocarbon line completes my swim-jig setup. Fluorocarbon is nearly invisible in clear water and has low-stretch qualities that make for solid hook-sets when bass hit at the end of long casts. P-Line Tactical fluorocarbon in 14-pound test is my choice because it allows for ultra-long casts and is very durable.

Hooking big bass at the end of long casts is one of my favorite summer-fishing tactics. Use these tips provided to help you get in on some of this fast action.