bass caught with a jig with the title "Summer Bass Fishing: The Best Baits For Catching Big Bass"

Summer Bass Fishing: The Best Baits For Catching Big Bass

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How many times have you hit the water on a hot summer day and wondered, “Where in the world did all the bass go?”

It’s true – after catching oodles of bass in the lucrative spring months, it can seem like bass disappear once the mercury rises! 😵‍💫

But the fact is this 👉 there are still tons of bass to be caught during the summer. The trick is finding where they go and what baits they are zeroed in on!

Welcome back to Jig Is Up Lurecraft!

Today we will be looking at summer bass fishing. Specifically, we will be looking at summertime patterns that you can use to find bass and the awesome baits you can use to catch them!

Summer fishing is distinctly different from spring fishing. 

In spring, bass move to shallow water to spawn and are fairly easy to find. Thus shallow water fishing is the name of the game!

But all that changes in summer. ☀️

One moment bass are busting the surface for food and the next … they’re gone. Poof. Nowhere in sight.

But have no fear!

As mysterious as this fish disappearance seems, there are a few great patterns you can use to find (and catch) those summertime bass!

Here’s what they are.

👉 Where Bass Go In Summer

There are 3 main patterns I use to find bass during the summer months.

We’re talking about 👇

  1. Shallow water fishing in the cooler hours of the day
  2. Deep water fishing during the hot parts of the day
  3. Fishing shade lines around docks and overhanging trees

Let’s take a deep dive into each of these!

I. Shallow water fishing at dusk and dawn

Like I said a moment ago, shallow water fishing is king during the bass spawn in spring.

To an extent, shallow water fishing is still very effective during the summer! 

But it all depends on one huge factor 👉 the heat 🥵.

Why is this?

Two big reasons.

Reason 1 👉 shallow water is cool at dusk and dawn, but gets hot during the mid-day.

Reason 2 👉 bass, like humans, do not enjoy hanging out in extreme heat!

Because of these things, bass and baitfish love to hang out shallow in the early hours and late hours of the day.

To take advantage of this, most anglers (myself included) love to use topwater baits to catch these super shallow fish.

Topwater baits for summer bass fishing

Topwater bites are legendary. Not only does topwater fishing catch lots of fish, it also gives you a front row seat to the most bone-jarring vicious bass strikes you will ever witness!

largemouth bass viciously striking a topwater frog

There are several kinds of topwater baits to choose from, each with varying strengths and weaknesses.

👉 Frogs

Topwater frogs are the 4×4 bait in the topwater world. You can skip them under docks, or fish them on top of thick lily pads and grass mats!

These baits are super weedless, allowing you to fish them in the thickest of cover. 

No matter where you fish them, frogs generate the most violent strikes you will ever experience.

As such, you will typically want to throw this with a Medium-Heavy or Heavy rod and reel setup and super heavy braided line.

My personal favorite frog is the Booyah Pad Crasher – a budget friendly yet super effective frog that you can find at most tackle stores.

This frog has been responsible for some of the best largemouths I’ve caught yet!

Get yours today via my affiliate link at Bass Pro 👉 here.

Pros

  • Can be fished in super heavy cover (very weedless)
  • Can sit indefinitely in the same spot without sinking (great for fishing around wood and grass targets)

Cons

  • Most frogs are not fast moving baits (not the best for covering lots of water)
  • The weedless hooks keep you from hanging up, but also mean you will miss some fish (not easy to set the hook)

👉 Buzzbaits

Like frogs, buzzbaits attract big fish and savage strikes.

With that said, buzzbaits are not nearly as weedless as topwater frogs are.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still fish buzzbaits around lots of cover – their big blade design helps keep them from hanging up on wooden laydowns and other forms of cover.

But you won’t typically be fishing buzzbaits on top of super thick grass mats or other super heavy cover (like you would a frog).

Think of buzzbaits as being the energetic obnoxious member of the topwater family.

These baits chug and churn in the water with reckless abandon, with the intent of irritating and triggering the meanest instincts in big bass!

If you are interested in trying out a buzzbait, look no further than the Lunker Lure Buzzbait.

This is not only considered to be the original buzzbait, it is also used and endorsed by Rick Clunn, one of the most legendary bass anglers of all time!

Get yours today via my affiliate link at Bass Pro 👉 here.

Pros

  • Fantastic moving bait (covers lots of water)
  • Can be fished near cover (fairly weedless)
  • Triggers reaction bites from bass

Cons

  • If you stop reeling, the bait falls (can’t keep the bait in one place)
  • The single hook on the buzzbait doesn’t offer the best hookups (doesn’t hook bass as easily as other topwater baits)

👉 Whopper Ploppers

Plopper-style topwaters are one of the most recent additions to the topwater family, yet they have firmly cemented their place as a dominating force for catching fish.

The original plopper-style bait was the River2Sea Whopper Plopper – a bait made for catching pike and other large gamefish.

Although originally designed for larger fish, the Whopper Plopper proceeded to catch so many big bass that eventually River2Sea began making them in smaller sizes just for bass fishing!

Whopper Ploppers are very effective because, like buzzbaits, they chug and make a general commotion on the water’s surface as they are retrieved.

However, whereas buzzbaits utilize a big blade to make all this commotion, ploppers have a propeller at the back of the bait that spins, whirls, and chugs water.

Get your own Whopper Ploppers today via my affiliate link at Bass Pro 👉 here.

Pros

  • Fantastic moving bait (covers lots of water)
  • Treble hooks catch fish very easily (easy hookups)
  • Floats when sitting still (can be sat in one spot indefinitely)

Cons

  • Treble hooks easily snag on grass and wood (not weedless at all)

👉 Poppers

Last on our list of topwater baits is the timeless popper.

Unlike buzzbaits and ploppers, poppers are not meant to cover lots of water.

Poppers, like frogs, are perfect for casting near targets where you suspect bass might be lurking.

Poppers utilize a cupped mouth to generate a popping, chugging noise every time the angler pulls on it. This noise aggravates bass hanging out nearby, triggering them to attack the popper with great ferocity!

Want to give topwater poppers a try?

I recommend the budget friendly Rebel Pop-R. It’s basic, affordable, and it catches fish!

I’ve caught several bass using this bait – I have no doubts it will serve you well!

Get yours today via my affiliate link at Bass Pro 👉 here.

Pros

  • Treble hooks catch fish easily (easy hookups)
  • Floats when sitting still (can sit in one spot indefinitely)
  • Makes periodic noise that attracts bass lurking in nearby cover (attracts bass from afar)

Cons

  • Not ideal for covering lots of water (not a fast moving bait)
  • Treble hooks snag easily (not weedless)

II. Deep water fishing in the heat

So bass love to hang out super shallow during the cool of the day.

But where do they go once it heats up??

Answer 👉 cooler water!

To escape the extreme heat that summer brings, bass move to the coolest water they can find. 

One place they find it is in deeper water.

With this in mind, some of the most lucrative fishing spots are areas where shallow water drops very suddenly to deep water. These underwater drop offs are convenient highways that allow bass to quickly migrate from shallow water to cooler deep water.

Find these highways and you’ll find fish.

Deep water baits for summer bass fishing

To reach bass that have moved to deeper water, you’ll need baits that can reach way down into the depths. These are some of the most effective baits you can use for fishing deep water!

👉 Deep Diving Crankbaits

Deep diving crankbaits are one of the most effective baits of all time.

Few baits are able to penetrate the watery depths to where big bass lie in wait. Even fewer baits allow anglers to find these aggressive fish quickly!

Deep diving cranks accomplish both of these feats. 

Not only do they penetrate 15 to 20 feet down, but their fast searching wobble allows anglers to quickly swim them in the depths in search of actively biting fish!

There are lots of great deep divers out there. With that said, it’s hard to go wrong with the Rapala DT-20. Rapala makes great quality crankbaits, and the DT20 is no exception!

Get yours today via my affiliate link at Bass Pro 👉 here.

Pros

  • Fantastic moving bait (covers lots of water)
  • Treble hooks easily hook fish (great hookups)
  • Bounces off of wood and rock (doesn’t hang up easily)
  • Lots of built-in action (added action is recommended but not necessary for triggering fish)

Cons

  • Treble hooks snag grass easily (not easy to fish around grass)
  • Doesn’t reach as deep as other offshore techniques

👉 Football Jigs

Heavy football jigs also excel at reaching deep water.

Unlike deep diving crankbaits, however, football jigs are best fished on the bottom.

Mimicking crawfish and other bottom dwelling forage, these baits can be slowly dragged or rapidly hopped to entice bass to bite.

Since deep water football jigs are usually heavy (think ⅝ oz to 1 oz), Medium Heavy and Heavy power rods are the norm for this style of fishing.

If you’re interested in fishing with some high quality football jigs, check out these jigs at Cumberland Pro Lures! I have no affiliation with them, but they simply make awesome products and I love what they are about.

You just can’t go wrong with high quality, made-in-the-USA jigs 💪🏻.

Pros

  • Fantastic for fishing the bottom (gets very deep)
  • Can be fished fast or slow (very versatile for active or inactive fish)
  • Mimics crawfish and other bottom dwelling forage very well 

Cons

  • Not great for fish suspended above the bottom (bottom-only bait)

👉 Dropshot Worms

Another great presentation to consider for deep water fishing is dropshotting.

dropshot worm rig

A dropshot with a worm has won an astounding number of pro tournaments in the last 20 years.

This presentation sounds simple, but it is revolutionary in how it force feeds bass.

Psst, not familiar with a dropshot rig?

Then check out 👉 this handy guide about worm rigs!
This guide teaches you all you need to know about dropshot rigs, Texas rigs, and more!

Simply put, this presentation has a weight on the end of the line and a hook 12”-24” above the weight.

When fished, the weight rests on the bottom while the hook remains suspended in open water.

This allows the bait to hang indefinitely in front of a fish’s face, no matter the water depth!

Some of the tackle items you need for a dropshot include 👇

Pros

  • Can be fished shallow or very deep (very versatile across many depths)
  • Keeps the bait in front of fish for as long as you need (can suspend indefinitely)
  • Catches bass of all sizes (appeals to all kinds of bass)

Cons

  • Not an effective moving bait (not for covering lots of water)
  • Not effective for fishing in tight spaces (better for open water)

III. Fishing shade lines

If you don’t want to try your chops at fishing deep water during the heat of the day, another great pattern to consider is fishing shade lines.

Shade lines take many forms, but can typically be found anywhere where there are

  • Docks
  • Overhanging trees

Each of these provide shade from the sun, where the underlying water is cooler for bass.

overhanging trees on a lake

Each of these also require the use of skipping or pitching, to get baits underneath the cover and into the shade.

Here are a few great baits I use to skip underneath such cover to reach lurking bass.

Great baits for fishing shade lines

👉 Weightless Worms

One of my personal favorite baits to skip is a weightless worm.

morning dawn trick worm

Long and slender, worms skip exceptionally well underneath overhanging trees!

One thing I love about worms is that after they reach the strike zone, they lazily flutter down to the bottom. This gives bass in the area plenty of time to see the bait and decide if they want to hork it down!

When it comes to worm fishing, my favorite is the class Zoom Trick Worm. Affordable yet super effective, it’s tough to beat this timeless bait!

Get yours today via my affiliate link at Bass Pro 👉 here.

Pros

  • Skip amazingly well (great for penetrating overhanging over)
  • Very slow rate of fall (lots of time in the strike zone)
  • Very weedless
  • Can be rigged with just a worm hook (easy rigging)

Cons

  • Have to add weight if you want a faster fall, which makes skipping more challenging (not easy to change rate of fall)

Psst, not sure what worm hook to use?

Then check out 👉 this guide to using worm hooks!
It teaches you all about the best worm hooks you can use for different soft baits!

👉 Finesse Jigs

Another great bait for skipping underneath cover is one that is very near and dear to my heart – the finesse jig.

Tiny Terror Jig Glamor Shot

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I love fishing with jigs and I love making jigs!

To me, fishing shade lines is one scenario where jigs really shine. 

Not only do jigs skip remarkably well, but their weight can be dialed in to exactly what the fish are looking for.

Are fish dialed in on slow, lazy presentations? Show them a lightweight ⅛ oz jig!

Are they reacting to fast moving baits? Throw a heavier ⅜ oz or ½ oz jig and get them fired up!

With jigs, versatility is the name of the game.

Shameless plug 👉 if I’m fishing a jig, I’m using a Tiny Terror Jig. #endofstory

Yes, this is my product. BUT if I’m being honest with you and recommending to you what I think is the best jig for the job, then it wouldn’t be fair for me to ignore this effective little jig.

To be clear, you can totally find finesse jigs in tackle stores that will do the job and catch fish.

But my recommendation is ➡️ the Tiny Terror Jig.

Pros

  • Very weedless
  • Skip amazingly well (great for penetrating overhanging cover)
  • Can change weight easily (can change rate of fall)

Cons

  • Arguably not as weedless as a plastic worm

Conclusion – Summer Bass Fishing: The Best Baits For Catching Big Bass

We’ve covered a lot of territory today about summer bass fishing.

You might be saying 👇

“That’s a lot to take in, Blaine! Where do I start?”

Let’s make it simple.

At dawn or dusk ➡️ throw topwater baits for shallow water bass! Great options include topwater frogs and Whopper Ploppers.

Once the heat kicks in ➡️ go for deep water and shade lines.

Deep water fishing ➡️ think dropshot worms, deep diving crankbaits, and heavy football jigs!

Shade lines ➡️ go for baits that skip really well, like the Zoom Trick Worm and the Tiny Terror Jig!

I love using these techniques to catch bass!

Leave a comment below and say what patterns you love for summer bass fishing!


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