Smallmouth Bass in the middle of summer offer some of the best action in the heat of the day. While most species we tend to target morning and evening the smallies can be coerced to ‘play’ all day. Not that this is the easiest time to catch these agreeable fish; it is the easiest fish to catch during the day this time of year. And the techniques employed can be used anytime.
It might be counter-intuitive, but even in the heat of the day top water techniques will often catch the largest fish of the day. Most likely though it will require some perseverance and precision; to entice strikes. These hot day smallies will be hunkered down and a tad on the stubborn or even lazy side. They will be seeking out shelter from helpful undercuts, snags, low lying shade trees or structure. It can be shocking the shallowness these fish are comfortable in. The precision though; required to get them to leave their comfort can be maddening. A cast just a few inches too short will like not tantalize them. To compound the problem a well placed to water offering often is ignored for what may seem like eternity. A great cast is most often followed by no action whatsoever. And then comes the mental debate of whether to let popper or diver sit, strip, or pick up entirely and try somewhere else. It is not uncommon to decide to pick up your bug, just to have it by a lurking bass.
The bass can be scattered and many a bassy looking spots can be simply void of fish for whatever reason. Returning later in the day, to water previously void of fish can prove productive. Whether it is sunlight, underwater activity, or bass logic, bass will re-locate and set back down. If after exhausting all top water locations and options and well placed clouser minnow or bananarama drifted through deep seams or swung through a tail out especially those that offer nearby cover can be productive; the same parameters apply though proximity is crucial.
When a strike does occur let the bass help you in the hook set. Many a fish are lost on pre-mature sets by the angler. Allow the fish to turn before setting the hook, like their pre-strike movement their strike is bound to be less energetic and a too quick or vicious set will just rip the fly away. As with all things this time of year patience and perseverance are key.
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