Bass generally aren’t as aggressive and don’t tend to move around as much in the hottest part of summer. They’re often suspended or holding in brush near the bottom, but a subtle approach with a drop-shot rig can be effective. Keep it simple. For the leader, I always use fluorocarbon in 6- to 10-pound-test. The size and length of the leader depend on the clarity of the water and where the fish are likely to be holding. For instance, if my depth finder shows that baitfish are holding two feet off the bottom, I’ll use a leader long enough so that my lure will wind up about two feet above the bottom. I might start out with a Jackall 4-inch Crosstail Shad or maybe a Flick Shake 5.8 in dark colors, but if the water is really clear, I’ll use one of the new 3-inch Super Crosstail Shads or 3-inch Clone Frys in natural colors. A lot depends on the fish’s temperament and the size of available forage. If blueback herring are the predominant baitfish, I’ll go with colors that match them. If the bass seem to be holding in brushpiles, I might go with green pumpkin to mimic a crawfish. Finally, I use a weight on the bottom that’s only as heavy as it needs to be. The lighter the weight, the more natural the movement of the bait. Generally, I’ll go with a quarter-ounce weight when I’m sending it down to the bottom, but lighten up to 1/8 or 3/16 ounce if the fish are suspended. Definitely, once you find the right combination of leader, bait and weight, a drop-shot rig will put more sizzle in your summer.
Ranger pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif.