Hot summer, fish deep – that’s the standard game plan for most bass fishermen, but every once in a while somebody proves that it doesn’t always work that way. Jacob Wheeler won the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier by fishing in 2 feet of water or so.
In any lake, there’s always a large population of bass that live super-shallow all year. From now until the middle of September, you probably can catch a good stringer of bass on ledges, but sooner or later they’re going to burn you. Always check the shallow fish, no matter how hot and sunny it is. It might not be the best pattern, it might not be happening because the baitfish aren’t shallow – but then again, it might be the main event.
Fish the transitional water between the ledges and the big bays or coves. Hit the points and shoreline with topwater lures like Zara Spooks and Lucky Strike Gunfish. If you get around bluegill beds – which you’re liable to find during any of the warm months – fish topwater lures that mimic bream. If the wind gets up, hit the banks and points on the windy side with swimbaits or spinnerbaits. There doesn’t have to be any cover; just watch for baitfish “popcorning” on the surface as bass come up under them. Then put your trolling motor down and start covering water.
---- Kettle Brand pro Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky.