No matter where you live across the country, August is likely to be the hottest month of the year. That means it’s prime time for summer patterns, and if you’ve watched any of my previous videos or read past articles, you know that means I tend to go “deeper, thicker or current.” They still have to feed, but they’ll do it in very defined zones.
With that in mind, I’m going to give you four lures I rely upon this month. As usual, two of them are key for the North and two for the South, but to be honest all of them work all over.
The first one really shines for bass that are in a summer mode, but for some reason a lot of people forget about it. It’s the swing head jig (also known as the articulated jig head). Simply put, it’s a jig head with a swinging hook. It’s unbelievably effective deep and in
current. The one I use is the VMC Swinging Rugby head, typically in heavier sizes like 3/8, ½ and ¾ ounce. They come with a football style head but different hooks depending on what style of soft plastic you want to put on the back.
You can use just about anything on the back. I’ve had success with 10-inch worms, grubs, even swimbaits, but my mainstay is the Berkley Pit Boss. I’ll use green pumpkin in stained to clear water, black and blue in dirty water, and pearl white when the bass are feeding heavily on shad. If there’s a lot of cover like deep grass or brush, I’ll push the hook through a couple of times and then bury it but in sparser cover. I’ll “Texpose” it for a better hookup percentage. The retrieve is simple – I just reel or drag it along the bottom. You want it moving and grinding.
My second option is a football jig. It’s great in deep water, too, in places like main lake points, deep flats, and 45-degree banks. You could get a lot of bites in those same places with a dropshot, but I pull out the football jig when I’m looking for a bigger bite.
At this time of year the bass are eating bigger forage. Yes, they need to eat, but they take bigger bites in fewer meals, so I pull out a full-sized Missile Headbanger Jig and don’t trim it at all. On the back I add a full-sized Berkley Chigger Craw. Together, they’re a big package. Use natural colors like green pumpkin, Candy Craw, or any sort of brown.
The first of two retrieves involve dragging it with the rod. The moment I feel it hit anything, I stop and let the skirt breathe. The second is “stroking” the jig. I lift it and then let it fall on a semi-slack line as many times as I can while keeping it in the strike zone. That action will often trigger lethargic bass.
My third choice is kind of a sleeper. It’s a tail spinner. Some of you old guys may remember the Little George. I like a modernized version from Molix, the Trago Spin Tail. It’s a simple design, a chunk of lead with a spinner on the back. Anywhere there’s schooling activity this bait is a killer! The bass can be bunched up over a hump in 15 feet of water, but out west I’ve seen them over 60-80 feet deep, with no structure anywhere nearby, just following their food source.
This lure weighs 3/8, ½ or even ¾ ounces and it casts a mile. I keep the color choices simple – silver body and blade when it’s sunny and a white body or gold with a gold blade when it’s cloudy. When bass are busting or I see birds diving, I’ll burn the lure through the school. The ½ ounce models stays down in the water but you can move it quickly enough that they react. When the fish are not on the surface, I’ll yo-yo it just like I would with a lipless crankbait. I let it sink to the bottom and then hop it up and let it fall on a semi-slack line. That spinner blade helicopters as it falls and that’s often when you’ll get the bites.
Last but not least, remember what I said about thicker cover. Not all bass go deep or go up river in the current during the heat of summer. Some stay shallow and they’ll usually be in the thickest, nastiest cover you can find. It could be vegetation like reeds or milfoil or hydrilla, or it could be under gnarly docks. Punching a soft plastic behind a big tungsten weight is a great way to access these bass.
I’ll start with a bobber stop, then add a VMC Tungsten Weight – 1/2 , ¾, 1 ounce or even 1 ¼ ounce – and a VMC Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook. My two favorite plastics for this scenario are a 4-inch Berkley Pit Boss (with a 4/0 hook) or a Maxscent Creature Hawg (with a 3/0 hook).
I loft it above the cover to get it to fall straight. That first drop is the most critical part of the cast in terms of triggering the bite. If they don’t hit it then, I’ll let it hit the bottom, then lift it, let it fall and pause it. That pause is key because it’ll make a little puff of silt. Next, I want to “tick the roof” of the mat” before taking the lure out of the cover. In other words, I bring it up to the canopy and bang it against the top. I’m purposedly hitting the mat to emulate bluegills or shiners or crawfish that are eating things off the grass.
If you start with these four lures, you can catch bass just about anywhere in August. It may be hot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some great days on the water. Just remember these options and my mantra of “deeper, thicker, current” and you’re all set.
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