Late Summer Bass Fishing Necessities

As summer winds down, stay on the big fish

   07.16.20

For many of us, there is no fish that exemplifies summer fishing more so than the largemouth bass. During the summer months, these voracious fish strap on the feedbag, and provide endless angling fun with explosive fights and wide smiles. If you’re looking for the right gear to stay on the fish, have no fear. We’ve got you covered. Here’s a few of the essential pieces you’ll need to add to your late summer bass fishing necessities list if you want to stay on the big fish.

Where can you find bass in the later summer? That is a loaded question, as it depends on your lake. As the water warms up, bass tend to move deeper, especially during the warmer parts of the day. It’s not due to the temperature as much as it has to do with the oxygen levels in the water. Warmer water holds less, so active fish species, like bass, will follow the O2. Cold, clearwater lakes that have active springs feeding them as less susceptible to turnover, and that affects the bass movements, too. Good electronics are very important, as is knowing the water temperature and the overall geography of your lake.

1. Shimano SLC DX Reel - Editor’s Choice

All right, this may be a year-round thing, but once we got our hands on the Shimano SLC DX baitcast reel, we were hooked, and yes, there was a pun intended). This is the most advanced and smoothest working baitcaster we’ve used. It is so loaded with features, we can’t get into them all here. But there is one, however, that makes this a perfect reel for late summer bass – The I-DC4 Intelligent Digital Control braking system. It has an easy to use, four-setting, externally adjustable brake dial. This is important to us because it allows you to fish a wide variety of lures, regardless of conditions, with minimal adjustment to the reel. You can easily switch from chucking deep-running crankbaits, to finesse fishing worms, all with the same rod and reel. You don’t have to keep switching all the time. And you can fine tune the reel to the exact lure you’re using and the conditions, making it near perfect. You need one.

Pros/The smoothest and most adjustable baitcaster we’ve used.
Cons/Tell your wife it was on sale
Bottom Line/Just get one and thank us later.

2. Rapala Skitter Pop - Topwater Pick

On a warm August morning last year, the air was very still and there was heavy fog on the lake. We got to the spot and hadn’t even made a single cast before we saw the first boil in the water. The next hour and a half was nonstop topwater action. There is something about late summer and topwater fishing that really seems to turn on. One of our favorite go-to surface lures in the Rapala Skitter Pop. Yes, there are many great topwater lures out there, but if you haven’t tried the Skitter Pop, you’re missing out. The cupped lip combined with the traditional balsa-wood body and the dressed tail hook make for an enticing presentation that seems to draw attention. We’ve even managed to catch two bass at the same time as they both went for it.

Pros/Flashy and draws in fish
Cons/Definitely NOT weedless, so be careful where you throw it
Bottom Line/Great, explosive topwater action

3. Strike King KVD Deep Square Bill Crankbait - Crankbait Pick

Early morning may draw the fish into the shallows and surface to feed, but as the sun heats things up, the fish will go deeper. To catch them, you do too. We really like the action and production we get from the Strike King KVD Deep Square Bill Crankbait. This is a tournament-proven bass bait designed with bass fishing legend Kevin Van Dam. It runs about 10 feet and draws in fish from structure and drop-off edges. It comes in a wide-range of color options, although we tend to be partial to natural forage colors for some of our favorite, clearwater lakes.

Pros/Catches fish in deep water
Cons/Keep an eye on depth
Bottom Line/It catches fish!

4. Berkley Powerbait Worms - Go to Bait

Artificial worms are baits that every angler has in the tackle box, and they work pretty much year round. If you look in our tackle box, you’ll find a bunch of Berkley Powerbait worms in various colors and sizes. They have the action, color and, most important, scent that brings in fish all the time. They work very well in late summer, fished slow and weedless along the weeds, or bounced off ledges and under cover.

Pros/Catch fish all the time
Cons/They are a little softer than other plastics, so they wear out quicker
Bottom Line/We’ve caught more bass with Powerbait than any other bait.

5. Northland Tackle Spinnerbait - Do-it-all bait

Late in the day, early in the morning and fished deep with a slow retrieve, spinnerbaits are a great option for late summer bass. We have to confess, though, that where we fish, there is always a good chance of tying into a big northern pike fishing these, too. Not going to lie, we like catching them. Northland Tackle makes a solid performing spinnerbait that can take the big hits from the toothy fish, as well as multiple bass. We like the bigger ¾ size for all species. Go bright colors for murkier water, and darker colors for clearwater. If there’s been a lot of boating activity on your lake, the firetiger color has caught a LOT of fish for us.

Pros/Proven fish catcher
Cons/If you don't like catching pike too...
Bottom Line/Great do-it-all-bait

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