Tricking highly pressured bass into biting during the heat of summer can be challenging. At times, you must put down the big loud crankbaits & power presentations and pick up a finesse bait such as a small worm, big shakey head or a drop-shot to entice those picky summer bass.
Follow along as we take a deep dive into our favorite and top-selling summer finesse baits.
When the fish have all but turned off and you can’t buy a bite, it's time to pick up the Drop Shot. This technique is intended to be a bit slow and methodical, little action is needed as the bait will be suspended off the bottom, hopefully right in front of a fish’s face.
Leader length between the weight and the hook should vary based on water clarity. In dirty water stick with a shorter length from 2-6 inches. In clean/clear water, a longer leader all the way up to 2-3 feet can be used. As a rule of thumb, a leader from 8-14 inches is ideal.
When it comes to working the bait, subtle action is generally best. When the fish are slightly more active, a slow steady drag across the bottom works well, but se sure to keep in constant contact with the bottom. And when they're extra finicky, try a gentle twitch-in-place by simply shaking your slack line without moving the bait off bottom.
Target off-shore structure such as main lake points, rock piles, drop off's, humps & creek channel bends.
If you haven't already tried the NED, you're missing out! This bait has changed the finesse game over the past handful of years and for good reason, it catches fish!
The key with any Ned Rig is that the bait stands up straight off the bottom. Fished with a slow drag all the way to a hop & drop method depending on how active the fish are.
Target hard bottom areas such as the base of rip-rap walls and wave breaks, off-shore rock piles, submerged wood, ledges and drop off's, etc.
Another exciting way to target those lethargic summer bass is a weightless worm. There are a couple popular methods of rigging including the Texas rig, more suitable for fishing around heavy cover and a wacky rig which will shine around docks and shade lines.
The key to fishing this bait is to allow the worm to sink on completely slack line, reason being, this is where all the action happens. The Texas rig will dart back and forth, and the wacky rig will shimmy on either end during the drop. This means you'll need to watch your line closely; the slightest tick or twitch of the line is often a bite. Other times, you will just see the line appear to sink faster than normal or even move off to the side, again, this is likely a fish.
This bait is better suited for shallow to mid-depth water due to its slow rate of fall. With the Texas rig target brush piles, submerged bushes, and laydowns and with the wacky rig aim for shade lines, docks, and submerged weed edges. This is also a great bait for skipping up into hard-to-reach places such as under overhanging trees and docks.
If you're looking for a more magnum-finesse presentation, look no further. The Shakey Head is a big bass slayer during the summer months.
Plan to make a long cast out over offshore structure and slow drag, hop, or twitch this bait on bottom. Target structure such as rock piles, humps, ledges and even around brim or bluegill beds.
Shakey heads can vary from a small 4-inch worm all the way up to 7 or 8 inches for that magnum presentation.
For those that just can't stand dragging a finesse worm around all day, this is your bait! Finesse swimbaiting can be extremely effective on pressured bass during the heat of summer. We recommend a 2–4-inch soft plastic swimabait for this technique.
This is a great option for locating offshore schools of bass. You'll still want to look for similar structure as mentioned with previous baits, rock walls, rock piles, ledges, humps, channel swings and main lake points are all key areas.
Make long casts and let the bait fall all the way to the bottom. From there it's a slow, steady retrieve. The key to this presentation is keeping the bait close to the bottom. If you're unsure what depth the bait is running mid retrieve, pause for a second until you see your line go slack, this will get you back on bottom.
Once you've caught the active fish, try switch over to a drop shot, ned or shakey head to trigger additional bites out of the school.