Simple Refinements for More Summer Bass

By Jerry Carlson - June 1, 2014
A few refinements are often needed for successful summer bass angling.
As anglers settle into summer patterns for bass fishing and we start working a little deeper water for bucket mouths, I find there are some refinements I can make that will increase my level of success. These refinements are simple yet will get results.

One of my favorite presentations for working bass in the spring and early summer is through a presentation called wacky rigging. This concept of hooking a sinking worm through the middle goes against everything I have ever learned about fishing. However, the slow, tantalizing drop of a wacky rigged worm is something bass find irresistible.

The problem that develops with summer bass and wacky worming is the depth change of the fish. When our fish move down to 12 to 14 feet, a slow sinking wacky takes forever to reach the bass. This is where a few refinements are needed.

The problem that must be overcome in deep water is the drop rate. By pinching a split shot onto or just above the hook, the drop rate can be accelerated significantly. They also make weighted hooks for wacky rigs if a person prefers to go that route.

Another option is to put the sinking worm onto a wide gap jig. This is a simple, yet effective way of presenting sinking worms wacky style to deep fish.

Wacky rigged worms are also excellent for smallmouth. Having a smallie miss a surface lure or buzzbait is very common where I fish. By having a four inch wacky rigged worm ready in the boat, I can throw this rig out to where the missed strike took place and usually catch that fish. The wacky is a great tool when used as a chaser for bass.

Accomplished angler, Steve Taylor,  is a firm believer in using Vanish as a leader on his braided line.
I love to use the super strong and ultra sensitive braids for my Texas rig and jig worm presentations in the summer months. However, even though the braids are thin, there are times when the less visible mono lines will catch more fish.

It was Paul Ruda from Pure Fishing that got me started using a piece of 10 or 12 pound Vanish as a leader on my braided line poles. Having two feet of hard to see fluorocarbon for a leader makes a significant difference most days.

If you are wary about this concept, set up a test. Have one person in the boat use straight braid and the other a Vanish leader. When I have done this, the fluorocarbon angler has caught more fish every time.

Bass angling is one of my favorite summer pastimes. I love the activity associated with presenting bass lures and I love the tug on the line when a hook is set. Sometimes, simple refinements are exactly what is needed to keep fish coming into the boat during the summer months.

Author Jerry Carlson
Jerry Carlson
Jerry started his outdoor career in 1987 when he began writing for Outdoors Weekly. He currently writes about a 130 articles a year for various publications in the Midwest. In addition to writing and giving numerous hunting and fishing seminars, Jerry does weekly radio shows on two St. Cloud, Minnesota stations; WJON and WWJO. He also authored a book called Details for Locating and Catching Fish. Hunting and fishing photos and articles written by Jerry, along with his email address, can be found at jerrycarlsonoutdoors.com. Jerry fishes all species but prefers crappies in the winter and bass in the summer. He also loves to hunt Canada geese in the fall.