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Shallow Water June Bassin'

By Mike Frisch - June 1, 2021
June is a great month for those of us who love to fish! Fish of all species are often still roaming the shallows now and at least some, if not many, are usually in a biting mood. In fact, one of my all-time favorite fishing patterns involves largemouth bass in and around shallow water cover during this month.

Largemouth bass are often shallow during spring and into early summer to feed and complete their annual spawning routine. And, many Midwestern lakes have good shallow water cover that hold these fish in good numbers. Reed banks, fallen timber, and abundant man-made cover like boat docks and lifts will probably have at least some largemouth bass roaming that cover now. In addition to emergent cover, shallow flats with submergent weed growth will also host good numbers of green fish now too.

I use two presentations for my June bassin', a horizontal-fishing "search bait" and a slower fishing, "strain the area bait." A squarebill crankbait like the KVD 1.5 and 2.5 models have become favorites. These baits are designed to fish in and around cover and actually trigger bites when they carom off a tree branch, dock post, or other object. Natural color patterns like Sexy Shad or Neon Bluegill are preferred in many of the clear waters I fish.

In addition to squarebills, a new bait called the Hybrid Hunter has gotten lots of play in my boat this year! These baits have a hunting action and loud rattle that triggers aggressive strikes.

Squarebills and the new hybrid bait fish well on bait casting gear and fluorocarbon line. I spool with 15- or even 20-pund Tour Grade fluorocarbon line. This line is tough, yet manageable and provides the invisibility I like when fishing clear water.

Moving along the shallows and casting at visible cover like the edges of heavy reed banks, along docks, or over shallow flats is a great way to cover water and catch fish.

At times, however, areas with concentrations of fish may be encountered. Or, at other times, the fish may require a bit more finesses. Maybe clear water and calm, sunny conditions are encountered, and the bass seem a bit hesitant to hit a moving bait. In either case, I opt for a spinning rod and reel loaded with hi vis braided line and a soft plastic stick bait rigged wacky style - through the middle.

A stick bait like a 5" KVD Ocho hooked this way and cast to shallow cover and allowed to slowly settle in is often deadly. This set-up offers a slow, tantalizing fall that a lurking largemouth bass usually can't resist!

Light colored baits, like the glacier or ghost minnow Ochos, are preferred because these colors can be seen out ahead of the boat and disappear on the bite. Line watching using a bright line like yellow 20-pund Tour Grade braid is another way to monitor bites as the line may twitch or move. A few feet of fluorocarbon line between the braid and bait provides invisibility in clear water. Regardless whether a visible bait disappears, or the line moves, braided line also helps facilitate a positive hook set and then the fight is on!

If experiencing the fight of a hard-pulling largemouth bass is your goal, consider heading to the shallows in early June and putting the tips just provided to use. Odds are good you will encounter some cooperative fish and enjoyable fishing action.

As always good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!

Gear Used

Author Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series and is a co-founder of the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's School of Fish. Visit to see all things Fishing the Midwest.
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