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Mid-Summer Smorgasbord

By Bob Jensen - August 1, 2004
The summer months are a great time to try to catch a wide variety of fish. In fact, sometimes at this time of year it works better to just go fishing and see what you catch instead of targeting a specific species. If you want to catch a specific specie of fish, you will need to target them. However, if you just want to feel something pull back and don't care what type of fish it is that you catch, here are some ideas for doing so.

A method that is favored by many anglers who are just looking for some action is trolling crankbaits. Crankbaits enable an angler to cover a large area quickly, and they come in a variety of sizes, colors, shapes, and running depths. When trolling crankbaits we can show the fish a wide variety of variables at several different depths. Best of all, almost all species of fish like to eat crankbaits. This really increases our chance to get bit.

If you decide to troll crankbaits, everyone should be using a different style and color until a productive one is discovered. Also try running them at different depths and speeds. If you are fishing a body of water that permits multiple lines per angler, planer boards such as those made by Off Shore Tackle will allow you get even more lines in the water. This again allows us to try more baits.

The new Frenzy Firesticks are a good example of a crankbait that will appeal to a large variety of gamefish. In clear water start with natural colors, in stained water try the brighter colors. However, don't hesitate to try any color anywhere.

Another great to catch a wider variety of fish in the summer is a jig/plastic combo. A great set-up is a Mimic Minnow jighead with a Gulp or Power Bait worm. A four or five inch action tail worm will appeal to most fish that will live on the weedlines that we will be fishing.

Bass, walleyes, panfish, pike and other gamefish cruise the deeper weedlines all summer, and if you put your jig/plastic close to them, they will probably eat it. Overcast days and early and late in the day will be best usually, but fish can be caught all day on the weedline.

In clear water lakes the weedline will be in the ten to fifteen foot depths, shallower in stained water lakes. Position your boat so you can cast to the deep edge of the weeds, watching your line as the bait falls. Usually the best indication of a strike will be a "jump" in your line. Set the hook as soon as your line does something different.

Go with a lighter jighead and fish slower when the fish are not as active, go heavier and move faster when the fish are biting.

If you're looking for fish that want to bite in mid-summer, crankbaits and jigs with plastic will help out. Right now is a great time to catch fish, so get out and do that next chance you get.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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