Let The Dogs Out

Finding those mid-summer bass.

by Mike Frisch

One of my favorite summer fishing patterns revolves around bass when they locate in weedy cover on the edges of large flats. Often, I fish a "big jig", that is a heavy skirted bass jig in the ½-to ¾-ounce size range and tipped with a big plastic trailer like a Rage Craw. I will cruise the edge of a chosen flat making pitches ahead of the boat and to the weed edges, to what is often referred to as the "deep weedline."

Finding those mid-summer bass.
This pattern often peaks on bright, sunny days when the fish tuck in tight to the weedy cover. I might go a hundred yards or so down the weedline without catching a fish, only to find a school of bass in a small area that leads to bites on several pitches in a row. Eventually the action slows and the search moving down the weedline resumes.

As I said, this is a favorite pattern that shines on bright, sunny days. When the wind blows and clouds fill the sky, the bass on flats and along weedlines often take another approach where they cruise in and over the weeds actively looking for forage. At this time, slow rolling a big spinnerbait or cast and retrieving a bladed jig become good lure choices. And, if an angler can work a crankbait through and over the weeds, that is another great way to catch largemouth. The key to this presentation has long been finding a crankbait that tips the weed tops and works through them without constantly hanging in the cover (the weeds).

Last summer, a new crankbait called a Gravel Dawg was introduced. This is a smaller sized bait with a wide wobble that has proven itself for covering weedlines and up onto flats. When fishing it, I hold the boat on the deep edge of the weedline in say 15 foot of water and angle casts ahead of the boat and up onto the flat. The bait comes in 8- and 10-foot diving depth models and I choose the one most appropriate for the depths being fished. The bait's wide wobble helps it deflect off cover (like weeds and bottom) and it has a superb hunting action that really triggers bites. Combine the fish-attracting action in a variety of "bassy” colors and you have a bait that is one of the best, if not the best, that I have fished in this situation.

The Gravel Dawg is a smaller sized bait with a wide wobble that has proven itself for covering weedlines and up onto flats.
The Gravel Dawg is a smaller sized bait with a wide wobble that has proven itself for covering weedlines and up onto flats.
My favorite two bait colors are yellow perch and orange bream. Though I must admit they are the colors I started fishing with and never really found a reason to switch! I fish the Dawgs on a Lew's 6XD crankbait rod. The XD Cranking Series rods, as the name implies, are designed specifically for fishing crankbaits and the 6XD model delivers the perfect amount of "give” to fish the smaller size bait and to keep a biting fish hooked, while maintaining the power needed to snap the crankbait free if it does hang in the weeds. I pair the rod with a BB1 Pro Reel which is built for long casts and is ideal for crankbait fishing as well. CONTRA fluorocarbon line in 12- or 15- pound test completes the setup.

A steady retrieve works well when fishing the bait, and bites often occur when it caroms off a weed or some other cover. When a fish bites, holding the boat in place and making several subsequent casts to see if a school of hungry bass is present is sound advice.

Fishing weedlines for bass in summer is a reliable pattern most days. And, the new Gravel Dawg gives anglers another productive bait for fishing this pattern!

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

Author Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch
About the author:
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 www.fishingthemidwest.com to see all things Fishing the Midwest.

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