When the summer heat cranks up, I choose to dial down from the heavy rods and line and begin probing the depths with my drop shot rig.
Many fishermen will chase big bass lurking under thick milfoil mats, flipping 1 ounce weighted creature baits or heavy jigs on 50 pound braided line and using 8 foot poles.
I’ve had great success this year using the methods outlined below.
Big Schools, Big Fish
While close range, hand-to-hand combat with these beasts is exciting, I find it hard to pull myself away from probing deep structure and deep vegetation in search of big fish in big schools.
To begin my search, I study the Lakemaster depth countours on my Humminbird Side Imaging unit. At first glance, look for obvious points, inside turns, and humps.
After I identify these areas, I dig a little deeper, zooming in trying to find an inside turn around the tip of a point, or a steeper drop off a hump.
Once I have these areas located, it is time to visit these areas and start utilizing my electronics. I will use my side imaging to find any obvious rocks or changes to the vegetation that are notable and start marking way-points.
Side Imaging Learning Curve
I must admit, it has been a process learning how to read my side imaging readouts. I really had to commit to just putting down my poles and concentrate on what I was looking at.
Jumping up on the bow and using the front sonar unit also helps determining hard bottom and reading if fish are present.
Once you learn how to put it all together, fishing deep water becomes a whole new experience from a discovery aspect.
My Tools of Choice
On my front deck, I’ll have two 7 foot rods with spinning reels, spooled with 6 pound test line. I am a big believer in using the lightest line possible.
The fluorocarbon line these days can be extremely strong, assuming you buy the right brand. Seaguar fluorocarbon has been my favorite for the past two years, for both nimbleness and strength.
For hooks, I have become a big fan of Gamakatsu 1/0 drop shot hooks.
Two Rods, Rigged & Ready
Why do I have two poles rigged up for drop shotting? I like to have one with the tag line and weight set around 6-8 inches, and the other around 12-14 inches.
This allows me to experiment to see which the fish prefer. Also, if I happen to break off or need to re-tie, I have the second rod already to go and I can keep fishing.
Most of my bigger fish this year have been caught drop shotting a wacky rigged Tonka Tackle Deadstick. This is an extremely versatile bait and has become one of my confidence baits this season.
I also will use 4 inch finesse worms and a variety of other soft plastics that I have experimented with. Which baits I can’t say, I gotta keep some things to myself!
Patience Is Rewarded
Finding schools of large bass in deeper water and successfully catching them on light gear is one of the most rewarding bass fishing experiences the sport has to offer in my opinion.
It takes patience, practice, a quality drag on your reel, and a good net man to be successful.
So put down the flipping sticks for a morning, grab a spinning reel, and find those summertime schooling bass!