John's Journal...

Hunt for Shallow Bass at Any Time of Year by Jimmy Houston

Day 5: Shallow-Water Summertime and Fall Bass with Jimmy Houston

Editor’s Note: When largemouth bass head for the shallows in the fall or at anytime of the year, finding them begins with knowing where they’re not.

Click for Larger ViewOne of the main reasons bass swim to deep water in the hot summer months is not that they find the warm water too uncomfortable but rather to dodge the harsh rays of the sun. A lake that stays stained most of the summer often yields bass in shallow water, close to the shoreline. A summertime bass looks primarily for shade and cover and often can be found under boat docks or in the shade of trees overhanging the water. All boat docks don’t provide good cover and structure for bass, however. Most productive are the ones with pilings running from the surface to the bottom. Bass treat this type boat dock like a cluster of trees and will hold among its pilings all summer long. Although floating boat docks may shelter a few bass in hot weather, they attract more fish in the fall. When fishing a shallow-water pattern for bass at any rime of the year, an angler should remember each lake is different, and he or she should adapt the information he reads to the conditions of the lake he fishes.

Houston’s Favorite Shallow-Water Bass Baits:

Click for Larger View* The spinner bait is my favorite shallow-water shoreline bait. If I could fish only one spinner bait, I’ll choose a 3/8-ounce single spin with a good blade and a chartreuse-and-white skirt. Using a spinner bait allows me to fish a lot of water in a short time. I can cast spinner baits accurately even on windy days. Once a bass takes a spinner bait, I don’t feel as likely to lose it as I do when using other lures. A spinner bait can catch both large and small fish at any time.

* My second choice will be a jerkbait with some of my favorites the Redfin, the Rebel Minnow and the Bomber Long A. These lures not only produce when the water temperature is as low as 48 degrees, they also catch shallow-water bass in the summertime. The jerkbait can be kept in a bass’s strike zone for a long time, allowing the bass to hone in on it much more easily than on a spinner bait. Pulling a jerkbait up to a log and shaking the rod tip causes the lure to quiver, while staying in the bass’s strike zone. In most lakes, I like to fish a minnow-colored jerkbait. If the water is dingy, I find a chartreuse lure with an orange belly works better.

Click for Larger View* The jig is my third choice for shallow-water fishing. I cast as small a jig as possible, often fishing a 3/16-ounce jig with nothing but Uncle Josh’s Pork Chunk on it as a trailer. When I’m using the jig for flipping, I prefer a 1/2- to a 5/8-ounce jig with a bigger trailer, such as Uncle Josh’s Spring Lizard Pup, and a Shimano rod.

Click for Larger View* I use my fourth choice, Rebel deep-diving crankbait on a Shimano spinning rod, when fishing during early prespawn or prespawn. I like a Shimano spinning reel and light line like Berkley’s Trilene 8-pound-test XL line. This rig helps me get a crankbait down deep on points, or in that 4-to-8-foot water where the bass hold before going to the banks.

* I also enjoy fishing creature baits with tentacles and Twister-type tails by casting this bait and working it along the bottom, which is very effective in the spring and summer.

The keys to catching shallow-water bass are bypassing water where they don’t hold, knowing where the bass should be, understanding their behavior patterns and presenting a bait they’ll take. Even when a bass isn’t hungry, it easily can be caught in shallow water at anytime of the year.

How to Bass Fish Like a ProHow to catch the Biggest and Most Bass in any LakeThese tactics are just a sample of what you’ll learn in the new Kindle eBooks, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” and “How to Catch the Biggest and Most Bass in Any Lake” by John E. Phillips. Go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Check back each day this week for more about "Hunt for Shallow Bass at Any Time of Year by Jimmy Houston"

Day 1: How to Find Shallow-Water Bass with Bass Pro Jimmy Houston
Day 2: Shallow-Water Pre-Spawn Bass with Jimmy Houston
Day 3: Jimmy Houston on Fishing for Big or Little Bass in Shallow Water
Day 4: Jimmy Houston on Catching Postspawn Bass in Shallow Water
Day 5: Shallow-Water Summertime and Fall Bass with Jimmy Houston

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Entry 683, Day 5