by Jack Payne
Thump, thump, thump and bam! A fish hit and game on. After trying to play bulldog with me on the bottom the bass finally came up and tried shaking its head to dislodge the hook. This fish was not successful in its try to be free.
Most days you will find me throwing finesse style baits, small worms, light weights, or a spinner bait. But on the dog days of summer and leading into fall it is often best to use a larger bait and fish deeper.
We were throwing the large Garter Worm or the Magnum Bass Stopper Worm from Stopper Lures. We fished this bait very similar to the drop shot rig. In our case we use a heavy bell sinker with the plastic worm tied onto a loop knot a few inches above the sinker. One angler might fish four inches up and the other angler might try a foot. See who gets the best action and duplicate it.
We like tying on a short leader, 6-12 inches long to the plastic worm. This gives the worm some movement, some added flutter and lift. We feel that we get more strikes when fishing in this manner than compared to a very short or no leader.
Sinker weight varies between three eighth and possible up to three quarters. It depends on the wind and the depth. Fifteen feet to thirty feet is our preferred depth. Deep long points are our first target and then sunken islands, mid lake humps and other off shore deep water structures.
Yes, we basically fish with our backs to the shoreline. Not what you would expect from many bass anglers. The next difference is that we fish vertically and we drift with the boat or move slowly with the trolling motor.
Once again, using a trolling motor while actually fishing is taboo with some anglers but I fish to catch fish and enjoy myself. I grew up chasing walleye and learned the fine art of vertical fishing. For many years my trolling motor was on the back of my boat and I back trolled. It’s only been a few years that I’ve enjoyed a front bow mounted trolling motor. I still run a tiller motor and that might change in the future.
When you walleye fish you learn how to fish deep water, how to find the spot on the spot and how to finesse fish or how to fish vertically. If you don’t then a live well becomes better suited as a cooler.
I really believe that anglers would catch more bass during the late summer and into the fall if they spent more time fishing the deep water. Sharp drop-offs are easy to find with your graph, many of the points that you would fish can be located by looking at the shoreline.
The idea behind a drop shot rig or the rig that we use is in maintaining contact with the bottom and keeping control of the plastic worm. I like the leader to the worm instead of it being tied tight to the line. I like the way it floats and flutters. Some anglers like it tight because they can feel any hit instantly from a bass. Try it both ways and see which way you enjoy best.
A larger bait matches the late summer forage. In the next month you will see a direct change in the size of the baitfish with less smaller fish and larger baitfish. In addition the metabolism is higher and many game fish want a larger meal while expanding less energy to fill up.
Deep water haunts with larger baits worked near the bottom will produce bass during the dog days of summer and leading into the fall. Deep water will continue to produce bass right through the turnover period just before the snow flies. Fish with your back to the shoreline and enjoy some great bass action overlooked by many anglers.