Summertime fishing can be a little tough at times. Rising water temps create a very taxing environment for post-spawn bass still beat up from the bedding process. As fish scatter in search of food and a more comfortable dwelling place, the bite gets a little tricky. But fret not! There are still several ways to catch fish throughout the summer. And to help you beat the heat, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 best lures for summer fishing.
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This one has been on the craze the last few years. The Whopper Plopper, from River2Sea, took the bass fishing world by storm about 5 years ago as James Watson, Chris Lane and others began to rack up dominant tournament victories with the bait. Now several similar lures have been introduced by other brands and this genre of baits represents one of the best summertime lures out there.
Its effectiveness is in its simplicity. Similar to its closest ancestor, the buzzbait, Whopper Plopper style prop-baits are chuck and wind lures. You can cover a ton of water with them, and once you dial in the right speed of retrieve, it all comes down to accurate casting. If you pick up one of these style prop baits, put it in your hand, and cover water in the summertime, you will get bit. And, it’s often a big one.
Deep Diving Crankbait
Moving offshore for a moment, the deep-diving crankbait is one of the most synonymous baits of all time with summertime fishing. A bait that has likely ground its way across a million combined miles of ledges over the years, deep diving crankbaits like the Strike King 6XD pictured here are responsible for countless summer catches each year.
The 6XD in particular would be the bait I’d say reigns supreme in this category for most anglers. Several fantastic deep diving crankbaits are now from different brands that share a similar depth range with the 6XD. But in the hands of legendary Kevin VanDam, this particulate bait earned its place atop the list of crankbaits many anglers tie on when prepping for summer fishing. And I’d venture to say has remained in the top 5 for the majority of anglers for decades now.
Moving back to the bank, as good as a Whopper Plopper is, it’s not an all-terrain vehicle. Having a bait that can be thrown or skipped into and fished through heavy cover is critical as bass seek shelter in the shade during the summer. A popping frog gives you just such a bait. It can be thrown into the thickest mats and skipped under anything with a clearance of a couple of inches or more.
Like the Z-Man Leap FrogZ Popping Frog pictured here, Hollow bodied popping frogs are also fantastic during the summer months because they play right into something else that’s happening that time of year — insect hatches. Across much of the country, mayflies hatch out in the summertime creating vast concentrations of these insects along shorelines.
This food source draws in bluegill and bream which in turn concentrates the bass. Introduce a popping frog into the equation and the aggressive bass in the area are in for it. They believe they’ve stumbled upon a gluttonous bream loading its belly with mayflies, until they suck it down and a swift hookset reveals something a little more sinister. Great size, strong hooks and a fantastic hookup ratio make a popping frog the perfect bait for this style of fishing which only occurs in the summer.
Soft Plastic Stick Bait
Baits like the Strike King Ned Ocho are another staple for summertime fishing, especially in the early summer immediate post-spawn time frame. When fish are coming off the bed and still shallow, they are hungry but lack the stamina to chase down a lot of bait. Wacky rigging an Ocho and skipping it around shallow cover is a great way to catch big bass and numbers alike.
You can also rig a soft plastic stick bait a dozen different ways throughout the summer, which makes it such a must-have in your boat or tackle bag. You can fish one on a Texas, Carolina, Neko, or whacky rig. Or cut one in half and slide it on a Ned rig, slip one on a shaky head and even put a tail spinner in the end of one rigged weightless and create a great bait to use when fish are still guarding fry early in the summer. Soft plastic stick baits are extremely versatile, which is very important in the summertime when fish are scattered at several different depths.
Now I know we’ve reached number 5 without mentioning one crucial bait for summertime fishing, so before anyone even brings it up, let’s clear the air. Number 5 came down to a Texas rig or a drop shot for this list. A drop shot is arguably one of the top 5 best summer lures of all time, not going to deny that. And I personally have one rigged up every time I hit the water in the summer. But, I believe a Texas rig barely edges it out, and versatility is why.
Though both baits work well shallow and deep, a Texas rig outshines a drop shot in muddy water and heavy cover, and that is why I believe it sets itself a little apart. From big ribbon-tailed worms out on the ledges of Lake Guntersville to tubes and creature baits pitched into shallow shoreline grass, the Texas rig has been responsible for tricking countless big bass.
Though it is nowhere near my favorite bait to fish in the summer, and some fisheries certainly set up better for other baits like dropshots, deep-diving crankbaits and topwaters, the Texas rig still reigns supreme in my summertime playbook because of one simple Litmus test. If someone told me my life depended on catching a bass of any size, I would go down swinging with a Texas rig. It’s just that reliable at getting bit even in the toughest, hottest summer conditions. This is why I chose it to wrap up this list of the Top 5 lures for summer bass fishing.
For more fishing fun, check out our full collection of baits.
By: Robbie Mendez