Summer fishing is full swing at this point and the bass are biting out deep. The water is hot, the air is hotter and days spent dodging Sea-Doos and reapplying sunscreen can be a bit grueling. But, again, the bass are still biting. Here’s a detailed rundown on three baits you can catch them on out deep this summer, as well as a few honorable mentions.
One of the steadiest baits of all-time in deeper water, the dropshot catches fish that are in cover, adjacent to cover, on the bottom or suspended out in the middle of nowhere. Rigging a dropshot is a little more complicated than just tying on a bait, but the added effort is worth it and it’s an easy rig to learn.
The most basic version includes a hook, a dropshot weight and a soft plastic lure. You can tie the hook onto your line using a simple Trilene knot, going through the front (hook point side) of the eye first. Be sure to leave a generous tag end of around 12 inches.
After cinching the knot down, return the tag end through the front of the eye of the hook. This will allow your hook and bait to standout from the line, with your hook pointed up. Add your desired soft plastic and a dropshot weight to the bottom of your tag line and you’re ready to go.
You can pitch the dropshot out in front of you to cover, or you can drop it directly under the boat. It’s important to rig the bait weedless when fishing around cover, but you can also increase your hookup ratio by leaving the hook point exposed in open water.
Big worm -
A big worm is also a very effective lure for fishing deep when the water’s hot. Bass can be a little sluggish in the summer, not willing to tango with an aggressive bait at times. Dragging a slow and subtle big meal in front of them can be just enough to convince them to give in.
There are several ways to fish a big worm in deep water, here are a few: Texas rig, magnum shaky head, swing head, magnum Ned rig and Carolina rig. Though this list isn’t exhaustive, it illustrates well the wide range of possibilities when fishing a worm out deep.
The Texas rig is perhaps the most popular and versatile for deep summer fishing, so we’ll look at it a little closer. A Texas rig consists of a hook, soft plastic worm and weight shaped like a bullet, which is thus commonly referred to as a bullet weight. To rig a Texas rig, slip your line through the weight, pointy end first. Then tie on an offset, a straight shank or an extra wide gap (EWG) hook.
Finally, rig your worm on the hook weedless. Do this by slipping the point into the center of the tip of the worm about a half inch. Then turn the hook point to where it pops out the bottom of the bait. Slide the head of the worm now up past the sharp bend near the eye of the hook, covering the eye and the straight portion of the hook just below it.
Now, take your hook point and poke it straight through the belly of the bait and out the back, with the desired outcome being a perfectly straight bait. You’ll have to bend the worm a bit during this process to get it to lay flat in the end. Once you’ve done this, stick just the tip of the hook under the skin of the worm and you’ll have a very weedless presentation.
Texas rigs are the best for deep water fishing because they are the most versatile. The pointed weight guides the worm well through cover like brush and submerged grass, and it does a decent job slipping through rocky terrain. A magnum shaky head or Ned rig can work better in rocky situations, with a swing head or Carolina rig working best along fairly smooth bottoms.
A crankbait is the best fast moving, power-fishing bait for deep summertime bass. As we previously stated in the section on big worm fishing, bass aren’t always super aggressive out deep. But, when they are biting good, a crankbait catches them quick. This is also a great search bait, giving an angler a lure he or she can cover a lot of water with when looking for fish. For these reasons and others, a crankbait is the first lure many anglers will reach for when fishing deep.
It’s important to note that “deep” is a relative term for anglers. On muddy fisheries, deep may be only 10 feet or so. On clearer impoundments, fishing deep begins around 25 feet. The good thing about crankbaits is that they come in various sizes and shapes to give anglers an offering to fish whatever they consider to be deep, up to about 25 feet.
KVD Strike King XD Crankbaits are among some of the most popular for fishing deep, so these baits are often used as references for crankbait fishing at certain depths. The 5XD dives down to about 15 feet, and represents a good starting point when talking about deep diving crankbaits. Their 6XD dives to 17 feet, 8XD to 20 and 10XD to 25.
You might say to yourself, if the 10XD dives all the way to 25 feet, why not just use it for all deep cranking? Well you could, but that wouldn’t be nearly as effective. The best thing to do is to select a crankbait with a max diving depth just a little deeper than the water you’re fishing. So, a 6XD is a great selection in 15 feet of water for example. Though the 5XD can dive to 15 feet, the 6XD will get there a little quicker and be a little easier to maintain bottom contact with, which is very important when fishing crankbaits out deep.
You’ll want to use fluorocarbon when fishing deep with crankbaits as opposed to monofilament or braid, as this fluoro sinks as where these other two lines float. Fluoro also has a smaller diameter per pound test compared to monofilament. The thin diameter is important, as it offers less resistance and thus cuts through the water better, allowing the baits to get deeper. Ten pound test fluorocarbon is a great starting point for deep cranking, moving up a little to 12- or 15- pound test when fishing around abrasive cover or with really large crankbaits.
In addition to dropshots, big worms and crankbaits, Carolina rigs, jigging spoons, flutter spoons, heavy spinnerbaits, swimbaits, football jigs, finesse jigs, hair jigs and scroungers all work well out deep too. But these three baits we talked about give an angler three great presentations for targeting fish in deep water around all sorts of cover, whether they’re particularly aggressive or not. If you take these three baits out deep on your local fishery, they should help you catch more fish this summer.
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