Wood represents a wide range of key bass fishing cover year round. In the winter, bass hang close to all sorts of wood and use it as a pickoff point so they can conserve energy. In the spring, bass often create beds close to stumps, laydowns and dock poles to help them protect their beds. In the fall, bass love to again use wood to setup shop and ambush passing prey like shad when giant schools of these baitfish are prevalent all over the shallows.
And in the summer, it’s no different. Wood holds bass. And finding the right wood to help you target bass may be more critical in the summer than any other time of the year. Bass scatter all over this time of year. Some will relate to brush piles in 30- feet of water while others may hunker down near stumps in less than three feet. The bottom line, targeting wood when the water heats up will lead to more bites. So today, we’re going to look at three ways to target wood in the summer.
Deep brushpiles are perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about fishing wood in the summer, and rightfully so. Deep brushpiles not only hold fish, but lots of fish. Where a shallow stump typically only has one bass on it, if that, a deep brush pile will often have a half dozen or more. This is especially the case on fisheries with spotted bass in them.
To target these bass, you can use a lot of different baits. If the brush is in less than 20- feet of water, a deep diving crankbait works really well. Simply throw the crankbait well past the brush, then reel it down into the brush, being sure not to set the hook on the first limb you slam up against as your instincts may tell you to do so when you first feel resistance.
If the crankbait doesn’t get bit or the brush is too deep, jigs and Texas rigged worms work really well too. Lastly, you can try a dropshot, which is perhaps the most effective bait for deep brush. While there are certainly other ways to catch fish from deep brush, these four baits are extremely effective in the summer months and should give you plenty of options.
Fallen trees that are partially submerged along the bank are also great places to target bass in a variety of ways during the summer. You can fish a topwater over a laydown early and late, even being able to tempt a big one out of a tree top with a topwater midday at times. If the laydown is in shallow, muddy water, try reeling a squarebill or spinnerbait through it. If the water is a little deeper, try casting a shakyhead, Texas rig or jig up near the base of the tree and then work the bait out through the top.
Sometimes pitching a dropshot into the bushy ends of these deeper trees works really well. And keep in mind that one of the most important things about wood in summer is that it creates shade, even if you can’t see it. So the limbs of these bushy tops for instance that are beneath the surface are actually casting shade below them, and that’s why a dropshot falling through those limbs works really well. And don’t over look the little patch of shade below the trunks of the trees either, as there will often be a bass sitting in that tight shade right near the bank.
Stumps and Standing Timber
Vertical cover also holds fish really well during the summer. When it comes to wood, stumps and standing timber illustrate this type of cover well. Stumps offer bass the opportunity to setup shallow beside a pickoff point where they can hunker down and not expend a lot of energy as they wait for a meal to come to them. For these pieces of cover, try pitching jigs and Texas rigs to them or try reeling squarebills, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits by them.
Standing timber gives a bass an even better piece of vertical cover to relate to in the summer, because it’s in deeper water. The main difference between a stump and standing timber is that a stump is shallow with no limbs and standing timber is in deeper water and typically has a few scattered limbs still attached.
Because of the deeper water, a bass can move up and down standing timber and will often do so throughout the day. So in the morning, fish will likely be relating to the tops of standing timber and are more susceptible to a topwater or jerkbait. But later in the day, you’re better off pitching a dropshot up next to the tree and letting it fall straight down the trunk to a bass that’s setup several feet below the water’s surface.
There are certainly other ways to target bass relating to wood in the summer. But these are three key techniques for sure. If you can up your game when it comes to targeting bass that are relating to brush piles, laydowns and vertical wood like stumps and standing timber, you’re sure to put more fish in the boat this summer than in years passed.
Keep the bait selection fairly simple and remember that whatever the depth the fish are in, they’re likely relating to the wood because of the shade it produces. So they’re not going to want to venture far from that shade to eat a bait. The key is to get your lure in there close to the cover so that the bass will strike it right away and not hesitate.