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Summer Bass Fishing: How to Find & Catch Bass in the Heat

Summer is a great time to be out on the water, but finding and catching bass in the heat can be challenging. Understanding bass behavior and movement during the summer is key to catching them. Once you know where to look, it gets much easier, bass are very predictable during the summer.

Knowing where to find bass in the summer is key to catching them. 

  • Early summer fish tend to stay shallow and focus on cover
  • Late summer fish back out to offshore structure and tend to setup on hard bottom and rock. 
  • If there is current in your system, they will use it, and the key is to find the first current break closest to the fastest water.

Where Bass Go During the Summer

During the early summer bass are active, aggressive, and tend to school up together. They are starting to split up, with some staying shallow, and some moving out to deeper water.


The key to fishing up shallow during the summer is focusing on the backs of pockets and outer edges of grass. If your lake has good solid cover, the bass will be on it.


The bass that move out deeper after spawn will seek out hard rocky bottom on the main body of the lake. Look for outside points, ends of big offshore humps, long points that come out, and big long ridges.


If you have current in your system, the bass will use it. In places where there’s current, they will use the first current break closest to the fastest water. That’s the sweet spot. 

They will tuck just out of the current and push up to the front of the line to feed. In a true river system, they will push to the tops of pools, right where that water is coming or dumping in.

Summer Bass Movement By Water Type

Where bass go during the summer depends on the type of water you are fishing. Below you will find a breakdown for each kind of fishery.

Highland Reservoirs

Bass on highland reservoirs will split off during the summer. Some will stay up shallow, but the vast majority will head out to deeper water.

These deeper bass can be found grouped up in two primary locations:

  • Open water around main lake points
  • Offshore structure such as: humps, ledges, and creek channel bends

If you have electronics, these fish can be fairly easy to find and catch.

Lowland Reservoirs

Lowland reservoirs are similar highland reservoirs when it comes to bass movement during the summer. The majority of bass will leave the backs of coves and head to deeper water. These bass will setup on ledges around the current.

The bass that stay shallow will stay in the backs of coves and will seek out grass and vegetation.

Natural Lakes

On natural lakes and ponds, the water level doesn’t fluctuate nearly as much as reservoirs. This allows grass and other vegetation grow much further out until light doesn’t penetrate deep enough for it to grow. This will create a clear edge of vegetation. The largest bass on natural lakes will be along these clean edges of vegetation.

There will also be a population of bass on natural lakes that stay in the back of coves up super shallow. These will be much smaller but can be fun if you want to catch a large number of fish.

Rivers and Delta Systems

During the summer on rivers, creeks, and delta systems, bass are really predictable. The summer heat will boost a bass metabolism and they will seek out heavy current.

The largest bass will hold on the first piece of cover just out of heavy current. They will be facing the current, waiting for their next meal float by.

These are the general patterns you will see for each body of water. Day-to-day you might see exceptions to these depending on the weather.

How to Find Bass During the Summer

Now that you have an understanding of bass movement during the summer, let’s go over where to find them. In the summer the key thing to look for is shadows. Bass don’t want to be in the direct sun during the summer.

Shade plays a critical role in summertime fishing. During the hottest time of day fish tend to seek out shade for relief. This behavior makes bass very predictable and can make them easier to catch.

Pay attention to the shade lines from overhanging tress or brush close to the bank. Additionally, docks, laydowns, and other structures can provide shade. Look for structures with the most shade and those closer to deeper water, as they are likely to hold more fish.

Wood docks tend to be preferred over metal docks due to them maintaining a more stable temperature compared to metal docks.

Bass will also seek out vegetation to provide them shade. For these bass, look for the thickest vegetation in the area. If you find a downed tree floating in the middle of vegetation that’s another great place to target. Bass want the darkest shadows they can find.

If there is nowhere for bass to find shade on a body of water, they will definitely be at the color line.

The color line is the depth where light stops penetrating down. Bass will sit right under this line and use it as their shade. They will look up and watch for a meal swimming by. This is when topwater can be very good.

How to Catch Bass During the Summer

Catching summer bass is relatively simple once you find them, especially if you are using the top summer baits. Some of the best baits for are crankbaits, small to midsize swim baits, topwater, shaky heads, and swinging jig heads rigged with a creature bait. 

Summer Time Fishing Tips

  1. While its tempting to only fish during the early morning or late evening to avoid the scorching heat, don’t count midday out. The hottest part of the day, between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm can be prime fishing time. It’s often when fish are most active. So, don’t shy away from braving the heat.
  2. Don’t give up on reaction baits too quickly. Reaction baits allow you to cover water quickly which increase your chances of finding active fish. While finesse techniques have there place when targeting specific pieces of cover, don’t give up and make the switch too quickly.
  3. Night fishing can be great during the summer months. Not only does it offer relief from the heat and boat traffic, but you may also be pleasantly surprised by your catch rates. Don’t be afraid to venture out during the evening hours, especially within the first couple of hours after sunset.
  4. As summertime fishing conditions can vary, it’s crucial to remain adaptable. Water temperatures, wind patterns, and even the presence of specific baitfish can influence fish behavior. Stay observant and adjust your fishing techniques accordingly to maximize your chances of success.