The late May early June weather looks like mid-summer. According to the calendar, the summer season is still a couple of weeks away. However, the recent hot weather may have convinced us otherwise. Hot weather impacts both the fish and the angler, but I would surmise it impacts the angler more than the fish.
While fishing during the recent hot conditions, I witnessed very few anglers on the water. If those missing anglers thought the fish would not bite under those conditions, they were wrong. Due to a recent diagnosis of lupus and resulting skin cancers, I have to be careful in the sun. I use sunscreen, wear headgear, face cover, gloves and sunglasses to ward off the sun’s rays.
I had a good day last Monday using a Carolina rig on a ledge in 10 to 15 feet of water. The fish have already moved to deep water indicating the summer pattern is here. The day was extremely hot, but a slight breeze helped my body endure the hot conditions, water being pushed into the lake from the Wallace Dam created a good current and the fish were very cooperative. The largemouth were not yet really hitting a crankbait very good but June is a good month for both a Carolina rig and a crankbait.
Anglers often think they have to fish in very deep water to catch summertime fish and unfortunately, they do not want to extend the effort required to catch fish in hot conditions. The fish I caught last Monday on Lake Sinclair were in water 10 to 15 feet and were relatively easy to catch without much effort.
The fish bite was best in the late afternoon and the best fishing occurred during a three-hour period from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. I used two techniques to catch those fish and those two techniques will catch fish all summer on Lake Sinclair and Lake Oconee. The two best summer lures to catch largemouth bass in deep water in my estimation are crankbaits and a Caroline rig.
With water temperatures already around 85 to 87 degrees and air temperatures in the upper 90s, an angler has about three options. Anglers can fish at night, and that certainly can be productive during hot weather. Angling results can be good at night and anglers can avoid the hot daytime temperatures.
Another option is to fish early and late in the day and attempt to avoid those hot midday temperatures but often the angling results can be the best in the middle of the day as it was for me last week. I have just about stopped fishing at night due to safety reasons and as I have gotten older it seems like it takes more time to recover from a night on the water.
I have never been able to adhere to the idea of fishing early and late in the day, although the recent high 90s and even a couple of 100 temperature days, has not been inviting even to me. Normally, when I get on the water, I have a hard time quitting if the sun is still shinning. I just find it challenging to quit while there is still some daylight left.
The last option is to fish during the entire daylight hours. Just bring along a lot of water, a good hat and some sunscreen and you might be surprised at the results. Summertime is my favorite time (except for maybe during a few days in August) to fish for largemouth bass.
Over the next several weeks, I will look at some of the techniques and lures that will allow anglers to catch summertime largemouth bass and some of the other fish species. There are other lures and techniques that can be used by anglers to catch those fish other than using crankbaits and Carolina rigged plastics which are just my favorite lures to use.
I will also discuss the importance of water current in the lakes. Water current is simply the most important ingredient in successful summertime fishing on Lake Sinclair and Lake Oconee, and we will look at that subject in depth. I will just mention that this past week’s good catch occurred when noticeable water current was present.
Most anglers think of deep water when someone mentions summertime angling. To me, deep water is anything over 25 feet deep and at times the largemouth bass can be caught in water deeper than 25 feet. However, most of the time feeding largemouth bass on Lake Sinclair and Lake Oconee will be in water much shallower than 25 feet even in the height of summer.
Neither Lake Sinclair nor Lake Oconee has a thermocline and I will also discuss that subject in the coming weeks and how that impacts fishing. The lack of a thermocline, the presence or absence of adequate oxygen in the water, the presence or absence of water current and location of baitfish will determine where the summertime largemouth bass will be located and may determine whether or not the fish will bite.
Those factors will also impact other species of fish in the lake so they are important to all fish in the lake. Even though I have specifically addressed largemouth bass, anglers can catch other fish species like catfish, crappie and striped/hybrid/white bass during the summer and we will look at techniques to catch those fish species also.
Summertime is a great time to be on the water. I know it can be miserably hot at times but a little cold water and a good fish bite can help offset the hot weather.
Good fishing and see you next week.