Stange-Bass-Jig-In-FishermanThere’s no bad time to fish a jig, especially if you’re after big fish. But they become particularly effective as mid-summer turns to early fall. With the water warm, bass need to feed to pack on weight. But with bait abundant, bass can afford to be choosy about when they bite and what they bite. Jigs score because, rigged right, they can combine power and finesse in one presentation. This package shows bass something that’s both vulnerable and worth chasing, from an energetics perspective.

The Summer Scene
On natural lakes and reservoirs with abundant vegetation, bass occupy various zones within this lush cover. Some great habitat is obvious, while other locales, typically deeper, are hidden from view. Sonar reveals these deeper edges, pockets, and points of vegetation where bass feed all summer long.

From Canada to California to Florida, bass favor tall emergent vegetation that carries many common names—bulrushes, reeds, buggy whips, and tules to name a few. These plants grow on a harder bottom that often limits submerged vegetation. But dense stands with pockets and points are key feeding areas for big bass throughout the season. They can be challenging to fish, and to pull big fish out of. We will explore some new developments here shortly.

Casting, pitching, and flipping can all apply to bulrush fishing, depending on density of the plants and water depth. Active bass often move to the outer edges of stands or hold in open pockets where casting works. On the other hand, in the deepest, densest plots, you must proceed slowly and quietly, but you can catch fish within feet of the boat, with a near-vertical drop.

Vast vegetated flats are summer feeding grounds as well. For the highest-percentage fishing, focus on edges, particularly the deeper edge where vegetation tapers into the lake basin. In darker waters, this may occur in 6 to 8 feet of water, while in clear impoundments and lakes with hydrilla, edges may be out in 20 feet or even more. Active bass roam this outer edge throughout the day, but early in the morning, they often chase baitfish from open water toward the edge, which helps them trap their prey. As a school of shad or shiners approaches the weededge, it typically splits and smaller groups of baitfish scatter. When they do, bass attack, knowing they have an advantage over these small and swift swimmers.

Casting toward the edge with a weedless jig often takes the biggest fish of the day. Bass higher in the water column often eat the lure as it falls. At other times, you feel a thump and see the line jumps within seconds of bottom contact. Note where the strikes come and you can adjust the presentation. If fish are biting on the fall, switch to a lighter jig to give more drop time. If they’re on bottom, go heavier to increase bottom thump and to get back down fast.

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