Find current, then fish it

When hot weather bears down on reservoirs, look for areas with noticeable current; the baitfish and bass there will be much more active than anywhere else.

Moving water invigorates hot-weather bass

August is not the time to “camp out” on a spot, hoping bass will bite. You need to be fishing where they are biting, and that means moving water.

The water is hot, in the upper 80s, even low 90s. While it is true deeper water is not that hot, it gets tricky this month because a thermocline has most likely developed, leading to areas of cool water with no oxygen. The warmer, upper layer is where the fish and oxygen are. The depth you need to be fishing is dependent on the body of water you are fishing. 

Growing up, fishing my home lake all the time, the thermocline would often be around 14 to 16 feet deep — relatively deep. There will be two thermoclines, however, one in just the first 6 inches up to a little more that 3 feet, again, depending on where you are fishing.

Here’s a case in point. If you jump in, the water will be hot from your head to your waist, then drastically cool below. This middle layer is still oxygenated and is where you need to be fishing. So on my home lake this month, I want to be fishing between 3 and 16 feet deep unless I detect that the thermocline is different from what history tells me.

Fish current

In ponds with little wind or current flow, there will generally be no oxygen at all below about 3 feet, so you need to be fishing shallow. This gets me to my point — find current and find bass. Any current in the summer can generate feeding activity. Wind blowing under a bridge, a boat loading up, powering on the ramp, and obviously the river sections of lakes or rivers themselves are all forms of current.

Current moves and oxygenates the water, making bass and bait more active. It is very tough to fish deep water that is not moving. Always call ahead or look up on the Internet any power generations or water releases from dams and try to fit in your fishing around those times. We all have a limited amount of time to fish, so make it count and go when they’re biting.

Current will make fish less likely to suspend on deep structure, and it will make them position in predicable locations in shallow water as well. Bass like the current coming at them, bringing food, so bends in channels are important.

Hit the bottom

Since bass with current will get on the bottom, bottom-bouncing baits like big crankbaits, worms and jigs are the ticket on deep structure. If there is no current, you may need to fish higher in the water column with an Alabama rig. I really like to reel a crankbait really fast along the bottom — almost as fast a lipless bait — this gets schools fired up. 

Don’t settle for fishing stagnation this month — find some moving water and find the bass.

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