Black Bass Down: Go Deep for Big Summer Largemouths

Some summer largemouths want the shade of shoreline cover. But just as many go deep to cool off. Here’s how to catch them.

Sure, you can hook hogs in the lily pads this time of year. But plenty of bass have moved deep to escape summer’s heat. In many lakes, thermoclines are most clearly defined during the hottest months, making them easier to mark with your electronics—along with large numbers of bass and baitfish hanging in the deep, cool bands of water. All you have to do to catch these fish is ditch the poppers, tie on a heavy 1-ounce jig, and get snapping.

Illustration by Jason Schneider

1. On Your Mark
Once you've identified a piece of structure holding fish, make a cast beyond it, but not too far. You want to make a vertical presentation, so just let the jig fall in free spool until it hits the bottom.

2. Snapshot
When the jig touches down, engage the reel and aggressively snap the rod tip upward once from 7 o'clock to 11. Then let the bait fall freely back to the bottom. Repeat until the jig is almost under the boat. Keep an eye on the spot where the line enters the water. Any ticks or stops after a snap can register here before you feel them, tipping you off that a bass has just inhaled the jig.

3**. Bring the Hea**t
When you get hit, reel down to pick up the slack fast, then sweep up to drive the hook home. There's apt to be a long distance between the rod tip and the fish, so reel aggressively and keep strong pressure on throughout the fight. Any slack in the line can cause the heavy jig to fall or be shaken out by the fish.

LOW GEAR: Top Tackle for Dog-day deep-dropping Success

Pinnacle Optimus XiHS
You need a reel that can pick up slack quickly to catch up to the fish. The Optimus XiHS has a 7.3:1 retrieve rate that gets you tight in a jiffy ($249; -pinnacle​-fishing.com).

Sunline Structure FC 14-Pound
The line's low stretch provides sure hooksets in deep water, and because it's fluorocarbon, it sinks fast. It also has a nice slim diameter for extra sensitivity ($32; -sunline​america.com).

Dave's Pro Football Jig
This heavy hitter sports a full skirt for extra action and visibility. If you want to give it even more wiggle, try adding a trailer with twin tails ($3; daves​-tournament​tackle.com).