Game Plan: Deep Secrets

Pick off hot-weather bass on long points and ledges.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Of course You know that bass move deep in summer. But where exactly do they go? Two places where you can consistently find active fish now are long, sloping points that reach far offshore before dropping off, and the lips of creek and river channels, called ledges, especially on outside bends and channel junctures. Start by idling around the main lake while viewing your depthfinder. Normally, you'll see suspended fish, which are typically inactive, at a certain depth, say, 14 feet. Remember that number, because that's where you're going to find feeding bass on points and ledges throughout the lake.

Once you know how deep they are, all you have to do is catch them. Here are three proven methods:

[BRACKET "1"]**** Deep Cranking
Comb the points and ledges with a 1/2- to 1-ounce, long-billed, shad-pattern crankbait that will run deep enough to tag the bottom at the depth you're fishing. Use a 7-foot medium-action baitcasting rod and 8-pound line, and make long casts to get your bait to its maximum depth. These crankbaits work best at 18 feet or less. Models that dive any deeper usually take too long to reach their maximum range, putting them in the strike zone for a very short time.

[BRACKET "2"] **Carolina Rigging **
For fishing in waters down to 30 feet or more, it's hard to beat a Carolina rig, which casts far, sinks fast, and stays in the strike zone throughout the retrieve. Casting these rigs calls for a heavy-action 7- to 71/2-foot baitcasting outfit. Use a 4-inch french-fry worm Texas-rigged on a 3/0 worm hook. Watermelon and pumpkinseed are proven summertime colors.

**[BRACKET "3"] ****Heavy Jigging **
If you're after big bass in particular, cast a 1/2- to 3/4-ounce weedless jig dressed with a plastic craw, using a 7-foot medium-heavy baitcasting rod and 12-pound line. Go with crawdad colors in clear water and black-and-blue in stained water. After casting, jump the jig off the bottom with long sweeps of the rod, then let it swing back to the bottom while you hold the rod tip high. This bait isn't apt to catch as many fish as the subtler Carolina rig, but the jig's big profile will trigger strikes from some of the lake's heftiest bass.