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3 Techniques for Summer Bass

ZMan Diesel MinnowZ Swimbait, Trout Eye 3/16 oz. Jighead, Seaguar 10 lb. TATSU

Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ Swimbait, Trout Eye 3/16 oz. Jighead, Seaguar 10 lb. TATSU

The bass bite during the summer can be like riding a roller coaster! One minute the bass bite is up and the next minute its down. It is also during the summer that most bodies of water are swarming with baitfish of varying size. As the summer begins Bluegills have moved into vacated bass beds, spawning areas become decorated with circle craters and hungry post spawn bass begin cruising the shallows looking for revenge on those that had raided their spawning beds earlier. Since all bass do not spawn at the same time, it's imperative savvy bass anglers cover water dissecting contour depths starting with the shallows working out to deeper depths ranging from 10-20 feet as their day progresses.

One very important factor anglers must consider is the changes occurring within the underwater environment during the summer months. As the days become longer and hotter, vegetation grows faster suddenly both submergent and emergent vegetation appears overnight. And, the underwater world of the black bass is filled with activity. A smorgasbord of forage now is added to the menu; crawfish, frogs, leeches, baitfish and of course a multitude of freshly hatched fry! Playing the higher percentages over the years I have learned the larger percentage of forage base is found with baitfish and horizontal presentations.

Thus enters my choice of three techniques and Z-Man baits for the summer months:

1.Technique-Swimbaits: Since most of the forage fish is smaller, I'll start off the month with 2.5" Slim SwimZ and 3" MinnowZ. As the baitfish size increases the 4" DieZel MinnowZ becomes more productive enticing larger bass.

(Both spinning and bait casting gear are utilized for swimbait techniques.)

Z-Man Trout Eye Jighead 1/4 oz. ZMan 3" MinnowZ Bad Shad.... Ripping in grass.
(Note: Weeds on the Jighead)

2. Technique-ChatterBait's: The ChatterBait is one of the most versatile baits in an angler's arsenal. The Z-Man ChatterBait's erratic side-to-side swimming motions, slow crawl, ripped and stroked along the bottom or burned just below the surface above submerged vegetation to letting it settle into the vegetation than ripped out with a sudden pause all having bass enticing capabilities.

As with the swimbaits I'll start off utilizing the smaller 1/4 oz. Shad/Blue Glimmer or Green Pumpkin/Black ChatterBait Mini with a Slim SwimZ or Finesse ShadZ Trailer. I work my way up in size to the 1/4 oz. 3/8 oz. Original ChatterBait paired with 3.75"/5" StreakZ, and then the 3/8 oz. and 1/2 oz. Project Z Chatterbait rigged with 5" Bluegill or Pearl Scented Jerk ShadZ, RaZor ShadZ or Turbo CrawZ. (Bait casting gear is utilized, and at times spinning only for the Mini Chatterbait.)

Project Z ChatterBait: Pitching or flipping the larger Project Z ChatterBait into weed pockets and isolated vegetation as well as swimming the Project Z ChatterBait just above submergent vegetation while ticking the tops of vegetation has long been a proven technique. However, I have discovered that allowing your Project Z ChatterBait to actually fall into the vegetation produces larger bass! Once your ChatterBait has fallen into the vegetation, shake it/pause, and then apply subtle lift/drop movements. This will attract the attention of bass within this area. Then with a tight line rip your Project Z ChatterBait as hard as you can out of the weeds and pause..... Then set the hook, as more often than not a largemouth will inhale your ChatterBait. (I use 40 lb. Seaguar SMACKDOWN Braid for this technique and a medium/heavy flipping stick.)

Project Z Pearl ChatterBait & Pearl Scented Jerk ShadZ Pitched to isolated vegetation

3. Technique-Drop-Shot Baits: Certainly one of my favorite techniques, and some of the ways I utilize the dropshot might just surprise you? Remember the forage base for most of the early summer is small making finesse drop-shot baits the perfect choice. The Z-Man 2.5" Slim SwimZ as well as the Z-Man 2" GrubZ nose hooked and slowly dragged resembled smaller baitfish, while their gentle tail actions slowly swims both on the fall and the dragging retrieve. My go to color is Pearl Blue Glimmer. Keeping the same mindset I started with for both Z-Man Swimbaits and the Z-Man ChatterBait's, my dropshot bait size increases. Keeping a baitfish profile I then nose hook a 3.75" The Deal colored StreakZ or 4" Steel Blue Finesse ShadZ. When the bass have dropped to the deeper contours within 10-20 feet, my choice is first the 3.75" StreakZ, then a 4" Hula StickZ or a 4" Finesse WormZ both in Green Pumpkin.

The Drop-Shot Rig: My main line is Seaguar SMACKDOWN Braid 15 lb. test, 4 lb. diameter, and 6' fluorocarbon TATSU 6-8 lb. leader with a Spro barrel swivel between them. (This eliminates line twist and headaches!) Mustad Select Super Fine Finesse drop-shot hooks impel the Z-Man ElaZtech baits with tungsten teardrop or cylinder weights.

Tungsten cylinder weights come through vegetation better than tear drop weights, and for this reason when fan casing spawning flats or those with vegetation always use cylinder weights. As for my hook to weight length, I try to determine where within the water column most of the baitfish are, and attach my weight accordingly. My #1 Z-Man bait for fan casting is the Z-Man Hula StickZ. The bulky body and tentacles seem to attract more bites, especially when shaking your drop-shot rig in the vegetation. I utilize the same technique of shaking the drop-shot as I do my ChatterBait in vegetation. (This is when I tie 8 lb. TATSU as my leader.) You will be amazed at how well this rig comes through vegetation! Spinning gear is utilized on all drop-shot techniques.

Dragging a Drop-Shot Z-Man Hula StickZ along the outside weedline enticed this largemouth.

Remember 'Just Have Fun'
Billy 'Hawkeye' Decoteau

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