Justin Giles pitched a shaky head near a submerged ledge and worked the worm into a brushtop but before he could get it through the limbs a bass smashed it and tore it loose. Giles reared back and slammed the shaky head’s steel hook deep into the jaw of the hungry bass. The veteran angler made quick work of the fish and released him gently back into the water to grow up.
Though we have fished regularly since Justin was a young tyke, his engineering job and the COVID-19 crises had kept us from making a trip until this past weekend. Though the weather was smoking hot and humidity dripping with moisture, we managed to work a little magic and caught and released many bass.
We worked a shallow grass patch early and the bass struck our KVD Strike King and Bass Pro worms readily weather they were rigged on a shaky head or weightless. The early bite came from bass in the grass striking anything we offered, but mostly something rigged weightless. Before the sun peaked over the horizon we’d caught and release quite a few bass on those plastics.
Shaky up with shaky heads
As soon as the sun got up the shallow water bite slowed, and we moved a bit deeper targeting submerged drops and treetops. Justin switched totally to the shaky head rig and continued catching and releasing bass.
Though we hadn’t fished this lake together before we backed off of the shorelines and kept a keen eye on the Hummingbird Elite Sonar unit to spot brushtops and ledges and we weren’t disappointed at what we found. Several times we’d find a top on the graph and Justin would cast the shaky head past the top and work it through the limbs. Almost every brushtop had bait in it and bass around it and Justin took advantage by enticing bites from hungry bass. They weren’t really active but if he put the shaky head on top of them, they would bite.
Cranking up bass
When the bass are in the dog days of summer and not feeding actively you’ve got to do something to make them bite and there’s nothing much better than getting out your dog and hunting for reaction bites. In this case my “dog” was a Bill Dance crankbait that I’d pulled out of a brushtop with another crankbait while fishing on Okatibbee lake a few years ago. The shad colored crankbait is the real deal and has that little something extra that bass just can’t stand.
I hadn’t made many casts when I cranked down and bounced the lure off of a brush top enticing a reaction bite from a bass. Upon hitting the top I hesitated a bit and the bass smashed it before it could clear the top. I reared back and set the hook and quickly brought my first crankbait bass into the boat.
After catching several bass on the crankbait we established a pattern that the bass were relating to the drops in 9 to 11 feet of water and if there was a submerged top on it there was usually a bass there.
The good think about using a crankbait in a new place is that you can use that lure to hunt for submerged structure along the shelf or drop-off edge while covering some ground. Usually the bass will strike the crankbaits out of reaction to the erratic behavior of the lure bouncing off the cover.
I made a long cast and cranked the lure down towards the bottom and suddenly hit a top. I hesitated a second as the lure floated up and then felt the bass strike. I set the hook and fought the lunker back to the boat letting the rod and reel combo do its work.
My rod and reel combo, a Bass Pro Shops Crankin’ Stick with a Johnny Morris rod and reel was the key to catching the hot weather bass. The Crankin’ Stick is made with Shok Flex Technology, a graphite and fiberglass hybridization, resulting in fishing rods with the sensitive feel of graphite, while offering the shock absorption benefits and power of glass.
While I could easily feel a strike, the shock absorption of the glass component allowed the bass to inhale the crankbait deep enough to provide a good hookset. Most of the bass I caught had both treble hooks securely set. I continued catching and releasing bass up into the midday heat and only lost one fish on the crankbait.
Justin also used the Bass Pro crankbait combo to catch many bass on the hot July morning after he realized that I had found a quicker way to locate the bass than with the shaky head. If you’re looking for hot bass action in July, then grab a few shaky heads and crankbaits and head to the water today.
Call Mike Giles at 601-917-3898 or email email@example.com.