3 part series of Summertime Fishing Techniques

Summer is quickly approaching and as water temperatures rise, so do fish’s metabolism. To satisfy those calories, they need to eat more. Here is the first of three of my favorite summertime techniques for catching bass at Bienville Plantation and they are successful in other areas too!

Part 1- Pitching/Flipping Cover

Fishing heavy cover can be intimidating and it can also feel like a lot of work but the quality of bass that are caught using this technique makes it all worth it. Follow these few guidelines and you will find yourself catching big summertime bass just like me!

In shallow water, bass tend to conserve their energy staying cooler underneath vegetation during the hotter times of the day. Some of the most common freshwater vegetation (cover) that bass relate to are:

    • Hydrilla
    • Lilly pads
    • Water hyacinth
    • Pistia (water lettuce)
    • Duckweed
    • Cattails
    • Reeds

Although they can relate to any floating structure.

First, I try to find a “spot on a spot” that has cover. I use Google Earth, Navionics and C-map to locate and study areas that are:

    • Closer to deeper water
    • On a point
    • Next to a creek mouth
    • Mixed with manmade structures. Anything that makes an area a little different.

I tend to get more bites when there are multiple types of vegetation around. For example, a hyacinth mat or grass in lily pads. I ALWAYS fish vertical structures that are in cover like sticks, or marker poles and I usually target the stalks of the lily pads, not the leaves. In mats and reeds, I look for irregularities and target the holes and thickest parts. For boat control (and to not disturb the area I’m fishing) I keep the nose of the boat into the wind. I rely a lot on my Minn-Kota Talons to keep me anchored while I work an area. When I’m fishing off a deeper edge, nothing beats the “spot lock” on my trolling motor. Stealth is key!

My favorite lakes at Bienville for fishing thick vegetation are Lake Purvis, Thomas and Feagle. They are loaded with monster bass!

The equipment I primarily use is:

    • 7-6 Extra heavy, fast action rod (power and sensitivity are important)
    • Lew’s Super Duty reel (8.3:1) (ability to get them up and out)
    • 5-2.5 oz pegged weight (depending on thickness of vegetation) but I have the most success with 1oz if it’s able to go through I believe because the rate of the fall triggers bites
    • 50lb braided line or 20lb fleuro carbon (depending on vegetation and water clarity)
    • 5/O flipping hook
    • Texas rigged beaver, craw, and brush hog style baits (but have also used speed worms, jigs and shaky-heads)

Technique for fishing this kind of cover is very important. Probably even more important than the bait you choose. Flipping/pitching takes some practice and key things to remember are:

    • Present your bait quietly
    • Be accurate
    • SET THE HOOK!!

There are a few ways to work the bait depending on how the bass are feeding that day. Keeping my thumb on the spool, I usually let the bait fall on a slack but firm line until it hits the bottom. I wait a few seconds then “check” the line by gently pulling up just a bit. I lower it back down (or set the hook depending on what is happening at the other end) and hop it 2-3 times. Still no bite? I jig my bait just under the mat making it rise and fall a few inches mimicking the forage.  Especially if I hear activity right under the surface like bluegill popping or suspect craw fish around. Still nothing? I pull it out and hit the next spot. Also, I pay attention to any debris that may come up on my bait. If the bottom looks and feels mucky with decomposing vegetation, I move on. I find that the bigger bass I’ve caught tend to like a cleaner bottom.

In conclusion, locating the right areas, using the right equipment, and perfecting your technique of flipping/pitching will not only add a useful skill to your fishing abilities, it will give you an adrenaline rush like never before! If you have never pulled a giant bass out from its cozy cover, what are you waiting for?! Take my advice and try it for yourself. I promise you will be “hooked”. 

Don’t miss the second part of this series where I discuss top water fishing techniques for summertime fishing fun!