By Lawrence Taylor

Once summer sets in, most of the time bass just chill with their bros. They find a water depth with a comfortable temperature and suspend or hold near bottom structure, or maybe in the shade of some vertical cover.

The good thing about summer bass fishing is that the fish school pretty tight, so when you find one you normally find a bunch. The bad thing about it is that they’re often lethargic and not willing to chase a lure.

There is a solution to the summertime bass blues, though, and it’s pretty easy. In short, you find the fish on your electronics, hover over them and drop a spoon to the school. Quick snaps of the rod tip put all of the action you need into the presentation. The bait darts up, and then flutters back down right back to the fish. Here’s the plan:

1.    FIND THE FISH
Start your search with a little Intel from the Internet, baitshop talk or fishing buddies – just get a starting range for how deep the fish have been holding lately. On lakes that stratify, identify the thermocline and use that as a starting point. What you’re looking for is cover (brushpiles, weed edges) or structure (rocky humps, drop-offs, ridges) that intersect that depth.

The most attractive area may be a flat at the right depth that features sporadic boulders, stumps or other fish-attracting features. These areas are certainly worth cruising over with your eye on the electronics.
cc spoon
If the fish are holding at 22 feet, a hump that rises from 45 feet up to 20 feet can be a bass magnet. Other examples are the rocky ridge produced by a long, tapering point, brushpiles, rockpiles – any fish attractor that hits the right depth.

Two factors that improve an area’s appeal for summertime bass are the presence of current and plenty of baitfish. Current can change the mood of the fish almost instantly, especially in power-generation lakes.

2.    SPOON FEED THEM
Two types of fishing spoons are made for this tactic, the Bomber Slab Spoon and the Cotton Cordell CC Spoon. The Slab is a fat, heavy oval (like your mom) that gets deep quick. The CC Spoon is longer and features a hammered surface that produces more flash and a more erratic action on the drop.

Anglers fishing depths of 30 feet or more often select the Slab because it gets to the fish quicker. Plus, flash and erratic movement isn’t as important the deeper you go.

Position the boat directly over the school of fish you located on your electronics and drop the spoon to the bottom. Engage the reel, bring the bait up a foot or so, and then snap the rod tip upward and quickly drop it back down so the spoon sinks on a semi-taut line. Watch for a small “tick” to indicate a strike.

A bonus to spoon-feeding bass is that if you’re in a good spot, you’ll not only catch bass, but a variety of other gamefish, including catfish, walleyes, panfish and more. Once, while working a spoon in an Oklahoma lake (the spot was a drop-off with a couple big trees growing on the edge) we pulled two 20-pound drum up on the first two drops! Wrong species, but man did they fight.

3.    SHORT CUTS
While this summertime bass tactic is pretty straightforward, there are a couple of spooning short cuts you can take to get on fish. Bridge pilings almost always hold some bass during summer – they’re normally associated with a breakline or channel, provide plenty of shade and increased current, and their bases are usually strewn with cover that piles up there.

Approach a bridge piling from down current and pitch the spoon past the concrete. Let it spoonshadsink nearly to the bottom and begin the snap, snap, snap retrieve.

Active, feeding fish are easier to catch, but during summer they can be harder to find. Look for areas that are pounded by wind.  A rocky mainlake point that features abrupt drop-offs or stair step shelf rocks is a promising area if there’s deep water nearby. Bass hold in the deep water and slide up to feed on baitfish and crawfish dislodged and disoriented by the waves.

One key to spooning is that they do get snagged – any lure with an open treble hook on the back is bound to – but the spoon is it’s own plug-knocker. By giving the spoon slack, its own weight often pulls it free.