No question about it, summer bass fishing can be challenging. With the recent record heat and very little rain it’s only made conditions even more difficult. However, you can still have hot weather fishing success if you follow a few of these tips.

First, try fishing at night or during the low light time of day. Night fishing, especially at some of our clear Ozarks lakes like Stockton and Table Rock is the best time to be on the water. Not only is it cooler, bass and other predator fish use the darkness to their advantage to catch prey. Plan to fish deep on points, creek channel bends, and underwater humps. The best baits are big worms, jigs, crawdad type soft-plastics, and slow rolled big bladed spinner-baits. It may seem counter-intuitive but darker colors work best. The dark baits silhouette against the night sky and make them easier for bass to find.

If you’re not comfortable fishing in the dark, the next best time of day is very early in the morning and late in the evening. Boat traffic is lighter then and bass are always more active during these low light conditions. Fish tend to move up shallower during that time of day as well and that makes them more accessible. Top water baits often work well. Buzz baits, Zara Spooks and other walking baits, and prop baits are the best choices. These “noisy” top water baits can draw strikes from deeper water and can trigger inactive fish into biting. As the sun moves higher, switch to big plastic worms, deep diving crankbaits, and slow rolled big spinner-baits. Vertical fishing a drop-shot rig or hopping a jigging spoon can be very effective. Also too, if you’re on the water when the winds blowing, fish deeper banks where the waves are crashing. Fish are always looking for an advantage and the wind pushes bait-fish around and bass move up to catch them. The bass in the photo was caught in the late afternoon in just such a spot. 


It’s important too to get the fish you catch back into the water as soon as possible. If you catch a nice one, get a pic and then quickly release it. The warm water temps, and the battle reeling them in, stress bass so ease them back into the water as soon and possible.

Also too, it looks like some relief from the sweltering heat may be on the way. Clouds, rain, and cooler weather will often get inactive summertime bass going so plan to hit the water as soon as conditions improve.

No doubt, summer bass fishing can be tough but it shouldn’t keep you off the water. You’ll get less sleep but the effort will be well worth it. Fish are cold-blooded creatures so the warm water has their metabolism in high gear. If you hit it right, you can still have success even in the heat of the summer! Good luck!