Summer fishing can be pretty hot

Many anglers would trade their favorite rods, reels and lures for a chance to fish springtime conditions throughout the year.

Spring is fresh, the new start for which we yearned while winter dragged. Spring is warm days that limber up our muscles aching for fishing action. Spring is when walleyes, crappies, bass and many other species are most catchable.

But spring here in Northeast Ohio is fleeting. No sooner do the willows bud than the days get long, lazy and hot. No better example of “hot” happens like the heat that suffocated our region the past week.

Hot weather takes a toll on the fish and us anglers. The comfy days of fast fishing for our favorite species evaporate faster than a cup of water spilled on hot blacktop. Anglers sweat while the fish head for places to hide from the heat and ride out the summer.

Summer requires a different approach. For those whose techniques are tuned to springtime fishing, summer can be a tough season.

It may be difficult compared to spring, but summer fishing is my favorite.

Two recent trips helped me advance my summer experience. The forecast had the mercury hitting 90 both days and the sun would beat down relentlessly.

Successful fishing trips start with a solid game plan. I thought through a few scenarios on the way to the water, taking into account the relatively short nights would not provide enough cooling to moderate the daytime boil. To counter, I decided to start both mornings on the east side of the lake, where the shade would linger longer.

As I idled into position to deploy the electric motor on the first lake, I checked the temperature on the Lowrance. The water was 84 degrees, the high end of the scale for largemouth bass’ preferences.

My starting spot was perfect for skipping unweighted plastic stick worms under overhanging trees. The bass seemed to agree I’d made the right choice. I landed a dozen before the sun climbed high enough to wipe out the shade and drive the bass off the bank.

The second lake, meanwhile, featured lush aquatic vegetation that offered perfect shady ambush stations for the bass to pick off perch, bluegills and shad. Thick green weed lines are established at several of our local lakes, including Mosquito, Pymatuning and West Branch.

Hot weather bass often feed actively during the hours of darkness. Suspecting the bass would be continuing their overnight dining as I approached the east side of the lake at sunrise, I pulled out a rod rigged with a 5-inch topwater walking bait.

Three casts into my morning, a 4-pound largemouth blasted the lure, leaped high and fought like a fish twice its weight all the way to the boat. A moment later, the twin to the first bass jumped clear of the surface to eat the oncoming bait before it even hit the water.

When that happens, you know you’ve made the right choices regarding location, lure and presentation.

A few hours later as I tied up at the ramp, I wiped my sweaty face and glanced at the temperature on the Lowrance’s digital screen. It was an impressive 90.4 degrees, yet the bass had cooperated.

I finished with 15 keepers, including the two 4-pounders that got the ball rolling that morning.

Summer fishing can be pretty hot.

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