By Will Petty
As the hot summer weather starts to set in around this area, most everyone starts to turn their attention to deeper water and structure fishing. After all, that is the only way to catch fish this time of year right? Wrong! Structure fishing doesn’t have to be the only way to target fish this time of the year. There are more fish that stay shallow than most people may think.
While structure fishing can often be the most reliable pattern during the hot summer months, shallow fishing possesses the potential to keep you competitive a whole lot more than you know. All you need is a little colored water and some cover and you can put together a pattern fishing visible targets while your buddies are dragging around on the same deep spots hoping to run across a school of fish. Don’t be afraid to fish extremely shallow as well. Just this past weekend, I caught a solid limit of fish from water that was two feet deep and water temperatures were in the mid eighties! The kicker is that the tournament was won doing virtually the same thing and that team had over twenty pounds which was good enough for a brand new TZX 190 Skeeter with a 150 hp Yamaha HPDI.
Another beautiful thing about this type of fishing is that you can keep your bait selection very simple. It is mostly a power fishing deal that involves a lot of flipping, topwater, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. All of our fish in the Carolina’s Bass Challenge division championship on High Rock Lake came on 4” Big Bite Baits Fighting Frogs in either Okeechobee Craw or Hematoma colors, 20lb Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon, 1/4oz weights, and 4/0 Gamakatsu Superline EWG hooks. I also like to throw a Spro Fat John around blow downs and docks as well. This bait is key for me as well since it only runs a few feet deep and heavy line doesn’t seem to impede the bait’s action like some other baits do. I typically put the Fat John on 16lb to 20lb Sunline Super Natural mono since I am throwing this bait in the middle of blowdowns or other heavy cover.
If you aren’t a fan of dragging a worm or deep cranking, don’t put your big sticks away after the calendar flips to June. Find some colored water and don’t be afraid to rub the paint off of the bottom of your boat. You might be surprised at what you find occupying the shallow water!