August presents bass fishermen with several challenges
A lot of bass fishermen really don’t like to fish in August, and I can understand why. The weather is so hot, it’s miserable. And it’s reflected in the way the fish bite. It’s a grind-it-out month, when you go to the lake, work your butt off and hopefully, you can catch five fish.
But even though fishing is tough, I’ve always enjoyed August, even though instead of pulling up to a place and catching two or three fish, I’m just catching one. August is, like every summer month, a good month to fish a crankbait. And that’s what I do best.
A couple of things you need to know about August. Bass tend to get away from the sharp breaks they’re usually on. They go more to contour breaks. Instead of a 10-foot break, they’re on a 2- or 3-foot break. Also, a lot of guys will go into the backs of creeks and up in the river because things get so tough on the lake. That may be because they aren’t finding fish because they aren’t looking in the right places.
August bass will bite in all depths, depending on certain factors
The deal about August is, you can catch fish anywhere from 3 feet deep all the way to 25 or 28 feet deep. It depends on the current and how much rain we get. If your lake doesn’t have a lot of current, the fish might move up. That’s because there won’t be enough oxygen in deep water for them to live there. And then, they can be scattered out in all kinds of depths.
Full of surprises
When I won the Bassmaster Classic in 1993 in Alabama, that tournament was in August. About half of my fish came from 15 feet of water. And the other half came from 6 or 7 feet of water — those were the fish I caught on the flat-sided bait. They could have been anywhere. You would have expected them all to be 40 feet deep, because the water temperature at Logan Martin Lake was 92 degrees. But there wasn’t enough oxygen down deep, so they scattered out.
This means you need to look for fish in a lot of different places. Because it’s August, and because fishermen have been putting a lot of pressure on fish in obvious places, they’re going to scatter out and get on places that are a little bit out of the way, that don’t get beaten up. All the really good, easy-to-find places are getting pressure. And those fish are either getting caught or they’re moving to avoid the pressure.
I actually like to fish those kinds of places, the ones that don’t show up right away on all the new, improved electronics we’ve got on our boats. I love to be in the situation — which is kind of old-school — where I’m finding structure with my bait, not with my electronics.
Woody cover is a good bet for August bass
August is the start of the time of year when fish really start hanging around wood better than anything else. You start seeing them around brush, and August is a really good month to find bass on isolated brush or stumps. You just have to fish enough places to find ones where they’re biting. At Buggs Island, out of 100 brush piles you fish, you might find 10 where they’re biting. This is one of the best times of the year to fish isolated stumps — the No. 1 kind of structure to fish any time when fish get scattered.
Flat sides in current
A couple of more things. A lot of guys feel more comfortable in August fishing way up the river or way in the back of the creeks. That’s because they can find current. What’s good to know is that in that situation, in those places, bass will get on flat-sided baits like my Berkley Frittsides. They will get you a bite when nothing else will. When you’ve had plenty of rain and there’s moving water in the main lake where you’re fishing, you should be able to catch them on anything from a Dredger 14.5 to a 25.5, depending on the lake you’re fishing.
The other thing is, your chartreuse colors start to come back in August. I love the rubbertail bream and lone ranger colors, which are sort of a chartreuse baby bass and chartreuse/silver back. Your baitfish colors like honey shad and chartreuse/blue will be good. But the first two are colors that are extremely good for getting big bites.
So, don’t put your boat away in August because it’s so hot and the fish don’t seem like they’re interested. They’re probably still interested, when you find them. And that will take you looking in little places that are off the beaten path, away from all the rest of the boats and fishermen.
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