Outdoors column: On top of mid-summer largemouth bass

When it comes to finding midsummer bass you better throw in a heaping helping of green weeds.

They can provide everything an adult bass needs including cover that can hold plenty of bait fish, as well as nooks and crannies where bass can set up and fill their bellies.

John Janousek used found this big largemouth hiding in a black hole.
John Janousek used found this big largemouth hiding in a black hole.Submitted photo

To a bass – that’s about it, nice and simple.

For an angler the challenge is finding the daily hot spots and giving them what they think they want. Finding the ever changing hot spots is the big challenge and there are tools of the trade that can help shorten up the time between looking and finally catching. Search baits that let you cover water are a key to finding the biters and why tournament pro John Janousek, Nisswa, likes to use a blade bait. “With a spinner bait like Northland Tackle’s Pro-Series Reed Runner I can quickly work a variety of weed growth and find the active fish,” he said. “I’ll throw a half-ounce bait into the pockets and along the edges of reed banks, lily pads and submerged weed growth like cabbage or milfoil and see if I can find any chasers.

“If the pads are sparse enough they can be worked with a spinner bait or buzz bait which will allow you to cover some water and is a good bet for finding active fish early in the morning or late in the day. To work the thickest pads I like to use a Jaw Breaker Spoon because it can be worked fast and will skip and hop when you it burn it in and can really turn fish on. You can also work it slow and even let it drop when it gets to an opening.”

If the fast baits are getting ignored Janousek will slow it down and go back and work the high percentage spots like weed line points and inside turns as well as some of the less obvious. “I’ll look for a deeper hole in the middle of a shallow flat which can create a deep weed edge, only on a much more limited basis,” he said.

His black hole theory is also a good bet for finding fish that have been pushed off of shallower cover like after the passing of a cold front.

One of his top tactics for nailing post frontal fish is to dead stick a weightless five-inch dip-stick worm with a 4/0 hook.

“I’ll cast the bait into and along the deep weed edge and let it slowly sink and wait it out before lifting up the rod tip to see if anything has picked it up,” Janousek said. “If not, I might move it slightly or give it a shake and then let it sit and wait, and wait. It’s a painfully slow way to fish but it can be absolutely deadly, especially when the fish are a little sluggish.”

The deepest edge of the deepest growing weeds can hold big schools of midsummer bass and there’s a number of great ways to make it happen.

Janousek on going deep, “The real key to locating the heaviest concentrations is uncovering the thickest and deepest growing weed beds. A good way to get it done is to start on the deep edge of the weed break, drop the trolling motor, and then work a shallow or medium running crank bait like a half-ounce Rattle Trap or an DT 6 across the tops of the weeds.

“You’ll know when you’re in the thick stuff because you’ll be constantly hanging up and you’ll also see just what kind of weed you’re dealing with. Besides all of the weeds you’re probably going to run into a few fish (maybe quite a few), especially later on in July and definitely when we head into August.”

See you on the water.

Ron Anlauf is a contributing writer to the Outdoors page.