Late Summer Jig Selection
The most important part of jig fishing is obviously the jig itself. I use two different types of jigs for late summer fishing and they are a ½ ounce Old Fart Lures TS Football head and TS Finesse jig. The reasons I rely on these jigs so much is that they are durable, have powder coated heads, use living rubber which has loads more action in the water and the skirts are hand tied with copper wire, so you will not lose your skirts.
Depending on water clarity, I choose one of two colors. For dirty and stained water, I throw a black and blue jig exclusively, and for clear water I love the Hot Sauce color from Old Fart Lures. I take these jigs and pair them with a Strike King Rage Craw in either Blue Bug or Alabama Craw. Between these two jigs you can flip, stroke, slow roll, drag, and even soak em without having to switch up your bait.
Late Summer Jig Fishing Gear
Late in the summer when I throw a jig, I know that I will be hitting various forms of structure at various depths, so I use a pretty simple and universal set up. I use a 7’ 3” Heavy action KLX Kistler jig rod paired with a 7.4:1 Shimano Curado 201K. I fill my reel with 12 pound fluorocarbon in clear water or 50 pound braid with a 15 pound fluorocarbon leader for heavy cover or stained or dirty water. This setup allows for long casts, hook sets in both deep water or deep cover and is a fast enough reel to catch up to any big mouth that decides to swim right back at you.
Where and How to Fish a Jig in the Late Summer
Now, bass in late summer are following bait fish and other forage and these species find solitude in everything from a rock pile in 30 feet of water to a twig in 6 inches of water. This means during the late summer, it’s really hard to be wrong when choosing what to fish. It really comes down to finding some fish and developing a pattern from there.
Beat the banks
When I fish a jig in late summer on a shallow water fishery, I don’t look to go deep but instead, I turn my eyes to the banks. If the fishery is already shallow, then bass going “deep” won’t give as much water temperature relief as a nice shaded dock or matted hydrilla.
This is usually when I pick up the Old Fart TS Finesse jig because the jig is very compact and the ball style head makes it easier to flip and pull through cover compared to a the wide football head.
When looking for cover to flip my jig at, I look for large shaded areas, thick vegetation, and vertical structure like a submerged tree or log. I’ve found that smaller sticks and sparse vegetation still hold and produce fish, but they are usually on the small side. Fun to catch, but usually don’t help the cause in a tournament. Another thing I look for is a harder bottom. Bass love hard bottom no matter what time of year. Very rarely will you catch me flipping a jig at a log or some other structure that has a thick silty bottom.
Chunk rocks, shale beds, and gravel beds are usually the best bottom content to find bass sitting under cover around. But, if you can find those high probability areas that contain shade, usually from a dock, over hanging tree, or thick and matted vegetation, and then some sort of vertical structure like a submerge tree, or pylon, these are going to places that hold the most baitfish and therefore more sizeable bass.
The best way to fish these areas is using your jig in several different ways like swimming, hopping, slow rolling and just soaking to just find out what the bass want at that particular time. Patterns are always changing so change your presentations to fit suit.
Be a Ledge Hammer
When I come to a deeper, rocky fishery, then I turn on the Humminbirds and start graphing. I honestly believe it is easier to find fish on deep water fisheries than on shallow ones, but getting them to bite is the key. I use my Lakemaster chips to find close contour lines showing ledges.
On deeper fisheries bait fish roam out in deep water but, like every fish, they still find some sort of structure to call home. Rock ledges are the perfect structure as they hold shallow water close by then drop off in cooler, deeper water. For this same reason bass love to use ledges throughout the entire summer. Hard, rocky ledges are the perfect place to pull out the Old Fart TS Football Jig.
Before fishing these ledges, it helps to find where the bass are located in comparison to the ledge. Look to see if bass are either on top of the ledge, suspended to the side of the ledge or located on the bottom of the ledge. When bass are on top of the ledge I look to see if the bass are feeding and streaking on the graph chasing after bait fish. If this is the case, I wouldn’t throw the jig as you can make life easier with a deep diving crank. But, if bass aren’t actively feeding then this is when I will throw and slow drag my jig across the ledge attempting to put the jig right in the middle of the school of fish.
After a few casts, if this doesn’t work then I will start stroking the jig through the school to attempt to get reaction bites and re-fire the school. When bass are suspended I almost strictly stroke the jig trying to jump the jig through the middle of the school and get reaction bites. If the bass are sitting at the bottom of the ledge, I try different retrieves like, slow rolling, dragging, hopping and stroking. The main key to fishing deep is putting the jig in front of the bass. If bass are there and won’t bite, try various retrieves and various angles.
Many times, I have thrown a jig one way and not caught fish then switched the angle around and caught them every cast.
Jig Fishing Takeaways
Late summer means we are almost out of the dog days and into the fall bite, but until then you need to find ways to catch these heat-stricken bass. Jigs provide a large profile and an easy meal for unsuspecting bass and the bait can be fished in a variety of ways simply by changing the thought process on the cast and retrieve.
This makes the jig the most versatile bait to have tied on during your next late summer outing. Whether you are walking the bank or out on the water in your boat in your next big tournament, the jig could very well lead to your next big day on the water. If it doesn’t, well then it’s just a matter of time.