Summer can be a challenging time of year in the South, but you can definitely catch fish, if you get the timing right. Between guiding and my sponsor/media work, I spend a lot of time on the water, but it’s actually the opposite of what you might think I do.
I know a lot of people like to fish early and late because it’s cooler, but I actually don’t start until about 11 o’clock this time of year. Where I live in east Texas, they bite really good in the middle of the afternoon when it’s hot and the sun’s the highest.
I prefer this period because I’m catching the deeper schools offshore, and they set up the best when the sun’s hottest and when the thermocline gets down the farthest. It just sets them up right when it’s hot and sunny like that.
I catch these fish on a variety of baits — big worms, big jigs, big crankbaits, big spoons. Every spot’s a little different, but they’re best during that midday heat.
You can catch shallow fish better during the early morning and late afternoon hours, but this time of year, I’m fishing the midday period just to catch fish deep offshore. It’s really a matter of personal preference.
If you prefer that shallow game, start early, take a break, and then go back out in the late afternoon. You can catch them a lot of different ways, but a big topwater like the 6th Sense Catwalk can produce some pretty exciting strikes. Just recently, a buddy of mine caught an 11-pounder on a topwater on O.H. Ivey.
Another one that’s hard to beat this time of year is a big worm. I always have a Texas-rigged 11-inch, plum colored Netbait C-Mac tied on, whether I’m fishing early in the morning, late in the afternoon or in the middle of the day.
I really like to hop my big worm down here, kind of like stroking a big football jig. I like to drag it 4 to 5 feet, then I’ll hop it way up off the bottom to get those fish to react and get a fish in a school to see it and come over there and check it out.
If I had to choose a personal favorite summertime bait, it would be a 6th Sense Hybrid Jig with a Netbait Paca Craw. I always keep that jig tied on this time of year — I used that same setup when I won the 2022 Elite on Lake Fork.
I’ll fish that jig in a variety of places, but a lot of them are little hard spots, like a road bed or a point with timber on it. You can throw that jig on any type of structure and catch fish.
Whatever you choose to fish during the summertime, I always advise people to take the heat seriously. I wear Huk clothing and with the Waypoint Hoodie and fishing pants, the sun gloves, facemask and a big hat. I keep my body completely covered.
Along with the proper clothing and polarized glasses, you’ll want to drink plenty of water, use your sunscreen and pay attention to the weather. When a storm comes through, the fish might go to biting, but if there’s a lot of lightning, the bite can turn off.
When that happens, I’m already off the water anyway.