Offshore Secrets For More Mid-Summer Bass

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

Forget pounding the banks. Hot summer weather means your local bass will now be hanging on lake points, isolated rock piles and extended weedlines that hug deep water. Find the hot offshore structure to taste consistent summertime success!

GlennSummer2 600When it comes to bass fishing I learned my first lessons as a dedicated “bank beater;” my early training grounds were the Mississippi River and its sprawling backwaters, and very seldom was my boat sitting in more than eight feet of water. Since those early days, and a subsequent move north to Minnesota, I’ve worked hard to learn off-shore, deep-water strategies that are critical to success during the sweltering hot, “dog days” of July and August.

Effectively fishing offshore structure and deeper water during the summer months is important, because in many lakes bass will head to these deeper locations as they seek out cooler water, vacating their much-shallower springtime haunts that have become uncomfortably warm. Sure, dedicated bank-beaters might be able to pick up a fish or two during the summer, but the fish will likely be small and widely scattered. To hit the mother lode, offshore structure is the key.

Many lakes in the upper Midwest are loaded with vegetation, and these weedlines often extend well out from shore and into much deeper water. Because of this, these weeds are a great place to begin our search for summertime bass. Even during the hottest summer days, these dense, sprawling weedlines offer the type of plentiful habitat, food and cooler water where bass can thrive.

GlennSummer1 600To get an idea of where to start my search, I’ll begin by using my smartphone to check out the lake “water contour” data found in my ScoutLook Fishing app; I like to look for long points that extend well out into the lake (as shown by the example above), especially those points surrounded by contour lines that are closer together, which means deeper water. Also while on my ScoutLook Fishing app, I’ll check the weather for the fishing day ahead and see how the wind speed and direction will change, hour by hour. By doing this I can identify areas on the lake that will be protected from strong winds, and/or look for points that will have wind blowing into them. These are great places for active, aggressive bass to “stack up” as they feed on schools of baitfish concentrated by the wind and wave action.

Some of the downsides of fishing lakes with such an abundance of offshore vegetation, is that covering all of that water simply isn’t possible, and is certainly not an efficient use of your angling time. I like to narrow my search by first determining what specific type of vegetation is holding bass: For example, is the “hot” vegetation cabbage, coontail or milfoil?  Once I know the type of weeds holding the bigger bass, I can look for them in other areas of the lake.

Walker_Offshore2 600Of course, finding the “spot-on-the-spot” in the preferred vegetation is also important, and can be critical to boating the most big bass in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes this “sweet spot” can be an open pocket in the weeds. Down at the bottom of these open pockets could be a large rock, or simply a bare spot where the bass will be camped, looking to ambush an easy meal. To find these tiny offshore spots I’ll rely heavily on the “side” and “down” imaging of my Humminbird Helix electronics (shown above).

One of my favorite ways to fish these deep weeds or open pockets is to flip a ½- or ¾-ounce War Eagle jig or a ½-ounce Texas-rigged Zoom creature bait, such as a Super Hog, Speed Craw or Z-Craw rigged on a 4/0 Lazer TroKar TK 130 flippin hook. I like to use a Lazer Sharp Tungsten weight because it allows me to use a heavier weight, yet still keep a small profile so it doesn’t get hung up in the weeds.

With either of these baits I’ll flip it to the weed edge, or into the open pocket, and let it sink all the way to the bottom. As your lure is sinking, be sure to watch for any “ticks” or jumps in the line, as sometimes the bass will strike on the fall. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll jig the bait a few times in place, then quickly reel up and repeat the process.

Getting those bigger bass out of the heavy vegetation quickly is quite important, or all your hard work in finding them will have gone to waste. When flipping heavy vegetation I depend on 65-pound Seaguar Flippin’ Braid, or 20-pound Seaguar Flippin’ Fluorocarbon line, spooled on a Wright & McGill Victory II high speed baitcast reel. Deciding between the braided and fluorocarbon line will depend on whether the bass are holding on the weed edge, or buried in them. When they’re buried I’ll go with the braid and when on the edge, the more-subtle fluorocarbon. To be able to feel light bites and get those big bass headed out of cover quickly, I depend on my powerful, Wright & McGill Victory Pro Carbon 7’4” Jig/Big Worm rod.

Lake points are like “rest stations” along an interstate. Bass are able to quickly move up and feed in these areas from the surrounding deep water, which is much cooler. Some points are very distinct and obvious, while others are much more subtle and require some searching. Again, I like to check my ScoutLook Fishing app to find even the most-subtle of breaks, and check those that seem most worthy.

Depending on the lake, the deep water on the end of a point will vary widely, as will the bottom composition and extent of the weed-holding flat found atop the point. Locating as many of these points as possible can be critical, because the adjacent, varying depths can dictate when bass will actively feed on a particular structure. Recording your catches in your ScoutLook Fishing app can help you determine regular, consistent, fish-catching patterns.

The associated cover found on a point will also play a role in when and how bass relate to that point.  Some points are simply a weedline that extends out from a shore-based weedline. On these types of points it can be important to locate any subtle differences that will cause a school of bass to group up very tightly. This could be a single, large boulder mixed in with the vegetation, or maybe the start of a different type of bottom composition. Whatever the unique area may be, “differences” on a point will often attract and hold a school of bass.

GlennSummer4 600When a situation calls for covering points quickly and effectively, I like to use crankbaits. These lures allow me to quickly cast up, down, or across a point, and also allow for bouncing off the available cover, which is when many strikes will occur. Water depth will dictate which crankbait is best; in many instances my first choice will be a Rapala DT series crankbait, either the DT-10, DT-14, or DT-16. My favorite “go-to” colors are the Bluegill, Parrot (seen at far right above), and Craw finish.


Offshore weeds can be great, but one of my favorite and most-productive types of offshore cover are rock piles. Not only do these piles of various-sized boulders offer bass-holding security cover in some otherwise-barren areas, they also offer bass easy meals. After just a few years, algae and other small aquatic insects and vegetation will be growing on these rocks, which in turn attracts baitfish and panfish. 

Once I locate some potential rock piles, I mark them with a waypoint on both my ScoutLook Fishing app and onboard electronics, and then systematically fish them. My favorite lure for fishing rock piles is a ½- to ¾-ounce football jig. Using this jig to probe the depths of the lake, I can drag it slow or fast and still keep it in contact with the rocks. If the jig gets hung up, I can “pop” it free and often, that action will help generate a strike. I’m a big believer in using a double-tail skirted grub as my football jig trailer, but a craw is another good trailer choice. And since I’m typically making long casts that require a maximum amount of sensitivity to detect strikes, and I’m also dealing with some nasty cover, I depend on Seaguar TATSU Fluorocarbon line while jigging. Since this line is very abrasion resistant I find somewhat lighter, 15-pound test to be ideal.


With several warm summer months still ahead, you can count on the larger bass, and the largest concentrations of your good-sized local bass, to be hanging out in their preferred cooler, offshore haunts. Take advantage of this dependable pattern by grabbing your favorite heavy jig or deep-crankbait rig and hold on—you are about to tangle with some monster mid-summer bass!



HuntStand is the #1 hunting and land management app in the country. It combines advanced mapping tools with powerful map layers to allow users to create and share the best hunting maps possible.