As we move into the summer, fishing gets tough. The deep water is hot in water temperature, the bass are lethargic, and getting a bite can be tedious work. Sometimes, the answer is not where you might expect, as many times the bass have moved into very shallow water. Yes, many times, by August or early September, the fish are in two to four feet of water, and you’re out working the river channel, wondering why you can’t get a bite. It’s likely the fish out deep are suspending, trying to get oxygen and just won’t bite.
The answer is not where you might expect it, but the reason is sound and deserves some clarification. One thing that many don’t realize is as the water heats up in the deep, the oxygen in the water actually depletes, and the bass move to the shallow water, especially where the grass is rotting and dying off from the hot sun. The reason is the presence of dissolved oxygen; the rotting of the grass and the foaming and nasty coloring actually tell you that the grass produces oxygen as it dies. Yes. Dissolved oxygen comes from the presence of dying plants, and bass need the oxygen to stay active. The key is that many times in the summer, we don’t get as much rain in the South. There isn’t much water movement. When you combine no current with hot temperatures, the oxygen depletes, and the dying grass is the only place oxygen is produced.
The presence of dissolved oxygen on the surface weeds is a factual biological process that occurs in shallow lakes where grass is present. The chemical make-up of a water molecule is hydrogen and oxygen. As plants die in water, they enhance the oxygen in the water, and bass move to it to gain energy and feed. Surface water run-off from rain and streams also enhance the dissolved oxygen level along the bank. You ever wonder why that big blow up after a frog coming from the grass in two feet of water is so impressive? Well, it’s simple. The oxygen aids the bass activity, allowing them to feed with energy. Going shallow in the summer gets you fishing where the fish are.
-Captain Mike Gerry