summer bass
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Terry Scroggins lands a largemouth. David A. Brown

I only wanted a casting photo, but when Bassmaster Elite Series pro Terry Scroggins sent a crankbait into the shallows of a Lake Guntersville bay, he needed only two turns of the reel handle to come tight on a spunky largemouth.

Rewarding, yes; but hardly surprising. This time of year, we tend to view offshore fishing as “the deal” for summer’s dog days. But don’t overlook the shallow structure — particularly the shady stuff with lots of surface area for food chain establishment.

FLW Tour pro Ben Parker explains: “Shallow wood (stumps, laydowns, brush piles) has algae and moss growing on it. During the hot summer weather, it attracts baitfish, which feed on the growth. This, in turn, draws bass from deeper areas into water much shallower than one might think.

“If you combine that with a willow fly hatch, hot summer can look a lot like spring fishing.”

Take baitfish schools as a solid indicator of a spot’s bass attraction, but don’t make that your only criteria. Without shade, bass will not sit on a spot once the sun gains elevation.

In addition to flow-throughs and woody cover, target docks, overhanging tree limbs, and bridge riprap (the sections catching shade). Also note your sun angles and work the shady sides of pockets.

Approach each spot first with moving baits like cranks, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and frogs to pick off the most aggressive fish and then move closer to pitch Texas-rigged plastics.