This time of year the water is really hot, so a lot of bass are out suspended or schooled up. Where I live in Texas, the fish suspend a lot in treetops.
Many times when the thermocline pushes the fish up off the bottom and back shallow, a lot of the bigger fish will relate to the end of long points, channel swings and sharp drops on the lake. Instead of running all the way up to the bank they’ll relate to the tops of the trees out on that structure. That’s what I look for when I’m out this time of year.
The depth will vary lake to lake, depending on where the timber is in the lake. Around home, on Lake Fork and Sam Rayburn, the trees will be in about 25 feet, and the bass will be maybe 12 to 18 feet down. On other lakes, such as Ouachita or others in the Ozarks, those fish might be deeper or shallower.
You’ll often be able to see the fish suspended in the treetops on your graph, but a lot of times, no matter if you mark them or not, if you give a place a little time you’ll eventually see some schooling activity. If you spend a little time casting and looking for 10 or 20 minutes they’ll show themselves. Usually after they chase that bait they’ll go back to the same treetop they came out of, and you can go hit the treetop or right around there.
Once you find them, there are a couple of ways to catch them. One is a large soft jerkbait, such as a Zoom Magnum Fluke with a big 6/0 hook in it. I’ll take it out and fire it through the treetops and slowly drag it back through the treetops. You can also use a swimbait such as a 6th Sense Core-X on a hook with a belly weight or a crankbait such as a 6th Sense Crush 300DD. You don’t want to get to the bottom; you just want to bang it through those treetops.
Right now, where I’m at, big baits are how you’re going to bust a big one, but you can downsize that depending on the size of fish you’re after. Whenever I’m fishing in the trees, I try to use at least 17- to 20-pound-test fluorocarbon. You might have to downsize and play the odds in clear water, but if you can get away with a larger line then by all means do it.