In summer months, Jesse Wiggins uses lighter gear to land more bass. Photo by Phoenix Moore

Many anglers prefer to power fish during the summer months for bass. Whether they’re chasing spots, smallies, or largemouth, if they can fish shallower, they prefer it. Deeper water is still intimidating to many anglers, and the idea of dropping line size can often be a turn off for some.

But if you want to catch bass like MLF pro Jesse Wiggins, you’d better rig up your spinning gear and drop down to smaller offerings when the air temps are higher. 

“If I can catch them on a shaky head, I’ll usually start with that,” Wiggins said. “I’m more comfortable with it. I know it works all over the country. Spinning rods and smaller offerings really work.”

Wiggins’ Summer Spinning Setups

Wiggins uses the same spinning rod and reel combos regardless if he’s chasing smallies, spots or largemouth bass.

His shaky head setup consists of a 7-foot 3-inch St. Croix Mojo Power Shake rod with a Quantum size 30 reel spooled with 30-pound Seaguar Hi-Vis Smackdown braid and a 12-pound AbrazX fluorocarbon leader.

For drop-shots and Ned rigs, Wiggins uses the same reel and braid with a 7-foot 6-inch medium-action St. Croix Legend Extreme rod and an 8-pound fluorocarbon leader.

“I’ll usually look for smallies or spots on deeper points or rocks, but mostly rocks,” Wiggins says. “Depths depend on the lake of course, but usually they’re somewhere around 15 to 35 feet deep during the summer. A drop-shot is always a good choice for either of them, but lately, I’ve really been fishing the Ned rig a lot, especially for smallies. Whichever one they want that day is what I’ll fish, though. I like the Jackall Crosstail Shad for the drop-shot and a Jackall Yammy Fish for Ned rigs.”

Submerged Brush for Largemouth

When it comes to largemouth bass, Wiggins is a fan of fishing submerged brush during the hot months.

“You can fish them wherever you’re comfortable fishing, but I like submerged brush,” he confirms. “You can usually find larger concentrations of quality bass. Now, sometimes on places like the Tennessee River lakes, you’re ledge fishing with or without brush, but if I can find brush, I’m more comfortable.

“I like using a 1/4- to a 5/16-ounce shaky head jig and a Jackall 6.8 Flick Shake worm. I’ll use a drop-shot at times too. I’ll Texas rig a 5.8 Flick Shake worm. I go to the shaky head first, but if I am dropping vertically or seeing fish on my front sonar, I’ll use the drop-shot. There’s something about that Flick Shake. I started using it for wacky rigging while I was fishing some Opens. Then, I tried it with other methods. It’s a great worm. I met up with the people from Jackall and have been fishing their products ever since.”

Wiggins usually fishes brush for largemouth in anywhere from 10 to 25 feet of water.

“I’ve rarely caught largemouth bass much deeper than 25 feet down.” said Wiggins.

Time of Day, Bait Color?

Do time of day and color matter when it comes to catching any of the big three bass during the summer? Maybe, and maybe not, according to Wiggins.

“Time of day can be a tough one,” he says. “You can catch them early and late, but you can also catch them all day long. You really need to pay attention and let the bass tell you what’s going on. As far as fishing brush goes, though, that’s a full-day commitment.

“Now color choice, well, I have a saying I learned: Color does not matter one bit as long as its green pumpkin. Now, that’s for deeper fishing. If you’re fishing stained water in the shallows, you need to switch it up, but for deeper stuff, green pumpkin, or some variation of it, is what I use. If there’s a bait color they always bite, you might as well throw it.”