Summer Fishing Tips and Techniques

Summer Fishing

Summer fishing is probably my favorite time of year to go fishing. There is nothing I love more than those peaceful quiet mornings when the birds are chirping and the water is glass. Fish seem to be aggressive and the air feels nice and soft. Moments like these are what makes fishing so special and unique. When fishing during the summer months, there are some key takeaways to keep in mind. Summer provided good fishing for just about every species you are after. During this time of year, fish are scattered around the lake and on the hunt for food. You can look to catch fish on all the usual summer fish locations as previous years. Once water temperatures stabilize and fish get into the groove of the summer conditions you can really pattern them good.

Summer Smallmouth Bass

One of my favorite fish to catch during the summer months are smallmouth bass. When fishing summertime smallmouth there are a few things you need to be aware of. Summer smallmouth bass in lake systems typically prefers cooler water. Although, that doesn’t mean you won’t find them up shallow feeding on the flats. Generally smallmouth bass prefers deep, cool, clean water where they can really flourish. Many of the lakes I fish in the northern Wisconsin region hold beautiful, pristine clear smallmouth gems. When I’m guiding, clients really seem to enjoy tangling with these beautiful creatures on light tackle. One of the most effective ways to catch smallmouth bass it simply with a worm and sinker. Summertime smallmouth bass are an absolute sucker for a basic worm and hook combo. Keeping it simple is sometimes the best way to go when fishing. Summer bass tend to feed heavily on insects, worms and other small fish making up most of there diet. Matching the hatch can be key to your success, meaning use a lure that matches to what they’re eating.

Summer Northern Pike 

Another fish I enjoy targeting during the summer months is northern pike. Northern pike, in general, tend to have a mean behavior. These fish are highly aggressive and will strike most baits during the summer months. My favorite way to catch summertime northern pike is with a fat sucker under a bobber. During the summer large northern pike tend to concentrate in the cooler water of lakes. Northern pike, unlike there musky cousins, prefer cool water. You can expect to find bigger northern pike in coldwater springs of small lakes or off deeper points and weed lines. During the summer it’s hard for a big gator to resist a juicy sucker minnow under a float. I like to rig this up with twenty-pound braided fishing line connected to a thirty-pound fluorocarbon leader. I will add some split shots for weight and a size six hook. When summer fishing, remember to keep in mind fish movements and behaviors. Spend some time searching for fish and experimenting with baits until you find the magic.

Recap of My Collegiate Bass Masters Bull Shoals Event

College Bass

This past weekend I had the opportunity to fish a collegiate level tournament for my school. As I stated in previous blogs I am the vice president of the UWW fishing team. For our 2019 tournament event, we were to fish bull shoals Arkansas at a chance to make nationals. Unfortunately, my partner and I didn’t catch the size of fish we were looking for. We started this seven day trip with a nine-hour drive down south to Arkansas. We had four days of practice before the actual tournament officially started. During practice, my partner and I decided to focus on main lake points in the search for cruising smallmouth bass on wind-blown points. Boy did we find them, I believe we doubled up more than once and caught over twenty fish per day. The bite was fast and furious for us throughout the whole trip.


Day two of practice my partner and I decided to try to find some spawning largemouth bass in the back of creek arms. We spent just about the whole day looking around the lake for shallower warmer water that may hold big female largemouth bass. This lake offers some giant largemouth bass ranging from four to twelve pounds. Depending on where you are fishing on the lake, you are presented with many options to catch fish. When tournament fishing your main goal is to find the “big fish” to win a competitive bass event, you want the heaviest bag of five fish. During our second day of poractie, we decided to move into the shallow creek arms and try a totally different fishing strategy. We decided to go into the heavy brush and cover and flip Texas rigged plastics at buck brush.


We had seen many of largemouth bass nesting up around brush throughout the day but had a difficult time getting them to eat. When bass are on their spawning beds, they can be either extremely aggressive or extremely mellow. We managed to get a few of these spawning bass to eat small plastics and jigs. We just couldn’t seem to find a consistent pattern with the largemouth we felt confident with. We ended up sticking to the smallmouth pattern that had produced many of bites for us. Unfortunately, the smallmouth weights didn’t cut it for us during this event. We finished our first day with eleven pounds of smallmouth bass. The leading weight day one was around twenty pounds of female largemouth bass. Bethal University ended up winning the tournament. Overall we had a great time down in bull shoals Arkansas and will be going back in the future at a chance for redemption.

Live Blog: Collegiate Bass Fishing Tournament (Bull Shoals Arkansas)

Bull Shoals Arkansas 

The event I had attended happened to be an event I had participated in myself. I have been competitively bass fishing for over ten years now. I currently fish for the UWW bass fishing team here at Whitewater Wisconsin. I am the current vice president of the bass team alongside the president Mitch Vanert. I have been honored to have the opportunity to fish on the UWW bass fishing team through my college years. I was fortunate enough to qualify for nationals during my sophomore year of college. For this specific event I chose to do for my live blog, we fished down in bull shoals Arkansas. This is a three-day event; competitors fish the third day if they qualify the second day of fishing.

Weigh in Process

The way tournament bass fishing works go like this; you have eight hours to fish a given body of water. The fish that are eligible to weigh consist of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass. Typically fish must be over fourteen inches to weigh in. When tournament bass fishing artificial lures are the only bait of choice no live bait allowed. The heaviest bag of a five-fish limit of bass wins the event. For this specific event, it was a five-fish limit of bass over fifteen inches. My partner and I had caught a lot of fish during practice days of this event. We had found a solid smallmouth bass bite that lasted us most of the event. Unfortunately, the weights of the smallmouth bass weren’t enough to cut it to qualify for this tournament. We had competed against around two hundred schools. For the college series events, there are many different ways you can fish and get involved.

Facebook Live

For my live blog, I decided to do a Facebook live to record the action that was taking place for this event. I was able to capture some footage within the last twenty minutes of the event. For my live blog, I was able to explain how the weigh-in process works within competitive bass fishing. I wanted to give a live visual of exactly the process and vision of how competitors walk onto the stage and show off their catch. I was able to do a quick brief from the start explaining what the event was about and where it takes place. I then proceeded to show the college teams walk on stage and record their catch weights for their places. I also incorporated the commentator Hank who announces the final weights once you enter the stage. For the weigh-in process, you have three flights of boats that take off. Depending on the number of boats in each event, flights may vary. For this specific tournament, we were flight three which happened to be the last flight of the day. I also wanted to show the weigh-in station and how much work goes into making one of these events possible. Bethel University had won the event with an 18.5 lb bag of bass the last day.


Breaking down a Lake

Lake Basics

When fishing a lake there are many factors to take into consideration. Lakes provide the opportunity to fish both shallow and deep water depending on the species of fish you are after. The state of Wisconsin offers thousands of lake fishing opportunities. Lake Michigan, one of our great lakes offers a diverse fishery that many people take advantage of. We are truly blessed with the amazing fisheries we have here in Wisconsin. As a fishing guide and competitive bass angler, I’ve spent countless hours on the water weekly. I primarily fish southern Wisconsin lakes and have seen many situations. It’s also important to realize there are different scientific names to each lake you fish. Generally, before fishing a new lake, I like to have a map of the contour and break down of a lake to help me get a visual beforehand. Electronics also play a critical role when locating fish and finding structure within a lake.

Inland Lakes

One of my favorite inland lakes to fish here in southern Wisconsin is Lake Geneva. Lake Geneva continues to produce some amazing fishing for multi-species action. I have been fishing Lake Geneva since I was a child and continue to learn to allot about the lake to this day. As one of the deepest lakes in Wisconsin, Lake Geneva offers the chance at catching lake trout and brown trout. This lake reaches depths of around 100-140 feet of water. This lake is full of springs and cold water discharges making for a healthy ecosystem for fish to thrive. Lake Geneva has been known for its smallmouth bass population and thriving northern pike fishery. Wisconsin offers many great fishing opportunities when it comes to fishing an inland lake. By doing a bit of research online you are sure to find a few lakes near you capable of producing solid fish. Breaking down the lake is just half of the fun when it comes to catching fish.

Lake Formats

When fishing a lake the first thing I ask myself is; what are the species of fish that I choose to target. From there I can decide the structure that I want to locate to find that particular species of fish. When targeting walleye out of a typical lake system I want to locate sand, rock, and gravel bars. Walleye seem to hold tight to this type of structure in most lakes. Depending on the lake, weeds or rocks can consume the majority of the water making fishing difficult. Some lakes I have fished in the past have been totally choked with weeds during the late summer months, narrowing your focus to weed-less lures. On the other hand, I have fished lakes that are deep, clear, and cold making for a finesse fishing format. Every lake presents a different opportunity and fishing approach. It pays to utilize your electronics and do your homework before entering a lake to be prepared for what to expect on the water.


Choosing the Correct Fishing Line

Line Basics

When it comes to fishing line there are hundreds of options to choose from. Fishing lines have been around for hundreds of years and continue to evolve as time goes on. There are many different styles of fishing lines to choose from including braided lines, monofilament and fluorocarbons which I will go into detail on later. When choosing the correct fishing line for the right occasion it’s important to keep in mind the species of fish you are after and the type of water you are fishing. When fishing lakes or rivers with extremely clear water it’s important to use clear lines such as fluorocarbon lines. When fishing water that’s heavily structure based with lots of rock and wood braid may be your best option. When chasing larger fish such as pike and musky it’s important to use heavier lines such as a braid or a super line.


Braid is most effective when fishing around heavy structure such as rock and timber. Braid allows for you to fish in thick weeds or wood without frilling your line and causing extreme abrasion. Braid is an extremely important tool when fishing; you just never know when you will need it. Another reason to use braid is when targeting larger fish. Bigger fish require a stronger line to control, braid offers just that. Braid also offers the option of zero stretch allowing you to feel every little bump on your line. It’s important to realize in most situations when using braid that it’s important to use a fluorocarbon leader when fishing clearer water situations. When fishing murky and heavy structured water it may be appropriate to run straight braid to your lure. Another advantage of using braided line is the low diameter allowing your lure to dive deeper than your average lines.


Monofilament is your most traditional style of line. Monofilament is probably the most popular type of line available on the market today. Many newcomers to the sport of fishing will be introduced to monofilament when just starting out. Monofilament allows for some major benefits on the water that are still used today. Monofilament offers the advantage of a high stretch line that absorbs more impact. A good example of this is when trolling crank baits many anglers will turn to monofilament as their main line to absorb the current and drag when pulling crankbaits behind the boat. Due to monofilaments high stretch capabilities, this line can also be used for a big fish rod such as chasing deep water catfish with stiff poles. Having a high stretch line allows for the absorption of big fish when eating larger sized baits with a fast action rod.


Fluorocarbon is probably my favorite type of line to use when fishing. Fluorocarbon allows for a low stretch line that is virtually invisible under the water. This line excels when fishing water that is extremely clear or pressured. Generally, when fishing with fluorocarbon you are finesse fishing for finicky fish. When fish get heavily pressured or in a neutral feeding mode this line can truly shine. Fish such as clear water pressured smallmouth bass require a line that is light, thin and clear to trick these fish into biting. Fluorocarbon can be a bit more expensive but it’s definitely worth having as an angler.

Collegiate Bass Fishing

Since I have been in high school I always knew I wanted to fish college bass tournaments. I have been competitively bass fishing since I was in middle school; I am currently the vice president of the UWW Bass Fishing Team. Bass fishing has always been a passion of mine. Competitive bass fishing is now one of the fastest growing club sports in college to this day. I have been lucky enough to fish bass tournament throughout my whole college experience along with qualifying for nationals my sophomore year. Fishing tournaments at the collegiate level takes persistence and skill.

When you fish competitively at the collegiate level you are going against anglers that know what they’re doing. If you’re considering fishing at the collegiate level it’s important to keep your bass fishing skills sharp. When it comes to fishing you are constantly learning, one is always a student of the game. When it comes to bass fishing, there is constant change taking place all the time. Adapting to fish behavior is a major component when it comes to competitive bass fishing.

Collegiate bass tournaments are run similar to the pro series bass tournaments, I will explain. The rules are as follows; typically you have a size limit to the bass that count ranging from 12-16″ depending on the lake. Bass species from largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted are all legal for weigh-ins. Normal tournaments are typically seven to eight hours long. Collegiate bass tournaments require artificial lures only, no live bait allowed. To win a collegiate bass tournament, you want the heaviest weight of five basses combined. These are just a few of the main rules and regulations of collegiate bass fishing. If you are thinking about getting serious with collegiate bass fishing, review the rules and regulations beforehand. Unfortunately, I have had to learn the hard way a few times while tournament fishing.

One of my favorite aspects of fishing at the collegiate level is the ability to utilize my skills and passion in a competitive manner. I tend to have a competitive nature that likes to compete with others at things I enjoy. Competitive bass fishing has been around since the 19th century and is expected to continue growing in years to come. I would highly recommend collegiate bass fishing to any high school graduate thinking about taking their bass fishing skills to the next level. You can learn some incredible things along with brushing up your skills alongside a variety of anglers. Collegiate bass fishing is a major highlight to my college experience I believe other young anglers should experience for themselves.