Best Bait for Bass in Summer (Buying Guide)
Angling for bass requires all sorts of different gear, as these popular game fish can be caught in many different types of water and environments. Bass Baits for fall, spring, summer, and winter all differ, with a huge selection to choose from each season. Summer is arguably the most popular time of year to fish for bass, although fishing is easier in spring when bass are more active during the spawning season. Still, most anglers prefer summertime bass fishing as the better weather is more enjoyable, while longer days allow for more time out on the water.
There is a practically endless list of different types of bait for bass fishing, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when making a choice. To make the process easier for you, we’ve put together a list of recommendations for the best bait for bass in summer, with options for every condition and area. Summer bass fishing provides a highly enjoyable challenge to anglers, one which you can easily rise to when your tackle box is well equipped.
Where to fish for bass in summer
Every angler knows they have to adjust their technique with the seasons, as in order to be successful you have to follow the annual movements of this game fish. After the hectic spawning season of spring, bass become more challenging to catch. During the spawn, the fish are most active in shallows and spawning beds, making them easier to target and to entice a bite. In summer, warmer temperatures cause the bass to retreat to cooler depths of the lake or take cover amongst dense vegetation.
Once morning temperatures rise above 80 degrees, bass move away from their spring spawning flats to deeper areas of the lake, usually found at depths of 6 to 12 feet. On the hottest days of the season, freshwater bass can be found as deep as 20 feet below the surface. Targeting the deepest areas of your bass fishing lake, especially where underwater structures are found, can be incredibly lucrative in summer. Many bass anglers don’t bother fishing these deeper areas, however, the right fisherman can find success here without having to fight against the competition.
Weed growth also increases across the lakes of the United States in the summer months, around the edges of the lake you’ll find thick new patches of green vegetation. In the early hours, look for bass around the edges of these weed patches. Once the day reaches its peak and temperatures are warmest, bass seek the shade of denser water plants. They will move deeper into weed patches where you’ll have to take care not to snag your line.
Deeper lakes might have underwater structures offshore where the water is colder, such as humps or sunken brush. Anywhere that water temperatures are cooler is where you should target bass on hot days. These game fish are most active around dawn and dusk in the summer, which also happens to be the most pleasant time to get out on the lake.
Best Bait for Bass in Summer – Overview
1. Lunkerhunt Pocket Frog 2.5-inch
- The most life like frog currently available in the industry
Summer bass love to hide out in water vegetation, burying into tangles of weeds, lily pads, and generally making the angler’s job hard. When bass seem impossible to reach through the jungle of plants, this weedless soft plastic frog lure could be exactly what you need. The Lunkerhunt Pocket Frog is arguably the most realistic frog lure available currently, and it’s ideal for tempting bass out of their hiding spots and onto your hook.
This incredibly lifelike lure moves just like a real frog, kicking out and retracting its legs as you retrieve and retract your line. The Lunkerhunt Pocket Frog imitates one of summertime bass’ favorite foods, so your bait will be practically irresistible. This weedless bait has a tapered nose and streamlined body to allow you to fish through vegetation without getting tangled up, and instead, the lure will move smoothly through the cover to entice the bass into biting. Bass love to hide in dense vegetation in summer, especially during the hottest parts of the day. That’s why the Lunkerhunt Pocket Frog is one of the best summer bass baits.
This soft plastic bait has a hollow body construction with large concealed hooks to ensure a high hookup percentage and prevent any snagged weeds. This 2.5-inch bait is ideal for one to two-pound bass, however, it can be too small for any larger fish. It’s also worth noting that the body of the frog is only about 1.5 inches, with the extra length made up of the legs. This bait doesn’t float, however, you can withdraw it along to topwater very effectively to induce strikes. We recommend using it in conjunction with a spinning reel and a light line.
- Lifelike frog is very attractive to summer bass
- Weedless design is perfect for fishing vegetation cover
- Effective for exciting topwater strikes
- Too small for bass larger than 2lbs
- Body of bait only 1.5 inches
2. Strike King 6XD Crankbait
Essentially the opposite of a finesse topwater bait like the Pocket Frog, this large crankbait is ideal for hitting the deeper structures and areas that most other anglers ignore. Out in the middle of a lake, the Strike King 6XD Crankbait is exactly what you need to target those deep underwater humps and ledges and catch huge summer bass that are hiding in the cooler water. This crankbait is 3 inches in size, with a weight of one ounce.
The Strike King 6XD has a unique curved bill, making it incredibly streamlined both underwater and when casting through the air. This special shape allows the bait to dive deep and fast, ensuring you reach your target strike zone with speed and precision. As we’ve explained, the hottest days of summer will force bass to retreat far into the depths of your lake, seeking out any water with a lower temperature. This deep-diving crankbait is perfect for fishing around the bottom of the lake, at depths of up to 19 feet.
The 6XD crankbait is a well-balanced lure, allowing for consistent casts and good control on movement through the water. The streamlined shape offers reduced water resistance, so you can crank it without too much effort. For a deep diving bait, the Strike King XD is on the smaller side, and some anglers might prefer a larger lure when fishing such depths. Inside this crankbait, two small beads create a rattling sound which is very beneficial in attracting bass.
- Fast and deep-diving bait
- Perfect for targeting deep underwater structures
- Streamlined body for an accurate cast
- Smaller than other deep water baits
- Deepest bass might be out of reach below 19 feet
3. Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Popper
- Traditional topwater popper with wide cupped mouth
Surface plugs are definitely one of the most popular baits for summer bass, as these topwater lures offer plenty of opportunities for exciting surface strikes. Most anglers favor this method of enticing a bass to bite, as all the action is visible from the surface, creating a more interesting fishing experience. The Yo-Zuri 3D Popper is an excellent choice as your summertime topwater bass lure, this traditional bait has a tried and tested design that has remained popular throughout the years.
This weighted lure offers a fantastic popping action when used correctly with a stop and pop retrieve technique. This method causes plenty of disturbance in the water, catching and holding the attention of bass game fish. This excellent bait uses Yo-Zuri’s patented 3D prism finish, which features a holographic sheet within the clear body. This reflective panel flashes light some distances under the water, another excellent feature for attracting your target fish.
You should use the Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Poper in shallow water, it’s perfect for those cool mornings and evenings when the bass finally leave their hiding spots and emerge from the depths. This lure comes with two treble hooks, however, these aren’t as strong as we’d like. If you decide to use this lure, which does a commendable job of attracting fish, you might want to replace the hooks with stronger alternatives. This way, you won’t waste all of your hard work attracting the fish when you get a bite and the hook doesn’t catch.
- Great popping action
- Disturbs water and flashes light, great for attracting bass
- Included hooks aren’t strong enough to last
- 70mm lure might struggle to catch the attention of larger fish
4. Real Fish 8” Spring Shad Swimbait
- ✅ 8" THREADFIN SHAD. SLOW SINK ROF 8"-10" able to get down to those suspended fish. Great for rocky points and deep dropoffs.
If you’re fishing a larger lake and want to try and hook a prize-winning catch, you might want to try this large 8-inch swimbait. Made to look as lifelike as possible, you can buy the Real Fish 8” Glide Bait in several designs, including Threadfin Shad and Bluegill. These larger baitfish attract the biggest bass in the lake, so you’d better be prepared for a fight when reeling in.
If you’re targeting the deepest recesses of the lake floor, this weighted lure is perfect. With a slow sinking feature and realistic movements, you’re bound to attract a bite. The Real Fish Spring Swimbait can also be cast over rocks and submerged weeds, it’s quite a versatile addition to your tackle box. You can use this lure to catch bass and other large game fish too, however smaller fish are unlikely to bite this 4oz glide bait.
Try using this bait while trolling at high speeds, an excellent method to catch summer bass. Additionally, you can target bass in a different way using a slow retrieve, much more likely to entice a hungry bass. This ultra-lifelike fishing lure uses real baitfish images to lure your catch, including details that can really make a difference. Just make sure you use a strong line with this bait, as not only is it heavy, but the larger fish that you’re bound to attract will put up quite a struggle.
- Larger bait is ideal to target the biggest bass in the lake
- Incredible lifelike design is highly detailed
- Versatile swimbait can be used in weeds as well as deep structures
- Can’t use this bait for smaller fish
- Not appropriate for fishing wooded cover
5. Strike King J-Lee Comeback Jig
Jigs are one of the most popular types of bait, especially for slower and more deliberate angling. For example, a crankbait or swimbait is more ideal for a speedy cast and retrieval, whereas a jig such as this Strike King J-Lee Comeback Jig is much more effective to carefully drag along the bottom. This classic style of fishing jig has been used for generations, with a design that has undoubtedly stood the test of time.
The Strike King Comeback Jig is actually a sort of hybrid between a football jig and a stand-up jig. The football-shaped jig head has a flat bottom, with a wide body and an extra-long round rubber skirt. This jig bait perfectly imitates a defensive crawfish making it irresistible to bass, it has a very enticing motion and a very strong hook so your bite will stick. The Strike King J-Lee Comeback Jig comes in four different weights, and several colors too, so pick the right one for the bass you’re attempting to target, or buy one of each and fully kit out your tackle box.
This jig is perfect to drag around deep underwater structures, and the long plastic skirt is always moving and pulsating. However, this extra-long skirt can tangle with your other tackle, so you may need to trim it to a more appropriate length. Additionally, the weed guard can be ineffective and you may find yourself tangled in weeds, so this jig is better to catch bass in more open water.
- A classic design is proven to be highly effective on bass
- The shape of the jig imitates crawfish and is constantly moving to attract attention
- Ideal for dragging around deep structures
- The plastic skirt may be too long
- The hook is prone to tangling on weeds
6. War Eagle Nickel Double Willow Spinnerbait
- Compact size allows it to be burned through the water as fast as possible
Spinnerbaits are especially effective at attracting fish from places no other lure can reach, and the War Eagle Nickel Double Willow Spinnerbait is no exception. This spinnerbait features a double willow design with a premium hand-tied silicone skirt. If you’re trying to catch bass in water with lots of weeds, rocks, brush, or sunken stumps, then a spinnerbait such as this excellent example from War Eagle is perfect.
This lure is highly weedless, great for drawing through all sorts of dense cover without becoming snagged. However, this bait can also be highly effective as a summer lure around ledges and drop-offs, to catch deeper bass during the evening and night hours. The stainless steel wire has great vibration giving great movement to the bait, however, this can make the spinnerbait less durable.
Bent and broken wires are a common issue with spinnerbaits, as they have to be flexible enough to allow for movement. Unfortunately, this might mean your spinnerbait is damaged after a few big bites. Although you might have to compromise on durability, we think the risk is worth it to catch some huge summer fish. It’s also worth noting that if you prefer to fish for bass with a trailer, you might struggle to fit one on this spinnerbait model.
- Multipurpose bait for deep water and cover
- Effective weedless design to avoid snags and tangles
- Excellent movement through the water, high-quality design
- Reduced durability due to thin stainless steel wire
- Can’t use with a trailer
If you’re heading out for a spot of summer fishing, be sure to use one of the baits we’ve recommended. Selecting the right bait for your target game fish and water type gives you the best chance of catching both smallmouth and largemouth bass. In addition to choosing the ideal lure, there are many other elements you need to know about in order to fish your best. Check out our bass fishing tips for a wealth of information to make you a better angler.
Pronouncing a single bait for the best in summer for bass fishing is difficult as every situation calls for a different lure and approach, however, one of these bass baits really impressed us with its excellent ability to catch the largest game fish in the pond. The Strike King 6XD Crankbait features a highly streamlined body for an accurate cast and a smooth pull through the water. This crankbait can dive to depths of up to 19 feet to reach the deepest hiding summer bass. Deep underwater structures are favorite spots for summer bass, so fish as effectively as possible using this deep-diving bass bait.
Bonus tip: Check out this video to find out how to locate bass in the summer!