PRATT – It’s hard to think about fishing on a sweltering summer day, but when the sun sinks toward the western horizon, everything changes. Warm water and direct sun make the bass sluggish during the day, but as evening temperatures cool, the fishing can get hot. Now it’s time to grab your bass rods and find the nearest farm pond, state fishing lake or community lake.
Pick a shady shoreline and look for brush, docks, vegetation – anything that provides dark hiding places for bass. Start out with a weedless plastic bait that can be flipped right into the cover. Fish slow and thoroughly, hitting every visible bass lair. Bass are ambush hunters and a slow meal dropped right in front of them can be irresistible.
As daylight fades and the breeze dies, tie on a topwater bait just for fun. There’s nothing like the thrill of a bass exploding on a surface lure. Fish will be more spread out now, so cast along the shore and any weedbed edges. Land the bait as close to the edge as possible, then let it sit for several seconds. Twitch it tantalizingly several times before beginning to retrieve. And it’s a good idea to pause several times during the retrieve. A brief pause can sometimes be too much for a bass watching from below, triggering an explosive strike. The anticipation can also be too much for a bass angler. When fishing topwater, wait until you feel the strike before setting the hook. If you rear back as soon as you see and hear the topwater strike, you’ll pull the bait right out of the fish’s mouth.
There are thousands of farm ponds tucked away all across Kansas’ countryside, and many have great bass fishing. Anglers need landowner permission to fish private ponds except for those leased by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and opened to public fishing through the F.I.S.H. program. To find them, download the 2016 Kansas Fishing Atlas at www.ksoutdoors.com. The atlas contains maps of all F.I.S.H. waters, as well as all other public fishing lakes and reservoirs. You’ll also find the 2016 Kansas Fishing Forecast, which will tell you which public waters have the best bass populations.
Don’t just dream about fishing this summer, take advantage of the cooler evenings and explore a Kansas farm pond, local community lake or state fishing lake. The bass are waiting.