The nearest and most convenient lakes typically get pretty weedy during the summer months. Thus, craws, beavers, creatures and worms rigged on a jighead that can punch through to the bottom are high on my list.
........................................................ Kurt Beckstrom Editor North American Fisherman
I have a Plano 1234 box that is filled with ALL types of weedless lures.
Kurt's comments about working the VERY thick stuff are valid for sure.
At the same time, you can fish lures like Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers and Pop-R style lures in the early mornings and later evenings IF you can hit openings in the pads / "emergent" weeds.
I caught my 1st 5 lb bass in a lake near Brainerd MN back in 1975 using a Hula Popper in a shaded bay around 7 pm. The small bay had scattered lilypads and a few other vegies, but there were openings.
One more thing to try (especially when the water is calm)....look for a weedbed with surface (emergent) weeds that is next to a decent drop-off (3 ft or more...10 ft is even better). Cast a surface popper of some type / brand....let the ripples disappear...then "Pop" it again. Do this 2 - 10 times. If you don't have any takers, change to a similar style of lure but a different brand.
To my surprise my new favorite lure to fish is the Arbogast Hula Popper (in all colors). I am absolutely stunned at the amount of bass that i've caught and missed on it lately. Just today I was at the lake and all was very slow. Our local fish whisperer who normally outfishes me 2+:1 had only 1 bite on his finesse worm. Then i put on a hula popper. 2 bass in 20 minutes and 2 more good strikes after that. This isn't an odd occurence either. When the bass are lethargic, hot, and just not feeding, bringing out a noisy, old fashioned topwater bait will be very successful -- at least in our lake. I am no longer hesitant to bring out a plug bait at all. I love the hula poppers and they work great but i prefer the Pop-R style plugs because the placement of the hooks and tail-down orientation generally increases hookups. I miss TONS of fish on hula poppers and the like because the bass are really just mad at it, and not usually so concerned about eating it, so don't be discouraged if all the bass miss it. I missed 6 in one day. Also, don't look away from your lure at all. You blink and you will miss the awesome splash of the bass demolishing your popper.
By the way -- if anyone can find another lure with one or figure out how to put a 3rd treble hook in the skirt of a hula popper, let me know. I'm 100% convinced it will improve the hookup ratio.
You don't hear a lot of talk about trolling cranks for bass...and I don't know why...'cause it flat works! We troll a lot too...like you said...mostly in the middle of the day. We'll troll while eating lunch...LOL...more water time!
Trolling with crank bait surely does work. Knew that last Wednesday and decided to use the method. Well, didn't catch bass but surely did snag some gar which were everywhere. Didn't keep any of them though. Hmmm, says I, and got home and went to youtube to see how to clean gar. Learned a lot about how to clean them and cook them. Maybe I'd better start keeping one or two!
We had a strange but highly effective tactic for August bass on Santee Cooper's Lake Marion. We would fish the flats around the short cypress trees there. The trees were small and sparse, meaning that they were not thickly planted or very tall so it was definitely not a shady area. However the trees did cast a small shadow and the bass would try to stay in those small shadows because the water was only about 7 feet deep all over those flats. Some days we fished in 100 degree weather, wearing long sleeves, turltle neck shirts, wide brimmed hats, sunglasses, gloves with the fingers cut out, and the old fashioned NOSE COAT sunscreen. The heat was fierce.
We would wait until high noon when the shadows were the smallest of the day, and we would cast our large Grape Mann's Jelly Worms with a #4 hook right into those tiny shadows, Guess what? That is exactly where the bass were stacked up. Lesson learned: Always cast to the shade in shallow water in the summer.
On Lake Lanier north of Atlanta there's not a lot of weeds. It's a deep clear lake. We use dropshot rigs over deep brush or lipless crankbaits. The tough part is waiting 30-40 seconds for the bait to fall before you crank it through the hot zone.