Helpful also are smooth-spooling baitcasting reels and stout rods; equipment that can both catapult baits and provide winch-like retrieves.
Additionally, an understanding of where bass like to make their beds — whether, in a given lake, in and among vegetation, or instead more toward open water — also helps.
“Water about 3 feet deep is where I find most bass at this time of year,” Bill said.
As he spoke, the first fish of the evening appeared from the lake as if discharged from a cannon, its mouth agape. Simultaneously, Bill’s Scum Frog disappeared, and in quick succession his line drew tight and his rod bowed toward the disturbance.
“You really don’t want to let these bass dive on you once you’ve got them hooked,” Bill said. “It’s fun to fight them. But if you let them get too wound into the vegetation, you might not land them.”
As Bill spoke, I cast a Scum Frog that was dark colored, while Bill’s was light.
Also, I was fishing a little shallower than he was. But like Bill, I loaded the tip of my rod as powerfully as possible while casting, hoping to gain maximum distance between where I stood and where my Scum Frogs landed.
The first bucketmouth to hit my bait weighed perhaps 2 pounds and fishtailed on the lake surface acrobatically.
Retrieving the plump specimen quickly, I almost skidded the fish atop the lake surface to keep it from becoming entangled in bulrushes and other vegetation.
This fishing method almost always produces bass for Bill and me in late spring and early summer. But given this season’s cool weather, we were unsure exactly where bass would be in their springtime spawning cycle.
We needn’t have worried. The bass along the lake’s shoreline were both plentiful and hungry.
• • •
Mid- and late summer also can produce productive wade-fishing for bass, depending on the lake fished.
But as summer progresses, early morning and late evening often yield the best action, whereas now, in early summer, midday can be as good as any time to toss weedless baits.
That said, wading anglers should cut bass a break in spring and early summer. Care especially should be taken not to step in spawning beds, which appear on the lake bottom as light-colored circles and are readily identifiable.
Also, pre-spawn females in particular should be released.
And if possible, wading anglers shouldn’t stumble into deep shoreline holes and pitch headfirst into the lake — something Bill and I avoided the other evening, but often do not.
“You can tell the late spring and cold water have changed the timing of everything,” Bill said. “There aren’t many beds made yet, and the bass just seem farther behind in the spawning process than they usually are.”