Brandon Palaniuk of Hayden, Idaho, although only 30 years old, has fished bass tournaments for the last 22 years. 2018 is his eighth season bass fishing professionally. Palaniuk has won three Bassmaster Elite tournaments, the Angler of the Year title on the Elite circuit last year and the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in 2010 for a total of $1 million plus in wins. Palaniuk joined the Mossy Oak Fishing Team earlier this year.
The first place I’d look for bass this time of year, anywhere in the country, is on secondary points. Bass move onto and off of secondary points, and I like to try to catch bass coming to me from both directions – deep water and shallow water. I especially like to fish a secondary point that has a steep drop-off into deep water on one side of the point. I’ll often look for a creek channel that swings into an underwater secondary point, which are productive staging places to find bass. Bass use those contour lines to swim into and out of deep and shallow water.
I’ll usually start fishing with a Shadow Rap Deep, which is a jerkbait that I can use to cover a volume of water quickly. This bait usually runs 4-6 feet deep. Often, bass will suspend right on the edge of those secondary drop-offs and close to a steep drop-off. If the water is fairly clear, the bass will come up and take that lure. My favorite color is moss back shiner.
If the bass are finicky about biting, my next lure of choice will be a 1/4-ounce VMC shaky-head worm. On that head, I’ll have a Zoom trick worm with my first choice of color the Z-3 Edge. I’ll cast the shaky head to the shallow side of the secondary point, and I’ll drag it over or into whatever type of cover is on the end or the edge of that point, hopefully a rock pile, some stumps or an underwater lay down. I’m looking for some cover where the bass can set up an ambush point to attack bait. Finally, I’ll pull the shaky head off the lip of the break. When I feel the shaky head hit the cover, I’ll shake it some. Other than that, I’ll slow-drag it like I’ll fish a Carolina rig or a football head jig.
This time of year, I also look for bass in the backs of bays along big spawning flats. I’ll start fishing a Storm Arashi, a big top-water walking lure. The Arashi also enables me to cover a lot of water on those spawning flats. I can move that bait slowly, and if I find bass that are still spawning, I can stop the lure right over the bass’s bed and twitch it. Often those big females will come up off the bed and inhale that lure. My first color choice will be AYU.
For more bait ideas, Mossy Oak Fishing Team member Matt Lee shares his 5 favorite baits for summertime bass fishing.