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Matt Lee’s Best Summertime Baits for Bass

Matt Lee, tells us about his five best summertime patterns and baits for catching bass. A past member of Auburn University’s Bass Fishing Team, 29-year-old Lee lives in Guntersville, Alabama, and started fishing bass tournaments when only 13 years old. He won the 2012 College Series of Bass Fishing and today has won over $235,000 on the Bassmaster Elite Circuit but fishes other tournament trails too. 

Matt Lee Mossy Oak Fishing Team

Strike King 6XD crankbait in the green gizzard shad color

Strike King 6XD crankbait

I love to cast this big crankbait. Sometimes I have to fish more finesse baits, if I’m fishing a lake that’s had a lot of heavy fishing pressure. I’ll also use those finesse baits when bass aren’t actively feeding in the summer. But the Strike King 6XD is a very effective bait to use when fishing deep ledges, underwater humps,  Indian mounds and any type of deep structure like that often found out in the middles of lakes where most bass anglers don’t fish. 

I really enjoy fishing offshore structure. At the first of the summer, when the bass leave their bedding area, they’ll start moving out to those deep ledges and underwater humps. They’ll usually be actively feeding there before they move out to the deepest water as the weather becomes hotter. This lure usually is the most productive when current is coming through a summertime lake, and the bass are setting-up on deep structure to feed. 

I can fish this bait in water depths of 15-20 feet and cover lots of water with this lure. Often during the entire summer, that 15-20 foot depth of water is where bass prefer to be. If I can only take one color of the 6XD with me, I like the green-gizzard shad. 

Strike King’s 1/4-ounce shaky head jig with a Strike King Finesse worm in the green-pumpkin-candy color

Strike King Finesse Worm

Strike King shaky head jig

A shaky head jig/worm combo is a great follow-up bait. When I think I’ve caught all the bass in a region that I can catch with the 6XD crankbait, but I feel sure other bass are in the area, I can slow down my fishing with the shaky head worm. Often I’ll catch more bass in the same water where I’ve caught bass with a crankbait. I’ll fish the shaky head worm on spinning tackle. Another time I’ll fish a shaky head worm successfully is in the middle of the day when the weather is sweltering hot, and the bass are reluctant to bite. 

Strike King Shadalicious 6.5-inch green-gizzard-shad swim bait

Strike King Shadalicious

Bass are generally feeding on shad at this time of the year. If I’m fishing a lake that’s too clear to fish a crankbait, I like to cast this swim bait. I usually will put the swim bait on a Strike King 1/2-ounce Squadron lead head. I fish this bait in fairly clear lakes. However, I’ll also use a Shadalicious swim bait fishing deep as a follow-up to the 6XD. Once again, if bass are still on the spot I’ve been fishing, often changing up the style of lure I’m using can cause me to catch a few more bass than I would if I didn’t switch lures. 

Strike King’s J-Lee Comeback Stand-up Football Jig in the 1/2-ounce or 3/4-ounce size in brown

Strike King J-Lee Comeback Jig

I decide on the weight of the jig I fish, depending on the water depth I’m fishing. For a trailer, I’ll use a honey, candy-colored Rage Craw. The jig is a bigger-profile bait, and I fish it when I’m trying to catch bigger bass than the ones already in my live well. I fish this jig very slowly and stay in contact with the bottom with it. Although I use the crankbait and the swimbait I’ve mentioned earlier to fish fast, once I slow down my fishing, I like the shaky head worm and the jig to fish more slowly and be able to feel everything on the bottom.  

Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg in the oyster color

Strike King Sexy Dawg Topwater bait

You can walk this topwater bait on the surface late in the evenings and early in the mornings once the bass move up shallow or start schooling. I can fish this lure all day if overcast skies or rain are happening. Early and late and when storms are moving through an area as often happens in the summertime, the KVD Sexy Dawg can be a fun way to fish and catch those bass feeding on top of the water. 

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