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The 7 Best Species To Target In The Summertime

In North America, we’re blessed with millions of acres of fishable water. From pristine mountain streams and massive reservoirs, to natural lakes beyond count – there’s almost certain to be a fishable body of water within 10 miles of where you are sitting reading this.

Because of the diversity of available waterways, anglers are blessed with the ability to choose (for the most part) which species we intend to target on any given fishing trip. Seasonal factors can add even more flavour to that choice, as certain species bite better during certain times of the year.

Don’t let all the options overwhelm you!

Here’s a guide to which species bite the best for summertime fishing, and how to catch them.

1. Largemouth Bass

One of the most common and sought-after species in the USA, largemouth bass are the most popular gamefish in the country, and can be found in just about every waterbody from San Diego to the Atlantic Coast. They put up a great fight, and are aggressive enough to keep you setting the hook throughout the day. Excellent summertime largemouth patterns include flipping and pitching to laydowns, cranking or swimming a jig down a grass line, or skipping docks with soft plastics.

2. Smallmouth Bass

Like their green cousins, smallmouth bass are also abundant across the majority of the country, and bite extremely well all summer long. They can be found in streams, rivers, and lakes – and they are one of the hardest fighting fish you can tackle in fresh water. Search for a summertime smallmouth bite by combing rocky shorelines, current seams, and offshore structure with crank baits , football jigs, and spinnerbaits. Smallmouth also destroy topwater baits, and seeing one explode on a walk-the-dog style plug is the highlight of many anglers summer season.

3. Crappie

If you’re looking for the perfect crossroads between abundance, willingness to bite, and taste on the table – look no further than crappie. These frisky fighters have a serious following among anglers across the country. Summertime crappies hang out around deep brush, sunken logs, and laydowns that have good (6-12 feet) depth to them. There are also several lakes nationwide that are top notch places to go crappie fishing for slabs. Good bets for summer crappie are small plastics like tubes and grubs fished on jig heads, tiny crankbaits, and live bait rigs with minnows.

4. Bluegill

Although overlooked by many anglers, more bluegills are caught each year than any other species of freshwater fish. They are super aggressive, can be caught on any presentation imaginable, and they are one of the finest eating fish you can catch. They can also be a “day saver” when you’re fishing for something else and it’s just not working. Don’t be afraid to pull out the ultralight and get your string stretched by these aggressive critters. Bluegills hang around almost any shallow cover they can find, including docks, laydowns, and grass beds.

5. Catfish

Despite their reputation as bottom feeders, catfish are and excellent species to target during the summer months. They are hard fighters, and often bite best during times when other species shut down, like cold fronts or after storms have muddied the water. Channel cats are also excellent on the table, an added bonus for those who like to eat fish. Look for catfish in deep holes on river systems, and relating to creek channels in reservoirs. Set up on them with bottom rigs baited with stink bait or chicken livers – and hold on.

6. White Bass

If you’re just looking to get your string stretched, there’s no species more willing than the white bass. Common across most of the country, white bass roam lakes and river systems in massive schools – looking to chase down anything resembling a baitfish. Once you locate one, it’s common to catch countless others as they whip into a feeding frenzy. The best choices for white bass are anything that looks like a minnow – and can be unhooked quickly so you can catch another one. Topwaters, spinners, and small crankbaits are deadly.

7. Northern Pike

In the upper Midwest and northeast, the northern pike is one of the top predators in many lakes and rivers. Shaped like barracuda, the pike is the perfect ambush predator – hiding in shallow cover waiting to dart out and inhale a passing prey fish. They remain extremely active all summer, and targeting them can be a blast as their aggression is unmatched. Pike are commonly found in shallow, weedy bays, along grass lines, and in backwaters out of current. Try minnow imitators like spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and even swim jigs to entice strikes from nearby pike – don’t lip them though, as they’ve got a mouthful of sharp teeth.

At BaitCloud, we have manufactured a unique fish attractant to attract all of these species. Our multi-sensory fishing attractants dissolve on contact with water, creating bubbles and releasing millions of scent  molecules into the water column, triggering the feeding instinct of the targeted species. Drop. Wait. Fish!

How to Fish: Fishing Tips for Beginners

You may have recently discovered just how much fun freshwater fishing can be, or maybe some recent fishing excitement has got you hooked on the sport, but no matter how and where you fish there are some basic fishing tips for beginners that all anglers need to know.

Are you ready to catch more fish while you’re casting, and have a blast while bottom fishing? Of course you are—and keeping these 10 tips in mind will help make it happen. For more fun, try one of our BaitCloud Fish Attractants - as simple as toss, wait, FISH!

1. Fishing Lure Colors

Match your lure color to the water color. You never know exactly what color lures the fish will prefer on any given day so you should always try changing color when you’re not catching, but as a general rule of thumb, start out by choosing lures that match the water’s color.

  • In green water, lime or chartreuse is usually a top pick.
  • In clear water, reach for white or pearl.
  • And in tannic-stained water, root-beer is often going to prove productive.

2. Fishing Lure Shapes & Sizes

Choose lure shapes and sizes that let you “match the hatch.” When predators are feeding on a school of small, thin fish like anchovies, a small, thin spoon that’s the same shape and size as those baitfish will often prove deadly — but a five-inch lure with a wide body may well go untouched.

Profile and length are usually the key features in this regard, because your quarry may well be focused on the shape and size of the prevailing bait and ignore other offerings.

3. The Right Size Fishing Gear

Get fishing gear that’s sized appropriately to the fish you’re pursuing, and don’t try to get one-size-fits-all rods and reels. The 12-pound-class casting reel you love using for bass is simply too heavy for tossing the tiny jigs and spinners that black crappie like to hit, and the four-pound-class ultralight that’s ideal for casting micro-jigs to those crappie can’t handle a big largemouth bass. Middle-of-the-road gear won’t be ideal for either task. Rather than trying to make do, get gear that’s sized for the species you’re targeting.

4. Trolling

If you try trolling (motoring along slowly while you tow lures behind the boat), before deploying the lines hold your lures next to the boat and watch them to be sure they’re swimming in a lifelike manner. If they look lethargic, try speeding up a bit.

Conversely, if they seem spastic pull the throttle back a notch. This will help you set the most effective boat speed, while also ensuring that you don’t accidentally set out a lure that’s fouled, damaged, or not swimming properly.

5. Fishing Line

There are countless types and brands of fishing line on the market, so be careful to choose wisely. 

As a general rule of thumb, remember that braid lines have very high sensitivity and great hook-setting power so they’re ideal for fishing with lures, while monofilament line has less sensitivity and stretches a bit so it’s ideal for when fish are nibbling on baits.

6. Best Time of the Day for Fishing

Fish early, and fish late. Many species of fish bite best right at dawn and dusk, in ambient sunlight. During the mid-day hours cloud cover can make for better fishing, and in direct sunlight (especially during the heat of summer) look for areas with shade. Fish often seek out shade when it’s hot and sunny and become more active during the cool hours of the day, just as you or I might.

7. Sharp Hooks

Always use new hooks and/or sharpen your old hooks. It sounds like simple common sense— because it is—but countless people go fishing every day with old, dull hooks. Will they catch a few fish? Maybe. But there’s no doubt they’d catch a whole lot more if they made sure each and every hook they’re using was as sharp as the day it was made.

8. Reel Drag

Use a scale to set your reel’s drag. The drag allows a fish to take line instead of pulling against it until it breaks, and having it set properly is critical. Truth be told most people just give a tug on the line until it “feels right.” That’s a poor substitute for tying your line to a hand scale and setting the drag to one third of the line’s rated breaking strength, which is generally considered the ideal.

9. Do Your Research

Do your pre-fishing research. Different methods of fishing all have their own subtleties and there are countless tips and tricks specific to one species of fish or method of fishing, as opposed to another. 

10. BaitCloud Fish Attractant

Toss. Catch. Repeat. Our fish attractant balls bring the fish to you. Toss one in the water. Follow the tips above. Catch fish like a pro.

New Study Shows that Fish Seem Capable of Reasoning

Are fish capable of doing math? This wild study seems to indicate that they are!
For a study released to the public on April 1, this fish story seemed immediately suspicious. After all, it came from Europe where some still refer to the annual day of foolery as “April Fish Day” and a person who gets pranked as an “April Fish.” Yet, after careful examination (the full peer-reviewed study published in a legitimate science journal with multiple diagrams and 78 footnotes), we are prepared to share this with BaitCloud readers that the apparently outlandish claim, made by researchers at the University of Bonn on April Fools Day, seems to, in fact, be legitimate: Fish can be taught to do math.
Now, by “math,” of course, the scientists at the university were not referencing calculus. That may be their next experiment. They, instead, focused on basic arithmetical operations. Namely, addition and subtraction of the number 1, in a range up to 5. Cichlids, popular aquarium fish that come in a wide range of colors and shapes, and stingrays, from the Frankfurt Zoo, performed the math.
The test given to the fish was one already passed by bees. The scientists also knew from previous studies that their subjects could distinguish between quantities of 3 and 4 at a glance without having to count, much the way humans can. So, this experiment was designed to confirm whether they could actually calculate. 
To add and subtract, the fish were shown a set of geometric shapes of all blue or all yellow. They were tasked with adding one shape if the set was blue and removing one shape if the set was yellow. Zoologist Vera Schluessel of the University of Bonn, who led the research team, said on the university website, “So the animals had to recognize the number of objects depicted and at the same time infer the calculation rule from their color. They had to keep both in working memory when the original picture was exchanged for the two result pictures. And they had to decide on the correct result afterwards. Overall, it’s a feat that requires complex thinking skills.”
Over time, with food rewards, both the cichlids and the stingrays learned that blue meant increase one and yellow meant decrease one. By carefully controlling the variables—for example, using different shapes and different shape sizes and deliberately omitting some calculations—the team demonstrated that, in fact, the fish were learning the concepts behind the math and not merely memorizing rules. In the end, both types of fish passed the test.

"No brain, no gain. Stay in school."

-Dory, Finding Nemo