Anyone spending quality time out on the flats knows summer's swelter has settled in. The key to summertime success is finding fish early, then exploiting them before the heat sends them scattering into the refuge of deep water.
On occasion, fishermen spend a bit too much time attempting to find summertime fish and are left with little time to catch them. Finding fish isn't terribly difficult if you're packing the right "search baits."
A major mistake when looking for fish is using baits designed for precision presentations once you're on fish (such as soft plastic shrimp imitators). These baits aren't search baits, as they're not designed for the rapid presentation required to cover large expanses of water and subsequently locate fish.
Here are three non-traditional search baits borrowed from the bassing crowd, each guaranteed to put you on active fish quickly, those in the mood for a salty summertime tussle.
1. Buzzbait. These baits locate fish when other search baits stumble. The clatter, commotion and flash of blades on these baits is ridiculous; often drawing fish in from adjacent zip codes.
Additionally, buzzers shine, as they're built for speed, as in "high-speed" retrieve, that is. Remember, search baits pull fish from far away by emitting excessive noise, vibration, flash and or commotion (water displacement).
2. Swimbait. These chubby swimmers are another staple and for good reason—they'll find fish posthaste. Their large profile and bulbous tails displace plenty of water, sending out an invitation for an easy meal to the locals.
When fished without a weight they can be deadly. Rigged Texas-style, swimbaits can be thrown a country mile without breaking a sweat, on either spinning or baitcasting gear. When lobbing these remember to "wake" the bait (work it just below the surface) or skitter it on top. The golden rule is this—the more commotion, the more attractive the bait becomes.
3. Wakebait. These couch-potato-shaped crankbaits offer a dramatic hydrodynamic profile. Their wake (hence the catchy "wakebait" name), vibration and rattling are strong calling cards. Wakebaits are also one of the easiest baits in the box to master. Simply wind up and cast it as far as you can. Retrieve on a quick crank and watch 'em eat.