Catching Bass on Sunny Days – What to Look For

The days that anglers are most likely to head to the lake are sunny and comfortable – for us. These same conditions can be difficult to find and catch bass. If you know what to look for and where to search, sunny day bass fishing can be a blast.

Bass are pushed into shady, or lowlight, areas when the sun is high in the sky. These protected locations can be found around docks and trees or by heading to deeper water. Sunny days often mean high-pressure systems as well which will position the bass near bottom structure.

Understanding how bass position on sunny days will help anglers narrow down high-percentage areas quickly.

Why Bass Seek Shade on Sunny Days

Bass lack eyelids. While we may see a bass or two roaming about in the shallows when the sun is high, most of the fish we are after will be found where there is protection from the bright light.

As the heat of the summer kicks in, both largemouth and smallmouth bass will also seek shade to find more comfortable temperatures.

The bigger the bass the more apt they are to avoid the bright sunshine. 

This bass is seeking protection from the sun under a dock.

Where Bass Will Seek Protection From the Sun

Water clarity has a tremendous impact on how bass seek shelter from the intense light. 

In very stained and dirty waters, bass will be shallow and against hard cover or structure most of the time. This limits the options they have for shade. 

Docks, laydown trees, sea walls, vegetation, and shadows cast from vertical shoreline cover will all position bass. As the sun climbs higher in the sky, these shadows will become narrower and more defined.

This pushes the bass into a more confined space. For example, a decent-sized dock in the middle of the day can hold multiple fish. 

When the water is clear, many bass will prefer to use depth to avoid the sunshine. 

In some waters, like my home lake, that means bass will often be found below the twenty-five-foot mark. While there will always be a population of bass that prefer to stay shallow in clear water, the vast majority will use the deep water to their advantage.

The deepest water bass I have ever caught came from Lake Norfork in northern Arkansas. It attacked a jigging spoon in seventy feet of water.

The Benefits of Bass Fishing on Sunny Days

Many anglers head for the boat ramp after the lowlight morning bite is over. I prefer to stay out and look forward to it.


Because the bass are now going to be in very predictable places. 

If that sun is beating down at noon and I run across some overhanging brush casting shade into the water, I know there is a very good chance there will be bass there. Maybe even several in one small place. 

Anytime an angler can eliminate 99% of the water they are fishing, it is a good thing. Sunny days do that.

This nice bass decided to go deep when the sun was high overhead.

How to Locate Deep Water Bass on Sunny Days

If you are fishing a lake with decent visibility, you may notice zero life shallow. 

Instead of feeling this is a bad thing, once again look at it as eliminating water. You know that most of the bass will be deeper. 

The term “deep” is relative to the body of water and whether or not a thermocline forms in the heat of summer. In some waters, “deep” will be ten feet while others will be below the fifty-foot mark.

If you have electronics and are fishing from a boat, start scanning for baitfish. This could be schools of shad or even big schools of panfish. I have filmed huge schools of bluegills in thirty feet of water. You can bet that there were plenty of bass not far away from them.

Once you have the depth located, I like to then find structure changes at that depth. For example, if you located schools of bait in twenty-five feet of water I would find structure within that range. This could be a main-lake point that dips down that far or even an old creek channel. 

For shore anglers, locate those high-percentage shallow water areas you have had success with in the past. Now look for deeper water. This could be farther out into the lake or maybe as you walk along the shoreline you find a place where the depth suddenly changes. Forty-five-degree banks are very high-percentage places that shore anglers should always look for.

This dock has multiple bass hanging out under it.

Sunshine Often Pushes Bass into Schools

This is such an important fact to keep in mind. When the sun is high and the shaded areas are few, the bass can be stacked in a very small location.

One of the most common mistakes anglers make is leaving fish. 

Think how many times in the past you may have caught a single bass and then kept moving along. Odds are, there were multiple bass in that same spot.

Keep fishing an area once you catch one and there is a good chance you will pull several out of that location. I once pulled three bass in three consecutive casts from the shady side of a small stump.

When filming bass underwater it is quite common for me to see anywhere from four to fifteen bass in one tiny location. 

It may take multiple casts and downsizing lures to keep the bite going, but give it a shot. Doubling or tripling the number of fish you catch can be done by keeping this in mind.

Sunny Days Also Mean Boat Traffic – Which Can Activate the Food Chain

When the sun is high and the temperatures warm, recreational boat traffic can get crazy real fast. 

Instead of giving up, use this sudden influx of manmade current to your advantage. 

The boat wakes kick up microorganisms and dislodge crayfish from their hiding places. These attract smaller fish and in turn, bigger predators. 

Some of my best sunny day outings have been when the boat traffic was quite challenging. 

(Here is an article on how boat traffic affects bass fishing.)

Good luck and make sure to encourage someone today. You never know how you may change their life forever.

Isaiah 6:8

Steve Rogers

Steve spends his time filming and writing about bass fishing. You may even see him in your area. If so, stop and say "hi."

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