Florida Heat, Bad Room Service, and What it Can Teach us about Bass Behavior

Bass habitat
Bass aren’t out basking in this mid-Summer heat: they’re hidden away in the thick stuff.

I was sitting in what we’ll call a “modest” motel room in central Florida, waiting to get on the water with some very generous guides from Bass Online who have volunteered to help out for the cause this coming week, and thinking about bass and how they feed and ultimately, how we can relate so as to best feed them something with a hook in it.

I was in this… “modest” motel room last night, trying not to look for stains, blood or anything moving, when my room phone rang. Now imagine that you’re by yourself in a Florida motel a thousand miles from anyone you know and your motel phone rings. I was curious to put it mildly. But I answered.

The gentleman at the front desk informed me that the food I’d ordered was waiting at the front door for pickup. The problem here is that I hadn’t ordered anything. However, for a brief moment I considered going along with it just to see what was being offered instead of venturing out myself later or relying on a vending-machine selection or what odd remnants of what was once food I could scrounge up in my Jeep.

In the end, thinking of the people who actually did order the food, and my limited budget, I decided to be honest and tell them they had the wrong room number. But from this experience, like any one, we can learn something.

During the spring and fall months, no doubt bass are on the prowl throughout their home water body searching for genuine, honest-to-goodness sources of sustenance. But then May comes, and then June. And in these shallow bodies of water especially in the south, the water gets cooking hot. Fish seek out shade under structure or cover, much like humans do, hiding from the sun when it’s most intense and reaches skin-broiling level.

But then along comes an angler, slinging something that looks very much like a meal into that bass’s hiding spot. Now if the guy calling up to my room had happened to mention that the delivery was my favorite meal (fish, ironically), I don’t know that I still would have passed, but it certainly would have been more tempting not to.

And as anglers we can learn from this example. In the summer months, especially here in the South, what matters most is presentation and location. We need to hit these fish on the head with exactly what they want to eat because expending any energy in search of a meal becomes less and less of a preferable option for them as water temperatures rise.

And that has to be our mindset in these mid-Summer months. We just have to set a lure (or bait) right where a bass is at, tucked away from the heat, and hope hunger overcomes any evolved sense of caution that these fish have developed in the decades and centuries anglers have been trying to fool them.

Go to where they live, knock on the door, and be carrying (or casting) their favorite meal. And apply all your cheap-motel experiences on the water. That’s what wisdom I have to offer today. And yes, thanks to the guys at Bass Online, this blog will have fish in it next week (knock on wood).

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