Where to Fish
Bass will abandon back-bay waters that stay warm and more likely inhabit areas closer to inlets. There may easily be 10- or 15-degree cooler temperatures in the waters that push in from the ocean, compared to those in the bays, so focus around inlets. Bass move readily to warmer or cooler spots so they don't have to make adjustments in temperature. Also, look to structure, bridge abutments, rocky cliffs, jetties and the like during hot weather. Bass rely on ambush more now than during fall baitfish migrations, when sheer numbers of prey allow them to make attacks in more open water.
Bottom structure, like reefs and shoals, provide similar feeding situations. Some of my favorite spots include the rocky coast around Cape Ann, Chatham Inlet on Cape Cod, Napatree Point at Watch Hill, Rhode Island, inlets like Shinnecock and Moriches on Long Island, the jetties along the northern New Jersey beachfront and the bridge and pier structures in the Chesapeake. Ocean beachfronts usually provide slow fishing at this time of year, particularly during the day.
How to Fish
Bass usually don't feed as aggressively during the warm months, but feed they do, albeit at different times and to different rhythms. In daylight, the name of the game (usually) is deep. This means sinking lines or heads fished over deep structure - rocks, reefs or shoals. Clouser Deep Minnows and Lefty's Deceivers are hard to beat.
In the dark, floating or intermediate lines are your best bet. Wade fishing for stripers at night during this time of year is one of the few times I prefer a floating line. Even slow-sinking lines, like intermediates, will allow your flies to hang up when retrieved slowly, and I strongly advise you to reduce your retrieve to a maddeningly slow pace, even to an inch per second. Fish feed slowly now, so give them a chance at your fly. Sometimes the take is gentle, just a feeling of weight or a tic, but more often, my experience has been that strikes come very hard. Bass will often track a fly slowly, swim up and mouth it with a violent grab.
Two things will enhance your offerings presented in this manner. First, a two-hand, hand-over-hand retrieve allows your fly to swim steadily, without the intermittent stop-and-go action of a one-hand strip. Second, use bulky flies like the Popovics Siliclone, easily my first choice for slow nighttime probing. Flies like this wake just at the surface and push water, which seems to cause pressure waves or vibrations which attract bass. Some of the most popular lures used by generations of spin and plug casters work just this way. In any case, in the situations I've been describing, I've had more success with medium-size flies, perhaps 5 or 6 inches, rather than 2- to 4-inch imitations, or large versions, say upwards of 8 inches.
The key phrases to remember for summer fishing, then: Fish off-hours, particularly after dark, fish near structure, use bulky flies, and fish s-l-o-w-l-y. Spring and, even more so, fall are the hottest times, and we look forward to them, but applying a little observation and common sense can result in rewarding summer sport, too.