When to Fish
Just being in a favorable spot won't ensure success, however; there is more to this game than just picking a locale. The when factor of the equation is equally or even more important. Bass feed differently now, in different ways, and at different times. Water temperatures are higher everywhere and once into the 70s, the fish get sluggish and larger fish especially can't dissipate heat or make rapid body changes too readily. In addition to temperature, extended daylight will keep bass deep longer. They generally prefer to feed in low-light situations, more so at this time of year, when there are so many hours of daylight. They feed more slowly now, too.
All of that means that night fishing becomes the method of choice during summer. Second choices would be the "change of light bites" of dusk into dark, and immediate predawn. Heavily overcast or foggy days can also be productive. Once when fishing with Capt. Steve Bellefleur, Tom Gilmore and I had two days of exceptional summer bass fishing in dense fog over the Watch Hill reefs. You might be better off spending the brightest, warmest days on the beach with your family, earning points to go fishing after dark. The darkest time of the month is usually best too, around the time of the new moon.
This is also vacation time, meaning more daytime boat traffic in general, but obviously heavier on weekends than on weekdays. Bass avoid heavy-traffic areas more now than when they're feeding more aggressively during the fall run. I said earlier that inlets represent ideal locations because of the water movement, cooler temperatures and structure. Ironically, they get disturbed most by daytime boat traffic, so I fish them exclusively at night, whether from the rocks or from a boat.
I have experienced some of my best nighttime summer fishing on the stillest, calmest nights, when waters just lapped the shores and waves gently rolled against the rocks. Actually, the best single night of summer bass fishing I ever had occurred during a freakish, all-night summer electrical storm. The water came alive with feeding bass around the jetties. Regardless, it was an uncommon experience and it was lunacy to be there. I don't recommend it and would never do it again. Graphite rods make excellent lightning rods.
Arrange your fishing to coincide with coming tides. Stripers aren't freely feeding on large schools of baits now. Their hunting is, for want of a better word, more calculated. Water that is rising after dark will flood oyster bars, rocks and weeds. The rich life they house, crustaceans and such, will get active, drawing baitfish and in turn bass, particularly large fish.
Summer fishing can be erratic, so if possible, once you have determined to fish a likely spot, hit it several days or nights in succession. I suppose it has something to do with their feeding rhythms or lunar cycles, but I've hit the same jetties or inlets over a two-week stretch and had some nights draw blanks, and nights in between produce wonderful action. Regular patterns are harder to establish in summer.