How to Catch Suspended Bass: 3 Essential Strategies

Last Updated on January 24, 2023

Catching suspended bass can be challenging. When the water temperature heats up in the summer, catching just about anything becomes tough.

Ledges tend to be iffy, and most fish leave the banks. You can chase schooling fish during the day, but this often doesn’t work after the morning hours. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t catch big bass during this time of year, though. You just have to adopt some unique strategies. The usual techniques that work in shallow water won’t work here.

Bass often suspend in deeper water, so you’ll need lures that reach their depth. You’ll also need to consider your technique, as simply letting a lure sink isn’t likely to entice a bass.

We’ll cover what lures you need and what techniques you should try below. 


What Are Suspended Bass?

bass fish floating underwater

After weather changes, bass may understand that their prey will be inactive and harder to catch. Therefore, many bass will attempt to conserve energy by “suspending.” In other words, they won’t move around very much. 

When minnows and shad aren’t active, you can bet the bass won’t be, either.

Because the bass aren’t active, it is harder to get them to take a lure. As you might imagine, this makes fishing them considerably more challenging. It isn’t impossible to fish suspended bass, but it is measurably more difficult. 

Most suspended bass become more active at night when the temperature drops. However, most of us cannot go out fishing at night.

Therefore, finding ways to successfully catch these bass while fishing is key. You shouldn’t rely on the chance that a bass will become active. 

Where to Look for Suspended Bass?

Suspended bass typically move to deeper water but they won’t suspend in the middle of open water. Instead, they tend to move to ledges, channels, underwater islands, and other structures.

Locating these structures in deeper water can help you locate the bass. 

However, catching suspended largemouth bass is extremely difficult, as these fish aren’t actively hunting. Often, it is best to locate these structures where bass may suspend, and then lure between the structure and the shoreline.

If any of the bass get hungry and decide to look for food, you may catch them on their way to the shore. 

You can use a fish finder to locate suspended bass just like you normally would. This method also allows you to determine the exact depth, which is vital when trying to catch suspended bass.

You want a lure that sits at about the fish’s depth, and you can’t accomplish this if you don’t even know where the fish is. 

Best Lures and Rigs for Suspended Bass

spoons fishing lures for suspended bass

When fishing for suspended bass, you want lures that are particularly attractive, as these bass aren’t actively hunting. You also want lures that are more effective for deeper waters. 

Both crankbaits and jerkbaits work well in this situation. They don’t move as much as other bass lures, which is enticing to even inactive bass.

You want them to sit about where the bass are, though, which can be challenging to determine. Adjust the lure you use to accommodate the depth of the fish. 

However, in clear water, you can use baits at shallower depths and entice the fish to swim up and bite. Smallmouth and largemouth bass won’t swim up to feed. This method works particularly well in clear reservoirs. 

Many bass fishermen also use jigging spoons to catch suspended bass. Look for spoons with a slow fall to entice biting. Let the spoon sink on a line so that it flutters down. This activity will get a bass’s attention. 

Spinnerbaits and jig heads allow you to maintain a certain depth. Therefore, they work great for suspended fish, as they are typically remaining at a specific depth.

Aim the bait just above the fish to entice bites. You’ll need sonar to determine the fish’s depth for maximum accuracy.

Noisy baits that sound like shad are also a good option. Some bass are more enticed by the noise than other methods. Remember to keep the lure in the strike zone for maximum effect. 

Swimbaits are also one of the most straightforward ways to catch bass. You can use them effectively on suspended bass, too. 

Drop Shotting for Suspended Bass

dropshot rig

The drop shot technique allows you to target fish that are deeper in the water, which describes most suspended bass. Furthermore, the technique isn’t hard, making it accessible for even beginner anglers. 

However, there is more to this technique than simply letting the rig sink to the bottom. Often, you have to play with the sinking and wiggling techniques until you find something that works for the bass.

As bass are finicky eaters, you’ll often have to use different techniques at different times. 

For instance, some professionals let the rig sink all the way to the bottom. Then, allow it to rest for a moment before slowly lifting it off the bottom.

Repeating this a few times can excite the bass and help get bites. This method works best when you know where the bass is. 

You can also sink a drop shot to the level where the bass is – if you know the exact depth. Then, just allow the jig to stay at that depth. This method works well when the bass are not near the bottom of the lake. 

Many bass will reflectively bite at bait when it falls past their nose, even if they aren’t actively looking for food. 

Often, drop shotting requires a lot of re-cast. If the fish doesn’t take the bait as the rig is falling, they likely aren’t going to.

Therefore, don’t feel afraid to reel the bait back in and try again. We don’t necessarily recommend using a spinning reel. It adds extra steps to the process and can be a bit cumbersome.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Catch Suspended Bass in a Tree?

You can catch suspended bass in a tree most effectively with a drop shot. Simply cast over the tree and allow the rig to sink.

Once the bait hits the tree, give it a bit of a wiggle to encourage bites. Most bites will occur while the rig is falling, though.

Therefore, if you don’t get a bite, don’t feel bad about recasting. 

How Do You Catch Suspended Bass in the Summer?

You can catch suspended bass in the summer with lures and rigs that work in deeper water. Drop shot and any rig that can hold a particular depth works well in this situation.

Bass won’t swim down to feed, so you want the bait to be just over their head. 

How Do You Catch Suspended White Bass?

You can catch suspended white bass just like any other suspended bass. Choose a rig that will sink to about the same level as the bass or just above them.

Often, bites will occur while the bait is falling, so you’ll likely have to re-cast a few times before you get a bite. 

Final Thoughts

Bass often suspended in the summer when bait fish are less active. The bass knows that getting a bite will be challenging, so they don’t actively hunt. 

Instead, they conserve energy by suspending deeper in the water column. Catching bass is much more difficult at this time than usual, as they aren’t actively hunting.

Luckily, though, it isn’t impossible; it just requires a bit of finesse. You want a lure that falls through the water to about the depth of the bass.

In very deep water, you don’t need to touch the bottom, as the bass won’t swim down to feed. Instead, hovering the lure at just above their heads tends to work best. 

Hopefully, these tips help you catch more suspended bass on your next trip.

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