While the official first day of summer is not until June 21st, as far as fishing goes summer is absolutely here across the southern half of the United States. With water temperatures in the mid 80's there is no doubt in my mind that the majority of the bass population is living deep. I'm going to break down one of my favorite deep water summer baits, the football jig. A wise man once said, "When you are fishing the bank 90 percent of the fish are behind you!"
There are several things that make a football jig one of my absolute go to deep water baits. First, is the fact that it is heavy and really dredges the bottom. This dredging basically acts as a probe so that you the angler can feel exactly what is down there, specifically whether the bottom is hard or soft. Second, is the fact that a football jig is a big bulky presentation that often attracts the attention of big bluegill eating bass. While some bluegill stay shallow around docks in the summer the majority of them spend the summer months holding on deep structure and in deep brush piles. A football jig is one of the best baits to match the specific hatch. Lastly, is the fact that a football jig allows you to cover deep water ledges and structure efficiently while still keeping the bait in the strike zone.
I like to work my football jig very similarly to the way I work a Carolina rig, keeping the rod level and dragging the bait across the bottom about 2 feet at a time. This being said don't be afraid to hop or rip the football jig off of the bottom. This hopping technique is called stroking the football jig and can absolutely be the ticket to some big bass if the fish are in the right mood.
My personal football jig setup consists of a 7'3" Heavy TFO Tactical Series baitcasting rod accompanied by a 7.0:1 Quantum Tour MG reel. I like to use 17lb test Vicious Pro Elite Fluorocarbon for more open water ledge applications and 20lb test fluoro if I am fishing around heavy cover such as deep brush piles. As far as the exact bait goes a 3/4oz Zman Project Z Football Jig in a Candy craw color with a big soft plastic craw trailer is hard to beat.
I hope this helps you put more bass in your boat this summer. I'll see you on the water!!!