Consider the Temperature
As air temperatures rise in Alabama during the summer months, so too does the temperature of the water. When temperatures get too high, bass get lethargic and feed only at certain times of the day. During the spring and fall, the cooler air temperatures moderate the water temperatures and draw bass into shallow water. Search around shoreline cover like overhanging trees and boat docks. Bass will be tight to such cover on sunny days, and are more apt to roam away from it on cloudy days. During the summer and winter, Alabama bass are likely to congregate in deep areas, like along drop-offs or channel ledges.
Follow the Shad
Shad are the primary forage species in many bodies of water in Alabama. Since they tend to roam around the lake--not relating to any one piece of structure in particular -- it can be a challenge to find them. Anglers should look for dimples on the surface of the water, or watch their fish finders for large balls of fish. Where there is a school of shad, it is likely there is a school of bass not far away. Fire a topwater bait over the top and around the edges of the school of shad, or run a crankbait through the school. Remember, you want your bait to mimic a wounded or dying shad, as those are what bass key on, believing they have an easy meal.
Keep in Mind Water Clarity
The waters in Alabama range from clear to murky, and the same lures that work in one body of water may not be as productive in another. As a general rule, the clearer the water is, the lighter the line and lure you should use. Additionally, natural colors like green and brown, or translucent colors, work best in clear water. In murky water, the fish have a more difficult time seeing, so you can get away with using large baits and heavy line. In fact, larger baits may help you catch more fish because they produce more vibration, which bass sense with their lateral line.
Key on Boat Docks
Many of the water bodies in Alabama have docks that ring their shorelines. Bass love docks for a few reasons: They provide shade and an area for the fish to rest, and they provide a place from which bass can ambush their prey. The most productive docks are those with the most complex structures and those closest to deep water. Many anglers like to skip a tube jig underneath the docks, while others--especially if there are big fish in the area--prefer to use stout equipment and pitch a jig or worm around the edges of the docks.
Throw a Weedless Plastic Frog
Many of Alabama's waters, especially small lakes and slow-flowing rivers, have an abundance of thick, shallow vegetation like hydrilla. These areas are magnets for bass, but they can be difficult to fish. One of the best ways to target bass in these places is with a weedless plastic frog. These lures are designed to stay on top of the water so they do not get snagged. They can be retrieved over large, expansive beds of vegetation, or pitched into holes or pockets in the weeds. Either way, anglers should use stout equipment and be ready to haul a big bass out of heavy cover.