Jul 10, 2015

Slop Fishing For Big Bass

By: Glenn Walker

Oh sweet summertime; long days of 90 plus degree weather means one thing to a bass fisherman…SLOP FISHIN!!  Much advancement has been made in the topwater frog market, but the roots of this lure can be traced back to fishing in the slop.

Slop, as it is referred to by anglers, is when vegetation forms a large blanket-like coating over the water.  There are several forms of vegetation that can create these vast regions of slop fields.  Vegetation provides bass with numerous ambush opportunities to grab a quick meal and stay out of the hot summer sun, which is why many bass anglers spend a lot of their time fishing this type of cover.  It is common to find the “mother lode” of bass tucked up in the nastiest of cover. By looking for vegetation, you give yourself a good chance to go look for a nice green paycheck at the end of the day!

One of the prime types of vegetation that bass relate to is lily pads.  Sometimes lily pads scatter the water and there is a good amount of open water in between them. Other times they are so tight together there isn’t any open water in sight.  Examining these pad fields is crucial. Otherwise, you could spend all day fishing the wrong location of the pads.  You need to ask yourself, “Are the bass on the edge, buried in the middle of the pad field or relating to other forms of adjacent structure?”

Duck wart is another example of vegetation that can make up prime areas for slop fishing.  These areas look like a sea of green, floating atop the water and can either be very thin or thick based on how much vegetation is bunched-up below.  When locating and fishing duck wart, it is very important to keep in mind that a strong thunderstorm the night before could move the fishing area, or eliminate it completely. 

If this occurs, don’t panic just yet. Sometimes the key feature that was holding the bass in that area was actually below the duck wart.  Vegetation, such as eel grass, can commonly be found in the same areas and holds key aquatic insects and baitfish bass are looking to feed on. 

Some of the most overlooked slop fishing areas can hold some of the biggest bass.  These areas are usually filled with very thick vegetation that the wind or current has blown into an area.  Other forms of cover may dot this vegetation as well, such as laydowns, tires, etc. 

The common rule of thumb is to always look for the green vegetation; this is because it is the healthiest and will have oxygen rich water around it.  Brown, dying vegetation is usually in areas with poor water quality. 

Whenever I’m fishing vegetation, I am always keeping an eye on two things; first, current, and second, adjacent secondary cover.  Current is the life blood to a bass. It brings them food and fresh water.  Not only is finding vegetation near current key, but also determining exactly how that current is positioning the bass on the vegetation is how you’ll turn an ok day of fishing into a great one!

When you see a laydown or stump, surrounded by vegetation, the chances are pretty good that bass will be nestled up to that wood.  Same thing is true if a weed line or slop patch runs into some rip rap; a bass will be sitting there.  Any time you can combine two forms of cover, the chances that a bass will be ready to take down your lure will increase dramatically.

My primary lures when fishing the slop are a soft hollow-bodied frog and a soft plastic frog.  Both types of frogs excel in their own unique situations.  However, my two favorite traditional frogs include the Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect frog and the new Ish’s Phat Frog.  These high quality frogs have high performance hooks that help you hook the bass and keep em’ on until they get in the boat.  These baits also feature “ITT” (Inner Tube Technology), which makes sure that the frogs will not take on any water and therefore not sink!  As for colors, I like to keep it simple by using a white, black or brown frog.  However, it sometimes works to use a bright, non-traditional color like Sexy Ish to help attract bass in murky or heavily vegetated waters.

 If the slop you are fishing isn’t thick or if the bass are holding on the edge, a soft plastic frog such as a Zoom Horny Toad works well. You can throw this bait in the vegetation and bring it back to the boat without getting hung-up in the weeds.  If the bass are hitting on the edge, hang on! When your toad hits the edge there will be a ferocious strike.

Regardless of what type of frog you are using, it is important to use a line that is strong and has no stretch.  The advancement of braided lines have made slop fishing that much easier.  On my reels, I use 65 lb. test Seaguar Smackdown, as it has no stretch and cuts through the vegetation.  For my reel, I use a Wright & McGill Victory Pro Carbon reel that has a 7.9:1 gear ratio, which allows me to pick up the slack very quickly. The oversized power handle gives me the solid grip on the reel when hauling in a big bass!

A heavy action, stout rod is important because you need to have plenty of backbone to pull a bass out of the thickest of cover.  Anglers employ rods that range from 6’10” to 7’6” feet.  I prefer a 7’2” Wright & McGill Tessera Series Frog rod because it gives me the backbone I need but also has a soft tip so I can give some action to my frog when bringing it across the water.

When slop fishing, an important fact that an angler must realize is that bass are going to miss the lure.  This is why having a follow-up bait, rigged on a rod, is extremely important.  I’ll have a Texas rigged Zoom Speed Craw or Super Hog ready to go, rigged up on a sharp, stout Lazer TroKar TK130 Flippin’ hook.  On my Texas rigs, I use a 3/8 to 3/4 ounce Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp tungsten weight.  The size of my weight will depend on the thickness of the vegetation I’m trying to punch through.  The benefit of using a tungsten weight is that tungsten has a smaller profile than lead with the same amount of weight. 

After a bass blows up on my frog and miss it, I quickly retrieve my frog and then pitch my follow-up bait just beyond the hole or area where the bass busted through the vegetation.  I then slowly drag that bait to the “blow hole” and let it sink into that hole.  This is when it is crucial to watch your line because, many times, the bass will strike and pick up the bait on the fall. The bait will just feel heavy. So if it does… set the hook sharp and fast!

Slop fishing is an art of bass fishing that gives an angler a huge rush of adrenaline and accounts for numerous big bass over the summer months and into the fall.  I look forward to seeing you on the water in the green stuff!

Glenn has been fishing tournaments for over ten years, spreading his passion and knowledge of the sport via articles and videos.  He keeps busy fishing events across the Midwest and on the Mississippi River.  Glenn's sponsors include:  Ducky Products, Humminbird, Jeff Belzer Chevy, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Plano, Rayjus, Seaguar, Simms, Snag Proof, The Rod Glove, TroKar, Wright & McGill and Zoom Baits.  For more information check out glennwalkerfishing.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/glennwalkerfishing.