Aug 30, 2016
Fishing Grass For Bass
By: Glenn Walker
Fishing the grass is one thing that many anglers in the Midwest do to target bass during the summer months. Bass fishermen do this for two reasons; one is that it holds bass and two, there is a lot of it! From fishing the milfoil and cabbage filled lakes, to the eel grass and lily pad fields of the Mississippi River, anglers have plenty of options to fish vegetation. When fishing vegetation, I employ a two-prong attack to target these bass, as at times these bass will position themselves differently.
During the low light periods of the day, or when there is cloud cover, bass will position themselves on the edge of the vegetation, as to feed and they aren’t as spooked by the high sun. My primary goal when the bass are on the edge of the vegetation is to cover as much water as possible.
When I’m fishing bass on the edge of the vegetation, I’ll begin by using a War Eagle Buzz Toad buzzbait, which I’ll cast parallel to the cover. This way I’m keeping my bait in the strike zone for the longest amount of time possible. If the bass aren’t willing to come up to the top, or I’m fishing a deeper weedline, I’ll fish a swim jig, either a ¼ oz. when shallow or a 3/8 oz. when fishing deeper. The nice thing with a swim jig is you can alter your retrieve to the depth and activity level of the bass you are pursuing.
Sometimes the bass are tucked up tight to the vegetation and you’ll need to slow down and pick apart that edge with a slower presentation. In this situation, I like to flip a ¼ to 1/2 oz. Texas-rigged plastic. Why a Texas-rig over a jig? I like how a Texas-rig slides through the vegetation better than a jig, but this is primarily each angler’s choice.
Since I’m fishing the edge, I’ll spool my reel up with 20 lb. Seaguar Flippin’ Fluorocarbon line, as it is very abrasion resistant and has low stretch. Then, when I turn to flipping this Texas-rig into the densest vegetation, I’ll flip with 65 lb. Seaguar Flippin’ Braided line as I need to get that bass out of the nasty, heavy vegetation.
A compact plastic is my choice and the size of the bait depends on the forage the bass are feeding on, some of my choices for a plastic, include a Zoom Z-Hog (fishing the edge), Speed Craw (open pockets) or a Z-Craw/Z-Craw Jr. (dense mats). Any of these I’ll rig on a Lazer TroKar TK130 3/0 or 4/0 Flipping hook.
Once that sun gets up or the fish are in a less than active mood, they’ll bury up in the heavy vegetation and this is when you need to go in after them. My main lure choice when fishing matted vegetation is a Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog, as I can make long casts with it and work it as slow or fast as I need to, to provoke a strike.
Having the right gear for frog fishing is key, as you need all the pieces of the puzzle to fit together to have success. Braided line, such as 60 lb. Smackdown, will aid in cutting the vegetation as you set the hook and then bringing the bass to the boat. While a stout rod ensures a solid hookset, but the soft tip of a Wright & McGill Tessera Series 7’2” Senko/Toad rod allows me to make my frog walk-the-dog.
As I previewed above, sometimes you need to slow down and punch your bait through matted vegetation. The same hook and plastic baits I mentioned above are still used, but now I’ll increase my weight, anywhere from a ½ oz., up to a 1 ½ oz. Lazer Sharp Tungsten weight, as it is compact compared to lead and will easily get down to the bottom where the bass are hiding.
Many times when the bass bury themselves in the dense cover, they’ll group up in key areas. Such as hard bottom spots or pockets of slop that have slight current running through it. This is why making repeated casts to these areas could help you load the boat in a short amount of time. To do this with ease and not worry about blowing into or away from the cover, I’ll deploy my Minn Kota Talons so I’m locked in one spot and now with the 12’ models I can drop them in weedlines in the 10 to 11 foot range!
It is also important to be able to move your boat through the grass with ease and stealth, this is why I use a 112 lb. thrust Minn Kota Fortrex trolling motor with a T-H Marine G-Force ELIMINATOR Prop Nut. The Fortrex has the power to chew up vegetation and the ELIMINATOR has cooling ports to aid in heat dissipation and lessens prop noise and vibration.
As the mercury begins to climb and the vegetation in your favorite lake or river begins to develop, put together your favorite one-two combo for catching bass in vegetation and hit the water.
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: Bass Boat Technologies, Ducky Products, Humminbird, Jeff Belzer Chevy, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Plano, Rayjus, Seaguar, Simms, Snag Proof, T-H Marine, The Rod Glove, TroKar, War Eagle Custom Lures, Wright & McGill and Zoom Baits. For more information check out glennwalkerfishing.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/glennwalkerfishing.