Swamp Things: The Problem with Grass
Emergent grass and vegetation tend to be a love/hate relationship for a lot of bass anglers across the country. On one hand, we all know that bass live in grass. It offers shade, oxygen, cover to hide in, and bait to ambush. On the other hand, in many places, it can be downright hard to fish as it really limits your bait options. This is a struggle I have learned to embrace this year as I have spent more and more time on bodies of water where emergent grass is the primary target. When the time comes, and it will, where you stand on your boat or on the bank frustrated at not being able to effectively work your lure and constantly having to clean grass off of it; I hope that you will find these tips helpful.
My first choice when I pull up to a lake or river that is overrun with the green stuff is going to be some type of soft jerkbait. I believe that any fluke style bait is an item that you will find in the bottom of anyone’s tacklebox, yet it remains an underutilized tool. When attacking grass, you want a bait that is 1) extremely weedless and snag resistant, 2) can cover water efficiently, and 3) GET EATEN BY FISH! When you rig a soft jerkbait on a weightless Texas rig, you have all three of these criteria. It can be thrown in the gnarliest of places without getting snagged, worked high in the water column, then as you come to the weed edge, it can be slowed down deeper in the water column and twitched through open water. This allows you to locate active fish quickly as the bass simply can’t stand letting this bait go by them!
Secondly, usually, after I’ve located groups of fish or a pattern within the grass, I love…. LOVE….to pick up a hollow body frog and go to work. Like a fluke, it is also extremely weedless and can be dragged through the thickest of slop or walked in open water; but, what I’ve found, is I usually get the bigger bites on the frog.
One more bait that every angler MUST have on the deck when tackling the problem of grass is a senko style stick bait. To make it more weedless I prefer to Texas rig this bait, but I will not hesitate to peg a 1/16th, 1/8th, or even ¼ oz tungsten weight depending on depth and/or whether or not the bass want it to fall fast or if they want it quivering slowly in their face. This bait plays clean up VERY well to the first two options, offering a slower approach to entice more finicky or inactive fish.
Sure, this is only a handful of options, but these tend to be my trusty companions anytime that I get spun out trying to deal with a grass laden lake. Be sure to give them a try!
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