Pulling your bait through summer’s thick vegetation is often a hassle, but big largemouth bass are frequently found in the thickest weeds during the summer. So how do you get to them?
There are two main approaches to fishing bass in thick weeds: going through them and going over them. If you can master these techniques, you will no longer cringe at the thought of fishing thick cover.
PREY IN THICK WEEDS
Large bass are often found in thick weeds, because that’s where the prey is found. Prey, such as small fish, crayfish, frogs and other critters use the thick weeds as cover from predators and they are also attracted by the high oxygen levels. It makes hunting tougher for the bass, but they are adept at ambushing their prey in heavy weeds.
The thick weeds can work in anglers’ favor, because bass often must react quickly to anything that looks like food. This decreases the odds that the bass will reject your bait, because they may only have a split second to decide if it is food or not. Also, bass found in heavy cover do not spook as easily, because they feel safe in the weed cover – another advantage for anglers.
THROUGH THE WEEDS
Some weed cover may appear so thick, it seems impossible to retrieve a bait through it without hooking a giant glob of weeds. However, fishing thick weeds successfully is all about selecting the right bait.
Among the best choices for baits is the plastic worm, because it is resistant to most weeds. Plastic worms are also versatile, meaning you can use a variety of techniques to fish them in heavy weeds. In the south, where weeds are especially tough, the Texas rig is a favorite, but you can experiment to find a technique that works best for you.
Another exceptional bait for thick weeds is the weedless spoon. Bright, flashy spoons tend to work best, because bass are most likely to spot them in dense cover, but in some cases, darker colors work better, especially if you are fishing just over the tops of the weeds.
Anglers should also carry a good selection of weedless spinners. The flashy spinners work well at enticing hits in heavy cover.
OVER THE WEEDS
Fishing over the weeds covers two types of situations. The first is where the weeds do not come all the way to the surface and the second is where weeds are covering the surface.
The first scenario offers one of the easiest ways to fish thick weeds. If you can keep your bait between the surface and the top of the weeds, you can fish spinner baits, crankbaits, plastic worms and just about any other bass bait you have in your tackle box, because you will be able to avoid the weeds. This is an effective technique, because bass are often looking up for their food, so they are likely to spot your offering.
If the weeds are covering the surface, it greatly reduces the variety of baits that are effective. The best choices are weedless frog imitations. Frogs are the prey that will most commonly be found on the surface in heavy cover. Work these imitations slowly across the weeds, giving the bass every opportunity to see them. You can also try working a weedless buzzbait or plastic worm along the surface.
When working baits along the surface, it is important to think about how prey moves along the surface. Whether it is a frog, water snake or other critter, try to match your bait’s movements to those of prey that may be present.
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