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Jon Morris

How do you "rip through grass", especially with a treble hook bait?

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I watch YouTube for bassing tips. 

 

One thing I constantly hear them saying is riping lures through grass, even treble hooked lures (crankbaits, lipless crankbaits) but anytime I've ever hit grass my retrieve is over and I can expect a wad of vegetation on the end of my line.

 

How is this accomplished without bringing in salad?

P.S.- I'm from the Northeast, maybe we just have different aquatic plants here and that technique doesn't work?

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Are you using braid ? Braid typically will slice through the "grass" when you give it a hard rip... when the lure gets buried I just rip the bait up hard and then give just a little bit of slack.. most of the stuff falls right off.. this works best (for me) with lipless cranks.. 

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They can be tricky to get a feel for, but as a PA guy, I can tell you they still work, but you need to practice the technique and know the limitations.  I'm assuming you mean Crankbaits and lipless crankbaits.  Lipless crankbaits are my preference out of the two in grass, and fishing them well requires you let them sink when they begin to snag in the grass.  Following this with ripping them immediately after the fall can trigger HARD strikes and will often clear much of the salad from your hooks.  A lipped bait works the opposite.  A pause will allow it to float out of snags, and ripping it may clear the hooks.  To me, the lipless is my preference in heavier grass because it tends to be denser, and can still throw vibration/action even if it's dragging some weeds (which can typically be freed with a rip and pause retrieve).

 

Also, this isn't for light tackle.  If I'm cranking in or around heavy grass, I'll be running either straight braid or braid with a 12lb or heavier copolymer leader. 

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I use regular old 12# CXX, a graphite (not a glass cranking stick!) medium fast or MH fast rod &' or longer, and a very high speed reel.  The best baits are lipless.  A floating, billed diver, is different, you kill the retrieve when you feel it first encounter weeds.  For a lipless, as soon as you feel it encounter weeds, You snap a hookset while reeling fast.  Then return the rod to your normal retrieve position. It shouldn't be pointed at the bait, but it shouldn't be perpendicular either.  Just enough to get a good feel for what the bait is doing.  This is why you want to use a graphite stick.  There is also the "right" grass for this.  It's never going to work for weeds that are at or just inches below the surface - a spinnerbait or surface/wake bait is a better tool for this.

Lastly, practice!  You'll get it.

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I am in the Upstate NY and this topic exposes one of my weaknesses.   For what it's worth here is what I have learned trying to learn to do this with lipless cranks.   Two things which help me are 

1 - weight ... I go as light as possible on the lipless CB's over the weeds (1/4 oz).  I go heavier if I am working an edge (1/2 oz or 3/4)

2 - use a counting method.  Cast.  Once it hits count 1 - 2 - 3.  lift .... If you don't feel weeds add a second.  If you drag in a cabbage patch subtract a second on your next attempt.

This takes a lot more concentration than people expect but it does work.

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Once your crank buries into the weeds, it's too late to rip it free. To accomplish this, as mentioned, you need to know where your bait is in relation to the top of the weeds, equipment suited to the technique, and familiarity with the bait.  The latter can only be acquired through practice. You can't determine when a baits hooks begin to catch the weeds until you've repeatedly experienced it. You will experience a lot of frustration attempting it using the wrong equipment. 

The only lipped baits that work well with this technique are floating minnow baits.  Like lipless cranks, their hooks will start catching weeds before the bill does  

 

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Being a New England native myself I can tell you that if you have the right gear, a bait you know, and clear concentration this can be accomplished. One of my favorite deep diving cranks is a berkley frenzy. I like it due to its action, its floating ability, and track record for hits. Getting caught in weeds can be frustrating, but If you, hesitate for a 5 count, reel up line slack while pointing the rod tip down,  and snap the rod up sharply, It should clear the weeds. 

As for ripping lipless crankbaits?  repeat the actions stated above but do so when you feel the lure starting to tick the weedtops. This can be very effective as it imitates a baitfish fleeing predation.

The weeds up here in New England are no different than anywhere else. In some cases they may not be as thick, but they definatly attract fish the same.

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 Great Question, I always struggled with this down here in Florida since ripping traps, Swim Jigs, Cranks etc. was something everyone talked about. I watched all the videos as well, tried to practice and the only way it made sense to me was after fishing with someone who ran the boat and showed me how to do it...

You need to have the right rod, Right line, and strong Wrists and patience. I did learn one thing on my own that has helped me shake the weeds off after the first snap which is push down the barbs on the treble hooks.Fish will strike a trap with weeds on it after the first snap which makes sense if you think about it. If a bluegill is being chased through a Hydrilla field (It can't be matted weeds) and it has to blast through some weeds, it will come out with a strand of weeds on its fins, maybe some more, but if you can get the weeds off the lure and get it going again you can cover more water...

I honestly hate fishing this way, Even with a Snagless Sebile, I prefer ripping a Swim Jig or one hook, or just using a soft swimbait and making contact then ripping it yourself. The key that I learned was the right areas to do it, I used to just pull up to grass fields and start chucking and I would get lucky every so often if It deflected just right, but push the barbs down and try that if the weeds are sticking but you need harder weeds, not soft weeds from my experience. 

Alot of the ripping is hitting the edge and just touching the weeds, not trying to burn it through them all although the Sebile Trap can do that but it is really heavy and sinks like a rock...No perfect lure except a Swim Jig imo....Much Easier and effectvive, you can add rattles as well.

If you are pulling up mushy soft "Gunk" that is probably not the best area, green weeds are usually easier to do this and everyone likes to call weeds "Hydrilla" but their are about 10 grass types that look like Hydrilla and some just don't hold fish, some do....It is a horizontal/Vertical presentation and it can help to count down the sink rate of your lure so you know that the weeds are 3' down, and lure sinks 1 foot per second, this way you don't let it bury too deep, but some guys like heavier traps and really let them dig deep, but the key is rod type and action, I like fast, Braid, no cranking sticks, and the weird thing is when you catch your first few fish you start to get a feeling of what a good "Snap" feels like and you almost will feel if you are in the right stuff....I don't know the names of weeds, I just know the one's that grow on hard bottom are the best.

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It's easier with a faster action rod. When you feel it hit the grass just abruptly and swiftly jerk  your rod tip upwards and the grass should be gone. I use lipless baits down here in Florida and the grass is usually quite thick. I also do not like the typical spongy action crankbait rod. The rod needs to have some backbone and a moderate fast tip. 

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I don't get it.  Using a lipless crankbait, some of you said to pause when you feel weeds then Jerk.  Others said to just immediately jerk.  

2nd question, where I fish in MN it seems like the weed height varies, so it will be smooth sailing then suddenly I am in a thick glob of subsurface milfoil.   Is that the wrong area to apply this/these tactics?

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I wrote a long piece on this, complete with vegetation type (both photos and sonar images), and how to crank the weeds. It was a while back -2009 in fact- and in searching I see it wasn't archived. Too long and image heavy I suppose.

Short story is, cranks can be fished in vegetation. Go slow, feel your way down, float up, pull through gently, and map the clumps and edges by "brail". It's the edges you can rip. If you try to rip into the backside of a clump, you'll bury. Gotta find the edges, so its a lot of deft, deliberate probing by feel to map out the water around you so you can visualize the edges. You are looking to set up the rips. On many days the rips will get you better than half your strikes.

With a lipless fished horizontally I find the vegetation must be thin enough, or if denser I do best fishing more vertically.

Ripping does trigger strikes -one of the best triggers out there. Very worth learning how to do it with both lipped and lipless cranks.

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18 hours ago, FishingMN said:

I don't get it.  Using a lipless crankbait, some of you said to pause when you feel weeds then Jerk.  Others said to just immediately jerk.  

2nd question, where I fish in MN it seems like the weed height varies, so it will be smooth sailing then suddenly I am in a thick glob of subsurface milfoil.   Is that the wrong area to apply this/these tactics?

The pausing would be for a floating bait like a squarebill or similiar. The immediate jerk would be for lipless cranks. Since lipless cranks sink, there would be no benefit to pause once you are on top of the grass since pausing would just bury it further, making it difficult to snap out.

 

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On 9/29/2016 at 1:48 PM, Jon Morris said:

I watch YouTube for bassing tips. 

 

One thing I constantly hear them saying is riping lures through grass, even treble hooked lures (crankbaits, lipless crankbaits) but anytime I've ever hit grass my retrieve is over and I can expect a wad of vegetation on the end of my line.

 

How is this accomplished without bringing in salad?

P.S.- I'm from the Northeast, maybe we just have different aquatic plants here and that technique doesn't work?

I've been doing some experimenting ripping lipless cranks through grass at my local pond. It is usually covered with lily pads, but they have used some herbicide which is greatly reducing the weed growth. I can now fish some cranks again with some success.

  • On Saturday I fished for a couple of hours with my 6'8 MF with 12 lb flouro. I used a 1/2 oz lipless crank. I caught a few dinks plus a nice 3-3.5 lb LMB
    • Things that I've noticed:
    • I was fatigued a lot quicker 
    • Harder to snap the grass
    • Seemed to get more bites
  • On Sunday I fished the entire Morning- Afternoon with my 6'10 MHF with 30 lb braid. I hooked into 1 really nice LM right at shore, then tried to flip it onto shore like an idiot and lost it . No action the rest of day
    • Things that I've noticed:
    • Felt very comfortable
    • Ripped through grass with ease
    • Drag settings would play more of a role using a stout rod+ braid using treble hooks.
  • I also tried a 7'4" MM with 12lb copoly- DONT EVEN BOTHER TRYING THIS AROUND GRASS

I don't think either of the first two setups had much to do with my performance on Saturday, and the lack of performance on Sunday. I think that had to do with the mood of the fish. It seems like the MH rod with the fast action was the ticket, but I would try out a few different setups to find out what you like best.

I'd also like to point out that my MHF is rated to 3/4 oz and my MF LTB is rated to 5/8 oz so maybe the best option would be  MF with braid or a MHF with flouro. Maybe someone else could chime in on this.

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On 9/29/2016 at 6:16 PM, long island basser said:

i don't like the looks of that, don't think it'd have the best hookup ratio. maybe i'm wrong but just doesn't quite look right for hook

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I agree that with practice one can get better at ripping traps through hydrilla. But that doesn't mean you wont get stuck at times.  On YouTube vids when a guy pulls in a wad of grass, there's always a fat fish in the middle.  And on YouTube, crankbaits don't get stuck in trees. 

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I am confused by what people mean by "grass".  It is a catch-all term for any and all SAV, or is it referring to a specific type of SAV?  I read here that chatterbaits were good "in grass" and I then spent a day or so throwing them into big fields of hydrilla, which just resulted in me removing dozens of pounds of hydrila from the lake.  At least now I know my knots hold well. 

Around where I live, I never really see anything that looks like an actual grass growing in the water, but watching fishing vids online clearly some parts of the country have the stuff.

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Grass, junk, weeds, veges, aquatic vegetation, submerged aquatic vegetation, macrophytes, ...

Then there's algae, moss, gunk, snot, ...

Depends on where you're from, how accurate, or formal, you want to be, or how frustrated you are: "dang #$%*^& snotgrass!!" :)

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