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portiabrat

How do you know if weeds are holding bait?

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I've heard some people say that you should only fish weeds when they're holding bait. This recommendation is obvious, but how do you know if there's bait around when visibility isn't very good? Around weeds, I don't think it's easy or even possible to see panfish on side imaging or sonar. The only that works for me is looking for groups people fishing for panfish or the presence of birds. Is there anything more reliable?

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Not that I know of. I can only really know by seeing the bluegills -primary forage in my waters. Or by fishing, and catching bass. Then there's almost assuredly food nearby.

 

The underlying structural arrangement -areas with notable depth changes can be a tip-off- can help narrow down places to spend your time on.

 

In my waters, there are bluegills in just about every weed bed. But, it's the right size and number of 'gills that matter. And there are places where BGs are more or less vulnerable to attack -places where bass tend to get fed. Best guesses include beds with hard cover mixed in (wood, rock) that breaks up the beds, and broken/ragged weed edges where bluegills and bass have an opportunity to hunt effectively. Edges created by differing substrate, or changes in weed type, can create fishable breaks.

 

When talking surface mats, the same stuff holds true, but... it helps to know whether there is space beneath -a true mat- for bass to move around under. Some "matted" beds are solid weed straight to the bottom. Matting often happens later in the season as the crown gets dense and the underneath leaves die back, esp so when water levels drop, collapsing the surface weeds into a mat.

 

Just some thoughts. Will be curious what others say.

 

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I am more interested in knowing bass are in or around the aquatic vegetation. You can usually see bass movements by fleeing baitfish and near surface activity or pressure waves that small fish don't make. Herons are a good indicator baitfish are nearby them.

Paul said a lot discribing breaks and bottom contour and make up. Plants that root and grow from bottom up create the more dense weed beds if the soil supports rooted plants that need nutrient soil to grow. Sand is basically broken rock with very low nutrients. Clay is very fine powered sand with low nutrients and rocks are more obvious with low nutrients but provide hiding places for prey. Soil or mud with high decay nutrients is where the rooted plants are located and very dense growth, avoid this area and look for low nutrient bottom areas that provide cover with easy entry exit points for bass.

This time of year look for green aquatic plant growth that has plankton in and around the weed beds, insects and plankton are the food source for baitfish. A good pair of polarized sunglasses are helpful year around.

Tom

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2 hours ago, portiabrat said:

Is there anything more reliable?

Crunch up some potato chips and toss them in there.

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Active mats sound like Rice Krispies around here with the occasional sucking sound 

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9 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

Active mats sound like Rice Krispies around here with the occasional sucking sound 

Same up here. Dead giveaway for activity when you can't see it on the surface. 

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20 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

Active mats sound like Rice Krispies around here with the occasional sucking sound 

Cuckoo for cocoa puffs!

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I cant imagine live , green weeds not holding bait . There are minnows , crawdads , insects , frogs ...

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Vegetation is always going to have food in it for the fish, but not all of it is going to hold fish, especially in large grass mats. 

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My theory is if it's green its a GO if its brown its probably down. 

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When I'm looking at a veggie location there are several obvious observations.

1). I look for green veggies.

2). I look for isolated clumps rather then massive fields.

3). I look for two or three types of green stuff together.

4). I look for happy water in the same location as the weeds.

5). I look for bird activity close bye.

6). I look for movement from the weeds.

7). I listen for sounds from the weed field.

8). If a location meets a few of the above I will fish it with plastics slowly.

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I would fish it.  The vegetation may not have bait in it, but there could be a bass hiding inside the mat somewhere.

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The edges are key areas too

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