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Mat Predicament

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The question is: Is it better to punch a mat or work on top of it?

I somehow managed to sit through and watch one more cast with shaw grigsby. In between his annoying spurts of calling fish "pigs" and "toads" and "tanks" he actually got me thinking about the Strike King Rage toad.

Recently I've been trying to punch through mats with a t-rigged chigger craw but Shaw was throwing a Rage Toad on top of the mats and pulling out plenty of "tanks."

Opinions?

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It depends on what kind of weeds it is and how thick to me.If you are fishing an actual mat of very thick stuff with very few or no visible holes then running something across the top is kind of futile.In other words there would be no way for the lure to displace enough water or the bass to have any way of finding it.You have to be able to somewhat disturb the weeds and the water surface in order for the bass to be able get some kind of visual on it.

If the weeds are more sparse with scattered mats and or holes then yes by all means try a frog type lure or light or weightless texas rig.As long as it is moving water and causing some kind of commotion.Also let the baits sink in any hole that are in it's path.Sometimes this is necessary when they won't hit the top.

Running the edges thats a different story.If the fish are out and on the edges then a topwater, waking bait,or spinnerbait can be the ticket.

I will usually try that before driving right in and trying to flip and punch

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To be thorough, you should do both if there is enough holes and areas to work on top.  There are always some fish below that have no interest in feeding on top.

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To be thorough, you should do both if there is enough holes and areas to work on top. There are always some fish below that have no interest in feeding on top.

Absolutely correct but I'm guilty of fishing only bottom since that is where the bass live occasionally venturing towards the surface to feed. There again it depends on water depth, I use 8-12' as the range to both top water and bottom fish.

Everything beyond 12' I will be targeting the bottom :)

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Thanks for the tips. Now does anyone have any advice on getting the bass out of the mats? It seems like for every one I catch I lose two.

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I get waaaay too many misses on top water lures in thick mats! Sometimes i use the frog to find them and then get them on a Chigger Craw! I would much rather pick apart the mat flippin and get one solid fish than watch 5 blow up on my frog and never land one!

I use a Powell Max 766H flippin stick, 1-1 1/2 oz Tungsten flippin weight, 25lb BPS XPS fluorocarbon and a Gamakatsu superline hook to bully them straight into the boat! That rod is an absolute power house man!

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Yeah i was using 20 lb fireline, sometimes i'll go with 25 lb mono

Try some 65lb Power pro braid! 20lb is way too small and FireLine had some breaking issues if i recall correctly!

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fireline is great in weeds it cuts right through them and i have never had a problem but in really thick stuff where you are pulling the fish and its house in you might want to go to a higher lb test and i don't like the heavier fireline so i use power pro for heavier line. i also only use fireline on my spinning gear and its the best line i have used for spinning gear and i have complete faith in it.

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