Keri: There you go.
Glenn: There. Oh, boy. That time, that's a good fish there. Come here.
Keri: What are these baits called?
Glenn: Oh my goodness, 3D Rattle Toad. Face full of grass. By FishLabs.
Glenn: Look at this, and all this grass. Jeez louise. All right, in his face. Look at that. All right, buddy, let's let you go.
Hey, folks. Glenn May here with BassResource.com and it is summertime. It is great. I love summer. The weather is warm, the water is warm which means the fish are active, the weather is stable, it's a great time to be out in the water. Anytime I fish in a lake that has grass in it, well, that's where you'll find me for a variety of reasons.
Now, just for clarification, what I mean by grass are these long stocky stem type vegetation, things like coontail, like hydrilla, like milfoil. These things will grow in large, large areas and will get thick and mat over and create thick canopies.
What they'll do is they generate a lot of oxygen which in the summertime as the water temperature warms up when it starts to get in those 80s, it starts to lose its ability to hold dissolved oxygen. In addition, they harbor insects and harbor larvae and you know, all other types of algae and stuff that the baitfish like to feed upon. And wherever you find the baitfish, that's where you find the bass. Plus those canopies create shade and it cools the water underneath so the water is, you know, four to five degrees cooler than all the water around it and as I mentioned, cooler water holds more oxygen. So it's just a bass magnet man, the bass are in there and in there thick sometimes so that's where you'll find me fishing and plus, you know, water skiers stay away from these kind of weeds, which is nice, get away from that crowd.
So what I want to talk about is my methodology, how I approach fishing weeds and grass, and like what are the lures and the tactics that I use to catch fish. So let's start off with the methodology.
I like to start fast to slow. I go after the aggressive fish first because there's going to be a variety of types of, you know, characters, if you will, of fish that are in a large area with these weeds. You're going to have the aggressive ones, you're going to have the ones that are in kind of a neutral mood, and then you're going to have the ones that are negative feeding mode. So I like to go after the aggressive ones first, and I do that with like, rattling baits first, vibrating baits such as a Rat-L-Trap, or a Booyah One Knocker. I even use spinnerbaits and these are large baits, like a 3/4 ounce bait because what you want to do is cast it out over these weeds and burn it back as fast as you can reel it in. Super, super fast and if you're using a light bait, it's going to pop up out of the surface of the water, so a heavier bait will stay down in there as you're burning it back. And that oftentimes elicits a strike from those aggressive fish, just something burning by them really quick and they react. So I'll throw it on the edges of the weeds of the grass and also throw it over the tops of grass where it hasn't reached the top of the water and can pull it through. Plus they don't collect a lot of that grass either if it is getting towards the surface.
So a 3/4 ounce, don't get too crazy with colors just like a silver, you know, chrome blue back and a chrome and black back is really all you need. As far as the spinnerbaits, again, I use 3/4 ounce spinnerbait, put a double willow leaf on it whether it's white or gold blades. The willow leaf blades go through the grass a lot better without catching anything and they also don't provide a lot of lift so you can burn it back quickly and it's not going to keep breaking the surface of the water. I use a white or white and chartreuse and I always put a twin-tailed trailer, that way it keeps the spinnerbait from laying over on its side.
And what I'll do is I'll alternate those. I'll first start with the Rat-L-Trap or the Booyah One Knocker and fish an area and catch a bunch of fish and when that bite starts to die down, I'll switch over to the spinnerbait and go right back over that area and I'll catch even more fish because let's face it, some fish, you know, they react to different forms of stimulus and not all of them are gonna go after that Rat-L-Trap but they'll go after a spinnerbait and vice versa. So I'll go back with a spinnerbait. When I lose that bite, I'll go back over the Rat-L-Trap, maybe more fish have come in at that time and they'll hit it.
And I can do this all morning long, from early morning till about noon-ish or so. If it stays cloudy throughout the day, you might be able to do it all day long provided your arms don't get wore out. And hold on tight because the bite is very aggressive. They'll try to rip that rod right out of your hand but that's a real fun way to effectively fish grass very quickly.
Now if that bite dies down, say that sun gets bright and high in the sky and they're not gonna be as aggressive, that's when I slow it down and I'll go to like a weightless worm, like a wacky style worm or I'll fish a Fluke, weightless Fluke. And I like to go on the outside edges of the grass on the deeper side of it. A lot of times that's where the fish are hanging out, they're weaving in and out of those weeds, they're looking for food. So that's a great time to throw a weightless plastic and just let it flutter down a slow rate and a lot of times they clock it.
One thing that a lot of guys don't do though and this is key, depending on where you are, in your location, sometimes it gets really windy, right, first thing in the morning it's windy. Or, you know, later on, like my neck of the woods, it gets windy later on in the day usually. Well, when it gets that way, I like to position my boat right on the outside weed line. Now if you're a bank fisherman, if you can get access to the outside weed line somehow then, you know, that's what you want to do. But a lot of times it's deeper, it's like 10 to 20 feet of water so my Power-Poles aren't going to reach that deep even though they're 10-foot poles so what I do is I actually anchor. Yeah, actually rope with an anchor, put it out there and set my boat right there and I'll again fish those weightless plastics, throw it out there and let the wind drift it. Just let the wind do its thing.
Because what happens is, first of all, you get the wave action so it's breaking up the light penetration underneath, it is oxygenating the water so it's getting that food chain going, that might get more active, but also the waves cause that line to move and that bait will start moving and jigging, plus it's pushing it along. You'll see, that wind will push that bait wherever that wind is going. So it's doing more of a horizontal presentation while moving so it kind of matches that aggressive level.
I anchor because I don't want the boat moving but also you don't give away your presence to the fish. You're not on the trolling motor, you're not getting the trolling all fouled up in the grass, and you're not making a whole lot of noise. You're just sitting there and sometimes you can sit for several hours fishing that way and just whacking the snot out of them.
Now a couple of the other baits to use while they're aggressive, you need is to go over the top of that matted vegetation. Now obviously the Rat-L-Trap’s and spinnerbaits won't do that, so this is when I break out frogs, toads and the Johnson Silver Minnow.
Now you old timers know what I'm talking about with the Johnson Silver Minnow, they still make them. This is an old standby that has been around for decades. It's lost its popularity for some reason, but it's actually...they make a weedless style, and they're very, very effective in grass especially.
What you do it these baits is you throw them over the top of the matted vegetation, and just reel it back nice and steady. It's a no-brainer, it's really easy. It makes a commotion where the bass can see it underneath and feel that, you know, they hear it, they feel the sound through the lateral lines, and they can hone in on it, and a lot of times they blast right through the grass, right when you least expect it. So it could really startle you. It's an exhilarating way to fish.
The key thing about that is when the fish nails it, you see it and your knee jerk reaction is to set the hook right away. Don't do that. Literally train yourself to stop. Don't react to that visual cue, and instead wait until you feel that fish pulling back on the rod, on the line, on that bait. When you feel that, that's when you set the hook.
Lot of times what you can do with these baits as you're bringing across the surface, I like to cast it in such a way that I can find these little holes and pockets and openings in the grass. So I can bring it to that and when it hits that, if it's a frog, it's a floating hollow body frog that I use so it just floats, I can bring it there and just let it sit and pause for as long as I want to and just give it little slight subtle twitches with the rod tip and it looks like a little animal that's kind of floundering around the water right there, that is an easy, easy meal for bass. Easy meal. They'll follow it up underneath that canopy and then they see it, just pause and stop and they crush it. All right.
If it's a frog, sorry, it's a toad. The toads are...they're solid body, what they'll do is they'll actually flutter down. When you hit that pocket, it'll fall right down. So a bass is following it. Suddenly boom, there it is, it's right in his face and they have to react to it. So a lot of times you'll drop it into that pocket and suddenly your line just takes off running because a bass has got it.
The Johnson Silver Minnow, guys, since not so many people throw it, I like to throw it because the bass often just haven't seen it that much. It gives a nice wobbly presentation when it gets in the water. And when it falls, it does this nice fluttering action, looks kinda like a dying baitfish and the bass just can't stand it, man, they crush it. So I got a couple in silver and a couple in gold.
All right. So if the bass aren't going after the fast-moving lures and if they aren't hitting the weightless plastics, that's when you got to go in and dig them out. And to do that, I use Texas rig plastics and jigs. The plastics typically are a small, like an arrow-shaped body such as the Rage Bug, or something that doesn't have a whole lot of appendages. So I don't throw a lizard or, you know, brush hog or something like that. Maybe a worm that is a straight tail worm, or one that has a small sickle tail on it but not a big ribbon tail because it gets hung up in the weeds, you want to penetrate and get through.
And same thing with the jig, you know, just a simple compact small weedless jig is designed for this and I get them in the heavier weights, I start with a 3/4 ounce all the way up to an ounce and a half because you want it to punch through that canopy. That's what we're trying to do here is get it to punch through, so you need heavier weights to in order to do that and a smaller, slimmer body to do that.
Now there's a couple ways to fish them and it's not like you might think. First of all, it's more traditional. We'll knock that one out of the park first. So punch it through and let it get all the way to the bottom. Now sometimes the fish will annihilate it before it even gets to the bottom. So pay attention when it goes in. Watch your line for any movement and that may be a strike. So don't just wait for it to hit the bottom and then start thinking. Once it punches through it could get hit at any moment.
If it does get to the bottom, let it sit there for a minute, and then there's a couple ways you can work the lure. One is just to wiggle it in place with your rod tip. Just jiggle it, make it look alive and then pause. And the pauses, how long those pauses are, you have to experiment with. Sometimes letting it sit there for a long period of time, a fish will just eventually come and pick it up and run off with it without you moving it because you caught its attention when you were jiggling it, and finally just can't stand it and picks it up. That may be 15 seconds, it might be a minute or two. So you have to play with that cadence to understand like what the fish want that day.
So jiggling a little bit, you can also hop it up and down off the bottom again, how high it goes and how fast you jiggle it, experiment with it. Sometimes the fish want it a very specific way and other times just if you move it they'll wack it. It's kind of maddening that way but that's the way fishing is. There's no like, "Here's how you do it and it's always going to work all the time." You have to try different things to figure out what they want.
One thing I do like to do is I like to sit on the bottom and not move it for a while, at least 30 seconds, and then I will just yank it off the bottom violently. Just very quick, fast. A lot of times it's that sudden movement of something darting off the bottom gets a reaction strike out of a fish that may not even be feeding. It's just an instinctual action that they have is suddenly they react to it, something darting off the bottom and they just hit it. So try that. A lot of guys don't do that either, but it's worked for me.
Now, a lot of guys stop there. If they don't catch fish doing it that way, then they go on to do something else. Since you guys have watched this video this long, a lot of guys at this point have turned off the video, they're not watching anymore so I'm going to give you a little tip here that most of them don't know about and won't see but I want to reward you, I want to reward you for watching this long.
Like I said before, the baitfish will be in there feeding off the insects, which is typically in the underside of the canopy of the vegetation. That's where the bass will be feeding off the baitfish. So sometimes when you're working this bait really hard on the bottom, you're working it below the fish, they don't see it. So instead, if you're not getting bit that way, do what I call a mirror image.
Get the bait up to just the underside of the canopy just beneath it. And now like I said before, jiggling it. Just jiggle a little bit in place right there. Jig it up and down, you can do like you did popping it up and down off the bottom. It's just the reverse, just a mirror image of it, you're popping it up and down off the underside of the canopy. Or let it sit and then just give it a quick drop. Similar when I talked about yanking it off the bottom here, you just let it drop all of a sudden, right?
It could be very, very effective when the bass are up just underneath the canopy feeding on baitfish. You get your lure right there, it's either a plastic or jig and giving that kind of action. I've caught a lot of fish doing that before in grass beds where other anglers aren't catching a thing and they can't figure out what I'm doing because they see me doing the same jigging action that you would on the bottom and so they see that and they try to imitate it. They don't know that my bait is actually on the underside of the canopy. So there's your tip.
Anyway, those are the ways I go after the fish in grass beds. I hope that helps. I hope you catch a lot of fish doing it that way. For more tips and tricks like this, visit BassResource.com.