Aquatic vegetation comes in many forms and is referred to by many names. Any vegetation can be referred to as grass or weeds, but each type has its own unique qualities and should be fished differently. Take into consideration that vegetation can change dramatically throughout the seasons and all of a sudden fishing in the weeds doesn’t seem so simple.
Despite the incongruences, one fact remains the same and that is bass are attracted to it. If the bass are there that means the fisherman needs to be as well. So how does one successfully fish the grass?
A good first step is identifying the different types of grass which exist in the body of water. Vegetation types vary from region to region but some of the more common are hydrilla, milfoil, coontail, eel grass, lily pads, and tules or bulrushes. Knowing which are going to be present will help the angler tailor their approach and be more effective.
During the winter much of this vegetation will die off. As the water warms in the spring it will begin to emerge from the lake bottom. As soon as the weeds begin to grow, bass will start relating to them because they provide a source of cover and oxygen.
While the vegetation is still sparse, it is an excellent time to cover great expanses of water with a crankbait. Fishing the edges of these emerging weed beds or ticking the tops of the weeds with a lipless crankbait is a great way to trigger a reaction bite early in the year.
As summer approaches, the weeds will begin to thicken and in some cases form gigantic mats. Hydrilla, for example, will grow until it reaches the water’s surface. At this point it begins to lay in a large collection on the surface creating a void beneath that fish will use as cover. Often these mats will need to be flipped and pitched with a heavy weight in order to reach the fish underneath.
As autumn approaches many of these mats and collections of weeds will begin to die off and thin out. Fishing a spinnerbait or fluke through the openings in the mats of weeds is a good way to catch bass looking to ambush prey.
Learning which type of vegetation is present and how they grow and behave throughout the year will help anglers increase efficiency and put more and bigger fish in the boat.