Lots of anglers typically see a grass flat or mat and begin foaming at the mouth; it’s kind of like a moth to a flame. Instantly they are thinking about topwater frogs and punching mats. But seriously, who doesn’t dream about reeling in a grassed covered giant? Pretty sure it is what 99% of us lay in bed thinking about as we drift off to asleep every night. But how many anglers lose themselves in that dream and never hit those outer edges?
At the 3rd stop for our Yak Freaks schedule we stopped in Monroe County. We had 3 different lakes we could fish with Monroe, Griffy and Lemon. While Monroe yielded some of the bigger fish a large group of us took off to Griffy in attempt to put quantity over size. It proved to somewhat work landing myself in a 3rd place finish and another in a 2nd for the day.
As we paddled the creek channel out into the lake I watched most anglers take a turn into the heavily matted shallows and start frogging the mats. Looking at the size of the grass bed I chose to start on the edge in the creek channel with a Strike King Red Eye Shad (Sexy Sunfish). The idea behind it was use long cast parallel to the grass line and pick up as many as I could. Using the old burn and pause I managed to pick up 3 fish quick just off the north side where the grass met the channel.
There was plenty of action with guys fishing around that area so I decided to beat feet and work my way to the place where that grass line faded into the deeper water. There was several clumps I could visually see scattered right on the edge of the fall line. Keeping in mind the sun was still rising I knew I had all day to slow things down. I picked up the Red Eye once again and began working around those clumps with the same technique as before. This managed to put bass number 4 and 5 on the board to fill the days limit. It was time to go find something to help boost the board numbers.
Making my next move, I headed for that deeper water in the 12 to 30 foot range that was lined with grass banks and downed tree or two. By this time the sun had come up and the fish should be tighter to the cover along with a little deeper. Using a bream colored creature bait I started pitching up on top of the grass line where it either made a point, had a break or a tree adding structure. As I pulled the bait off the grass bed I would simply click over my spool watch the line and let the bait free fall down the edges. The second I seen the line pop or felt the bite I locked down the spool, reeled up slack and set the hook. If the bait hit the bottom I’d give it a couple quick twitches and start over.
If you have a caught fish in a specific area they probably haven’t moved as much as something has changed in their mood. There’s more that goes into this than just letting the bait fall, it can come down to the oz of your weight. I have had times going in with a 3/16 oz. weight and a simple change to a 1/4 oz. weight has made all the difference. There are going to be days where they will hit it on the fall and some days it just needs to hit the bottom for a couple seconds. Try rigging a fresh lure or dialing the weight up or down to change the fall rate. I’ve seen several guys over the years catch fish and leave the same soft plastic on. You just can’t preach change enough on this topic. Pile up those lures on the boat deck. There are not many trips when a bait is hot that I won’t burn up multiple bags of soft plastics.
The biggest thing to do is staying vigilant; you are going to be using your eyes and your graph together to target these areas. Your eyes are going to show you where some of your high targets are and the graph is going to show you how deep and if there is bait there to be had. You can skip over so much dead water just buy using your eyes to pick out those little inconsistency's that may be holding bass. When the bite calms down keep your wits about you and start making the subtle changes. Most importantly keep yourself in check and stay focused.