Largemouths Off the Deep End
By: Matt Johnson
It’s no surprise that bass spend most of their
time in weedy areas, in fact, I would go as far
to say that in most lakes that’s one of the only
spots you’ll find bass. So, what better structure
to begin our search then where the culprit
lies—weeds—and in order to fish the weeds
you need to begin with the infamous weed
Bass are notorious for cruising the weed edge
in search of an easy meal. Actually, bass will dominate the weed edge and even
chase down prey regardless of how hungry they are. Bass can be bullies and
bass will pound a presentation that crosses their path. Weed edge fishing
makes things easy for not only locating bass, but for getting bit more than once.
Locating the right weed edge can be half the battle. You want to focus on areas
where deep water is available. You also want to pay attention to what type of
weeds are present. Areas with more than one mix of weeds can be very
productive. Variance in weed type gives the bass more reasons to stay. It
provides an abundance of prey species as well as oxygen and cover.
Other characteristics of prime weed edges include underwater points and inside
turns, rocky areas amongst the weeds, and pockets or patches of weeds. Weed
patches out from the weed edge can be very productive when honing in on
schooling bass. These patches serve as spots where cruising bass can stop
and relocate. It’s not uncommon to pull several fish off one small piece of
structure when targeting fish on weed patches.
Outside of the weed patches it’s important to also pay attention to pockets in
the weeds. These areas will offer bass a chance to ambush their prey, as well
as a place where they can catch some rays. Bass like the feel of the warm sun
on occasion. This is one of the reasons why we see a lot of bass cruising
shallow flats when the sun is high. Besides the sun and ambush feedings, bass
also see these pockets as weed edges inside the weed edges. Look at is as a
spot-on-the-spot if you will. These open pockets, or sparse areas, are excellent
areas to focus in on.
Rocky or hard-bottom areas along the weed edge are some of the better spots
available to bass anglers. We all know that areas where bottom composition
changes can provide outstanding opportunities for fishing. Rocks are like a
magnet for baitfish, crawfish, insects, prey of all types, and you can bet bass will
follow. The temperature around rocky areas is also more appealing to bass, so
comfort plays a role as well. (Read more about finding hard bottom – CLICK
HERE – Vexilar offers some excellent tips!)
Inside turns and underwater points are probably two of the more productive
spots for weed orientated bass. These areas are very appealing to bass and
are considered long-term stopping points for bass that cruise the weed edge.
Underwater points and inside turns serve as bass oases where they will school
up and feed. These prime spots can be found on most lakes where a distinct
weed edge is present. As one of the most prominent pieces of structure on a
given lake, these spots will kick out a lot of fish. Inside turns trap baitfish and will
definitely provide a home for hungry bass.
Outside of the many spots available to weed edge anglers, you still have to find
a way to catch the bass using them. Jig-worms, jigs, drop-shots, crank-baits,
spinner-baits… these are all examples of ways to target weed edge bass. Case-
in-point here—bass will feed on the weed edge and sometimes it doesn’t matter
the presentation. Finding the fish is oftentimes the name of the game, but if you’
re looking for a few top options for catching these fish then here goes…
Jig-worming these fish can be very effective. Using more natural colors like
watermelons, pumpkins, browns, blues, etc, can give you an upper hand. Yes,
bright colors have their place and time, but amongst weeds it’s important to
focus on the natural surrounding and do your best to mimic it. Ribbon-tail
worms, stick-worms or even grubs can work. My personal favorites are the
Mister Twister Poc’it Phenom worm and the Mister Twister Comida. Have an
assortment of colors and sizes and stick to it.
Tossing a jig along the weed edge is no new secret, but it works wonders and
allows you to really hone in on pockets with a more accurate cast. Creature
baits are good options when jigging, as are your standard variety of jigs or jig’n’
pigs. These baits have won countless tournaments in years past and it’s safe to
say you’ll see these presentations in line-ups for years to come.
One last technique we’ll touch on is the spinner-bait and crankbait. These
techniques are excellent for covering a lot of water and searching for fish. If fish
are schooling out from the weed edge or instinctively crushing prey then a
crankbait can be the ticket. Tossing a spinner-bait into the sparse weed edge
can work wonders at times too. The key here is to have a variety of crankbaits
and spinner-baits along with you when targeting these weed edges bass.
Crankbaits can also be a go-to option for fish holding on deep weed edges and
hard-bottom areas. Make sure to use a crank-bait that runs deep enough to
keep contact with the bottom and hold on!
Weed edge bass can provide constant action. Locating the right spot on the
weed edge is first and foremost. After locating a few prime spots then it’s time to
start finding the schools. After a school is found then it’s only a matter of time
until you find yourself smack-dab in the middle of a bass fishing flurry!