It’s Monday, a day and a half before the start of BASSfest at Chickamauga, and things are pretty much normal with me and with the family. All of my new tackle and equipment arrived while we were at the beach. I want to say thanks to all of my sponsors for getting everything to me on time. I’m good to go from here on out.
Chickamauga is fishing small. I know it covers 35,000 acres, more or less. But the fish are schooled up in certain places, and the guys are finding them. That puts most of our boats fairly close together.
There’s really no way to avoid the crowd… at least none that I have found. I suppose that’s the positive and the negative side of the superior equipment we have these days.
I think all of those factors will make for an interesting tournament. I want to be careful about what I say here but I have to tell you that I don’t see any records falling this week. I mean, this is a great fishery. The fish are big and healthy, but I’m not seeing records
Our dolphin (mahi-mahi) trip last week went really well. We fed a lot of people supper that night and again at lunch the next day with what we caught. I want to say thanks to Scott Smith and his friends, Keith and Kelly, for taking us out. They’re on the Mercury Pro Staff. They showed us a good time and put us on fish. We really appreciate that.
I said last week we’d talk a little about fishing grass and grassbeds. Let’s start with the basics.
All grass is not created equal. Growing, healthy grass holds fish. Dead, lifeless grass holds fish. Dying grass does not hold fish. Think about that when you see a mat. It looks dead on top but underneath it’s green and healthy. That creates oxygen rich water, and the shade from the mat makes it cooler than the surrounding water.
That combination holds baitfish. They, in turn, attract the bass. Punch through the mats with heavy sinkers and Luck “E” Strike plastics, or fish a Snag Proof frog (brown or black) on top of them when the sun is out, and you’ll almost certainly catch a few.
If the sun isn’t out, try throwing something around the outside edges of the mat. The lack of direct sunlight will scatter the bass.
Scattered grass — the green, healthy stuff — along flats near depth changes often hold summer bass, too. When the sun is out, they’ll pull back into the thicker stuff. Try flipping or pitching plastics to catch them. When the sun isn’t so bright they often wander around, along the outside edges of the weeds. Spinnerbaits or topwater baits often produce better under those conditions.
What I just talked about only covers the basics. It’s just enough to get you started. Next Tuesday we’ll talk about some common, and very specific, scenarios you’ll most likely encounter this summer.