Attacking the thick stuff

Sometimes the grass is so thick you feel lost. It looks like a hayfield that should have been cut last month. You can find places like that anytime but it’s more of a possibility this year with the late winter we’ve had in some places. Come spring it’ll explode, especially if spring comes early.

Advice like “fish the holes” is useless because there aren’t any holes, and if the guy saying that knew what he was talking about he’d know there weren’t any holes and wouldn’t have said that in the first place.

Regardless, you still have to figure out a way to catch them. Here’s how I do it…

I start by looking carefully at the grass. What kind is it? Even in the thickest stuff there’ll be different kinds of grass from one place to another. Sometimes they grow together. If I can find a place where three kinds are growing together, I always fish it very carefully. Over the years that’s probably been my best target.

Another thing I always look for is a mat of some kind. It might be weeds growing to the top and then falling over but it might also be just a mess of grass that’s floated to the top after it was chopped up by boats. Good mats aren’t always stationary, either. Loose junk floating around with the wind will hold ‘em just as good as stationary mats.

And don’t overlook anything different that’s lying in the water. Rocks and wood will often hold bass in the middle of a massive weed field that doesn’t have any other irregularity. A lot of the time manmade objects are just as good. Barrels, old refrigerators, chairs and parts of docks that haven’t been properly maintained will hold them, too.

I mostly flip and pitch grass with a jig and plastic trailer or with a Texas rigged Gene Larew Biffle Bug. I try to use a weight that’s heavy enough to get down into the grass or to punch through a mat. It’s important to get down to where the fish are holding. In grass like we’re talking about that’s usually right in the thick of it.

One place where I disagree with a lot of the other anglers is in the line I use for flipping and pitching in heavy grass. Braid is popular because it’ll cut through the grass and hold up under heavy fishing. The problem I have with it is that it makes a sawing nose when it comes through the grass.

It seems to me that I get more bites using fluorocarbon. Don’t kid yourself about how tough this new stuff is under abusive conditions. I spool up with 25- or 30-pound-test Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon and have never had a problem with it.

Fishing heavy grass isn’t impossible. In fact, it’s often a great choice because most of the guys can’t find a bass in a thick mess like we’re talking about. If you think things through and pay attention to what you’re doing you’ll probably have most of the big ones to yourself.

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