Grass bed subtleties

Elite pro Matt Herren has logged many hours and thousands of casts into, over and around shallow, emergent grass beds. From the cheap seats, it might all appear rather vanilla, but his philosophy defines why

“When you have miles and miles of grass, it’s overwhelming,” Elite pro Matt Herren admits. “While there might be fish in there, you really won’t be able to break it down and thoroughly fish it unless you find something defined.”

One of Herren’s favorite grass scenarios is a fragmented perimeter. Unlike long contiguous edges, lots of detached segments take on an identity of their own — something akin to another common bass habitat.

“In the fall, those fish get out into what I call ‘clumps,’” Herren said. “It kind of looks like stumps and those fish like to travel through there and really key on baitfish as they move through there.

“I like looking for the active fish first. That’s why I start with the edges; a lot of times, it’s a lot faster to catch them that way. That’s why I like to fish it with a buzzbait with a (buzz toad trailer).”

The oddities

Now, along those edges, you’ll often find other cues that can point you in the right direction. For pro Mike McClelland, analyzing a sprawling field of emergent grass starts with visually locating the most prominent points, pockets and irregularities. These spots, he says, are the natural feeding locations for bass eager to pick of passing prey — or a well-placed Spro McStick jerkbait.

Think about it: If you’re trying to scare your wife like I did once — once — you don’t stand against a long, flat wall, you tuck around the corner. When she redirects her course, it’s "Boo!" time. Or, in my case, “sore nose” time. But let’s just move on.

So, after McClelland hits all these high percentage spots within the section he’s attacking, he’ll then move inward, where his objective is the balance between cover and access for his Big Bite Baits Tour Flipper Tube.

“I don’t want to be fishing the most massive, matted-up stuff there is; I want to find the more isolated areas, the scattered clumps, the isolated clumps,” he said. “You always have those contours, ditches and bottom inconsistencies that change the growth pattern of the grass.

“I’m always paying attention to my contours and trying to follow the edges of the breaks and ditch lines and creek channels.”