Dog days of summer. Fish are completely out of post spawn and the water temperature has dramatically risen. So, what do we do? We like to fish what we can see. We like to fish target orientated areas. Why? Simple. It’s easier. Casting to the end of a dock on the shady side of a piling or pitching in a little nook and cranny hoping to get a bass to bite, throwing a frog in the pads or even punching through heavy cover. Much like smallmouth we like to get a visual reference of what we’re targeting because we know that these areas are a potential location where a bass will hold. Now much of this is true and you can fish it all day and catch a few here and there. But what other anglers fail to realize is the opportunity to catch unpressured fish and usually bigger fish. Sure, you can go out on a lake and catch them shallow but take the time to realize that chances are countless of anglers do it day in and day out especially on a local lake. I will quickly touch base on the 3 most important factors when fishing offshore grass which is location, lure/equipment (including technique selection) and presentation (includes boat positioning and casting)
During summer, I like to look for offshore grass. The deeper grass generally keeps the water cooler, provide shade for the fish and almost ALWAYS has baitfish whether it would be perch, bluegill, crappie or even a school of baby fry.
Good areas to start are main lake points, ledges, roadbeds, as well as grass flats.
Having a fish finder in the boat is a game changer. Even if it’s a little black and white screen that just tells you depth as well as water temperature. That’s actually what I look for. Depending on the what lake you’re on these fish will hold at a certain depth. If you catch a fish in 10 ft of water you can pattern that bite throughout the lake if everything is lined up correctly. Also bear in mind the type of grass your fishing. It could be hydrilla, coontail, or even milfoil. These fish will also hold on a specific type of grass. The biggest thing when fishing grass is making sure the grass is green. Brown rotting grass tend to suck oxygen out of the water and is a big no go for bass.
So you’ve found an area that has a potential for some fish but what do you throw? I like to keep it simple and throw a one two punch much like frogging. I’ll have a 7’-7’3” MH Fast action rod with anywhere from 17-20 lb InvisX Flourocarbon and a 7.3:1 reel. With this combo I can get long casts if I have to, have enough backbone to rip my bait out the grass and pick up line quickly when I do get a bite. For this setup I’ll run my slower moving baits. Texas rigged plastics, Carolina rigs and swim jigs. A 10” Berkley Power Worm with a pegged ¼ oz- ½ oz. works wonders. This can be swapped with any type of creature bait like a brush hog or other worms like another one of my favorites the Rage Tail anaconda. As far as colors go, I like to keep it simple. Green pumpkin, watermelon red flake, black and blue, pumpkinseed etc. Same goes for the swim jig as well as Carolina rig. Same weights and same colors. For the 2nd combo I will run 7’-7’6” M-MH moderate to fast action rod with anywhere from 14-17lb InvisX Flourocarbon. This setup is for faster moving baits. Crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, and spinnerbaits. Having that heavier line allows me to control the depth of my lure making sure it makes contact with the grass but not dredging through it and also have enough power to rip the bait out and get a reaction strike.
Depending on what I’m fishing I always fish the edge first. Especially on grass flats. If it’s a small clump or small enough flat I work all the way around throwing moving baits. If that doesn’t work ill resort to flipping. From there I zig zag my way in. Pay attention to minute differences especially when everything looks the same. It can be anything. Change of grass, the depth dropping a foot, a thicker clump or even a grass point. Those are what I really hone in on and usually slow down.
Those are just some quick points on fishing grass offshore. There’s definitely more to this than what was presented but it really takes experience on the water and a keen eye to figure out this type of fishing. I hope this helps and as always be versatile and keep fishing!
-Adrian Gimenez, BGS Prostaff