A lot of fishermen ( and fisherladies ) let a lake filled to the brim with Grass, Moss, weeds etc. intimidate them and rightly, it CAN be frightening when you look across a lake and it all looks the same.
In my own experience it was as though I was on a foreign planet the first time I fished a natural lake filled with grass and weeds. My formative years were spent On Toledo Bend In the early sixties thru the seventies. My wife says I wasted my youth on The Bend, thankfully with a smile! I spent years guiding and tournament fishing there when there were no or few weeds just lots of trees and brush. I learned to fish deep structure , points, creek bends, etc. Well guess what! That is about the same way to approach a lake full of grass.
What’s that you say? Have you lost your mind? Well that’s up for debate. HAHA. I fished for a while on a local lake filled with grass and just chunked baits helter skelter everywhere. why not, it all looked the same. Or did it?
One day I came into the boat dock with 2 or 3 tight eyes disgusted, when the Marina operator asked what my problem was, I told him I was about to give up on this lake I just couldn’t figure it out, TOO much grass. He said I thought you fished tournaments and even guided for a while, I said well yes I did but not on a lake like this. He told me that did not matter just fish almost as though there wasn’t any grass. Well I thought about what he said and all of a sudden it made sense. Fish the points the drops and the creeks.
The grass coming off a small point in a weedy lake stops somewhere right! well that is a drop on a point, right where the grass stops is often a great spot to find Bass feeding even though it is only five or so feet deep, that is structure. On most natural lakes you will have old sloughs that meander through the weeds and cypress trees, sometimes they are only 2 or 3 feet deeper but, that is structure. Bass will use these old sloughs to move back and forth between feeding and resting areas just as they will follow a creek or channel in a deeper lake. Also where you see trees the water is usually a little shallower, Humm might that be considered a hump? you bet it can, sometimes the best morning spot is on an old cypress lined hump. Often Bass will move up on these little rises to feed early and late. One of my best spots now is a little cypress thicket in about 3 feet of water that has a slough running along side that is only 5- 6 foot deep. Remember on a shallow lake 2 or 3 feet difference is a lot. When you fish a deep lake you look for weed lines that drop into deep ,Same for a shallow lake only the drop is 2-3 feet instead of 10-15 feet.
Edges: Edges are prevalent on shallow lakes. The edge of the boat row, the edge of the tree line coming off the bank, the edge of the cuts people have dug out to get to their piers. Lots of times there are little edges in the grass beds themselves, where lily pads or reeds grow in with grass is an edge, these can really be hot spots! On my lake there are a few places where the grass doesn’t grow for a few feet coming off of the bank, Bingo! these places are always likely places to find bass.
You can fish the same baits too. A spinnerbait fished high over a grass bed can be awesome, You can buzz it along just over the top of slightly submerged weeds and catch lots of fish if you remember to fish edges. Look for the little holes in the weed beds and throw a weightless Texas rigged worm into them, there will be indentions in the weeds, bass love to use these as ambush points and they can be a good spot to fish a shallow bait such as a Rogue or other minnow imitation. Frogs can be fished on top of emerged weeds all day long, and the explosions you get can be heart stopping, often these will draw strikes from the real giants. A friend of Mine caught a 10 lb. 3oz. Bass last summer in the back of a choked out pocket in 3 feet of water on a 100 degree day! I catch lots of really big Bass every summer on Frogs pulling them along the edges of the boat rows and you can too!
Don’t let all that grass scare you , just fish the structure that is available; it isn’t that much different from your deeper lakes when you thank about. Bass fishing off of greass beds can be as productive as it would be without the grass beds there. Fish it as if the greass beds were the structure.
And Always save some for seed your fishing buddy,
Ernie "Papa" Cella
Ernie "Papa" Cella