The thicker the vegetation the bigger the bass that can be caught from it, or at least it seems that way. Over the past few years, I have developed a passion for punching thick mats of vegetation. Doesn’t matter what kind just so long as it’s thick enough that a 3/4 ounce weight has trouble getting through it. Hyacinths, Hydrilla, Coontail, even Giant Salvania all have there place.
Seven or eight years ago I started taking punching vegetation pretty serious as I had realized that I was catching slightly bigger bass doing it. I could always catch 2-3 pound class bass working soft plastics, cranks, spinnerbaits or even top water along the edge of it but had been reading about how tournaments were being won on Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn by punching plastics with big weights deep into the thick stuff. When you first read about this and then go look at the acres of matted vegetation available it’s very intimidating not to mention the fact that it’s hard to believe that bass can get up in that stuff and survive.
We’ve learned over the years that these mats are just canopies, and there is a forest of stems underneath that bass and bait fish have no problem navigating. In fact, it’s perfect for them with low light and vegetation creating high oxygen levels. This brings me to why I think the big bass like to live there. Low light makes it easy for them to hide, the tangles of this forest create a natural camouflage for them, and the air is clean and easy to breathe because of all the grass. They [big bass] can just find a comfortable, lazy spot that they can see well from and sit and be fat, dumb and happy until the next feeding opportunity arrives. The less they have to move the happier they are and the fatter they can get.
With weather changes, they may move around a bit. I have found that vegetation bass will move into thicker vegetation, even if it’s shallower, during frontal periods; even warm weather fronts effect bass. Moving into the thickest stuff allows bass to wedge themselves and expend very little effort. Basically they use the vegetation to hold themselves up right and only have to work to breathe. This also provides them with a comfortable position from predators as they are extremely concealed. Once the frontal conditions pass they move back to a positive feeding ground.
These or just some thoughts I have grown to trust over the last few years of tournament fishing that haven’t left me without a five alive at the scales. I whole heartedly believe that if there are large amounts of vegetation, no matter what body of water, it’s going to have bass living in it, and some of your biggest bass in the lake will be there.
I live in NW Louisiana and have caught several fish over eight pounds, with all but one coming while punching heavy vegetation. Is that because it’s my strength or is it because that’s where the big bass live? There are lakes where open water fishing with giant swimbaits produce large bass, but most of these lakes do not have large amounts of vegetation either.
If you have a lot of grass, I’d highly suggest getting a long, strong rod, some 65-80 pound braided line, a couple 1 ounce weights and 5/0-6/0 hooks and doing a little probing yourself.
I wrote an article that is published on Ultimate Bass about punching vegetation that will help you get started. Be sure to check it out Flipping Grass Mats
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