Read The Grass, Catch More Bass
Identify patterns and subtleties in vegetation to boat more fish
Grass equals bass. It’s a timeless angling axiom, but in some cases, the meaning is much more immediate. Consider a couple recent examples from geographically diverse events with similar grass-related truths.
COMFORT OVER CONVENTION
During a recent top 10 performance on Texas powerhouse, Lake Sam Rayburn, Alton Jones Jr. initially assumed the post-spawn bass would be staging close to their summer offshore spots. However, he found his fish back in spawning pockets; not actually in the bedding areas, but a lot closer to that zone than to the deeper stuff.
Reason: Better grass.
“The grass has come back really strong at Sam Rayburn, but it’s mostly growing in the ditches, which lead into the backs of these pockets,” says Jones. “The deepest grass that these fish have access to is in these spawning pockets and they just hadn’t decided that they wanted to leave that grass.
“If grass had been growing out to 10 feet of water on these main lake points, it would have been a completely different event. But for right now, it’s not that prolific.”
As Jones explains, the fish positioned based on comfort level more so than normal seasonal patterns.
In a recent California Delta tournament, several anglers fared well by cranking riprap, but the key was a prominent grass line adjacent to the rocks. The proximity to vegetation offered three distinct benefits:
- A staging area for fish moving up to spawn and dropping back after the nesting routine.
- A constant supply of forage, with baitfish, bluegill and crawfish utilizing the cover.
- Ample targets for the co-angler to fish from the back deck. Fishing reaction baits down a prominent horizontal bank can be unintentionally exclusive for the guy on the back deck who has a hard time placing an effective cast off the front of the boat and has only a small window of castable water as he passes the rocks.
Suffice it to say, fish-friendly cover on the opposite side of the boat from the riprap is a co-angler’s dream.
Bottom line here is that it’s rarely a bad idea to fish around grass, but when fish are finicky, pay particular attention to how grass sets up the travel lanes and provides fish cozy habitat they seek.
When it doubt, this is always a wise fall-back.