Work the Weedline

July 6, 2015 by  

It’s summer.  Lots of people are fishing, and lots of fish are just waiting to get caught.  In the summer months, there are so many ways to catch fish.  They can be deep, they can be shallow, they can be suspended or they can be relating to structure.  One very good way to catch a variety of fish species, day-in and day-out, is by fishing along and over and in weeds that grow in deeper water.  Here’s how you go about that.

Here’s a nice largemouth bass that Duane Peterson took on the weedline recently.

Here’s a nice largemouth bass that Duane Peterson took on the weedline recently.

First we need to be sure we’re talking about the same weeds.  There will be bass in the reeds this time of year, but that’s not what we’re talking about for now.  This time of year, across the Midwest and other regions, the vegetation that is so productive is stuff like cabbage and coontail.  You can see these weeds if you’re right over them, and sometimes they’ll barely break the surface, but for the most part they’re below the surface.  And almost every predator species of fish that lives in lakes that has cabbage or coontail will visit that area of vegetation regularly.

At times, like early and late in the day or on cloudy days, largemouth bass will spread out over the tops of the weeds.

During the day, largemouth will dig into the weeds or hold on the deep edge of the weeds.

Walleyes, northern pike, muskies, and panfish will all gather on the edge of the weeds during the day, and sometimes the panfish will suspend out away from the weeds.  You can often see them dimpling the surface as they feed on bugs that are on the surface.

This is fun fishing.  You never know what’s going to eat your bait, but when you hit it right, and you can hit it right frequently on the weedline, you’ll be getting bit regularly.  You might catch a few bass, then a walleye comes along, then a pike or crappie, then a few more bass.

Crankbaits and plastic baits are the way to go on the weedline this time of year.  There is generally no need for live bait.  If you’re looking specifically for largemouth bass, tie on a #6 Salmo Hornet:  If you’re just looking to get bit go with the #5 size.  If you’re one of those anglers that like to “match the hatch” in crankbait color, go with a bluegill colored crankbait.  I usually prefer something different, maybe blue/chartreuse.

Every now and then you’ll feel your crankbait get hung on the vegetation.  Rip it free, then let it float briefly.  A strike will often occur when you start reeling again.

After working an area with the crankbait, grab a jig rod and throw a jig/plastic presentation.  Some very successful anglers like a small four inch worm, other very successful anglers prefer something bigger and bulkier.  One size does not fit all in this situation.  Experiment and let the fish show you what they want.  During the past couple of weeks, a four inch Impulse Smelt Minnow rigged on a Slurp! Jig has been lights-out on largemouth, smallmouth, and walleyes across the Midwest.  Emerald Shiner has been the hot color.

Summer is a time of plenty in the water-world.  There is lots of food, but there are also lots of fish that want to get caught.  If you’re looking for a smorgasbord of fishing action right now, in and around a submergent weedline is an outstanding place to start — and finish.

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