Bass Fishing in Grass: Tips For Punching Through Grass

Anglers across the country have a love hate relationship with grass.  Fishing grass can lead to some of the biggest bass of the year, or a day of frustration.  It all depends on your approach and how you deal with the inevitable frustration of a snag.

Bass love hiding in thick cover, but just because there’s grass doesn’t mean you’re gonna get lucky.  How you fish the grass is equally important.  You need to know where to fish a big field of grass and how you should approach.

How Do You Fish Grass For Bass?

When you approach thick grass you immediately know what you’re up against.  You know that the biggest fish in the lake tend to live in the grass.  They’re lying in wait for those easy meals where they can strike.

Those fat bass, that look more like hogs, don’t get that way because they’re not aggressive.  If you give them the right presentation you’re almost guaranteed to land some photo worthy  bass.

Why Should You Fish Grass?

Obviously the main reason you want to fish grass is the big bass.  Grass tends to hold not only the biggest fish in the lake, but also the biggest number of fish. Including a ton of baitfish which makes bass even more aggressive.  Everything about grass is positive when it relates to bass fishing.

What are The Best Grass Fishing Lures For Bass?

You can pretty much fish around grass with anything that you actually like to fish.  It really just depends on the type of year you’re out fishing.  That being said I seem to always go back to the Strike King Red Eye Shad.  It puts out a lot of rattle that drives bass crazy.  They just don’t want it hanging around, so they strike defensively.  You can also cover a ton of water fast with Strike Kings Hack Attack Spinnerbait.

After the spawn I’ll typically change up my approach and go after them using a squarebill.  Strike King’s KVD 1.5 Square Bill is my typical go to.  You can work a lot of cover fast without having to worry about getting snagged on grass.  Smaller bass tend to strike in the earlier casts while larger fish wait until you work the same spot a little bit longer.

Later in the season I’ve had a lot of luck fishing a Strike King Sexy Dawg Topwater.  It’s one of the easiest topwater lures to master “walking the dog”. It’s the perfect lure when the grass starts to die during the spring.  Shad come in to feed and it’s basically a buffet for feeding bass.

Where Should You Fish Grass?

In a huge lake with lots of grass where should you actually start fishing?  Everywhere on the lake is overrun with grass so you’re going to have to make some decisions.

In lakes with a lot of grass focus on the structure within the grass.  Structure is really going to become the true sweet spot.  Keep an eye out for underwater structure, downed trees, rocks and man made cover.  What’s on the bottom becomes so much more important.  Anywhere that adds that little extra cover is going to attract the biggest bass.

In smaller lakes without much grass you can find bass almost anywhere.  There’s not a lot of prime real estate so you can fish almost anywhere.  The fishing is going to be good regardless of where you cast.

When to Fish Grass?

Grass is going to be productive all year round.  It doesn’t matter which season you’re fishing there’s going to be big bass.

They spawn in the grass during the spring.  Take cover during the summer under the matted grass.  Even in the fall they hold close to grass chasing the shad.  It really is a year round place to fish for those big fish.  If there’s grass on a lake it’s going to be a productive day.

Fishing Grass Throughout The 4 Seasons

It really doesn’t matter what time of year it is you can find bass holding near grass lines.  Even in larger lakes grass tends to keep them from following their normal migration patterns.  With so much cover to keep them cool and provide easy ambush opportunities it’s hard to leave.

Spring:  During the early spring going into the spawn you’ll find bass holding near the inside edges of grass lines.  They’re setting up for the spring spawn anywhere they can find a little shallow cover.  Grass provides the perfect cover for young bass to get a little refuge.  Work through the grass using a Red Eye Shad or maybe even a Booyah Padcrasher.  Bass are protecting their young so you can pretty much get away with anything.

Summer:  As the summer starts to set in bass will typically start to dig a little deeper into the grassy cover.  They’re in search of those cooler darker areas that they can easily ambush prey.  Keep an eye out for matted up grass that provides additional cover.  Every year I have a lot of luck fishing Berkley’s Havoc Grass Pigs through matted vegetation.    I like to slow down my retrieve so it drops down and for those bottom dwelling monsters.

Fall:  During the fall the grass should start to die and bass tend to move toward the outside edges waiting for approaching shad.  All that dead grass draws in a ton of shad trying to fatten up before the winter.  During the fall you need to mimic shad.  There are a ton of different lures that will work, but I’ve fallen in love with my Sexy Dawg Topwater Lure.

Winter:  You can even find bass hiding among the dead grass during the colder months.  After the grass has died and shortened up a bit you’re still going to find a decent population of bass.

Identifying Different Types of Grass

Fisherman seem to get hung up on identifying grass before they actually try fishing it. You don’t need to learn the scientific name, you just need to recognize one basic characteristic.

Does the grass form a mat on top of the water or do thick stalks extend deep into the water? Basically do you want to work underneath the grass canopy or on the edge of the grassline.

Think about Hydrilla, Lilypads and Milfoil. They all grow up and over the water with little root structure underneath. On the other hand grass like Cattails tends to have thick root structures. These are difficult to penetrate with a lure so you’ll have to fish along the edge.

In colder months it gets a little bit easier. Vegetation is typically shorter allowing you to fish bait directly over them. It’s only after summer rolls around that you’ll need to differentiate between different grass types.

Other Grass Fishing Tips

  • Use Braided Line: You can probably get away with using Monofilament or fluorocarbon in the spring or fall, but during the summer stick to braided line. Braided line doesn’t stretch and will rip right through vegetation when fighting a hooked fish. Save your 20lb test for open water and instead opt for heavier 60+ lb line.
  • Hit Hard Fast: The first couple seconds after you get a strike are often the most important. Immediately following the hook set bass tend to dig deep into the grass bed. Get on him immediately and never feed him any line. Most of the time he’ll work his way out of the mat and into open water on his own.
  • Simplify Your Presentation: Extra junk at the end of your line is just going to get caught in the grass. I’ve caught more bass in the weeds on a Texas Rigged Plastic Worm than any other lure. Other great options are the Rapala Rippin Rap or Booyah’s Weedless Boo Jig.

Look For Green Grass

Another way to identify good patches of grass is to look for signs of thriving vegetation. Bass prefer vegetation that is greener which better oxygenates the water.

It’s just simple biology. Lively plants are going to produce more oxygen than brown dying vegetation. You might still find grass in muddy dead water, but they definitely prefer greener grass.  

Don’t Get Hung Up in One Spot

It’s easy to get hung up in one spot when fishing lakes with loads of vegetation. Spotting healthy grass and finding the perfect bait doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a bite.

It’s important to work the grass quickly feeling around for bass. Troll around and use a fast moving bait like a jig or spinnerbait to find bass.

Once you finally feel a bite camp out in that area looking for other fish. Bass tend to hang out in schools, so don’t settle for just one bite.

Continue to cast around in that area going after the other bass. This is when I like to start casting out my Booyah Padcrasher Hollow Body Frog. If that doesn’t work I’ll just go back to my spinnerbait and keep looking.

Save Your Waypoints

When fishing lilypads or hydrilla you’re never going to pull out all the fish in one session. After the bite starts to slow down don’t be afraid to leave the area and come back later.

I still have a little notebook from when I was a teenager reminding me of all my favorite fishing spots. Nowadays they’re all stored in my fish finder, but I laugh every time I look at that notebook. What was working back in the 90’s is still working in those spots today.

Know When To Stay In Place

When you finally find a school of bass make sure you stay on top of them. There’s probably a reason they’re all holding in that area.

They could be feeding on a school of baitfish or maybe it’s the last stop on the way to their winter bedding areas. Figuring out why they are here is going to help you choose a lure.

Are they defending their territory during the spawn or actively feeding? You’re going to want to use a different approach. Either way choosing a lure that mimics baitfish is normally the best way to go.

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