Right around September the temperature usually starts to cool down, cold rains and cold fronts can cool the water in a hurry. Once this starts to happen, one of the first things you might notice is that shallow water vegetation starts to die off which will push fish to deeper water and structure to get into a more comfortable and healthier environment. Fortunately for us anglers, as they make the push to deeper grass, they tend to group up which can make for an amazing day on the water once you find them.
Focus On Grass
If the lake you are fishing has a lot of submergent vegetation, start to look for deeper weed lines that still have healthy green vegetation growing, typically anywhere from 7-14ft depending on the water clarity. Healthy grass is very important this time of year because it is one of the only sources of cover that is still alive at this time of year that produces oxygen for the fish. Focus on the deepest, greenest grass you can find, and to find the ‘spot-on-a-spot’ don’t forget to key in on the irregularities like hard bottom, thick clumps, and points or turns in the weed line.
When dissecting these weed lines, one of the best baits to throw is a lipless crankbait. When you are fishing a lipless crankbait in the grass, make a long cast over the top of the grass and keep the bait just above the top of the grass so you are ticking the tips of the weeds. One of the best tips on throwing a lipless crankbait in the grass is letting the bait get slightly hung up in the grass and rip it out. If there is a bass following the bait deciding whether to bite or not and you rip it out of the grass, it causes a reaction bite and can put a lot more fish in the boat that would have otherwise kept swimming by. Try a Storm® Arashi® Vibe, throw it on 14-17lb Sufix® Advance® Fluorocarbon, a 7’ – 7’6” MH rod with a soft tip and a slow gear ratio reel and you can cover a lot of water in a hurry.
Once you have located a school of fish with a bait like a lipless crankbait, slow down and pick apart the cover where you got bit. One of the best lures to throw when picking apart deep grass is a VMC® Tokyo® Rig.
The Tokyo Rig has quickly become the go to bait for a lot of anglers simply because of its versatility and how efficient it is going in and out of the cover, especially grass. The best setup for this situation is throwing the Tokyo Rig on a 7’3” – 7’6” MH or H rod, high speed gear ratio reel, and use a 30-40lb braid like Sufix 832 connected to an 8-10ft 17-20lb Sufix® Advance® Fluorocarbon for a leader using a FG knot. In the past, a lot of people have fished this on either only braid or only fluorocarbon, but fishing with a leader gives you the best of both worlds. The braid will be able to cut through the vegetation making it easier to quickly get the fish out of the cover, and the fluorocarbon is invisible underwater which can really pay dividends when fishing on clear or pressured lakes.
Next time you are on the lake and notice that the fish have stopped biting shallow, give deep grass a try and once you locate a school or find that special ‘spot-on-a-spot’, you can catch dozens of fish on a weed clump the size of the front deck of your boat.