There are many types of cover that fish will use during the year including wood and rock type cover and manmade cover like fish attractors. But during the summer months, fish like bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish will use weedy type areas to hold and feed around.
There are many reasons that fish will live in and around the weeds in the summertime. The weeds are always growing and, as they do, they give off oxygen into the water this makes a healthy, rich place for fish and bait fish to hold. The weeds also provide shade and cover for bait fish and crawdads to hide from game fish. The game fish will also use the weed cover to hide and wait for a meal to come by.
Most of the weed beds you see in shallow water will cover a large area and be matted in thick growth, but there are high percentage areas and target areas in these grass mats that you need to fish slowly and carefully to increase your chances of success. These areas include any small opening or pocket in the weed bed. This is where you want to cast your bait and leave it in the opening as long as you can and work your bait.
Good baits to use in these types of areas include a plastic worm, a jig or a top water or jerk bait. After you cast a worm or jig to a open area, let the bait fall all the way to the bottom and watch your line for any jerk or movement. If you see this, set the hook hard and try to pull the fish out from the weeds. A long pole with a good backbone will help to lift a big bass out of the weeds.
Another top area to fish around the weed bed is the outside edge of the weed bed itself. Fish will move along the edge of a weed bed like a highway. They will also bury up along the edge and wait for small bait fish to swim by. This makes a small shallow running crank bait in a shad or crawdad pattern a good bait choice.
Make your cast parallel to the edge of the weeds and retrieve the bait as close to the weeds as you can. Work the bait in a slow and then fast type retrieve and give the bait a twitch and jerk as you reel it in. Other good baits include a willow leaf spinner bait, buzz bait and a top water or jerk bait.
Also, one area to look for in a weed bed is a single clump of weeds or grass in a area by itself. This is what some bass anglers call isolated cover. This is the type of cover that will hold the biggest bass or other fish in the area so be sure to always fish these types of areas.
The next time you are looking for a place to summer fish, give a weed bed a try.
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