David A. Brown|Mustad
From the California Delta, to the Potomac River and spread throughout many of the nation’s top bass fisheries, “grass” offers undeniable bass attraction.
Temperature Moderation — Across the board, grass provides a cozy environment for fish during chilly times, while offering cooler shady habitat on hot days.
Feeding — Because baitfish, bream and other forage also utilize the grass for their own purposes, bass find abundant meals. Certain areas will be more attractive to the forage, so watch your electronics in depths sufficient for graphing.
Safety — It’s basic instinct to hide from predators and even jumbo bass still feel the need for concealment; a comfort they easily find within the grass.
These benefits are never unwelcome, but they become particularly important during the spawning season:
Prespawn — As bass transition from their winter patterns, moving shoreward typically means trading stable water for more weather-impacted shallower zones. This is when the thick vegetation becomes especially important, as staging fish tuck into the grass carpeting the creeks and drains leading into spawning pockets.
Spawn — Bass need some type of hard bottom for their eggs to adhere and remain viable. One of the scenarios in which they find this is a sandy hole within shallow grass. It could be a break in hydrilla or a gap in the stalky “bank grass”; in any case, gaps in grass are prime bedding spots.
Postspawn — Generally, if you consider the postspawn the mirror image of prespawn staging, you’ll be in the ballpark. Logically, the same spots that big fish used as their waiting room will work just fine as recovery lounges once they leave the beds.
A key element of the bass postspawn is the subsequent shad spawn, when thousands of distracted baitfish become easy pickings. Shad spawns often occur near shallow grass, thereby extending the vegetation’s relevance.
Crankbaits — During the prespawn, covering water to find groups of staging fish is the name of the game and power fishing with crankbaits gets the job done. A popular technique alternates between lipless and shallow diving baits to give fish different looks of baitfish-profiled lures. Notably, while a sinking lipless bait gets plenty of attention on the run, a floating crankbait plays a strategically complementary role by allowing the angler to pause the retrieve so the bait can rise and hold over a gap in the grass.
Burying a bait in vegetation proves counterproductive, but barely ticking the tops of the grass, along with the occasional snag-and-rip move will trigger bites. (Rigging tip: Replace stock hooks with Mustad KVD Triple Grips.)
Swim Jigs — Bladed or not, this bait does a great job of navigating shallow grass, thanks to a narrow head designed to push through cover.
Swimbaits — Soft plastic swimmers in the 4- to 5-inch size rigged on a Mustad Mustad 2X Strong Swimbait/Darter Head do well in sparse grass, but if you’re working your bait through thicker vegetation, you’ll find a Mustad Grip Pin Swimbait hook more efficient.
Dropshots — When grass bass turn finicky — maybe it’s the high pressure and colder temperatures of post-frontal conditions, or maybe the area’s getting a lot of fishing pressure — send in the classic finesse rig with your favorite worm Texas rigged on a Mustad TitanX Wacky/Neko hook.