If you're looking to catch bass in the grass this late spring and early summer, see the attached video tips bass professional Chad Morgenthaler shared with Game & Fish during an outdoors writers camp in May at Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Don't fear the grass.
That's some great advice from BASS Elite Series pro Chad Morgenthaler, who shared some of his knowledge recently on Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Texas-Louisiana border.
It was early May, and Morgenthaler was targeting largemouth bass in the expansive shoreline grass on the south end of the lake with jigs, frogs and creature baits. In about an hour of "show me how to do it" fishing, those techniques quickly put five fish in the boat during post-spawn conditions that had many anglers targeting deep bass on ledges and creek channels.
"Bass love grass, period," Morgenthaler said.
Toledo Bend bass must be happy, especially on the sound end, where hay grass, milfoil and hydrilla mix together to create some exciting target fishing for those with the right plan and gear. In early May, with bluegills on beds and even some shad still spawning, bass were actively feeding and willingly hit the baits presented.
The matted vegetation might be a little intimidating, but it doesn't need to be, he said.
"With grass, it can be confusing," he said after a brief afternoon session. "The biggest trick is just pay attention to what type of grass, or mixture of grasses, whenever you get a bite. That's the biggest thing, and where they are in that grass bed."
Here are three tactics Morgenthaler used:
Target the edges, holes and where there are changes in the vegetation. With a frog lure, like a Pad Crusher by Booyah, you can cover a lot of water and reach those holes and other openings to get to the bass.
Toledo Bend bass struck the frog hard during the outing, to the point there was hardly a need to pause before setting the hook.
Morgenthaler used 50-pound braided line — a must for most grass applications — as well as a 7-3 medium-heavy rod and a fast-retrieve reel, such as a Lew's Custom Pro with a 7.5:1 ratio.
The no-stretch line helps the angler feel the bite and get the bass out of the weeds, the fast reel gets the fish to the boat quicker.
When the conditions are sunny and the bass are on the edges of, or under, the matted vegetation, Morgenthaler will use a 3/4-ounce jig — he used a Lunker Lure jig — paired with a 7-11 extra-heavy rod and the 50-pound braided line..
Go-to colors are black/blue, green pumpkin or bluegill, depending on conditions.
When the sun gets high in the sky and the conditions are calm, the bass get deeper in the grass and you gotta get to them to catch them.
Morgenthaler went heavy, including an ounce-and-a-half pegged tungsten weight — his weight choice is made by Reins. He rigged a Missile Baits D Bomb bait with a straight-shank flipping hook and used the technique to punch the lure through the grass with a 7-11 flipping rod and the braided line.
"What I like to do is target the little points, turns and the thick matted material," he said. "They'll get right up underneath it.
"You gotta have a big weight to go in there and get after them."
You have to pay attention to what the bass are biting, but all three lure choices can bring you success in the grass.
"There's nothing more exciting than getting a frog explosion or catching one of those big girls from underneath one of those mats."