Heavy surface and subsurface weeds can often be a nightmare for anglers, but they can also be a bass-fishing gold mine, if fished properly. While there are several lures and methods used, my favorite is to “blitz the bass.”
The reason I call it “blitzing” is because of the lures that I use. There are five lures used, with the two primary ones being made by Blitz Lures. These two are the 1/2-ounce Phrog and 1/8-ounce Finesse Spyder Jig with a Mann’s Twin Tail Mannipulator grub. The other lures are a Havoc three-inch Pit Boss, Texas rigged with a 3/0 XGap Xpoint hook; 2- and 3-inch Power Minnows rigged on a Precision jig head; and a Road Runner head rigged with one of the Power Minnows, or Road Runner’s Reality Shad or Bang Shad in singles and Buffet Rigs.
Areas that have been the best are those with weeds that touch the surface, and have outside and middle spots where the weeds are slightly under the surface. The subsurface weeds that are best are three to about 12 inches below the surface. Often, I’ve found that the fish will chase the lures out of the surface weeds, staying in the subsurface weeds before striking. Another good spot for the strike is where the Phrog makes its way into an area where surface weeds are transitioning to subsurface.
The two primary lures, previously mentioned, are used to locate the active fish, but may stay the main fish producers all day. The others are used to pick up straggling fish that are coming out of the outer edges of any of the weed beds.
It is very important to have a frog type lure that has enough weight to cast long and into the wind, will land upright on the cast, stay floating over open water areas, and have some leg action. I have searched for years to find such a plastic frog, and this summer found one made by Blitz that did it all. True, if there is a missed strike, often the lure will fill with water and sink, but after squeezing the water out, it is ready to go. It also has a rattle, which is a great feature.
The blitzing technique is very simple. Start with the Phrog and twitch or swim it over the weed beds, and out a few feet from the edge. Watch for strikes, shad busts that may occur after the lure passes and has stirred up some minnows, or boils that are close without an actual strike. If any of these happen, keep fishing the area a few more times with this lure before switching to the jig.
Once the jig is used, the technique changes a bit. The jig is swum over the top of the subsurface weeds after casting to the edge of the surface weeds. It is then allowed to drop as it comes to the edge of the subsurface weed bed. Strikes will come at any location, but normally, if it comes on the edge of the subsurface weeds it will be shortly after the drop starts. All of this is why a lighter weight finesse jig is important to use. Heavier jigs will drop down into the weeds before a retrieve can start, or drop too quickly at the edge.
Here is a tip if you use the Mannipulator Grub. Cut off the first four rings before rigging it to the jig. This will be a perfect length to give the legs great movement, while flexing the rubber skirt. It has seemed as if the trailer is too long, that there is too much flex in the middle, which changes the action and reduces strikes.
After the area is fully saturated with casts from the top-water frog and jig, start working the outside areas with the other lures mentioned. First, go with the Texas rigged Havoc Pit Boss. This lure is allowed to drop deeper. I like using a 3/16- or 1/4-ounce bullet worm sinker with this rig. It will sink a little quicker, but still not go too fast or too deep into any weeds that may still be on the bottom. Plus, it will pull out of the weeds fairly easily. Again, the strike may come quickly as the lure falls from the edge, but many times, it will be after it is started away from the bed, or if it is being paralleled.
Paralleling the outer weed edges is the ideal way of using the Power Minnows and Road Runners. Both of these lures, except for the Buffet Rigs, can be used with the swimming/finger jigging technique. A fall-and-lift, swimming action many times will work great, as well as picking up the occasional crappie. In fact, it can turn into a multi-species fishing trip quite quickly.
As mentioned, with the jig, I use the Twin Tail Mannipulator, but the single tail version can be an excellent choice to use on the Road Runner head. This is especially true if using the fall-and-lift retrieve, since the tail on this grub has great action on the fall. Combined with the fluttering blade, it can be a fantastic fish producer.
People always ask about colors. My selections are always simple. For the Phrog, it would be dark green/pearl belly, although the Sexy West and black/red will also work; Finesse Jig—black/blue or black/chartreuse with black Mannipulator; Power Minnows—smelt or emerald shiner; and for the Road Runner—white or shad.
It should be noted that I am using the newer, rubber-skirted Finesse Spyder jigs. Most of the ones found will have the soft plastic skirts with a trailer. These, too, will work well, and for those I would select the June Bug or black/chartreuse colors.
The next time you run across heavy weeds, don’t let it discourage you. Just hang tough, and “blitz” the bass.
If you have any questions about this subject, or another fishing question, stop by the Dan’s Fish ‘N’ Tales® website and drop me a line. There is also a link for the MidWest Outdoors site. Also, stop by the Dan’s Fish ‘N’ Tales® Facebook page, and click on the “like” button.