fish are in a “post spawn funk”, How many times have you heard that? With the spawn starting to wind down, if you haven’t heard it, more than likely you will hear it from some of your fellow angler buddies in the weeks to come. The post spawn is one of my absolute favorite times to fish, especially in grass lakes. The fish haven’t moved far from where they performed there spawning ritual and are hunkered down in thick cover recovering from the strain they put on there bodies. I believe the biggest fish in the entire lake spawn first so these big fish are already in the thick grass and vegetation when allot of the other fish on the lake are on beds.
Punching your bait into the heart of thick vegetation is a sure way to catch big fish during this time of year. Thick lilly pad clumps, duckweed, coontail and milfoil are starting to thrive and grow with the warming weather. Some people will shy away from the thick grass because it can be challenging to fish if you don’t know how , or have the wrong equipment. Other people will pitch to the holes in the grass and you can definitely catch some fish that way. In my experience though to catch more and bigger fish in the grass you want to flip your bait into the nastiest thickest grass you can find. This is one technique in bass fishing that having the right equipment means all the difference in the world. You need heavy artillery to get these mossback monsters out of the grass thickets they call home.
As far as bait selection goes I stick with 3 baits and they can cover just about any kind of vegetation thickness that I encounter. When punching heavy duckweed or heavily matted grass I like to use a tube or slim creature bait that will slide into the thick cover with the least resistance. Powerteam Lures 4.5” food chain tube and bully grass devil are my baits of choice when targeting bass in the heaviest cover. Some grass species grow slower than others and if the grass isn’t as heavily compacted I will opt for a big creature bait like a conviction craw.
Hooks and Weights
The weight is one of the most important parts to this entire system, even if a lighter weight will get your bait down in the grass, you will get allot more bites 99% of the time with a big heavy weight. A 1-1.5oz weight will get you reaction bites from big bass as the bait flys by there face, you will also catch any fish that are in the mood to feed when your bait presents itself to them. I prefer unpainted polished silver tungsten weights for this method of fishing. It is dark in the dense vegetation and I think the little bit of flash you get from an unpainted weight gets you a few extra bites. Also with no paint on the weight it comes out of the fishes mouth a little smoother and allows you to burry the hook in the roof of there mouth where it belongs. Honey Hole tackle out of Pittsburgh has some of the best tungsten weights on the market, if your looking for some good pure tungsten give these guys a look. Below the weight sits a 4/0 or 5/0 Paycheck baits punch hook. You can use any hook but the welded eye and slightly larger gap on this hook gets the nod as the best punching hook money can buy.
Rod, Reel and Line
Until a few years ago using a big heavy rod was the norm for this type of fishing. I landed lots of fish on my old heavy flipping sticks, but I paid for it the following day when I couldn’t move my shoulder due to wielding a rod that weighed as much as a brick. Normal heavy action rods are just that, HEAVY. Last year I heard about a new company out of Florida called 13 fishing, I ordered one of there 7’11” Omen Black Heavy action rods just for this technique. I heard these were good strong rods and American made, when I put the rod in my hand for the first time I got mad because I thought for sure I got sent the wrong action, I flipped the blank over and sure enough it was the heavy action that I had ordered. This rod is so light it is unreal; it literally weighs half of what my old flipping sticks did. Needless to say I ordered a few more in other actions. Having a light, sensitive rod is crucial when when flipping with a big heavy weight all day. I pair up this rod with a 7:1:1 high speed reel, you want to make as many flips as possible during the course of the day and a high speed reel helps you get your bait back to you as quickly as possible to make another flip. Braided line for this type of fishing is an absolute must. I like to use 50lb Gamma torque. Gamma is a little more expensive but you wont need to change your line nearly as often so its actually cheaper in the long run. Besides the cost savings it is absolutely the strongest most sensitive line on the market today. When you set the hook on a big bass in heavy vegetation your line is the last place you want to skimp.
Now that you know what kind of equipment you need lets get into the specifics of where these fish are living right now. You should be able to find large concentrations of bass in the 3-6 foot of water range. If you know of a flat that had allot of spawning fish on it a week or 2 ago and there is grass nearby, there is a good chance allot of those spawners are now in that grass recovering. Inside weed lines are an excellent place to start but make sure you’re not just flipping to the edge. Be sure to throw your bait back deep into the weeds and explore the depth ranges. A small drop off or little rock pile in the weed bed could be holding the mother load of fish so be thorough in your fishing this time of year.
I hope this helped any of you that are suffering from a case of the post spawn blues, get out there! Big fish are waiting!!!