By Peter Bodley
Granted, we are in the tough part of the mid summer with water temperatures soaring and fishing somewhat difficult. This is the time of the summer I head into the weeds and pluck my fish from fairly shallow water as most anglers spend way too much time in deeper water trying to coax neutral fish. Here are some tips to assist in locating and catching these shallow, active fish.
Finding the weed edge
Today’s electronics are most helpful in finding and locating where the “edge” of the weeds are located. Weed lines vary from lake to lake and depend on water quality and clarity. On shallow, turbid lakes the weed line could be as shallow as 5 feet whereas the deeper, clearer lakes could feature a weed line as deep as 22 feet. It’s the edge where the Boat control
How you manage to work the edges of the weeds is the key to successful weed line fishing. I back troll my boat using my electrics and slowly work along the edge of the weeds using my favorite bait. If you are constantly pulling up weeds, you are in too shallow.
If you don’t occasionally tick the weeds you are too deep. Once you find the key edge, stay there. If you find the weeds end at 11 feet, stay at 11 feet. Those that can maintain that edge are the ones that put fish in the boat.
My favorite tactic is using a l/16th ounce jig with a small, plastic tail about an inch long. This eliminates the hassles of live bait. You can lift and drop that jig or snap it along the edge. This triggers these active fish and often the strikes are intense. This small jig pulls very well through the weeds and the lightness of the jig is the key. By using
6-pound test monofilament, you have the best rig possible for these weed line conditions. No need to keep replacing minnows on the jig as the plastic works wonders.
Keep in mind these shallow, weed fish are feeding fish.
The healthy, green weeds provide oxygen at this time of the summer and lots of bait fish and crayfish are there as well providing a summer smorgasbord. Don’t avoid the weeds, get in there and score!