Fishing & Boating News


Grass, Weeds, Hydrilla, Moss, -- the Big Bass Hang Out!

by: Duck Wright,

(Sunday, May 17,1998 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir, TX) Grass, Weeds, Hydrilla, Moss, what ever you want to call it, in the lakes you fish in East Texas. This is what we are going to talk about this month.

As a guide and tournament fisherman, I have learned that if you don't get familiar with the under-water growth in the water that you are fishing, the chances of winning a tournament, or catching the quality fish that you would like to catch, is not only unlikely, but almost impossible.

On Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, our main bottom structure is hydrilla. This vegetation is a very thick stemmed grass growth, that in the summer months, mats the top of the water, to the point that is very difficult to navigate through it. This fact alone discourages most anglers, that are unfamiliar with the techniques of fishing such a stubborn and thick cover. Many anglers think that it is so thick, that fish wouldn't live in it. As a matter of fact, ask the bass anglers that enjoyed the superb fishing on Lake Conroe, let's say 10 years ago, when it had a very good hydrilla growth. The general public didn't like to swim in it, and it sometimes plugs up the water intakes on outboard motors, so they put some of those well notarized grass crap into the lake. This fishing changed almost overnight.

The best of the best, learn that a jig, hog crawl, or large worm on a pegged weight or gambler weight, POKED through this vegetation, can be a very rewarding experience in bass fishing, when done in the correct manner and the right location. The hydrilla that you want to look for is that which has a clearing under the mat that it forms at the bottom. To better explain this, think of a bunch of stringy weeds, that about one to three feet has a solid blanket of mat, which once penetrated is clear to the actual bottom. The bass find shade under this mat in the heat of the day. It is like the human being that is working in the hot sun, and walks over and gets under a shade tree. It doesn't take long to realize that it is a lot more comfortable.

I have found that if you can find small drains or ditches, sided with ridges, that these areas, if heavily covered with the above mentioned mat, can produce good stringers of quality bass, in just a short time. Always remember that the weight of the jig or weight must be heavy enough to go through the mat, or it will be above the bass. Normally I throw a 1/2 to 1 ounce jig, depending on what it take to penetrate the mat. I have fished Toledo Bend, when the grass was so heavy, that a one ounce jig, had to be tossed 10 to 15 feet in the air to have enough force to penetrate the surface moss.

Just remember that there is only one way to accomplish a good fishing technique in thick hydrilla, and that is to become familiar with it, and depend on structure to hold fish.

Many times the bass will also get up on a ridge with a heavy growth of hydrilla, that has deep water on one or both sides. I try to record areas in the early spring, before the grass grows up thick, that are travel paths of the bass. Just because the grass gets thick, does not change the habits and the travel paths of those very same bass. Keep a record of the areas, that you fish during this early fishing season that have a change in the bottom depths, and note where in that area, that you caught the fish. Was it on the top? Or was it in a ditch or subtle indenture? Log these in your computer or in your notebook, which I know all of you keep. Well if your as old as I am, I have learned that my memory is not as good as my notebook.