Fishing during June can be a weedy affair, but that’s not always a bad thing.
Seeking out weed beds, especially in the early morning and late evening, can be a productive method for catching a variety of fish species in the early summer after spawning has slowed down and fish are looking to recover their strength with an easy meal.
Crappie and bluegills are known to hide in tall, green weeds like cabbage and can be coaxed out by trolling a jig over the top of them or using a slip float to hover a minnow on a jighead over the weeds. The edges of weed lines also can produce for panfish, as well as big bass. Largemouths typically will hide near the edges of weed lines and ambush prey as they come over. Hydrilla, milfoil and coontail are great oxygenating plants that bring in baitfish and provide excellent cover for bass. The more matted vegetation can be fished with frogs to great response, especially on calm days, or using a punch jig to get through the canopy. Look for holes in the vegetation where your topwater bait will be exposed and you’re likely to find a strike. For more structured grass, look to throw spinners or buzz baits, Texas-rigged curly-tail worms or weedless swimbaits. Avoid anything with a treble hook like the plague.
Being a finesse angler, I often try to make a Ned Rig work in weedy situations despite not being the ideal choice, and it can work surprisingly well if you’re working from a bank or a still boat. If you try trolling a Ned Rig through the weeds, even a so-called weedless variety, you’re bound to accumulate a good deal of vegetation on the jig head. Working a Ned Rig in the weeds requires subtle hops rather than big, sweeping motions.
During a recent fishing trip at a heavily weeded pond, I used a regular old Ned Rig with these light motions to haul in a couple 3 1/2- to 4-pound bass, as well as a tank of a bluegill. The water was pretty murky, but the PB&J color combo worked wonders for me in that situation.
Using a strong line is key during this time, as there’s a good chance you’ll end up toting a full salad with you when fighting a fish as they love to dive into the cover and get tangled in all sorts of vegetation. Despite using an ultralight crappie setup, I was able to drag these big bass through the thick of the jungle with the combination of my Fle-Fly Micro Braid and Yo-Zuri fluorocarbon leader, both very durable brands.
Walleye also can be found waiting to ambush prey from inside the weeds, but another good place to target are open pockets near the grass lines where they like to congregate. Similarly, smallmouth bass like to sit just a bit outside the weed lines rather than sitting in the thick of it like largemouths, and can often be found patrolling those areas in schools like a little wolf pack looking for dinner, especially where the weed line transitions to a rocky bottom.