Using vegetation as cover is the way to go

2013-06-29 00:00

WORD on and off the water is that the most reliable pattern at the moment is fishing heavy cover in the form of standing vegetation.

I know I have told you to be concentrating on harder cover, but the fish don’t read my articles and besides, you need to be versatile.

I am not talking about vegetation on shallow flats, but rather vegetation found in the back of deeper creeks as well as along deeper banks. You can find similar areas on most dams and take the time to locate deeper cover within the right winter areas.

The best news of all is that targeting these areas strategically is no science, just simple one-on-one fishing combat. Firstly and obviously, find the hot zones, which should be tight to the bank, as thick as possible and as mentioned, vertically orientated vegetation.

Your first approach should be tentative and from a distance and my starting tactic is normally with a wacky-rig or a weightless plastic. Before I barge up into the reeds, I like to hang back a bit and make some longer throws with the above-mentioned plastics at the outside edges of the cover.

I will fish the slow sinking plastics as slowly as possible and as close to the cover as possible, just allowing them to fall enticingly. This approach will normally mop up any fish that are actively feeding on the edges, fish that you would normally have spooked if you had just pushed in. Once you are satisfied with your efforts, then move in for the kill and put your weightless rig down and pick up a no-nonsense rod in the form of a heavy action 7-ft plus pitching- style rod that should be loaded with no less than 20 lb mono, or even better, braided line.

A heavy cover Texas Rig is the preferred option in the pitching situation and what I mean by a heavy cover rig is a 3/8 to 1/2 ounce tungsten bullet weight that is pegged in place to eliminate the sinker sliding up the line. I opt for a compact, creature-type bait and normally rig it on a 4/0 hook.

The idea here is to keep your rig as compact as possible to allow the bait to slip into the tightest of areas without creating a commotion to alert the close quarters fish.

You need to get the bait into every available opening, allow it to hit the bottom and give it a couple of lifts, drops and shakes before hitting the next gap. The bites can be subtle and sometimes savage, but the bottom line is that hook-set needs to be fast and hard and you should not stop cranking until the fish is in the boat.

Bass may not be famed for their power, but trust me, under these situations they pull hard and will get the better of you time after time if you are not prepared.

Aqua Academy will be hosting a boat show at their premises in North Street, Pietermaritzburg on July 20. The aim of the day is for people to come and show off their boats, — for sale or just for show. Everyone is welcome and there will also be boating accessories and toys on display. To put your boat on show or for more information, please e-mail Clifford at

So get out on the lake and catch some bass, and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource.

E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at

Catch ’em up.

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