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from Hank Parker!

    No one likes to fish wood and rocks more than me, but if I had to pick my favorite cover, it would have to be a grassbed. Show me a lake with a lot of grass, and I’ll prove to you that it also holds a lot of bass.

    Grass is a haven for gamefish and forage. It offers security, shade and all the comforts of a five-star motel. Look at the track records of those “grassy” lakes that were cleared of weeds because people didn’t understand the benefit. The bass fishery plunged when the grass was done.

    Not all grassbeds hold fish, and fishing can be like hunting needles in haystacks on lakes covered up with weeds. But don’t let that intimidate you; there are ways to narrow the search.

    First, bass like a variety of grasses, but prefer some more than others. For example, milfoil and hydrilla are my favorite types to fish because they grow at a variety of depths. Those depth changes give fish more comfort and security than a weed that only grows in shallow water.

    Second, consider the structure on which the grass is growing. For example, a shallow bay filled with grass will hold fish at certain times, but a long grass-covered point may hold bass more often. Bottom content is another factor. Bass generally prefer hard bottoms, so vegetation growing there is more likely to attract them. Watch for transition areas, or changes in hard to soft bottoms, which may be indicated by a change in the types of grass growing there.

    Irregular features along the grassline tend to hold the fish better, too. You may find a few fish scattered along a straight weed line, but you’ll find them bunched on a point of weeds or a cut into the weeds.

    There are two primary approaches to fishing grass: work the edges and fish the top, or get into the thick of it and probe the holes. First, concentrate on the edges. In the spring, that may be the inside edge – the shallow side of the weedbed – and methodically work it. Bass nest along the inside edge, using the grass as a buffer to filter the wave and wind action. Catch them on spinnerbaits, shallow crankbaits, topwaters and jerkbaits. If the water is clear, finesse lures like tubes and small worms work.

    As the season progresses, key on the deeper edge where grass stops growing and the bottom is cleaner. Crankbaits and lipless baits are good out there, but they can be frustrating because the trebles catch in the grass. As bothersome as that is, it can also be an asset if you learn to rip the bait free of the grass as it ticks it. That sudden movement coming off the grass triggers reaction strikes from fish that might avoid slower presentations.

    I’ve seen times when it pays to go into the grass and pitch jigs to the holes. A lot of anglers don’t like to do that because it’s troublesome to move the boat in matted grass, and the bait still catches on the vegetation. However, the world beneath the matted grass isn’t as thick as it appears on the surface, so bass can roam more freely than you think.