Finding productive vegetation is one of the easiest ways to locate bass quickly. The green stuff is almost always a magnet for bass, no matter what type of vegetation it is. However, each species of aquatic vegetation is a little different in terms of how it holds bass and the best way to fish it.
For matted vegetation, it’s pretty simple: Jones will either punch through it or fish something on top of it. For everything else, though, the 2021 Heavy Hitters winner has a specific approach to determine where the fish are positioned.
There are several types of standing grass across the country that attract populations of bass. Anglers can fish these grasses several different ways, but Jones likes to first gauge where the fish are positioned.
“The first thing I want to do is find out how the fish are relating to the grass,” he said. “I want to see if the fish are buried in the thickest sections or on the outside line, attacking and chasing while they look for food. The only way to do that is by fishing both inside and out until you find them.”
Jones’ first option is to fish moving baits on the outside edge before testing the waters in the thickest areas.
“If they’re on the edge, maybe it’s the wind pulling them out,” he said. “One of the best ways to cover water and search is with a moving bait like a ChatterBait, spinnerbait, or buzzbait. Those baits are not weedless, but they are somewhat resistant to hangups and that’s important.”
If he finds that fish are sitting further into the grass, Jones will switch to soft plastics or jigs.
“One of my best tools for reeds and cattails is a jig, followed by soft plastics,” he confirmed. “That will let you penetrate the cover, and I fish with heavy braided line to rip them out when I catch one.”
For grasses that are rooted on the bottom and don’t quite reach the surface – species like eelgrass, milfoil and hydrilla – Jones looks for any differences in the vegetation he can find.
“I’m looking for the right situation where either there are big holes in the grass or a well-defined edge,” he said. “For these underwater grasses, a ChatterBait, swim jig, or swimbait are always a good option. I also like fishing topwaters over the grass, and you can’t overlook a buzzbait in these situations.”
Aside from moving baits, Jones also mixes in soft plastics and jigs, flipping and pitching to the edges in the grass or into bare areas and holes within the grass.
Another typical bass-holding vegetation is lily pads. They have a wide range and can be found in many different climates across the country. Lily pads also hold plenty of bass.
Jones likes to target pads primarily with plastics and jigs, but that’s not all.
“I fish pads a lot early in the year because the root systems give bass a place to fan out a bed and spawn,” he said. “I like to pitch jigs or a light 1/8-ounce weight with a Zoom finesse worm. They love that slower fall and the straight tail worm gets bit. And, don’t overlook a frog, especially if the water is less than 3 feet deep.”