Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pulling fish from the salad-tutorial

Ok so the last post may have been a bit less informative than readers would like. The method used to pull the bass from the muck could use a bit more explanation. Going over this subject in some more detail may help. It will also help me bulk up that post count. In an effort to add value to my shameless “fish bragging” I submit to you: Pulling fish from the salad-A quick tutorial.

Key points are as follows:

1. Salad explained
2. Position is key
3. Some gear tips

Salad Explained:

Aquatic vegetation comes in four forms; algae, floating, submerged and emerged. The ones that really get in your way are the submerged plants like northern Watermilfoil. A lot of folks (including myself) incorrectly refer to this stuff as coontail. Regardless, this is difficult stuff to battle a lure through let alone haul a decent bass through. Aquatic vegetation traditionally gets thicker during the summer months and fades substantially in winter. These plants are vital to the ecosystem but can be detrimental if it becomes overabundant.

The most important factors of aquatic vegetation that correlate to fishing are oxygen and cover. Plants give oxygen when they are alive but remove oxygen when they die. Fish will tend to congregate near healthy plant growth for many reasons. Fish will avoid dead or dieing plant growth because those areas generally lack oxygen.

Below is a link to the Minnesota DNR site that is a good source for more information.

Position is key:

Anglers need to position themselves correctly before and after the hookup when fishing the heavy salad. Getting a good position to the structure before the cast helps your lure presentation greatly. Pick an area as close to the structure as possible with the most open water in between you and the structure.

After you hook into the fish position can also be very important. The fish will often dig into the weed muck as soon as they think there is trouble. The bass can really bury themselves. A lot of anglers break the fish off at this point. Shorebangers have less chance of getting good position when the fish is dug in. Boaters however can change position to pull the fish out easier. Below is my ultra easy four step method fro pulling the fish out of the salad.

(Above: This is the “before” slide and what generally gets you into this mess in the first place. 1. The fish strikes. 2. The fish digs into the weed muck.)

(Above: This is the “After” slide and pretty much is self-explanatory. It doesn’t always work but will often make it easier.)

Some gear tips:

Quality line in the heaviest weight you can afford will grant you more ability to fight the weed mass head on. Braided lines are highly recommended by most experts but most of the regular Joe anglers aren’t going to re-spool just to fish that local lake. The experts don’t come to me for advice on gear and neither should you. Pick a quality line in 8-10lb range and adjust your drag accordingly.

Heavier rod gives you more leverage when battling rough cover. It is also less forgiving in regards to line breakage. Bass anglers generally lean towards heavier rods simply because bass territory is often mired in vegetation. Most brands of rod makers make a Medium-heavy action stick that I use quite a bit. Get the best you can afford but look for quality as opposed to brand names or flashy sporting goods stores.

Another note worth mentioning would be the use of a weedless lure like plastic baits. Rig the hook with the point tucked under the skin of the plastic lure for extra weedless action. At some point I will try to get a few posts out detailing these plastic lures a bit more.

Good luck and Good Fishing.

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