John's Journal...


Fishing Aquatic Vegetation Lakes

EDITOR’S NOTE: Todd Ary of Moody, Alabama, a professional bass fisherman, fishes all the FLW and Everstart tournaments. This week, Ary talks about what types of lakes he fishes and the tactics he uses to catch bass in the fall.

QUESTION: How are you fishing lakes with aquatic vegetation at this time of year?

ARY: As winter approaches, you have to understand what is happening to the vegetation. Big mats of grass begin to come loose from the bottom. These mats have caverns under them where bass like to hole-up and ambush bait. One of the most-effective ways to fish these mats is with a Strike King Mini King Click to enlargemini buzzbait. This small buzzbait imitates the size of the shad that are in the lake at this time of year. Therefore the mini buzzbait is more appropriate than the standard-size buzzbait. The secret to catching fish while using this tactic is to find channels in the broken mats of grass. You will not catch nearly as many bass if you try to fish the edge of the larger mats of grass. I have learned that the broken mats are better because they allow me to fish in areas that most other fishermen tend to skip. I like to fish this buzzbait on 15-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. The channels that I cast in are 12- to 36-inches wide. If you’ll fish with a limp line, you can cast more accurately, compared to a stiff line with more memory. If you are a right-handed fisherman, larger-diameter line will cause your cast to drift off to the left. The reason for this is when you cast the larger line, it will put more friction on the guides of your rod. When you cast a light-weight buzzbait, the line drag against the left side guides on the rod will cause your line to track to the left more than if you use a smaller-diameter line. Instead of casting normally, you’re going to have to cast more to the right to compensate for the line drag.

Another problem most anglers have with fishing a buzzbait like the Mini King, is that when the bass blows up on it, the fisherman has a tendency to jerk it away from the bass before it gets the buzzbait in its mouth. One of the reasons this happens is that most of us use line with very little stretch in it. I solve this problem by using a Click to enlargemedium-heavy rod with a limber tip to fish the Mini King. Compared to a rod with a stiff tip, the limber tip allows me to cast the bait better. While using a limber tip, I don’t set the hook when a bass boils up on the bait, instead, I continue with my retrieve. After the bass load the tip on the rod, all I do is pull back. If you’re using a stiff-tipped rod with low-stretch line, you tend to react so quickly to the strike that you move the bait away from the fish. By using that limber-tipped rod, you can eliminate the problem. If you’re trying to set the hook while using the standard-size buzzbait, you’ll miss twice as many bass, unless you have a line with some stretch in it.

QUESTION: What color Mini King do you prefer?

ARY: I like to use white or black.

QUESTION: Do you use a trailer hook?

ARY: Yes, and sometimes I prefer to use two trailer hooks. However, when a bass attacks the bait, he usually gets the lure deep in his throat. This is another advantage of using a mini buzzbait like Strike King’s Mini King, instead of the standard-size buzzbait.

Click to enlargeQUESTION: While using the smaller bait, how big are the bass you catch?

ARY: At this time of year on Lake Guntersville in Alabama, often I catch 8- or 9-pound bass using this technique and this bait. You don’t have to use big baits to catch big bass. If you use smaller baits like the Mini, you’ll be offering the bass a different type of lure than what they’re used to seeing. At this time of year, most people use crankbaits, jigs, jerkbaits, soft-plastic baits and flukes. If you put that small buzzbait around grass, hold onto your rod, and you’ll watch the bass eat it.

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Check back each day this week for more about FISHING WITH PROFESSIONAL BASS FISHERMAN TODD ARY

Day 1: Fishing Clear Lakes
Day 2: Highland Reservoirs
Day 3: More Clear-Water Tactics
Day 4: Fishing Aquatic Vegetation Lakes
Day 5: Grassy-Lake Tactics



Entry 323, Day 4