Ontario Fishing Network
Soft-Plastics For Bass
You don't always need to flip pockets in heavy weeds to catch bass. In fact, one of my preferred options for uprooting largemouth from heavy cover is throwing soft-plastic topwaters. These baits can be rigged to be virtually weedless and their soft bodies make them more lifelike to bass than hard-plastic baits. Although flipping can be fun, there's nothing like a bucketmouth exploding at the surface, separating lilly pads and sending slop flying.
A selection of soft-plastic baits for bass. From left to right: a Grass Frog by Strike King, a Tournament Frog by Snag Proof, and a King Rat by Strike King
Next, I usually switch to a stop-and-go retrieve. In thick pads or weeds, I may slowly swim the bait over the top of them and then pause right at the edge of a hole. Sometimes bass will hit at the edge of a pocket, while others grab the bait after a few short splashes in the opening. A productive tactic on some baits, such as rats or Texas-rigged floating lizards, is to lightly twitch your rod without reeling in slack to make the bait move from side-to-side in the same place; in other words, a walk-the-dog motion but without forward movement. This action can be an excellent tactic when your bait is in a large pocket that you know holds a fish.
A largemouth that fell victim to a plastic rat twitched through a weed flat.
Finally, when fishing topwaters it's important to wait to feel the fish or watch your line pull taught before hooking a fish. Bass can erupt on the surface when hitting topwaters, but overly eager anglers sometimes pull the bait away from fish at the first sign of an explosion. Pause a few seconds before setting the hook and then get the fish out of the weeds. In the event a bass misses the bait, patiently wait a moment, and then begin your retrieve again. They'll likely hunt it down in no time.
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