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"Kicking Bass in the Grass"
Curt Strutz The "Bassmeister"

Well, Spring has finally made its crest around this hemisphere, and you
know what that means - it is time for that aquatic vegetation to start growing fresh and new. Oh, how the bass angler longs for these days, because as we all know - grass means warming water, and moving bass.
Grass beds start growing when the water temperature reaches a range of
55-60 degrees. Internally, this same temperature triggers the bass into heading up and out of the deeper parts of the body of water. The most difficult part of fishing grass in early Spring, though, is trying to locate the vegetation, as it is not always visible right away due to muddy waters and the simple fact the grass is not even tall enough to see with the naked eye. This is where a depth finder can come in very useful, as you search for the sprouting
grass in deeper waters. If you are able to locate some grass underneath your
boat, or think that you were able to with your depth finder, it is always a good idea to explore the terrain with a crankbait or some other type of non-weedless lure. Snagging an underwater plant can easily tell you (obviously) if there is vegetation present, but can also give you a better idea of what type of vegetation in lying beneath.

Now that you are able to locate the grass, the next important thing is to
decide how and what to throw out on your line. First of all, it is important to
find out what type of weather is present for your day of fishing. In a cold front situation, it is important to keep working the vegetation and not always think that the fish have descended back into deep waters. In situations such as these, I would tend to recommend throwing a weedless pig & jig combo, or slowly dragging or deadsticking a tube or worm. My personal favorites include either dragging a Fishmaster Lures 3-1/2" Salty Tube with a
slip-shot sinker, or using Fishmaster's 6" Cinko Salty Worm with a deadstick
technique. The trick with any of these lure presentations is to keep the bait gently bouncing within the grass at all times. To get a better understanding of each of these lures, visit Fishmaster Lure's web site at www.fishmasterlures.com<.

One topic to touch on briefly would be the use of the slip-shot sinker, as mentioned above. When fishing directly inside of vegetation there is always
the chance that the weight can get hung-up or snagged - just like a hook can. In these situations, I turn to a Mojo Lure's Slip Shot weight (www.mojolures.com<). The reason Mojo's system works better than the others is the simple fact that they have designed their weights in a long cylindrical shape. Put in simple, non-engineering terms, its slender design allows
the rig to slide right through thick types of cover, minimizing the chances
of hang-ups that are commonly seen with traditional weights and split-shots. These sinkers also allow one to feel the fish's bite, rather than the weight running along the bottom of the lake or the grass itself.

Now, let's say that the cold front has passed, and we have a warm
overcast day - what type of bait and presentation should be used to lure bass out of grass beds? The best tool for attracting that early Spring lunker is (by far) the lipless crankbait. I use a variety of color patterns designed by a variety of manufacturers - but try to stay in the 1/2 ounce range. I also want to make sure that the lipless crankbait has a rattle effect to it. The reason for this is that the bass need to be called out from the grass and up to grab the bait.
You see, if the lipless crankbait is dropped down into the vegetation, it is
going to loose all effectiveness because it will get snarled up in the weeds - causing you more time trying to dig yourself out of a rat's nest of weeds, rather an continuing to fish.

The trick with the lipless crankbait is to crank it just fast enough to swim directly across the tops of the grass. It is even advantageous, as I witnessed on a popular televised tournament, to purposely get the hooks caught up in the tips of the grass - just enough to allow you to "rip" it out and attract some fish that way.

One other tool that has produced well for me in such situations is a lure
manufactured by Canada's Luck Strike Bait Works called the Rattlin' Wiggler.
This is a hollow (yet rattlin') crankbait that has a metal lip on it. They are
designed not to be too deep of a diving tool, which helps to ensure that you do not crank deep into the vegetation, but it will tend to crawl a bit deeper than what the lipless variety will. What also makes this a great selection is the simple fact that the metal lip offers an additional attractant as it flashes on a sunny day. Remember, we are trying to attract the bass up from out of the weed beds - so anything we can do to help out will be of assistance. I
have found out that the Rattlin' Wigglers work best in these situations when
a chartreuse color makes up part of the lure. My preference is either the FireTiger pattern, or the all-chartreuse variety. You can get a complete idea of what these lures look like and how they can help with your fishing by visiting the manufacture's web site at www.luckystrikebaitworks.com<. Even if you do not check out their site, check out your local retailer - they will help in your attempt to land spring bass in new grass (I have seen them for sale at Bass Pro Shops).

As Spring gets under way, make sure you get out there and search out the
grass. It is the best indicator of where bass should be located, and if you are sure to use the proper lures and baits - prepare to fill the livewell!