Big summer bass on the flats!

By Mike Frisch - June 15, 2016
Lots of Midwestern bass anglers, this one included, like to fish the deep or outside edge of the weed line utilizing spinning gear and jig-worm style baits. Jig-worming the deep weed line is, in fact, a favorite technique of lots of fishing guides who prefer this fishing method for its simplicity and the number of bass and other fish species often caught. At times, however, the bite can be better, especially for big bass, by fishing up on the flat and penetrating the heaviest weed clumps. Here is a look at some tips if you decide to go to battle with the big bass that often inhabit the flats during summer.

Late and early in the day, or cloudy, windy days will often find numbers of bass prowling the weed edges. When the sun is high and the wind lays flat, however, is a prime time for big bass to pull up onto a flat and bury themselves in some of the thickest, nastiest vegetation available. When that is the case, I dig out a flippin' stick, tie on a big jig, and start making short pitches to heavy weed clumps searching for fish.

Sometimes, especially on large flats, the search can go quite some time without a bite, when suddenly, several bass are caught in succession from a very small area. When that happens, I ty to identify what made the particular area "fishy." Maybe it was a very dense patch of weeds, a change in weed type, or a small opening in the weeds that held the fish. Another indicator might be water depth, as often identifying a particular depth range where the bites come from can help narrow the search, especially on flats with some gradual depth tapers.

Whatever the case, I thoroughly fish a productive area, trying to maximize my bites, and then move on searching for similar spots that yield similar results.

My jig presentation for this fishing style utilizes a big, skirted bass jig with a soft plastic trailer. I prefer a 5/8-ounce black & blue Jungle Jig if the water is somewhat off-colored, utilizing the same jig in pumpkin craw if the water is a bit clearer.

I tip the jig with a plastic "chunk" style trailer and pitch it out ahead of the boat, let it settle in and hop or shake it a couple times, before reeling up and repeating. Often the bite comes on the initial drop or shortly after, so I don't spend too much time working the bait before reeling up and making my next pitch.

The Jungle Jig's sleek bullet head works great for penetrating heavy vegetation. Another important equipment consideration when fishing heavy cover is the rod, reel, and line being used. A heavy action flippin' stick and high speed baitcasting reel spooled with braided line works great. I have been using the new Cabela's Arachnid series rod and reels. The 7 1/2-foot extra-fast action, heavy power Arachnid rod paired with the 8.1 gear ratio reel gives me the power I need to horse big fish from heavy cover and also lets me rapidly retrieve line when fishing quickly searching for bass. Spooling with 50-pound Sunline FX2 braid completes my set-up.

If horsing big fish in your boat is a goal this summer, consider visiting the flats on your favorite lake and utilizing some of the tips just provided. Odds are good you will tangle with some big bass and have some big fun!

As always, enjoy your time on the water, and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!

Author Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch is a fishing guide, tournament angler, and outdoor writer who also presents School of Fish, a 3-hour kids fishing class.. Mike lives in western Minnesota and is a multi-species guide on Ottertail, Minnewaska, Miltona, Alex Chain and Ida, as well as several smaller bodies of water in western Minnesota. He is also an avid bowhunter.