Top 3 tips for catching bass in heavy vegetation

Catch more bass in surface weeds with these 3 tips from a seasoned bass angler.

Catch more bass in areas covered with surface weeds

Noah Tackett lives near the border town of Play Card, South Carolina, and his job as an advertising salesman takes him all over North and South Carolina. He pulls his bass boat right behind him everywhere he goes. This time of year, his favorite type of fishing is bass fishing with hollow body frogs in thick surface weeds, and he’s got some tips to help you catch your share of bass on these lures.

“Honestly, this time of year, I rarely carry any other lures with me. I’ve got several Plano 3700 boxes filled with nothing but hollow body frogs. I know what lakes have surface weeds, and I can’t think of a more challenging and enjoyable way to catch bass than with these lures. With every bite, I feel like a kid just learning to fish all over again,” said Tackett.

And if you’ve ever heard the explosion of a big bass blowing up on one of these lures in the weeds, or watched your frog sail 4 feet into the air after being slammed from below, then you know exactly the feeling he’s talking about.

Tackett’s number one tip is for anglers to forget about having a favorite brand of frog. The fish aren’t brand loyal, so anglers shouldn’t be either.

“There are subtle differences between brands, and some not so subtle differences too. the Lunkerhunt Combat Frog has legs that actually flex and bend when you twitch it, so that’s quite a bit different than a LIVETARGET frog’s skirted legs, which are subtly different than a Spro frog’s legs. But the popping version of the Spro is also quite a bit different than a Jackall Iobee frog,” Tackett said.

“And they will all catch bass. Some days, they will all catch bass equally well. Other days, when the fish are finicky, one lure might catch them all. On those days, I want to be prepared, so I carry a variety of brands,” he said.

Tip number two from Tackett is one of the hardest for anglers, including him, to follow.

“Don’t set the hook at the sound of a bass hitting the frog. Often, the fish will hit the frog hard without even biting. It’s trying to kill or stun the frog so that it can easily gulp it in on the next hit. If you set the hook when you hear that splash as the lure gets smacked, you’ll miss the fish far more often than not. Like close to 100 percent of the time.” he said.

“You will catch way more fish on these lures if you wait until you feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook. And when you feel that fish’s weight, even if your rod is bent over, set the hook, hard. Bass will close their mouth on this lure and swim away, and they’ll double your rod over sometimes, even though they aren’t actually hooked. Then they’ll let go once they feel too much resistance. You’ve got to set that hook hard no matter how much you’re convinced the fish is already hooked,” Tackett said.

His third tip is concerning equipment.

“Don’t go fishing this way with what you consider an all-purpose rod. You need to use a heavy or extra heavy rod. You are not going to horse even a 3-pound bass out of a mess of lily pads or other surface weeds with a medium powered rod. And trust me, an average bass is going to tax your gear once it’s wrapped around enough weeds. You need power,” he said.

“I prefer braided line, simply because it allows you to use then diameter line that is strong as steel. This allows you casting distance and the line strength you need when fishing this way. You will be pulling up live weeds and lily pads by the roots, and many times, reeling in a 3-pound bass is going to involve reeling in another 5 pounds of wet vegetation. I go with 65-pound braided line, which has the added advantage of slicing threw some weeds while you’re fighting the fish,” said Tackett.

And don’t forget about the reel.

“I use a reel with a high-speed retrieve like a 7.1:1 or even a 7.3:1 gear ratio. When you hook that bass, it’s going to wrap you in as much vegetation as it can, so getting it out of that cover as quickly as possible is your best bet. And you want the drag tighter than you do when fishing in open water. You don’t want that fish to run at all when it’s hooked in those weeds,” Tackett said.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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