Bass are drawn into dense weed growth as water temperatures peak in summer. Not only are bass protected from the heat of the sun by canopies of surface vegetation, but these sheltered areas also feature an endless array of feeding options, as baitfish and small panfish are pulled into weedy cover for the chance to survive another day. Anglers have several options for extracting summer bass from heavy weed growth: they can tempt fish to the surface with topwater presentations, or punch through the weedy canopy, fishing beneath it with heavy jigs.
Two top Seaguar pros, Brandon Palaniuk and Denny Brauer, offer their perspectives on these techniques, and reveal their top line choices for summer bass fishing in heavy cover.
When the sun is low, fish on top.
It’s tough to beat a topwater presentation in the weeds during low light periods. Hollow, soft-bodied topwaters with a frog, mouse, or even a sunfish profile are excellent choices for tempting strikes from bass in the slop. These baits are heavy enough to cast long distances, are properly weighted to ensure that hook points are protected from the weeds, and have supple bodies that collapse readily after the strike to facilitate positive hooksets.
Effective topwater presentations require attention to detail regarding line selection. For Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Brandon Palaniuk, topwater slop fishing calls for Seaguar’s Smackdown Tournament Braid in 50 lb. test. Palaniuk relies on Smackdown because of “its smooth characteristics which helps with casting accuracy, and Smackdown’s high impact and knot strength really help with the powerful hooksets that come with the territory.” Indeed, no-stretch Smackdown Tournament Braid allows anglers to drive hooks home at long distances, and excels at cutting through weeds when fighting hooked fish.
Two basic retrieves are useful for topwater presentations in and near heavy cover. Anglers can use a simple series of short hops and twitches, or a traditional “walk the dog” retrieve along the edges of dense weed growth. Perhaps the most important ingredient for successful topwater fishing, however, is patience: topwater strikes can be vigorous and exciting, but it is critical that your adrenaline doesn’t lead to a premature hookset. Be patient, and wait until you feel the fish on the line before driving the hooks home. You still may not land 100% of the fish that bite, but your hooking percentage will increase dramatically if you pause briefly before setting the hook.
When the sun is high, fish down deep.
Dense weedbeds may appear impenetrable when observed from above, but the water below is frequently quite open. During the heat of the day, it can be difficult to tempt fish to strike baits on the surface. However, punching through the vegetative ceiling will often be rewarded with consistent catches of summer bass. Punching is a near-vertical presentation, relying on heavy baits, powerful rods, and stout line to extract bass from within their weedy lair.
Former Bassmaster Classic Champion Denny Brauer knows a thing or two about punching vegetation to wrangle summer largemouth, and line selection is a critical component of his success. In describing his preferred punching line, Seaguar’s Denny Brauer Signature Series Flippin’ Braid in 65 lb. test, Brauer says, “I’ve never, EVER, had this line break. It’s a great line, and as a bonus, its jet-black color will get you more bites.” Flippin’ Braid is constructed from eight ultra-thin strands in a tight, round-profile weave, and is exceptional at cutting through heavy cover. In the heat of the summer, Brauer presents Strike King Rage Bugs, with a ¾ to 1 ½ oz. sinker pegged to his namesake Flippin’ Braid.
“This is about pulling big fish out of the nastiest vegetation you can find,” said Brauer. “You’re on a short line, and you need to feel the quick reaction strike and then literally horse the fish out of heavy cover.”
He added, “If you’re not fishing Seaguar Flippin’ Braid, you should be!”
Whether you fish up on top or down below, lush weedbeds offer outstanding summer bass opportunities. These tandem presentations for bass fishing, each relying on the premium characteristics of Seaguar braided lines, are your keys to success as water temperatures climb to their summer peak.