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Slop Fishing Alternatives
When fishing the “slop”, most people have thoughts of bass blowing holes in the mats of grass, trying to engulf a frog or rat. While these baits can, and do, produce some quality catches at times, these are not the only baits people should have tied on when fishing in the jungle of weeds on the their favorite lakes and rivers. Here are a few baits and tactics I like to use when the classic frog/rat bite is a little off.
¼ ounce Brovarney Baits Swim Jigs
These hand tied baits can be worked similar to the way people work rats and frogs. Although they can be worked in a similar way, these baits they have a different action and sometimes that is all it takes to turn on the bite.
I personally like to drag these baits over the top the vegetation and drop them into each opening. Many times the bass will bite while the bait is falling on slack line at the edge of the mat. I will usually only let the bait fall a foot or two, unless I think I can get the bait back to the top before the bait reaches the next patch of surface weeds. I will then start my retrieve with a quick snap of the rod to break free any weeds that may have attached to the jig. A lot of times, this action will provoke a reaction strike from a lurking bass.
If fishing a patch of submergent vegetation, the same technique can be applied, but slow down your retrieve so that the swim jig periodically hangs in the weeds. If you are not contacting the weeds, you are reeling too fast. Remember to snap the rod after each time you contact the grass and be ready for a reaction strike.
If I am fishing the outer edge of the grass line, I like to add a step to this slop tactic. After I reach the edge of the weeds, I will let the swim jig settle down to the bottom and continue with a slow retrieve back to the boat. In doing this, it is important to snap your rod tip to break free the weeds each time you feel the bait contact the grass.
One thing to remember when using this tactic is that it is very important to use a quality swim jig. As I stated before, I like to use a ¼ ounce Brovarney Baits Swim Jig with a 5” single tail grub. The grub size can be adjusted to change the retrieve speed you can use. A smaller grub will result in a faster retrieve. A larger grub will result in a slower retrieve speed.
Another way to speed up, or reduce the speed of your retrieve and keep in the strike zone is by adjusting the weight of your jig. Most companies will have a variety of swim jig weights that the angler can choose from. The most common is the ¼ ounce jig I referred to earlier. Brovarney Baits’ line of swim jigs range from 1/8th of an ounce up to 7/8th ounce. Whatever your jig of choice is, it is important to have a variety of different sizes to allow you to fish at the speed that the fish dictate. If you are throwing an eighth ounce swim jig, you will ride higher on the slop and pads with a slower retrieve. If you are using the 7/8th ounce swim jig, you will have to retrieve faster in order to keep your bait on top of the mats and submerged weeds. Couple these different weights of swim jigs, with different sizes of plastic trailers and you will be able to fine tune your presentation to meet the needs of the bass on any day.
Rigged Creature Baits
Anybody that has done any kind of serious bass fishing has a pile of creature baits in his or her tackle box. These are a great all around bait that many people will pitch into lay downs, or to docks. They also will excel in areas that have a lot of vegetation. This is because of their larger profile and water displacement. This allows the fish to find the bait a lot easier. Used properly, these baits can help to salvage a bad day on the water.
When fishing creature baits in thick grass and slop, I like to use a green pumpkin color 4” Zoom Baby Brush Hog. If the fish are really aggressive, I will switch to a larger size. I will rig these a variety of different ways, but I mostly will rig them with a 4/0 wide gap hook and a 1/8th ounce bullet weight (you may want to use a heavier weight if you are fishing in deeper water, over six feet deep). I feel that the smaller weight will not only give me a slower rate of fall, which equates to more time in the strike zone, but it will also allow that bait to glide more. With this light of weight, you will not be able to punch through the thick stuff, so you have to flip and pitch to openings in the grass. I will let the bait settle down to the bottom and then yo-yo it a few times before flipping to the next spot. It is important not to move too fast from a spot. This is more of a presentation for neutral to inactive fish.
If I am fishing on the outer edges of the slop, I will use a little heavier weight along with the Brush hog. I will mostly use a ¼ ounce brass and glass rig here, unless I am fishing in deeper water such as the outside edges of some of the clear water lakes of the North. In this situation, I will increase the weight to maintain better contact with the bottom. A brass and glass rig will allow me to shake the rig in place to create a clacking sound that will trigger bass to bite. With the brass and glass set up, I will alternate between hoping the creature along the bottom and periods of shacking to produce the rattling sounds. With this edge technique, the fish will be in various places along the weed edge depending on the conditions. After a strong front many of the bass will tend to be buried in the weeds, whereas during periods of stable weather, the bass may stray from the weeds to pursue prey.
next time you are out fishing your favorite grass bed, try these two
tactics out. Although these are not the only alternate presentations
that will work in the slop, they are two of my favorite alternatives.
As always though, it is most important to listen to what the fish are
trying to tell you. Do your best to make adjustments to match the mood
of the fish. If these don’t work, don’t be afraid to try something
different. Tight lines and God bless.