UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

Three Tips to Tackle Winter Grass

Three Tips to Tackle Winter Grass
Michael Neal

Thoughts of winter grass fishing often turn to south Florida and the great fishing made possible by the region’s warm climate and lush vegetation. But if that’s the only winter grass fishing on your radar, you might be missing out. Reservoirs throughout the Southeast, Texas and elsewhere that have open water in winter usually offer productive grass fishing even in the coldest months. Tennessee River pro Michael Neal knows a few simple, yet effective tips that will help you locate the best grass beds and catch wintertime bass.

 

Grass. Ouachita has a bunch of it.

1. Green is gold

Growing up on Lake Chickamauga has helped Neal hone his skills at targeting bass around aquatic vegetation during the cold months.

“This time of year there is still a lot of grass that didn’t die off from the fall,” says Neal. “If you are fishing around dead, brown grass you probably aren’t catching much. But just like in the spring, when you find some greener grass you’ll get bites.

“A lot of the grass I look for is in the 6- to 8-foot range. The hard part is finding it because you pretty much have to fish your way around to figure out what is dead and what is alive. You can use your electronics and try to guess by how tall the weeds are, but it is just easier to put the trolling motor down and start casting.”

 

2. Deep-water access is key

Fish love to relate to drop-offs and contour changes, and that doesn’t change when fishing around winter grass.

“The best weeds are the ones that are located close to deep water,” Neal says. “It can be a channel swing or the deeper end of a bar that tapers out, but something that can let the fish get to 10 or 15 feet of water quickly.”

 

3. Drains lead to success

The third and final piece of the puzzle for finding winter bass is to locate some sort of depression or drain on a grass flat. If you mix all of these ingredients together then it should only be a matter of time until you are posting fish photos all over social media.

“Finding some sort of depression in the weeds is the final thing I look for. It could be a creek channel with a grass line, and it isn’t always easy to find, but when you do it is a good place to find them schooled up,” says Neal.

“You can usually find these areas with your Lowrance electronics. If I catch a couple fish from an area I’ll generally spin my boat around and look at my map and sonar to figure out what, specifically, the fish are holding on. From there you just drop a waypoint and keep catching them.”

 

Michael Neal

Neal’s tackle

Finding the fish is half the battle, and once you find them you need the right tools for the job of catching them. Here are a few of the offerings that Neal keeps on his deck when fishing winter grass.

1. SPRO Mike McClelland McStick 110 – Neal opts for shad colors when it’s cloudy and transparent finishes when the sun is out. He throws the jerkbait on a 7-foot, medium Cashion Topwater and Jerkbait rod with a 7.3:1 gear ratio Daiwa Tatula spooled with 10-pound-test Sunline Super FC Sniper.

2. SPRO Aruku Shad – The only color you need to throw, according to Neal, is a shade of red. Red crawfish, Texas craw and mudbug red are Neal’s recommendations. A 7-foot, medium-heavy-action Cashion casting rod, Daiwa Tatula and 50-pound-test Sunline FX2 braid round out the setup. Neal chooses braid because it allows him to free the bait from any weeds it encounters more easily than with fluorocarbon.

3. Big Bite Baits BB Kicker Swimbait – While the other baits will get you limits, this bad boy gets called in when it’s time to find a kicker. A 6.3:1 Daiwa Tatula spooled with 20-pound-test Sunline Super FC Sniper fluorocarbon on a 7-foot, 6-inch Cashion flipping stick will have you ready to rock. Neal rigs the swimbait on a 7/0, 1/4-ounce Gamakatsu Weighted Superline Spring Lock Hook.

Tags: michael-neal  grass  winter  kyle-wood  article 

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