Story & Photos
DE EP JU
BY SEAN OSTRUSZKA
you thought there wasn’t anythin
how to slice through submer
y now you’ve probably read countless
articles on fishing grass. You know how
the sticks punch mats at Okeechobee
or the California Delta. Your frog skills around pads make Kermit jealous. And your
rattlebaits have ripped through more spring
grass than a lawn mower.
What’s left to learn? Only how to fish the
largest expanse of untapped vegetation in any
body of water.
Submerged vegetation gets plenty of play
in early spring, but it seems to be forgotten once
the summer and fall come around. Yet while
many anglers target matted grass or neglect
grass entirely, FLW Tour pro Matthew Stefan is
more than happy having the deep vegetation all
“Grass holds more dissolved oxygen, has
plenty of prey and offers shade,” says Stefan.
“And in the summer, it can also have cooler water
temps deep in it. So there are always bass in
those deep, submerged weeds, especially come
SEEN OR UNSEEN
Anglers often refer to submerged weeds as “deep weeds,” which is both accurate and
inaccurate. Yes, submerged weeds top out deeper than stuff on the surface, obviously, but many submerged weedbeds are still in shallow water. Then again, plenty are also in deep water.
Depending on their depth, there are times when Stefan can actually see the submerged weeds he fishing, and other times when he can’t. He’ll fish both, simply by modifying his approach.
If he can see the weeds, say at a fishery like the Potomac River, Stefan puts his polarized sunglasses to work looking for “ambush spots.”
“I’m looking for any irregularity in a weedline or weedbed,” says Stefan. “It might be a point, cut, hole or drain, but anything different is going to be a better percentage spot for a fish to be. If I see anything different, I’m pitching or firing a cast at it.”
Stefan has a similar mindset when fishing deep weeds he can’t see, like those he fished at Lake Ouachita during last year’s Forrest Wood Cup, but being that he can’t actually see them means he has to use a different set of eyes.
“With today’s electronics, you can pretty much see what a weedbed looks like,” he said.
So he’ll start by looking for high percentage structures – point, humps, channel swings – and then use his electronics to see if there is any grass on the area. If there is, he’ll then pull