In the summer, predator fish like walleyes, pike, bass, and crappies will be wherever their food is. If there isn¹t something for them to eat in an area, they simply won't be there, or at least they won't be there very long.
One area where there is usually something for the fish to eat is the weedline. Throughout the summer months, predator fish can usually find an abundance of food on the weedline. Here¹s how you can catch those weedline fish.
Fish that are on, over, or near the weedline will bite on a variety of baits. When they¹re over the tops of the weeds, spinnerbaits, topwaters, and shallow running crankbaits will all catch fish. But day-in and day-out, if you want to get bit on the weedline, it¹s really tough to beat a jig tipped with some form of soft bait. Usually, under even the most difficult conditions, some sort of fish will eat a jig with soft bait on it.
The area of the weedline that will hold the most fish are the irregularities. If you can find a point or pocket in the weeds, there are probably going to be some fish willing to bite nearby. Let¹s get rigged up.
Spinning tackle is the way to go. A six and half to seven foot medium or medium-heavy action rod will be about right. You want a rod that will control the fish and also provide sensitivity and good hook-setting ability.
Fenwick HMG's and Berkley Tactix rods are good choices. Team the rod with an Abu Garcia Cardinal 802 or 804 reel spooled with a sensitive but tough line. You¹ll be snapping the jig off the weeds frequently, and the weeds can beat up your line. 20/8 or 14/6 FireLine is a good choice. If you prefer monofilament line, go with Trilene Sensation or XT. Line size for the mono will vary according to fish attitudes. If they¹re biters, eight or ten pound test is a good choice, but if they want a tiny jig and are fussy, you might need to go to six pound test.
You¹ll be casting your presentation to the deep edge of the weeds. The water could be seven feet deep or it could be fifteen feet deep. Usually the clearer the water, the deeper you¹ll fish. Not always, but usually.
An eighth ounce jig head will do the job almost all the time. Sometimes a little heavier will be more appropriate, every now and then smaller will be best. The Lip-Stick Jig-Worm is a great jig to use with soft bait. It has a super-sharp long-shanked hook and a collar to hold the bait in place.
Soft baits are available in a wide variety of shapes and colors. For largemouth bass it¹s not a bad idea to start with a worm shaped Gulp! or PowerBait in the watermelon color. Bass really like watermelon worms in most Midwest waters.
For walleyes, a three inch Gulp! Minnow Grub or Power Minnow with some chartreuse are good places to start.
If you just want to get bit when you¹re fishing in the next few weeks and months, and who doesn¹t want to get bit when they¹re fishing, tie a jig tipped with soft bait onto your line and cast it around a weedline. I¹ll bet your desire to get bit is fulfilled.