Life beneath grass mats
As summer kicks in, most of our shallower pike lakes will get covered with a fully grown grass mats. Do not stay away from them, there is plenty of life beneath them.
Fish have no eye lids, so in bright (summer) days they will be looking for shade and cooler water. It is either man-made structure, overhanging trees or most common – grass mats!
Most grass types will grow in sparse stems on the bottom, then form matted canopy on the surface. This will look super dense from above, but there is a lot of water beneath them and a lot of fish will use them as cover and shade. Grass will provide not just shade and cooler water, but also food source for entire food chain. Small vertebrates and crustaceans will provide food for blugills, perch, roach or bream which ultimately serve as food for pike, bass, bigger perch etc...
Vertebrates and crustaceans will provide food for blugills, perch, roach or bream which ultimately serve as food for pike, bass, bigger perch etc
When you look closely to a grass mat, you will see a lot of life happening under it including fish swimming under it as it was open water.
As a competitive bass angler I learned to fish grass mats with heavy texas rigs and frogs, then applied the same techiques to pike fish with extraordinary success, constantly catching fish in our local pike tournaments.
Big Pike smashed my 3D Walk Frog on the grass edge in dusk. On low light days fish will tend use grass edges to ambush fish. On sunny hot days they will tend to go in the middle of a mat and search for best shade.
The thing about fish under the mat is that they are mosty in neutral mood and will bite lure even on hottest sunniest days, when fishing is extremely tough.
Usually look for isolated mats as isolated mat will have a higher percentage chance of your cast being close to predator. In wast grass fields, predators can be anywhere so it is like looking for a needle in haystack.
3D Walk Frog smashed!
A smaller isolated mat near cut bank is most likely to hold fish and therefore your cast in this target is likely to trigger a strike. With time you get to read mats well and get to a point of calling your shots basically knowing where you will get a strike.
Punching mats is a techique in which heavy weight on a texas rigged Reaction Crayfish of Ribworms used to ”Punch” thru surface canopy and get your lure under the mat in front of predators. Frog fishing with 3D Walk or Pop frog and 3D Fruck is surface fishing above mats and little holes pike and bass use as ambush points. Be aware that pike and epecially bass will blow up thru thinner mats to get your frog. It is an adrenline rush!
You know the spot is right as there is so much grass on the fish!
The key is to determine eaach day is the fish willing to strike on the surface or you need to get your bait down to them. Also how active is the fish. Sometimes fish will swim on the other side of mat to grab your lure, other times you have to slow down and make several presentations to a likely spot and make your fish eat it.
On ho sunny days use ¾ to 1,5 oz weights to get to your fish as they will go under thickest mats and under mats under shaded trees
On sunny hot days they will tend to go in the middle of a mat and search for best shade. On cloudy days however, fish will tend to be on edges looking out for their meal, so treble hooked topwaters like 3D Bat, Smash Tail or Pop walker will triger those fish, or you can use soft plastic swimbaits like 3D Goby, River Roach, Herring or hard bait ones like 3D Shine Glide or 3D Hard pike
Most anglers look for nice holes in the grass. I mostly look for best mats and fish in the middle of them....
In this blogpost I just wanted to emphasise fishing potential of grass mats especially in dog days ahead of us, as a lot of pike anglers are not really aware of how much life there is going on beneath grass mats. Grass is life!