3 Lessons For Bass Success in Late-Summer Milfoil

milfoil

In late summer, look for milfoil with minimal undergrowthDave Wolak

Retie Often - I choose to use braid more often than not in heavy milfoil, even if the water is clear. But I've learned the importance of retying the hard way. Dense grass has all kinds of abrasive stuff below it like rock and shells, and in many locations you're dealing with zebra mussels both on the bottom and attached to the grass your line is zipping through. This stuff frays braid in small doses until one big zero-stretch hook set with an extra heavy rod straight up breaks the line. One thing I do often is check my line after it dries for a few minutes, like after a boat run from spot to spot. The frayed/weak areas will show up as light spots on your colored braid.

Look For Bottom – Most of the grass has matured by late summer, making clean bottom under the grass a commodity. I look for actual bottom without undergrowth below the best canopies. This gives the bass some room to roam and stalk prey, as well as a choice of what to gravitate to depending on what feels more suitable at the time. For me it's more of a late summer fall thing to key on the bald areas. Conversely, the lack of overall grass in spring makes dense patches more suitable. Most importantly, the bald spots below the milfoil give you the ability to have your baits be seen amongst the sea of grass.

Stay Put & Fish Close – I see too many anglers quickly leave a grass patch where they just got a bite. That's a big no-no in late summer. By this time of year, the bass have had plenty of time to differentiate the opportunities presented in various grass beds. Therefore, if you catch one, there's likely many more settled in. Another common mistake is pitching baits too far. Long casts often impede the action of a bait falling through the grass. Plus, it's hard to get the hook set leverage they need from a distance, resulting in lost fish. My advice is to sneak into a good patch of grass, give it some time to settle, make minimal noise, and don't be afraid to pitch right around the boat. I'm always surprised how close some of the biggest bass I land are holding.