What is the secret to fishing Lake Guntersville? This is the question I hear every time I enter Mark’s Outdoors. If you come to Guntersville and ask local anglers this question, they’ll most likely respond with “fish the grass”. While this is a very good answer, and sure to produce fish, there are 69,000 acres of grass and most of us don’t have that much time to kill. There is more to fishing grass than tossing your favorite lure into it and reeling it out. I want to help you determine how to eliminate “un-productive” grass, and also what to do with the “good grass” when you find it.
The first thing to learn is how to not waste time on counter-productive grass lines. I was lucky enough to have been taught how to fish this Guntersville grass by a great angler who lived here before the “lake was a lake”. One thing I will never forget while fishing with him was seeing how he picked out productive grass areas. I asked him how he did it, and he told me, “Look at the grass line like it’s a river bank”. He then backed the boat out into the river channel and had me look at the grass line. He then asked, “If that was a bank, would you fish it?” While looking at it I saw a line that had no turns or cuts, and was really straight.
I told him I would not fish a bank that had no contour. He said that contour was the first thing he looks for. When approaching a grass line, look for turns, cuts, indentions, and changes in the texture of the grass. As many of you know, fishing a bank with no changes is not going to yield many fish, but you will find a lot of fish “stacked up” on some type of small change in the contour of such a bank. A good example of a key contour change is fishing a rock bank. You’ll find most of your fish grouped in small areas where “chunk rock” turns to smaller rock, and vise versa. Grass is the same way.
There are two main types of grass on Lake Guntersville. These are Eurasian Milfoil and Hydrilla. If you find these two types mixed together on a grass line, it’s likely you’ll also find fish there. The fish “stack” here for several reasons. One is the food sources which hold here year-round. Also, this dense grass provides protection, and ambush points for big bass.
Milfoil will draw in insects which in turn draw in small bait fish and bream. The famous “Big G Toads” like this mix of grass because it makes ambushing prey easier. The bait fish and bream are easy pickins’, and the grass also provides a great source of oxygen. While Hydrilla and Milfoil have some similarities, their appearance and texture are completely different. Hydrilla is a great filter for the water (as you will notice, the water is clearer where Hydrilla is present), and holds huge numbers of plankton which draws in smaller prey. It also provides great concealment for bass to “lurk” in and out of while setting up ambush points. When you find both of these in the same area, there will always be fish there.
Now, what to do when you finally find that productive grass heaven? There are only a few ways to fish these thick mats. One is the ever-famous “Rat/Frog” fishing technique. I have trips booked months in advance from out-of-state clients who just want to frog fish. This is one of the most exciting types of grass fishing. To fish this technique, I use the Reaction Innovations “Swamp Donkey” in 4 main colors. These colors are black, green, white, and brown. I rig them on a super stiff 7’2″ rod, and a low geared Diawa Steez reel with 50lb+ Suffix braid. I choose to use a low geared reel to help winch the fish out of the grass after they strike. As far as the tweaking I do to my baits for grass fishing, well you’ll just have to come fish with me to find that out!
The next bait I use is “THE JIG”! Fishing a jig is a true test of a fisherman’s patience, but if you can take the time to build your confidence in this bait, it will yield some of the largest bags you have ever taken to the scales. Everyone knows the jig is a “big bass bait” which will not only produce a large number of bites, but also give you the chance to land the fish of a lifetime. I’ve tossed every jig on the market, in every color combo you can think of, and thought I would pass along some tips to save you some time. I start by using a 7’6″ extra heavy rod with a 6.3:1 Diawa Steez reel. I spool my reels with no less than 50lb braid. I have seen clients use lighter braid, and sit in the floor of the boat with the crying towel after breaking off one of those massive “Big G” toads.
As far as my bait of choice, I only use on jig in a couple different colors. Choo-Choo Lures makes one of the best grass jigs I have ever seen. The Titan head 1.5oz jig will push through the grass mat and has a great fall rate. This consistant fall rate is one of the most important things about jig fishing. The fall must be straight down. I use a Net Bait Paca Chunk trailer in black, blue, green pumpkin, and watermelon. I toss it in the small open areas (or “Blow Holes”) the fish have punched out to get to small insects.
Drop your jig in these holes, let it fall to the bottom, pull the jig up a little shake it twice and let it fall again. If you don’t have a hit, move on to the next hole and repeat the process. I have fished miles (and miles) of grass before getting a single bite, but when you get one there will be several fish in the same section. The quality of the bite will quickly make you forget the many acres of grass you had to cover (and the bugs that come along with that grass) to find these huge Lake Guntersville bass.
I hope this will assist you in being more productive when fishing grass on Lake Guntersville. Hopefully, with these tips you’ll land that fish of a lifetime! If you would like to see these tactics and others, be sure to contact us at Fins-N-Grins Freshwater Adventures to get your next adventure started. Good luck, good fishing, and God Bless.