As the water warms up, vegetation starts to impact weed growth, creating a jungle for all! These weeds hold a ton of aquatic life from plankton, different insect larvae, minnows, baitfish, and of course all kinds of predators. Something is missing on that list and that some something is anglers. Although these areas can be frustrating with snags, (like your trying to golf your way out of a bunker), the rewards can be amazing.
BIG FISH LIVE HERE!
Some of the thickest walleye, pike and perch we have caught this time of season are calling these areas home. Many of these fish don’t leave these areas and spend their entire summer season here, because it’s like an all-day buffet! These predators that live in the jungle are ready to pounce at anything that falls in their way. Therefore the “reaction bite.”
WHAT TO USE
When fishing these areas your triggering fish that are ready to attack almost anything that moves. My favourite way to fish these weedy areas is with artificial plastics. They have been by far the most efficient and effective method I have used in these areas. To be honest I got the idea of using this approach just by watching its effectiveness on bass. Being in Alberta we don’t have bass but I knew with a little experimenting we could make a tactic that would work on pike, walleye and perch. The beauty of this is that you can catch all three in this area throughout the day.
MODERN DAY PLASTICS
It’s amazing to look back and realize how far plastics have come from the original twister grub. The introduction of so many different styles, shapes, colours, lengths, scents and actions has really been a game changer in the fishing industry. No matter where I’m fishing, or what I’m after, I always have my wide assortment of plastics on board.
This all started when I was pre–fishing a walleye tournament on Lesser Slave Lake years ago. The water was extremely high that year and it made lots of areas “that would normally be to shallow/weedy to hold fish” plenty deep. While pre–fishing tournaments I try to cover ground quickly and effectively pulling spinner rigs and crankbaits, trying to locate better size fish to key in on. Trying to do this around big weed patches is probably the most frustrating fishing I have done.
Catch a fish -loose a lure- snag a weed- loose a bouncer – break your line- all that can happen in five minutes running that approach in these areas.
Having forgot minnows at camp I decided to run a four inch Gulp minnow on a jig head and flip it in and around the patches of weeds. It wasn’t long and I was catching sizeable walleye that would be above average for that tournament. After leaving these areas be for the remainder of the week I went in on the tournament days and ended up placing in the top ten.
After spending two hard days grinding those areas, I caught bonus perch and some nice pike. Knowing I wasn’t using much of a perch sized lure that day, I kept a mental note to try some small stuff one day in these patches. I still have many of these waypoints left on my fish finder waiting for that rare high–water year to head back and fish these hidden gems.
GO SNAG FREE IF POSSIBLE
The most important thing on this tactic is to properly attach your plastic to your jig to make it snag free.
If you look closely in the picture you will see how I go through the tip and into the back of the baits without pushing the tip of the hook through. This will eliminate tons of snags for you and allow you to jig and flip into the thickest areas. It’s very important while fishing for perch that you make sure the point of your hook is just or almost coming out of the plastic. It’s hard to get hook penetration otherwise with the small lure and small fish.
As for plastic selection I have my favorites like I’m sure all of you have as well. There are so many good options out there it’s a great idea to experiment with brands, shapes, sizes and colours. For walleye my go to’s would be the Kalins Sizmic Jerk shad , Berkley Gulp Black Shad, and the new Roadside Minnow Predator baits. All these ranging from three to five inches.
For pike I like to use bigger profile five to eight inch baits Like the P–line Kicker Minnow and anything else with a big profile. Your preference of jig head colour or brand is debatable I suggest you use a longer shank hook for better penetration and hook ups.
One thing I introduced into my arsenal last year was the new Kalins Google eye Rattlin jighead. Adding the additional small rattle to this system proved itself quickly. I truly believe it’s not always easy for the predators to locate the prey in the jungled areas that little extra rattle helps. For the perch I use small tungsten jigs like Acme or Fiskas. I tip Them with the new Roadside minnow panfish plastics. These are all infused scented baits that are an amazing breakthrough in the fishing industry. They were also key all winter long for perch fishing as well. They are a great option when you don’t have or can’t find bait.
STEALTH IS IMPORTANT!
Always be quiet in these areas set your anchor in quietly or if your using a trolling motor go very slow and keep it just below the surface. From sun–up focus on the shallow side of these areas, anywhere from four to eight feet. As the day goes on, I might move to the deeper side. In saying that let the fish tell you what’s up. A lot of times you don’t have to move at all. As for pike if you want the real lunkers of the jungle focus on the outside edge on the deep side of these areas and flip and jig the big stuff.
Summertime is the right time for artificial plastics, a lethal combination with weed growth.