by Bob Jensen
The weedline is an outstanding location to find fish during any season. As soon as the weedline is established, and even before, predator fish will be there looking for something to eat. There will be fish along the weedline all summer, and lots of anglers like to drill holes in the ice along the weed edge in the winter because they know fish will be cruising the area. In short, pretty much any time of the year that you want to find and catch fish, there will be some along the deep edge of the cabbage weeds that are willing to eat your bait.
In the autumn months, a variety of fish will be lurking along the weedline. You might have a school of crappies suspended just off the edge of the deep weedline. I have fond memories of an afternoon that Mr. Walleye Gary Roach and I spent casting sixteenth-ounce jigs for crappies suspended near the deep edge of the weeds. We could see them dimpling the surface, eating bugs. Keep an eye open for signs of fish feeding on the surface on calm autumn afternoons near the edge of the weedline, cast the appropriately sized bait to them, and prepare to get bit.
Maybe there will be a group of largemouth on a corner of the weedline, and just a little farther down the weedline where the vegetation juts out a bit and forms a point, there could be some walleyes. It’s not unusual to discover a musky or northern pike roaming over the tops of the weeds or along the deep edge. Although there may be more fish grouped tighter in different areas, the deep weedline in the fall will often provide lots of fishing action.
Lots of techniques will take fish along the weedline in the fall, but the 1-2 punch of a crankbait and jig/plastic that’s so productive in the summer can’t be beaten in the autumn either. Position your boat so the deep edge of the weeds is an easy cast away. Tie on a 6.5 Hornet crankbait and start casting. You’ll get bit. The 6.5 Hornet has become the go-to bait for a lot of crankbait enthusiasts. It has a great action that fish really like.
Eventually, the action will slow down. You probably haven’t caught all the fish in the area, you’ve just caught the most aggressive ones. Now is the time to pick up your jig rod. If you’re just looking to get bit and don’t care what species of fish you catch, tie on an eighth-ounce Rock-It Jig and add an Impulse Ringworm. This set-up will catch any fish that swims along the weedline.
If largemouth bass are the target, tie on a Jungle Jig and attach your favorite bulky plastic. There are lots of’em, and everyone who chases bass has their favorite. Just make it a bulky presentation for the biggest bass.
If you want walleyes, or just absolutely want to get bit, tie on an eighth-ounce Fire-Ball Jig and tip it with a four-inch red-tail minnow. If there are walleyes or any other predator fish in the area, they’ll take notice.
As you work along the weedline, you’ll come to points and pockets and irregularities. Position your boat so your casts are parallel to the weedline in these spots. When two anglers are fishing, sometimes it works well to have both anglers in the bow of the boat casting parallel. When the fish are right on the edge of the weeds, your bait will be in the fish zone more of the time.
The weedline can provide lots of fall action. Make sure you’re fishing healthy green weeds and keep moving until you find the fish. You’ll get bit, you’ll have a good time, and that’s why we go fishing.
PHOTO CAPTION—Largemouth bass-like bulky jigs thrown along the weedline in the fall months. That’s how Mike Frisch caught this one.
To see all the most recent episodes of the Fishing the Midwest television series, new fishing-related tips, and fishing articles from the past, go to fishingthemidwest.com If you do Facebook, check us out for a variety of fishing related things.