By Nick Simonson
At this point in the summer, weedlines have become well established and are the places where food is found by bigger predators bingeing from mid-season on in to fall. Young panfish, this year’s crop of minnows and other smaller prey items abound in the underwater jungle created by the stands of seasonal growth. Knowing how to work the various features of a weedline and how fish relate to the edges, bends, turns and pockets along it will produce more bites and better fishing for the rest of the open water season.
On the Edge
The outer edge of a weedline serves as the barrier between open water and its deeper structure with the warmer shallows. As a natural stopping and cruising point for schooling fish like walleyes, crappies and white bass, trolling or casting along the weedline and just off it is a great starting point to locate fish. Work along the weeds and note areas where fish seem to be relating or stay on top of schools as they move along the green wall.
Gimme a Break
While at first glance, an established weedline may look like a consistent stretch of matted surface vegetation with solid stands of stalks below, there are often areas in the structure where the plants thin out or disappear altogether. Whether caused by a change in bottom composition such as muck turning to sand or rocks, or an occasional rogue boulder breaking up the ideal growing substrate, these are the most obvious places to probe when seeking hungry fish. Here, bass, walleyes and pike, along with desired summertime panfish like crappies and yellow perch will hole up in an attempt to ambush baitfish and other prey items between the stretches of more solid weeds. Work them over with jigs or drop a slip float in each opening to connect with whatever is lying in wait.
Turn the Tide
Areas where weedlines bend with the bottom contour or follow a shallow point or inside turn are places that predators use to pin baitfish up and start a feeding frenzy. Pay attention to those spots where a relatively straight weedline makes a sharp turn in or out and hit them hard with jigs, spinnerbaits or weed-resistant offerings. If the wind is blowing into a pocket formed by those turns, all the better. The movement of the wind-driven water will wash baitfish and other food items into the area, and predators will follow suit, so target those spaces along a weedline which are receiving the full force of the summer breeze.
An often-overlooked aspect of a weedline is the inside edge, and especially early and late in the day this area can hold bass, muskies and pike. What’s more, it makes a fun place to run a topwater like a Poe’s Jackpot or Zara Spook to catch the attention of shallow fish for an explosive strike. Sneak a boat through the weeds and into the shallows behind them and cast offerings parallel to the inside edge and work them back. Odds are there will be some fish still set up there from a night of feeding.
In nearly every lake and reservoir there are countless stretches of weedlines to explore and shifts both subtle and obvious will be a draw to fish throughout the back half of the season along these summertime structures. Knowing where baitfish and predators relate to them this time of year will put more memories on the line…in our outdoors.
Featured Photo: Look for largemouth and other predators patrolling weedlines this time of year. Simonson Photo.