How many times have you passed by a pond and seen green grass and moss covering the bottom and wondered, do bass even live in that water? How would I even catch them if there were?
Short answer: yes, they live there. And yes, you can catch them.
Put simply, the key to fishing a mossy bottom pond is to fish JUST above the gunk on the bottom. Use nothing with an open hook and beef up your tackle knowing you’ll be pulling in lots of green moss with those big beautiful bass.
Fishing a dropshot rig in grassy bottoms
If there is one secret to take away from this article, it’s fish a dropshot in all local ponds with mossy, gunky bottoms. The dropshot rig is often seen as a deep water technique for summer bass hanging out on humps in the middle of large lakes. And sure, it’s good for that. But it shines in little shallow ponds with nasty, mossy bottoms.
The idea behind a dropshot rig is very simple – the weight sits well below the bait. So when you pull your line across the bottom of the muck and crud on the bottom of the pond, your lure stays just above it while your weight sits in it. Genius right?
Well it’s not QUITE that simple. If you use too heavy of a weight, you’ll sink so far in the moss you won’t be pulling it out. Also, put the bait up too high and you’ll be out of the bass’s sightlines. Too low, the baits in the moss with the weight. It is a balancing act.
For small ponds, I’ve found a ⅛ ball weight is ideal. Like this option from Bass Pro Shops. It’s heavy enough to give you decent casting distance but not so heavy it really falls into moss and makes you pull up the entire bottom of the lake with each cast. Keep in mind, you will be in moss and pull through it, there’s no getting around it. But it shouldn’t be so much your pole is bending at 90 degrees trying to pull your bait from the lake.
Leader length for dropshot fishing
How far up you should put the lure will depend on your area and thickness of the moss or algae, but for most people start with 8 inches and experiment from there. If you pull your bait up and there is green moss or grass covering it, go higher.
You can make other small modifications if you continue to get moss around your bait or get stuck in the mossy bottom. First, a dropshot is traditionally rigged by hooking the nose of the bait only to create maximum action. But if you’re getting stuck in moss or junk every cast, it’s worth it to mimic a texas-rigged weedless presentation on your dropshot to avoid the moss and keep your bait as weedless as possible. Just remember to set the hook a little harder since you will need to pull the hook through the bait and into the fish’s jaw, where as normally this is not an issue.
The Right Technique for Dropshot in Mossy Ponds
Also, a dropshot is generally fished as a very slow process, with a lot of shaking and stopping. When you’re fishing an algae covered bottom, you might not have the opportunity to sit for long and shake without your weight falling further into the gunk.
So instead cast out your lure and don’t let it sit for too long. Let it hit the bottom and try to pull the weight to the top of the moss. Then, lightly twitch your weight across the top of the moss, never sitting still long. Twitch twitch, short pause, twitch again. You’ll effectively have your worm dancing inches above the moss and your weight will never dig in too deep.
The right lures for your dropshot rig
The soft plastics you can pair with a dropshot rig are limitless, but for this type of fishing it’s best to keep it simple and use worms that are long enough they still have some tail action when texas-rigged onto the hook. Something like a straight-tailed worm longer than 5 inches works perfectly, but feel free to mix it up and see what the bass in your pond prefer.
Frog Fishing on a grassy bottomed pond
This is a more popular option for fishing mossy water and anything that has too much algae on the bottom, but for good reason. If the water is so covered in moss, algae, and vegetation that you can’t even throw a bait into the water below it, then just fish on top of it!
Frog fishing is ideal for this type of fishing because the hooks are not exposed to the water and sit on top of the bait. You just skim across the top of the water and wait for a bass to bust from underneath, making the fish do all the work of getting through the moss and algae to earn its meal. It’s one of the most exciting ways to fish and will give you some video-worthy moments.
You should focus on two things when fishing frogs in these situations: make as much disturbance with the frog as possible and don’t set the hook until you feel the fish.
Make a lot noise when frog fishing in grass
If your pond has so much algae and moss that you can’t get to the water underneath it, this means the bass’s senses are severely limited as well. There is a layer of vegetation between your bait and the bass below. Similarly, your frog will not have its normal “walking” action if sitting on top of all the algae sitting on top of the water. So you’re relying on whatever action you give the from to echo through the vegetation all the way down into the water, and getting that bass to swim through it to grab what’s on the other side.
So make noise. You don’t want slight little twitches or small jumps. Throw your frog up into the air and let it hit the top of the water hard. Jump it a foot or two and let it hit the top of algae hard and make a slapping sound. Dart it around like crazy. Make noise. Cause waves. Do something to make that bass notice you and want to come up and have a bite. Too many fisherman just softly slide their frog along and the bass underneath might not even notice the frog is there. Don’t be afraid to make your frog noticeable.
How to set the hook when frog fishing grassy ponds
When you do entice the bass into biting, as hard as it may be, do not pull when you see the swirl. Don’t pull when you see the bass, even. Pull when you feel the tug just start on the end of your line as the bass takes the frog down with it.
Again, remember how many layers of vegetation, algae, moss, and who knows what the bass is coming through to blow up on your frog. If you pull when you just start to see this, you’ll pull the frog long before the bass has even broken the surface. So wait until you feel the bass pull back, and you know it’s in its mouth, before you set the hook. And set the hook hard, because there is a lot of algae and moss in the middle and you need to make sure you get that hook in its jaw.
The beauty of this technique is that the color and type of frog you use almost doesn’t matter at all. Use the most weedless frog you can find – you don’t want exposed hooks that will catch the junk and grass. Color? Who cares. The bass will never see it. Pick whatever is cheapest. Go heavier rather than lighter on weights so that you can make long casts and jump it from spot to spot with ease. Here is my favorite frog for these conditions.
The gear you need to fish mossy bottomed ponds
For both methods described above, it’s important to remember you need to upsize almost all of your gear as well. 6 pound test works fine on a dropshot in clear water, but try pulling a 3 pound bass with 5 pounds of algae out of a pond and have your line break right at the edge. You’ll be wishing you upgraded. I fish up to 12 lb test copolymer on my dropbait rod when I go fishing in algae covered ponds and up to 30 pound braid for frogs. That may be too much, but I’d rather go too heavy and not risk breaking than the other way around.
The same goes for your rod. Medium or medium light rods are recommended for dropshot fishing. If you’re doing it in a moss-covered pond, opt for medium at the lightest or ideally medium heavy. Keep a moderate action if possible to allow for the greatest casting distance, but it is less important.
For frog fishing, don’t bother with anything other than a heavy fast action rod. You need a broomstick to pull fish out of that junk. And you need that fast action so that when you set a hook through all the junk, it goes into the fish’s jaw immediately before it has the chance to spit it out.
With this information, you can go to your local pond that the other fisherman just neglect and absolutely slay bass in numbers. They are often not fished nearly as heavily and you can have an absolute blast pulling in quality fish all day long. Just remember to constantly think of ways you can keep your bait out of the moss. Upsize everything to account for pulling in large quantities of weeds and grass with every cast. And most importantly, go out and have fun fishing!
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