Summer Shallow Slop
by Justin Ball, Pro-Angler and Pro-Staff for ADDYA Outdoors
As summer is in full swing here in Florida, most people think the fish go deep or look for docks to hide under. I find that chasing natural, shallow, floating vegetation can and will hold bigger and more fish, especially during those afternoon thunderstorms. See during the warm water months, we tend to get oxygen depletion and salt water intrusion here on the St. John’s River, in the deeper water. Those conditions push the fish into the shallows.
When fishing this shallow vegetation you have a multiple options depending on the type of slop you’ve found. My personal favorite is this stuff we call duckweed. It’s a small clover like weed that patches together into large floating mats, and tends to gather in the backs of canals and feeder creek mouths. I personally love fishing this for the blow up factor. Nothing like dragging a frog across the top of this and seeing it blown sky high, that strike excites all of us. I also like to pitch a lightly weighted (1/16th oz. or less) or weightless, fluke or trick worm into and holes I see in the mat, and any hole made by a missed frog blow up usually produces a fish if you get that bait in there quick. Another type of flotsam is what we here locally call torpedo grass. It’s a floating grass that grows off the bank to cover large areas of shallow water. This is a completely different animal to fish. Here you need to figure out where the fish are staged before you choose your approach. I normally take a shot at the outside edge with a weightless soft plastic first, making sure to hit and irregularity in the weed line. Such as any indentions in the line or any random point with a current passing by, fish tend to use those as ambush points. If that approach doesn’t produce your next best idea is to break out the tungsten and the flipping stick. Start by flipping close to the weed edge then work your way back into the slop. If this doesn’t produce either, your last option is to crank parallel to the margins of the grass, I like a lipless in this situation. Something you can rip out if you get tangled in detached grass.
Hope you found this slightly educational and you use a few of these techniques next time you run across floating grass and weed mats.