Scott Canterbury is an FLW Pro Tour fisherman and is very good. He came in second in the FLW Championship at Lake Lanier this year and has won over $650,000 in tournaments in the past five years. He fishes Guntersville a lot and likes catching bass in grass mats on frogs and rats.
Scott gave me some tips on fishing the mats. These tips should help you on Guntersville and any other lake with grass mats and bass.
A rat and a frog are very similar baits. Both are hollow body plastic baits with double hooks that wrap around and sit close to the back of the body. They both float and work over the grass without hanging up too much. A rat usually has a long tail while a frog has two legs on the back made of plastic or strands of rubber. They also may be colored differently. Both come in many colors.
Scott likes either a black or a white lure and says color really doesn't make much difference. He likes the Jakall IOBee Frog for fishing mats thick mats. If the grass is fairly thin or you are fishing lily pads, Scott likes a popping frog, one with a concave mouth at the front to make it spit water and pop and gurgle.
A heavy rod with a light tip to help work the frog or rat, but it has to have a lot of backbone to pull in the bass and wad of grass that usually comes with them. A strong bait casting reel loaded with 65 pound test braid line gives you the power to crank in the fish and the braid will cut through grass and is strong enough to pull in the fish and grass.
Calm sunny days are best for fishing frogs and rats on mats. Scott says boat wakes running through the grass will mess it up for a few minutes but steady waves keep the fish from finding the bait. If it is windy, find protected bays where the grass does not have waves going into it.
Where To Fish
Any grass can hold fish but the thicker the mat the better. Grass beds near deeper water seem to hold bigger bass. A grass bed just off a creek channel or the old river channel where the bass have easy access to their deeper sanctuaries is good.
How To Fish Grass Mats
When you approach a grass mat stay out from it and cast across it. Work your bait fairly fast but Scott says many fish too fast. Use a steady jerking cadence to make the bait dance on top of the grass, moving it a couple of inches with each pull. watch for holes in the grass and work your bait through them. Scott says these are blowup holes where bass have fed, so there might be one still nearby.
When To Set the Hook
Many people miss hits in the grass. When a bass explodes it is hard not to immediately set the hook, but if you do you will usually pull it away from the fish. If you wait too long the bass will feel the pull of the line and spit out the frog.
Scott says he keeps his rod tip down. When a fish takes his bait he raises the rod tip and sets the hook if the fish is moving off with the bait. If it is not moving off he slowly reels down until he feels weight and if he does he sets the hook.
Fishing grass mats with rats and frogs is exciting and you can catch some big fish. Give it a try if your lake has grass mats, or travel to a lake like Guntersville to get in on some great fishing.