Bump and Run
By Jim Saric: In early season, as water temperatures rapidly rise, weed growth commonly accelerates at an equally fast pace. It seems you go from sparse weeds on flats and in bays to thicker clumps. As the weed clumps grow they begin to connect and soon you are left with pockets in large weed areas. These weed areas are perfect for baitfish to hide and avoid predators. Likewise, they offer excellent opportunities for muskies to feed!
There are lots of lure that can catch muskies in these newly emergent weed beds. Everything from in-line spinners to topwater lures can have their particular day. Further, as the weeds get thicker, the muskies may change from cruising across a scattered flat with limited weed growth to holding inside a weed pocket or along a turn along the weed edge. Therefore, as the weeds get thicker some lures may not be as effective.
One piece of advice that was given to me that I always remember is to make a conscience effort to bump the weed cover. There is just something special about bumping the weed cover and having the lure run freely from the weeds only to be inhaled by a musky. Just consider how many times you may have had your lure get hung momentarily in the weeds, ripped your rod tip and freed the lure, and instantly had a bone-jarring strike! Why not try and replicate that situation with more regularity?
When fishing in-line spinners when weed growth is limited, retrieve them at a speed where they will occasionally make contact with the cover. Likewise, when fishing a minnowbait or jerkbait around patches of weed cover, purposely try and make contact with the weed cover and use your rod tip and no-stretch braided line to explode the weeds from the lure. Any musky sitting in an ambush position will often respond and strike the lure. Even when weed growth gets thicker and you are focusing on pockets and fishing either a spinner bait or a soft plastic and letting the lure sink into the pockets, be sure and bump and run through the cover. Sure, you’ll have lots of casts where the lure is hung in the weed cover at some point during the retrieve, but if you can work the lure through a few good pockets and bump the weed cover, the limited time the lure is running free may be enough to produce a strike.
When faced with ever-changing, early-season weed growth, embrace the change and remember the bump and run strategy to trigger more strikes with any lure.
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