Hunting in Lily Pad Forests

Posted by MNAngler On August - 28 - 2012

I had a chance to go out on my float tube for a few hours on Saturday morning. I hit a lake that I had never fished before, but have had my eye on it for a while. It is across the street from one of the lakes that I used to hit with Mark in our early days of fishing together.

The lake is small, but deep. I rarely see boats at the public access and I think that’s because the more popular lake is across the street and the public access goes through about a 200 ft channel of lily pads. To be honest, that’s what has kept me from exploring the lake as well.

Going through the channel, another angler was there as well. As you can see by the last pic, the lily pads were pretty thick by the launch.


I braved the lily pad forest and it was pretty well worth it. Once in the main part of the lake, the shore is still lined with lily pads all along the shore. The lily pads came out further from shore near the boat launch than other parts of the lake (from what I could tell as I didn’t venture far from the launch).

I first started with the Rage Tail I got from my recent Mystery Tackle Box. I put it on a red 4/0 hook because I couldn’t find the hooks that came with the Mystery Tackle Box. One cast enticed a nice swirl near the surface, but it didn’t hit hard enough for me to hook it. I did notice, though, that it took off one of the Rage Tail’s “arms.”

With so many lily pads, it screamed for a scum frog, so I tried casting that about a dozen times, but didn’t get any takers for that either. With so much success with worms lately, I was anxious to try a worm, but decided to be patient and try some other lures. I put on a jig and pig and hit the weed line. Nothing.

Since I got a nip or two from the Rage Tail, I decided to try the Zoom speed craw. It turned out to be a good idea because I scored my first fish with it, but it was only a 9-incher.

I kept the speed craw on and dropped one of my casts in a sparse area at the forest’s edge. As I bottom bounced it, I felt a strong tug, and I tugged back. Fish on! Except, it stopped fighting. I kept my line taught just in case, and I was rewarded with a couple of tugs. The thing felt like a dead weight, so I was unsure if I was fighting a bass or something else. For several minutes, I felt like I was pulling a giant weed mess, but would get a tug or two here and there to keep my hopes up. During the fight, I paddled away from the lily pads to keep from tangling into anything else. I finally got it to the tube and was rewarded with this chunker:

Species: Largemouth bass
Size: 14-15″
Lure used: Zoom Speed Craw in watermelon candy, texas rigged

I discovered why the fish fought so funny. I hooked it on its belly. I don’t know how that happened because I was bottom bouncing the lure, so I couldn’t have hooked it as it was passing by, especially since the lure was texas rigged. I also know that my lure was at rest when I felt the tug.

I had to estimate the size because as I was trying to get a measurement, the girl did a shimmy shake and got away from me. (I based the size on the next fish. Not a very good picture above. It was decent size, I promise.)

I stuck with the speed craw and landed my third of the day a bit later.

Species: Largemouth bass
Size: 13″
Lure used: Zoom Speed Craw in watermelon candy, texas rigged

With three under my belt, I decided to see what a plastic worm could do. I started with the crawfish orange swirl color I had so much success with recently. Unfortunately, the fish in this lake didn’t like it as much. I got a couple of nips, but nothing of significance.

I switched to a shortened Big Tex Ocho and got a couple of hits good enough to twist the lure, but not enough for me to hook into. Being blanked with the Ocho, I switched to a Big Bite Baits 5″ trick stick in watermelon seed. That didn’t work either.

By now I had made my way back to the lily pad channel as it was almost time for me to go home. I switched back to the Zoom speed craw to see if I could entice one more taker before heading home. I paddled about fifty feet into the channel and dropped the speed craw toward the end of the channel. I felt some ticks, waited for the weight, and set the hook. My drag let out a screech, but the only thing I pulled in was weeds. The amazing thing was that my speed craw was gone. I don’t know how fish do that without fingers.

I did manage to pull in two more 9-inchers before having to call it a day.

Five fish in 2 1/2 hours isn’t bad. I normally wouldn’t count a foul hooked fish except for the unusual situation. What do you think?

I had hoped to get bigger fish, so next time I’ll have to explore some more areas. Do you think bigger fish were lurking in those lily pads? Or would they be out of the pads in deeper weedy areas?

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