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Harvesting Bass in the Grass: So Much Grass, So Little Time

The Potomac River has a special place in the BASSMASTER memories of Team Skeeter/Yamaha pro Kelly Jordon. His first tour event was in 1996 on the Potomac and he caught a 4 pounder on his first cast.

“The Potomac is like a lot of places in the south with a lot of grass and I like to search for fish with the grass frog or a big buzzbait. I also cover water with a spinnerbait and crankbait according to depth of water over the grass”. After that, Jordon settles in with a big Lake Fork Craw Tube Texas rigged on a 3/16-3/4 ounce weight on 50-pound Spiderwire. But before he even makes a cast, he evaluates large grassbeds to find a pattern that he can take to another smaller area of grass.

A 3/8-ounce tandem willow spinnerbait with a white or white chartreuse skirt allows Jordon to cover a variety of depths. He goes to smaller blades in the spring and bigger as the year progresses.

“I am trying to match the size of the baitfish. Slow roll this bait near the top and wake it on the grass edges.”

For trailer hooks on spinnerbaits, he heats the eye of the spinnerbait trailer hook on a candle and squeezes with pliers, lets it cool. Jordon says this eliminates the rubber and without the rubber, the hook swings and doesn’t allow the fish to get leverage or slip when the hook gets tight to it.

“Early and late in the year, the Lucky Craft LVR D-7 lipless crankbait thrown around grass up to 7 feet deep will cover just about every depth of Potomac grassbeds.” Jordon feels the grass then rips the bait free on a medium to medium heavy 7-foot rod. He replaces the stock hooks with Gamakatsu EWG treble hooks because of their wider gap. In the spring, he throws red and craws. In the fall, he opts for the chrome and baitfish colors. Braided Spiderwire Stealth helps rip baits out of the grass.

For fishing 2-4 feet, Lucky Craft’s CB 200 is a wobbler crank that is great around grass…it comes through grass, and can be fished through the falling tides. He ties directly to the Lucky Ring…”You don’t have to worry about where the “split“ is because the oval ring keeps it to one side.” A Kelly Jordon crankbait tip!!! Always remove any paint overspray on hook hangers to keep the split rings from binding up. This gives the bait a better action.

For locators on top, he goes to the Lucky Craft Sammy. This walking bait comes in 5 sizes to match the hatch. The G-Splash popper comes in 2 sizes. This bait walks and spits. “Start in the morning and stay ‘till it quits. Try top water in the middle of the day…big fish are caught this way.” He throws this bait on 14-17 pound test green Spiderwire Super mono because it is easy to cast on a medium action 7-foot rod or 5 1/2 –6 foot pistol grip. He makes long casts to target fish far away from the boat to avoid spooking them.

“The big grassbeds have the most fish, but people are intimidated by the grass beds and where to start. Most anglers make the mistake of being overwhelmed by the size of the grass beds on the Potomac. They are too big and you can’t cover the whole thing. You have to pay attention to the differences.”

Jordon notes that the first Potomac River difference is that you need to fish down current to the points of grass and the calm side of the ditches. At this point he tries to figure out how the fish relate to tide. Once patterned, he picks another spot and tries to duplicate this in another area with a grassbed that is smaller.

Jordan prefers a soft plastic jerkbait to tell him where the fish are positioned. The Lake Fork Tackle Magic Shad walked on top rigged with a 3/0-5/0 EWG Gamakatsu hook allows him to cover water that is fairly clear. He uses Golden Brim with a black back on 20-pound Vanish Fluorocarbon on a Fenwick 7 ft med or medium heavy (in thick cover) rod and a Torno T3006 High Speed reel.

He works this bait early and late in the day even longer if it is windy or cloudy. The Vanish line sinks allowing him to work it on windy days. He can really cover water with this bait. “If you miss a blow up, cast this bait and let it sink...this is one of the best ways to cover grass.”

Once his power baits have located fish, he casts and pulls baits up and over grass, pounding the area with Texas rigs with lighter 3/16 ounce weights in the spring and heavier in the fall where he wants a quick drop. He will even go to dead-sticking soft plastics when they quit hitting the power baits.

Jordon says the key to grassbeds is not to get overwhelmed. Break them down and seek out smaller grassbeds with similar patterns.
Jordon’s grass strategy:

Start on the grass points

Move to ditches or guts

Check out matted grass…and grass just below the surface.

Look for holes look for larger bald spots

Look for clumpier grass

Any other edges

Shell beds where grass does not grow

Try the inside edge.

Look for moving or breaking fish.

Isolated clumps

Pay attention to how deep the grass is when you catch a fish. Are the fish suspended or on the bottom

Kelly Jordon has 2 wins on the BASSMASTERS Tour. He has appeared in 3 Classics (including 24th this year) with his highest finish 20th. He has 8 top ten finishes. He fished this year’s FLW Jacob’s Cup and has won nearly $350,000 as a pro.

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