Punching could arguably be one of the most-fun ways to catch bass. There is just nothing like having to wench a fish out of thick cover. 

Covington’s Jeff Bruhl punches the Pearl River this time of year, and certainly catches some nice fish doing it.

His choice of weapon is a 1-ounce Stanley wedge weight with a punch skirt and a Pit Boss plastic on a 5/0 Gamakatsu Superline straight-shank hook.

But Bruhl looks for a certain type of vegetation to punch, finding it to be more productive than others.

“Hyacinths and alligator grass in January and February will start to bud out, and it will have a pretty good mat underneath it,” Bruhl said.

Fishing grass mats is similar to fishing the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, where you have to figure out where the trout are relative to the piling. Similarly, you have to figure out where the fish are relative to a grass mat.

“Some days they are on the very first part of the mat where it drops off to the ledge in 3 to 5 feet of water, or they might be up on a stump or a laydown in 2 feet of water,” Bruhl said.

Fishing near deep water is a must during February, according to Bruhl.

“Usually in February — right in the middle of the winter — you want some deep water nearby, especially on the middle and east rivers,” Bruhl said. “A lot of times when you have a ledge and it drops off to 18-feet you will catch a lot, but the bigger fish will be right under the mats next to that deep water because they are going to move up under the mat when it is sunny and warm.

“Then, when it gets cold they will drop down to the deeper water.” 

Bruhl said he tends to catch bigger fish punching mats as opposed to throwing worms and spinnerbaits in the wooded and marsh areas of the Pearl River.