Similar to the jig approach, but tailored for reaching deeper into the slop, punching enables anglers to scare up some mean grass action.
Essentially the beefed-up version of flipping/pitching, punching drives a Texas-rigged plastic right through thick weed mats to reach bass that have wiggled way back into the fortress de flora.
Weights are massive, ranging from 1 to 2 ½ ounces of lead or tungsten escortomh a 3/0 to 5/0 heavy-gauge straight-shank hook with something that will penetrate the mat quickly.
Thick-bodied Beaver- and craw-style baits are your common punching plastics. You can’t go wrong with the conventional wisdom of darker-colored baits for dim days and/or stained water and brighter colors (or at least bright reflective flecks) on sunny days.
However, Florida pro J.T. Kenney finds most of his strikes occur as soon as his bait penetrates a grass mat, so color plays a minimal role in these reaction bites.
One thing’s for certain: Getting that bait through the mat is critical, so experienced punchers use bobber stops to peg their heavy weights. Unrestrained, the weight separates from the bait upon breaching the mat and the bait often gets hung up in the vegetation.
Keeping the package together ensures unified movement.
And when mat thickness is simply overwhelming, Kenney switches to a more-aggressive variation that puts his bait in the toughest of neighborhoods.
“Crashing,” as it’s known, is the ultimate grass invasion, but when it works you might find a really big and really angry bass more than willing to crush the intruder.
“Punching is the preferred method,” Kenney said. “That’s when you can lay the bait gently and quietly, and let it slip right through the mat.
“Crashing is when the mat is so thick on its own, or it’s compressed by wind that you have to throw the bait high in the air to give it momentum to fall through the mat.”
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