To a lot of people fishing in weeds is a true pain. They would rather poke their eyes out than deal with this nasty stuff.
To others though, weeds represent the rainbow in which the pot of gold i.e. the fish they are after, lies beneath.
This blog is about one weed type, Cabbage Weed, often referred to as Pond Weed (or vice-versa).
To me, Cabbage is one of the easiest weeds to fish. Reason being, it usually grows sparsely (room between each strand) and its course in that it doesn’t always break apart fouling up your bait.
Cabbage weed is a top cover type for Northern Pike, Muskie, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass.
Of the aforementioned 5 species, to me, the Pike, Muskie, Walleye, and Smallies are drawn to Cabbage much more so than the Largemouth. I believe Largies are opportunists and will take any weed type that is available… not really a preference; especially Cabbage. The others though, I also believe they absolutely Love Cabbage and will often take it over any and all other types of weeds.
HOW TO FISH CABBAGE
You can pretty much throw everything into a Cabbage bed since, as I mentioned before, it’s tough and coarse. I love either inline spinners or spinner-baits in Cabbage… they come through relatively easy and create excellent reaction bites from all species. By keeping the bait high in the water column, it greatly increases the chance of pulling the hooks through the weed bed and keeping them completely clean.
Topwater lures also work well in Cabbage, so long as the tips of the weeds are underwater. It these tips are on the surface, then a weedless topwater will work. Remember to give the fish a second to pull the lure under and then set hard and try to pull the fish back to the surface (easier said than done).
Swimbaits present a different shape of lure to Cabbage dwellers and will often produce heavy strikes. By having a single hook, these baits are perfect for Cabbage. A medium speed retrieve with the odd stop and go is perfect.
Squarebill or shallow diving crankbaits are very effective in Cabbage, the angler just has to be patient in working the bait down and through the strands of weeds. Deeper divers work as well but they will foul up driving you insane.
Lastly, a jig of any type will work wonders in Cabbage. From a ¼ ounce curly-tail for Walleye to an bucktail for Muskie, Pike & Walleye. Using a strong rod and braided line, lift and drop the jig into open pockets. When you encounter weeds with the jig, rip it straight up with about 75% of your forearm strength. This will often pop the jig off the weed it’s trying to hang into and as well will often clean the jig from weed parts that ripped off of the main stem.
Remember, weeds are an angler’s friend, especially Cabbage. They hold fish and with some persistence, are possible to be fished effectively from above.