Punching heavy mats of vegetation for bass is a technique that isn't completely new as anglers have relied on this technique to present their soft plastic lure in the heavily vegetated waters of Florida. The popularity of mat punching has taken hold of anglers from California to Texas and now here in the upper Midwest. This technique will prove to be very effective on our lakes as the vegetation grows and get's very dense through the summer months.
What makes mat punching so unique and versatile for bass anglers is that you can present a small plastic bait in the thickest and nastiest cover you will find in a lake. The term punching comes from the fact that anglers use a heavy tungsten sinker to break through the vegetation as it becomes matted.
One of the unique components to a mat punching rig is the skirt that gets placed on your line between your weight and the hook. To rig the skirt, an angler just has to run the line through the center of the skirt after you have put your weight on the line and then tie your hook on. Why a punching skirt helps out this technique is it helps create a canopy in front of your plastic bait as it passes through the heavy vegetation. It also helps attract the bass to your lure as it is in the heavy cover.
If you are looking to give mat punching a try this year on your favorite body of water here is a list of suggested equipment:
- 7'6" to 8' heavy action rod: a rod with a soft tip, but strong back bone is crucial to helping you present your rig effectively, but at the same time getting the bass out of the cover, I recommend the Wright & McGill Skeet Reese 8' flippin rod.
- Bobber stop: to keep your sinker in place at the head of your mat punching rig, just thread a common bobber stop on to your line.
- 1/2 oz. to 1 1/2 oz. Tru-Tungsten flippin weight: the weight of the sinker will depend on the density of cover you need to get through and the depth of water you are fishing.
- Mat punching skirt, such as an RC Tackle Mat Punchas skirt:: the color of the skirt will depend on the water clarity and color of your plastic bait
- 4/0 or 5/0 TROKAR Flippin' Hook: a sharp hook is needed for getting the best possible hook up with a big bass in heavy cover and the TROKAR is the sharpest hook available. These flipping hooks also feature a plastic keeper bard to make sure your bait stays in place.
- Plastic bait: the plastic bait an angler choose is a personal choice, but it is important to remember you want to use a bait that is small and compact so it can easily slide through the heavy cover. Some of my favorite choices include small craws and beavers.
This spring before the bass season opens up, stock up on your bass gear and get prepared for some intense bass fishing action when you go mat punching for big bass!!
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