Bass Fishing Lily Pads | Find High-Percentage Spots

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Most anglers have encountered it — an expanse of lily pads that has you scratching your head about where to start looking. Well, we have the answer. Pro bass angler Bob Downey shares his methodology for bass fishing lily pads, which starts with finding them. Downey teaches how to identify the highest percentage areas of lily pad beds and the best rod setup and tackle for fighting bass out of the jungle.

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  • Isolation is King: Downey notes that targeting isolated chunks of lily pads can boost your chances of encountering fish during the heat of summer. Such isolated patches function similarly to fishing isolated wood or grass patches on vast flats.
  • Where to Aim: According to Downey, while extensive lily pad patches, equivalent to the size of a football field, do harbor fish, they present challenges in locating the precise spots. Opting for isolated patches can make the task more manageable, akin to fishing a remote patch of grass amid a vast flat.
  • Revisit the Catch Spot: Downey emphasizes the importance of casting repeatedly into a spot where you’ve contacted a fish. The rationale? There’s usually more than one fish in that location, drawn there for reasons such as sheltered hollows under the pads or the presence of baitfish.
  • A 3/4 ounce to an ounce tungsten flipping weight
  • A bobber stop to peg the weight and a 4/0 straight shank flipping hook
  • A beaver-profile bait with minimal appendages for efficient penetration through and out of the grass
  • A smooth (equates to quiet) 50-pound braid
  • A medium-heavy to heavy power moderate fast rod to drive hooks home and keep bass buttoned
  • A high-speed reel with large handles for winching bass from heavy cover

Downey found that isolated lily pad patches consistently proved to be the high-percentage areas in an expansive bay replete with matted grass. These patches often provide a clear canopy beneath, making them optimal feeding zones. Downey points out edges, points, and inside turns where vegetation types transition are good starting points when confronted with vast stretches of intimidating vegetation.