Flashback: Cooch’s Sloppy Canopy Tactics on the River

When I'm fishing the matted cover on the Delta, my presentation really depends on the type of slop canopy.

When I'm fishing the matted cover on the Delta, my presentation really depends on the type of slop canopy. Some areas ya have that thick cheese, if there is no elodea below this cheese, it'll punch through quite easily just by pitching to it. Sometimes when ya flip, and it comes to rest, it doesn't fall through. You can shake and shimmy that jig, to where eventually, it will find it's way down. Be prepared, many times a bass will come up and blast that jig on the cheese before it falls through! Some times ya gotta pitch that jig straight up in the air and let it blast through on the fall.

With the dying plant stuff, it gits a little trickier, mostly cause the root system below is all matted up. The current and the wind will push it tighter together, creating a much thicker mass of tangle roots to git through. Finding little holes to shake the jig through is common, other times I will pull line out and bring the jig right to the rod tip, then shove the tip through the 1-2 feet of roots, then release the line(like I was flippen) and pull the rod tip out allowing the jig to fall.(Gotta be ready here though, if the bass are suspended, ever now and then one will grab that jig while yer rod is still buried in the roots! HAR!)

Punching through the live Hyacinth or Perrywinkle is easier than the dead stuff. Since all the leaves and stems are growing straight upwards, you can actually see the water at the base and find many openings to pitch and flip into. Tossing the jig straight up will also work here for getting to those deeper areas 4-8 foot back into the canopy.

And last but not least of the slop canopy cover is the dead and brown lie down tulles. This stuff is much easier to punch through, and will often hold much bigger fish than what you'll find up on the rocks and islands with the other canopy cover. One key to a productive canopy, no matter which variety that you might come across, is the presence of shad fry. Look for the bigger schools roaming on the outer edges. Also keep a close eye out for the little dimples up in the slop itself. Dead give away here, but ya gotta pay close attention. You'll actually see the movement of the bass up underneath this stuff when the shad are present. Many times I believe the bass are up under there feeding on unsuspecting baby bass, gills and the many other varieties of bait forage swimming out there. It's one reason I use the brown/purple jigs so much, simply due to their penchant for gills at this time of year.

Once I've punched through any of this stuff, I will go through several cadences to trigger the strike. Most often, it's just a yo-yo affect. Sometimes a short yo-yo off the bottom, sometimes ya gotta pull it all the way to the canopy cover and let it fall back down. Other times I will find a range from the canopy to the bottom and just shake that jig repeatedly. Other times I will just let it suspend there motionless right off the bottom. Just like any other presentation, you need to try em all and see what the fish want most. Some times, one cadence works better on specific situations versus another, just gotta tinker with it. The key sometimes is to just keep that bait in their strike zone for as long as ya can possibly stand it. You'll git a tell on a day by day how the bass are reacting. Some days they clock it right away, other days ya gotta trigger that bite. And then some days, like any pattern, it ain't gonna work and ya gotta abandon it in that given area and try it somewhere else or not at all.

The absolute best canopy cover is gonna have 4-8 foot of water underneath it. But I've been catching a lot of fish in that 3 pound range were there is 2-4. Much less than two feet, the fish under that little amount of water tend to be very skittish and ya will see them come running out from under the canopy as ya approach it before ever getting a cast on em. Ya do have to be patient and methodical with each Canopy. I'll first fish the outer edges then start to probe deeper towards the back. Don't overlook making repeated casts into various canopy holes in on canopy, especially the deeper canopies. Many times you will find several fish schooled up underneath these deeper roofs of slop.

Also, I don't just limit myself to the jig. I have also been using a 1oz texas rig with a Yamamoto Kreature. Plastic craws work really well too especially the new Flappin Dad from Yamamoto. Reaction Innovations Sweat Beaver has put a few in the boat as has the big Zoom Brush Hog and Roboworm's new Sour Puss and Kraws.

I typically will find a much better bite in cleaner water, than dirty, muddy water. And since the major algae boom has began to clear, the bite is getting better in areas that were divulged with that green floating stuff. The thing here to keep in mind, this floating slop is typically collecting where there is no current. So the water underneath this slop is going to be much clearer than say the water 10 feet away that is rushing in and out with the tides.

Certainly on the outgoing tides, as the tides fall out and become lower around the bank, points and tulle islands, it exposes more of the muddy bottom to the current and stains the water very fast. Toss in the late morning and mid afternoon recreational crowds, and the winds, you can really git an understanding of where the dirty water comes from this time of year. As that water flows outwards and back in again, it will get cleaner as it is run through a lot of the weeds, which act as a filter.

Many of us here on the river like that falling to low tide and the turn around. It exposes where the fish are located. Personally, it makes it easier for me to target them. I too have experienced that the first two hours of that incoming tide, right now, no matter what pattern I'm following, tends to be providing me with the best bite in most of the areas I'm fishing, versus the last 2 hours of the outgoing. But for this punching through the slop bite, this has been good for most all of the day no matter what level the tide is.

Get out there on the river and give this tactic a try. Right now the past three days, with the cooler temps, they have not been so active up underneath these canopies. But as we have some warming days and less wind, this bite will come and go from now through September. It's a gas and ya ought a give it a try!