Punching for Bass

Punching for bass is one of the best techniques for triggering big bass to bite. It’s also a great method to use when other techniques are not producing. There are times when a lot of bass will be buried in thick vegetation, and using a punch rig is one of the only ways to pull them out of there.

Before we dive, or should I say “punch” into this style of fishing, let’s talk about what the term “punching” means. For those who don’t know, the bass fishing definition of the word punching is the action of plunging a lure through thick surface weeds to get it to the bass hiding below. Underneath the surface, weeds are desirable areas for fish to hide, so getting your bait there can be extremely rewarding.

Best Punch Rigs

Punching for bass is basically a bait that is specifically designed to get through thick surface vegetation to present itself to the fish below. The key is to use the lightest weight you can get away with that will get through the weeds efficiently. There are three main types of punch rigs so let us take a look at each one.

Creature Baits Texas Rigged

This consists of a soft plastic creature bait that is Texas rigged with a strong hook and heavy bullet-style weight. These weights are usually made of tungsten and are often referred to as flipping weights.

They will typically be in the three-quarter to sometimes as much as the two-ounce range. The weight you choose is determined by how thick the weeds are that you are punching.

Punch Jigs

These are much heavier than standard bass jigs, usually weighing in the ounce or more range. These jigs will typically have a bullet-shaped head that allows the jig to penetrate through vegetation better.

The weed guard on these jigs will be a sharper angle than on conventional jigs, giving them a more compact design to get through the weeds easier. Like most bass jigs, they are usually rigged up with a soft plastic trailer.

Punch Skirts

Punch skirts are popular because they are similar to a punching jig but have a straighter profile. This helps this style of rig get through the vegetation easier than a punching jig. When the bait hits the bottom, the skirt will flair out giving it a nice presentation. Punch skirt rigs are also paired up with a soft plastic trailer.

Punching Mats

You will often hear bass fishermen talking about “punching mats” “grass mats” or “matted vegetation.” When kayak bass anglers talk about mats, they are referring to any kind of surface vegetation. Those are the two components that make up a good mat for punching.

They can come and go as the seasons change and will sometimes provide a better source of cover for fish. It really depends on where you are located and the kind of vegetation that is growing.

Sometimes you can find weeds like hydrilla that grow so long that they fold over and lay flat. Of course not all bodies of water provide good punching vegetation, so do your homework before heading out. Mats are created when weeds die, break off from the bottom, and float to the surface. Then wind or current will push the weeds together against something somewhat stationary in the water like the water’s edge. The floating weeds keep building up and create a very nice mat for punching.

Bass love sitting under thick mats of vegetation, especially when there are nice defined edges with open water abutting them. Bass will use these areas for hiding in and ambushing prey like baitfish and crayfish. They also provide protection from sunlight; a bass’s eyes don’t adjust to the sunlight like ours do so they are always looking for shade on bright sunny days.

Pitching Punch Rigs

Punching is done with a very popular technique called flipping and pitching. This is a style of fishing used when you are fishing very close to the cover you are targeting, and by close I mean usually less than ten feet. When you approach a target that you want to flip or pitch a punch rig to, you want to get close enough that you can comfortably get your bait to quietly get into the vegetation. Because you are fishing so close to the bass remaining as stealthy as possible is very important.

With that said, bass feel very safe in thick vegetation, and that’s why you are able to get so close. The main reason is that they can’t see you. Loud and/or unnatural noises can quickly turn into a dead zone.

One of the biggest causes of this is the weight hitting the side of the kayak upon the retrieve. When you are pulling your bait out of the weeds, it’s important not to load up pressure on the rod. If the bait suddenly springs loose, it can come back at you very fast and hit the kayak. A sound like this will quickly spook the surrounding bass, and the weary bass isn’t interested in eating.

Flipping Punch Rigs

Once you flip or pitch into the vegetation, the goal is to have the punch rig sink to the bottom as fast as possible. This fast sinking action is what can cause a reaction strike and the reason why punching catches huge fish. The bass doesn’t have time to inspect the bait; they just react to the motion and attack it before it hits the bottom. A good amount of strikes will happen this way so you need to be in a position to set the hook the second that bait hits the water.

If the punch rig hits the bottom without getting hit, let it sit for a few seconds then pop it up from the bottom and sink back down. You should pop it up and down like this a few times before reeling it back in and flipping it to a different spot in the vegetation. Flipping punch rigs is pretty much repeating this process over and over again.

It’s important to be thorough when working a mat of vegetation by punching the bait through in many different sections. Because you don’t know what the weeds look like under the mat, the bass might not be seeing the bait in certain areas, even if it’s only a few feet away. It’s not uncommon to punch a bait in one spot and not get bit, then punch two feet to the right and then get bit. Throwing these heavy baits and horsing fish out of thick weeds requires a heavy-duty setup. For more information on selecting the best punching rod for this style visit 13 Fishing.

Punching for bass can be very rewarding especially when the weather is hot. So grab your favorite flipping and punching rigs and start PUNCHING.

For More Content

Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to our Youtube Channel as well for more content.