A weed bed is a structure created by a cluster of plants that provides shelter and food for baitfish. And where there’s baitfish, you can often find game fish looking for food. For the best chances of finding game fish, try to find weed beds floating in deeper waters, such as those located near a breakline (a sudden change in the water’s depth), or sunken in open waters.
When looking for shelter, different types of fish like to hide in weeds for various reasons. For example, largemouth bass prefer cabbage beds and shallow-water lily pads because those areas tend to be cooler and provide nice shade. Fish that have light-sensitive eyes, such as walleye, like to hide in thick weed beds that are dark. And as for panfish, they like to hide underneath the plants so larger fish can’t find and eat them.
Even though a lot of fish like to hide in vegetation, they don’t usually stay there. Instead, they use these spots to relax and hang out during different times of the day, or during certain seasons. If they find a spot that offers a lot of food sources, however, they may stick around a bit longer for easy access to meals.
A unique feature of vegetation is that it can provide oxygen. Similar to us, fish need oxygen to live. The best way to tell if an area has good oxygen levels is to check the color of the plants. Those with dark green, crispy-looking leaves generally produce the highest levels of oxygen.
You can check for fish in clumps of weeds by aiming your bait at the edge of the mass to see if you get any bites. You can also try aiming for holes or pockets inside the weed beds. Look for areas that are good hiding places for small fish, but also clear enough for predator fish to see them.
Here are some great choices for lures and baits to use in weed beds: