Modify your frog and throw it with the right tackle

About the author

Michael Iaconelli

Michael Iaconelli

Michael Iaconelli is the only angler to have won the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year and B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

I would never have caught the fish I did on Oneida fishing a frog out of the package, even one as good as the Snag Proof Ish’s Phat Frog. And I want to tell you that Ish Monroe gets a lot of the credit for what I’m about to tell you. He developed most of these modifications and was generous to share them with me.

First thing is to turn the hooks out. You’ll miss fish if the hook points are perfectly flush with the body. Open them just a little — not too much — and you’ll hook darn near every fish that bites.

The next thing you need to do is trim the legs. This is really important. The Phat Frog has Living Rubber strands that extend out a ways. I cut about an inch off of them but at an angle.

If you’re looking at the frog from the top, think about cutting the legs from 4 o’clock to 11 o’clock with the shortest part to the outside. When you’re done, you should have a kind of triangle shape with the middle point at the center of the frog’s butt. Make sure you use a sharp pair of scissors. You want the cuts clean and neat.

What that does is make the legs a little more compact but at the same time lets them flair out more. It’ll also make it easier to walk when you get to open water. It really improves the appearance of the bait.

Make your line tie — 65-pound-test Spiderwire braid in my case — directly to the eye using a Palomar knot. Make sure the line runs perfectly straight off the eye. This lets you control the frog with intuitive rod movements. (I don’t believe in making this sport any more complicated than it already is.)

Your rod choice is a special subject as far as I’m concerned. Let me say right up front that a lot of what you’ve been told about frog rods is bunk. It’s worse than worthless. It hurts your fishing. You do not need a super-heavy, stiff rod to frog fish. Broomsticks are great for sweeping floors. They are not so great for throwing frogs.

I use a 7-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy Abu Garcia Veritas rod with a flexible tip on it. That type of tip helps me put action on the frog with very little effort and with a slack line. My frog reel is an Abu Garcia Revo (7.1:1 gear ratio.)

My frog at Oneida was all black. That’s what worked for me. I’m not comfortable saying too much about color because I don’t have enough experience to be sure I’m telling you right. I will suggest, however, that you throw something that gives you confidence. Maybe in a year or so I’ll be able to be more specific.

Oneida was really cool. I love learning about new ways to catch bass.

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