87 frog tips for bassin'

Bassmaster Magazine readers' best frog tips

21. Keep your line afloat

A tip for fishing plastic frogs using braided line: If you apply a silicone dry fly spray or paste to the first 5 feet of the line, it will keep the line floating on the surface, ensuring better hook sets and frog performance. Add the floatant about every 25 casts. To make your frog hop out of the water a foot or so, cut a circle of clear plastic about the size of a quarter out of a plastic lure or hook box. Drill a hole in the center just large enough to slide the plastic over the line tie of the frog. Super Glue it to the nose of the frog. After the cast, give the frog a medium powered jerk and the frog will hop out of the water. Fly tiers have used this trick on their poppers for ages, yet you never hear or see anything about it. Works like a charm, every time.

Wes Brooks, Salinas, Calif.

22. Brace yourself for lifelike action

Use 3/16-inch orthodontics elastics one-third of the way up each leg skirt, doubling the elastic to hold the skirt material tightly together, like a collar on a spinnerbait or jig skirt. Double a third elastic and drop both legs through, pushing the three bands together and forming the appearance of bent legs with flared feet. This is more effective in open water fishing because the leg skirts are banded together, making for a less weedless presentation. The advantage of this alteration is that it makes the frog walk more effectively and look more lifelike!

Jimmy K Gregg, Dayton, Ohio

23. Patience, my friend

When you're fishing a frog or any topwater lure, you have to be incredibly patient not only before a strike but after, too. It can be difficult to remember to let the fish take the lure before setting the hook. I can't count how many times excitement took over when a big bass exploded on my frog, and I jerked it away from the bass before he could really take it.

Rick Simon, Dewittville, N.Y.

24. Shake, rattle and roll

Here are a few tips I have learned over the years to increase your number of strikes and hookups with a frog. The first is to insert rattles into the lure. There are two ways to do this.

  • One way is to pull the skirt material out of the rear of the frog. Insert eight brass rattles made for tube baits into the holes where you pulled the skirt out. Using a piece of 25-pound mono, Super Glue the line to the center of the skirt. Thread the line through the hole you put the rattles in and out the other hole. Pull the line and skirt out to length and cut the line.
  • The next way is the simplest. Cut a small hole in the top rear of the frog. Insert rattles through the cut hole and use silicone to plug the hole. Cut the skirt off 1 inch long on each side. By cutting the skirt to 1 inch, you take away the possibility that on a strike the mat or fish hitting the tail will push the bait away. I use a heat gun or blow dryer to make the bait concave on top, even though the bait is hollow. Start 1/4-inch in front of the hook point and go 1 inch forward. Only concave about 1/4-inch deep.

The bait will be just as weedless, and your hookup ratio will increase. There are two reasons for adding the rattles. They add weight to make the bait sit lower in the mat and also noise to attract fish. Throw your frog into the mat, move it a few inches and shake it in one place. Then move it a few inches and repeat. You have to give the fish time to find the bait in thick mats. These tips only work in thick mats, not open water.

Jimmy Little, Macon, Ga.

25. Give a rat a chance

I use the exact same tactics as Bobby Barrack describes in "Non-Slop Frogging" (March 2008 issue of Bassmaster Magazine) except I use Snag Proof's medium-sized Brown Rat. This lure is my favorite topwater lure of all time and use it everywhere I fish; sometimes it's the only lure I'll use for hours. On a small lake in Patchogue, Long Island, I got a 9-pound bass while fishing from a small one-man boat called a "Lunker Mobile." It pulled me all over the lake for about 10 minutes. I have had great success with this lure no matter where I fish here in New York.

Frank Pennino, Farmingdale, N.Y.

26. Makes scents

I like to squirt a little of Berkley's Power Scent into the hollow cavity of the frog. In my experience, it seems to make the bass hit harder and really engulf the bait.

Glenn Hurlbut, New Hartford, N.Y.

27. Hang your frog for dramatic results

When you fish from shore or laterally to the shoreline and there are trees in the mix, try to throw the frog parallel to the shore/treeline. Try to cast it in close to hang over the end of a tree branch. Reel it in till it's hanging vertically off the branch. (Sometimes it gets slammed early.) Just bob it up and down with the legs dangling in the water. When the bass grabs it and the line snaps off the end of the branch, there is enough slack so you won't set the hook too early. I have used this technique dozens of times and have only lost one fish (my fault).

Rich Curley, Centreville, Va.

28. Walk the frog

On some frogs, the skirt that makes up the legs runs in one side of the frog and out the other. If you pull on one leg and make it a little longer than the other, the bait will have some walk-the-dog action on its own.

Aaron Holt, Manhattan, Kan.

29. Match the hatch

The most obvious tip is my favorite: Match the hatch. As everyone knows, small frogs hang out right at the water's edge, popping into the water when you approach. We use the smallest frog we can locate, toss it up on the bank or shoreline, and "pop" it into the water. Let it sit for no more than two seconds, and pop it away from the dirt. This is in open water and right up against standing tules, sunken brush and fallen trees. As a fly fisherman, I tied my frogs with deerhair and used the same technique. If I want to sink them on the first pop, I'll add a split shot right at the eye of the hook, which will pull the nose underwater immediately — it works. Swimming the fly outward will pull bass from a great distance in our almost gin-clear Northern California lakes. The open water technique is extremely effective within 5 to 6 feet of the cheese, mats or heavily grassed areas. Always "jiggle" the rod tip, which creates movement of the legs, and fish that 5- to 6-foot zone EXTREMELY slowly. The tip of splotching the bottom of the frog does work, but my technique has always been to just run a straight hi-vis, 1/4-inch orange or chartreuse line from tip to tail on the underside of solid color frogs, especially white ones.

Bill Adelman, San Pablo, Calif.

30. Put your skirt on backwards

Growing up, I used a lot of frogs on tanks and ponds. This was typically the primary forage for big bass. At times, I couldn't count the number of large bass that I caught out of these little places. As I walked the bank, I was always scaring up frogs, typically leopard frogs. Today, there are many types and manufacturers of frogs, but back in the day, there were very few. The most common one that I used and could afford was the Scum Frog. Those little babies were good right out of the box, but needed more action for the angler to not have to put forth the effort.

While taking a break one evening, I was looking at my frog and wondering what could be done. I began to take apart the frog and I noticed the skirt just slipped over the hook. I took it off to examine it a bit more closely. When I put the skirt back on, I realized that I had put it on backwards. When the rod was jerked to make the frog move, the skirt would straighten out, just like the legs of a live frog, and when the frog was resting, the skirt flared out just like a frog does when it is resting on the water. Immediately I started catching fish — on almost every cast that day.

Try this little trick for inexpensive baits to get more action out of them. The technique can be used on rats as wells as spinnerbaits that have a "one-way skirt," like the H&H Spinner. This little tip will definitely help you put more bass in the boat.

Donnie C. O'Neal, Pflugerville, Texas