87 frog tips for bassin'

Bassmaster Magazine readers' best frog tips

61. Solution for short strikes

So many times bass short-strike a frog and miss it. I've come up with a solution to this problem. Take a three-way swivel and attach one end to each hook on the rear of your frog. Then take the remaining tie of the 3-way and attach with a split ring an unweighted weedless worm hook. I've landed many bass on that stinger hook that otherwise I'd have missed. This hook does not seem to ruin the action of the frog. I basically fish Snag Proof, so I don't know how it would affect other brands of frogs, but I don't think it would bother them.

Joel Prince, East Canton, Ohio

62. Flip the frog for pinpoint accuracy

The tributaries and creeks feeding the Ohio River watershed can get narrow and overhung with trees, the banks encrusted with vines, limbs, blowdowns and vegetation, which makes working a lure of any kind in that confined area difficult at best, particularly trying to cast the lure into the optimum locations.

The solution to the problem is to FLIP the lure into this tangled maze to get into the precise locations needed. I'm not just talking about worms, jigs, or other such baits; I'm also talking about crankbaits, spinnerbaits and, particularly here, frogs. I can't take credit completely for this idea because the idea formed after talking with Tom Nixon, the great fly rod specialist, about his use of a fly rod spinnerbait at a sport show here years ago. His point was that he could hit so many more targets with greater accuracy with a fly rod. At about this same time, flipping was just being introduced through Bassmaster, and the accuracy factor seemed to fit. However, bass being finicky creatures, ability to use different baits to adjust for conditions is critical.

Here's how it works: The frog is flipped to the bank over, under, around or through the cover so that it lands with its hooks on land and nose on water. It takes a season to acquire the skills necessary to hit the waterline every time. Let the bait sit until the rings subside. Pop the bait into the water and let it sit until the rings subside. Begin "walking the frog" back to the boat — and be prepared for some big splashes.

Many of the frogs are too light to succeed as flipping baits. To add weight, wrap three turns of solder (the size used for electronic repair, not plumbing) around each hook, securing it in place with Super Glue. This will cause the bait to "squat" — this is closer to a real frog, which floats butt down, face up. If necessary, add split shot to the body before sealing, or more wraps, whichever allows the bait to function the best.

You'll be amazed at how many targets you can hit with precision in rapid succession with this technique. The more targets you hit, the more fish see the bait, the more fish in the livewell — simple as that.

Gene Enders, Harrison, Ohio

63. Hop it for a reaction strike

Casting the frog onto the bank then "hopping" or retrieving the bait back into the water is one way to produce a good reaction strike. This creates an action like the frog is jumping into the water, which gives a prowling bass an easy meal. I have caught many lunker bass using this presentation, usually right when the frog hits the water or after a few cranks of the reel.

Tanner Quattlebaum, Saluda, S.C.

64. Patience pays off

When a fish jumps for the frog, it is your natural reflex to yank the fishing pole back to set the hook. Sometimes the fish will miss the lure and try to catch it on a second strike. If you try to set the hook as soon as you see the fish, it is likely to miss the lure and not get a second chance. So, pretend that the fish is not there. Wait until you feel the fish on your rod to set the hook.

Wistar Nelligan, Lynchburg, Va.

65. Simulating the chase

Remove the rear treble hook of a topwater lure (such as a torpedo bait) and attach a 12- to 18-inch leader. Tie the frog onto the end of the leader, and fish the prop bait as usual. This technique gives the appearance of a frog in pursuit of a baitfish or insect, making the frog even more appealing to the bass.

Chris McWater, Mannford, Okla.

66. Don't spook 'em

When bass are close to shore, I like to cast my frog or other weedless plastic bait directly onto the shore, well beyond the fish. This allows you to ease the bait back into the water and directly into the strike zone without spooking the fish. I've found this technique produces more strikes than dropping the bait right on the fish's nose. It's also easier to detect strikes this way. Sometimes bass will take a lure as soon as it splashes into the water making the strike hard to detect. With a subtle entry into the water from the shore, the strike is a lot more obvious. Be sure to keep a close eye on your line using this technique; repeated casts onto shore can cause more nicks than usual.

Andy Huth, Cincinnati, Ohio

67. Sometimes smaller is better

My best frog fishing tip is going against the norm. When others are throwing the larger frog models, I like to downsize my frog offering into a smaller, compact version. I do this by modifying the larger version, cutting the legs to about 1 inch long and thinning them out. I then insert rattles and use glue to plug the holes the rubber skirt comes out of. I am left with a smaller profile with lots of noise to accompany it, while still maintaining the weight of the larger versions.

Carmen Iafrate, Ontario, Canada

68. Mimic the real frogs

Working a topwater frog is a technique. When you are in lily pads, scum, shallow weeds, etc., there are different approaches to the presentation of the lure. The best advice I have is to take a minute and look for frogs around the area near the bank. See how they are acting (sound, movement, etc.), then present your bait in the same manner. You'll have a great time!

Paul C. Ward, Ashville, Ohio

69. Weigh it down

I have a 50-acre lily pad- and weed-lined lake near me that is perfect for frogging. The one problem I encounter is in the summer the lily pads get so thick that it is hard to get the frog through them to the water where the bass can bite it. I use a Scum Frog. My best colors are black on sunny days and white on cloudy days. One trick I do is to weight the Scum Frog down by putting cut-up pieces (about 1/2 inch each) of scented worms into the Scum Frog via the hole where the hooks come out. Usually two or three pieces will do the job. This really weighs the frog down, gives it a bigger profile and adds a little scent to the frog. It casts a lot easier and farther also. I do the same thing when using the Scum Frog Popper on matted milfoil-type weeds.

I also use Snag Proof's Perfect Frog at times. One thing I found is that sometime the bass will just bite short at the rubber skirted legs. The way I solved that problem is to trim the legs in half for more hookups.

Steve Gunderson, Lancaster, Ohio

70. Use a gimpy frog

On a rubber frog, I like to trim one of the legs, causing the frog to lose some of the symmetry of its movement. The effect is a frog that "limps" across the surface. Maybe the most fun you can have is to load a small plastic frog on a lightweight fly rod and put it back amongst the lily pads — the action is quick, and the fight is intense.

Paul Carron, Columbus, Ga.