It’s summer and to me that means frog fishing. They’ll catch better than average bass almost anywhere — shallow water, middle depths if the water’s clear, in vegetation, over vegetation, around rock and in wood.
Before we get into specific techniques, however, I want to say a little about tackle and lures. You need a stiff rod, either heavy or medium-heavy action with a reasonably fast tip. My choice is a medium-heavy action 7-foot, 6-inch Abu Garcia Veritas Frog rod with a moderate fast tip.
You’ll also need a high-speed reel and some stout line. I spool my Abu Garcia REVO Toro Rocket reel with 65-pound-test Yo-Zuri Superbraid.
My frogs are all hollow body models, but they must have a soft but durable body and a double hook that’s super sharp and one that’ll stay that way fish after fish and cast after cast. You can’t change hooks on a frog, and I don’t want to spend my fishing time sharpening them.
With that out of the way, let’s look at four ways to fish one.
This is probably the most common way to fish a frog, and it’s probably the best way given most fishing situations. It is, for sure, my favorite way to do it whenever I think it’ll be effective.
The first trick is to use heavy line and to make short, quick snaps of the rod while you take up the slack in your line quickly with your high-speed reel. And, I always trim the legs and leave one a little longer than the other.
The way you do that is to wrap the legs back towards the nose and cut them off about half-way in between the body and the end of the nose. That’ll make their length just right for a good walking action.
Don’t worry too much about the shape of the nose. Any frog will walk. If you want a smooth walk, go with a frog with a pointed nose. If you want some splash, try one with a blunt nose.
I typically walk my bait fast when I’m fishing scattered vegetation or when I’m fishing clear water. It seems like the less time bass have to look things over the more fish you’ll catch. I slow down my frog when the vegetation gets thick or when the water has some color to it. I want them to have enough time to find the bait and then attack it.
Fast pops with a pause
This presentation will work best with a poppin’ frog. Snap it along maybe five, six or seven times real fast and then let it sit still for about the same length of time. Sometimes, though, a shorter pause or a longer pause will get you more bites. Try everything until you find what’s working best at the moment you’re fishing.
Make sure you keep your line tight. That’ll help make the nose of the lure bounce up and down which is critical, and it’ll keep your frog from walking. A tight line will also help you get a better hookset because most of your bites will come on the pause.
This technique will work anytime you have enough open water to use it, and it’s especially effective when you’re fishing over relatively deep or stained water.
Slow pops with a pause
This is exactly the same as a fast pop and pause except that you want fewer pops and a much longer pause.
Use it when the bass are looking for a more subtle presentation but are still feeding on top.
A straight pull
The straight pull is about as simple as it gets. Just cast your frog out — the farther, the better — and pull it back with your rod. I usually start by making my pulls about 3 feet long and then shorten or lengthen them depending on how the bite is going. It’s almost like dragging a jig.
This presentation seems to work best with a frog that has a pointed nose. Its point gives you a straight and clean V in the water which is the real key to success with this approach.
I like the straight pull whenever I’m fishing scattered grass or pads and whenever I’m around sparse mats. It’s especially effective in colder water and after a cold front. It seems like sometimes colder conditions don’t destroy a topwater bite so much as they change it, especially in places where there isn’t a lot of deep water for the bass to move into when the weather gets tough.
It’s the last day of practice for the 2018 Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by GO RVing, and I can guarantee you I’ll be fishing a frog when the tournament starts in the morning. They do catch the bigger bass.