My froggin’ tips

Charles Ross, from Galt High, asked me how to fish a frog. It’s a great question, and if Charles wants to know more about froggin’ I’m sure other anglers do as well. We’ll go over everything right now because frogs will catch bass from this minute until late in the fall, and even after that in the warmest parts of the country.

It’s impossible to get the most out of a frog without the right equipment. It’s number one on my list. I like a rod between 7 foot, 2 inches and 7 foot, 9 inches with an extra heavy action and an extra fast tip. I use a reel with a 7.3:1 gear ratio — never faster than that — and spool it with 50- or 65-pound-test Maxima Braid.

The reason I’m so specific about equipment is that you’re going to be dragging a 3-pound bass back to the boat with 10 pounds of grass around her. You need heavy tackle that’ll get the job done and hold up under that kind of tough use. This isn’t finesse fishing!

Picking the right frog isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. The only frogs I throw are made by Snag Proof. My Phat Frog is my go-to bait. The reason is that it’s tough, it will not sink, it’s made to look good and it’s designed to walk. You don’t have to cut a leg short on it to make it walk like you do with the other ones that are out there.

The only time I don’t use a Phat Frog is when there’s wind that makes the water choppy. I’ll go with a Poppin’ Phattie Frog under those conditions. You can make a little more noise with it and get the bass’ attention a little easier.

My basic colors are black and white. I’ll fish with black when I’m in low light conditions. Every now and then I might switch to a real dark green but that’s definitely the exception. When there’s a lot of light around I go with white. And, during the bluegill spawn I might throw a bluegill looking one a time or two. We call it Sexy Ish.

The reason my colors are so basic is because a frog doesn’t always look like a frog to a bass. Sometimes it represents a shad, a bluegill, a duck, a mouse, a bird or anything else that might be struggling in the water. A frog is a lure, not necessarily a frog.

Because of that I’ll fish a frog almost anywhere the water’s less than 10 feet deep. Sure, I target mats, grass and pads but I also fish my frog over open water, around wood and against riprap. A frog is a universal bait.

I’d say that 90 percent of the time I walk mine. That’s the best way to get their attention, especially the giants. But when there’s a chop on the water or they’re not responding to the walk I’m not too good to chug one.

When they bite you should set the hook hard and keep reeling. Do not stop. I’ve had several bass come all the way to my boat just holding the frog in their mouth. They were never hooked. If I’d have let up on them, or tried to play them, they would have opened their mouths and swam away.

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