How-To

Elite pros love slop baits

When bass burrow into matted grass and shallow slop, the Bassmaster Elite Series pros happily wallow right in there to dig them out. Here are some of the pros' favorite baits for wrestling bass from the gunk.

<p>Bobby Lane's favorite slop baits include the Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty he's holding, Ish's Phat Frog and brother Chris Lane's signature Guntersville Frog.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Bobby Lane's favorite slop baits include the Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty he's holding, Ish's Phat Frog and brother Chris Lane's signature Guntersville Frog.
<p>“The Guntersville Frog is very soft and is weighted in the back so it sinks deeper into matted grass,” Lane says. “I use this bait when I fish heavy slime.”</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - “The Guntersville Frog is very soft and is weighted in the back so it sinks deeper into matted grass,” Lane says. “I use this bait when I fish heavy slime.”
<p>Lane claims that Ish's Phat Frog is the best for walking the dog. “It has great hooks and it doesn't take in water,” he says.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Lane claims that Ish's Phat Frog is the best for walking the dog. “It has great hooks and it doesn't take in water,” he says.
<p>Lane punches grass mats with Havoc's Okeechobee Craw colored Craw Fatty. He matches it with a 4/0 Gamakatsu hook, a 1-ounce weight and fishes it with 50- or 65-pound Spiderwire braid.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Lane punches grass mats with Havoc's Okeechobee Craw colored Craw Fatty. He matches it with a 4/0 Gamakatsu hook, a 1-ounce weight and fishes it with 50- or 65-pound Spiderwire braid.
<p>Kevin Ledoux digs hogs out of the slop with Bobby's Perfect Frog, a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss and Strike King's Rage Tail Toad.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Kevin Ledoux digs hogs out of the slop with Bobby's Perfect Frog, a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss and Strike King's Rage Tail Toad.
<p>Ledoux slings Bobby's Perfect Frog on 60-pound Seaguar Tanzen Braid. “It's a good search bait,” he says of the frog. “It comes over cover good and it walks the dog easily.”</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Ledoux slings Bobby's Perfect Frog on 60-pound Seaguar Tanzen Braid. “It's a good search bait,” he says of the frog. “It comes over cover good and it walks the dog easily.”
<p>To keep Strike King's Rage Tail Toad from snagging grass, Ledoux Texas rigs it with a 4/0 offset hook and a Paycheck Bait's Head Case screw-in plastic bullet.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - To keep Strike King's Rage Tail Toad from snagging grass, Ledoux Texas rigs it with a 4/0 offset hook and a Paycheck Bait's Head Case screw-in plastic bullet.
<p>Ledoux Texas rigs the Berkley Havoc Pit Boss with a straight shank 4/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin' Hook and a 3/4- to 1 1/2-ounce sinker for punching grass. “I use the lightest weight that will get through the grass,” he says.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Ledoux Texas rigs the Berkley Havoc Pit Boss with a straight shank 4/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin' Hook and a 3/4- to 1 1/2-ounce sinker for punching grass. “I use the lightest weight that will get through the grass,” he says.
<p>Pete Ponds makes hay in the slop with the Bruiser Bait Intruder he's holding, a Trophy Series Scum Frog and a new Scum Frog bait that was introduced at the 2013 ICAST show (bottom right). He fishes all these baits with Vicious braided line.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Pete Ponds makes hay in the slop with the Bruiser Bait Intruder he's holding, a Trophy Series Scum Frog and a new Scum Frog bait that was introduced at the 2013 ICAST show (bottom right). He fishes all these baits with Vicious braided line.
<p>“This new Scum Frog was two years in the making,” says Ponds. “The perpendicular legs help it walk, and the V-bottom lets it glide each time it cuts from side to side. It also has tournament grade 4/0 hooks and a split ring in front to give it more freedom to walk back and forth.”</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - “This new Scum Frog was two years in the making,” says Ponds. “The perpendicular legs help it walk, and the V-bottom lets it glide each time it cuts from side to side. It also has tournament grade 4/0 hooks and a split ring in front to give it more freedom to walk back and forth.”
<p>The Trophy Series Scum Frog has long been one of Ponds' mainstays for fishing thick grass. “It has enough weight to push down in the grass and let the bass know it's there,” he says.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - The Trophy Series Scum Frog has long been one of Ponds' mainstays for fishing thick grass. “It has enough weight to push down in the grass and let the bass know it's there,” he says.
<p>Ponds favors Bruiser Baits Invader for punching through matted grass. He Texas rigs it with a 5/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Flippin' Hook and a heavy bullet sinker, up to 1 1/2 ounce.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Ponds favors Bruiser Baits Invader for punching through matted grass. He Texas rigs it with a 5/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Flippin' Hook and a heavy bullet sinker, up to 1 1/2 ounce.
<p>Kurt Dove mixes it up in the slop with Optimum's Furbit Frog, El Grand's Sapo paddletail toad and a beaver style bait.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Kurt Dove mixes it up in the slop with Optimum's Furbit Frog, El Grand's Sapo paddletail toad and a beaver style bait.
<p>Besides its supple rabbit fur legs, Optimum's Furbit features a spinner blade that rides below the hooks.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Besides its supple rabbit fur legs, Optimum's Furbit features a spinner blade that rides below the hooks.
<p>“The Furbit has a heavy tail weight that makes it really sit down in the grass,” Dove says. “I like that. The bass do, too.”</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - “The Furbit has a heavy tail weight that makes it really sit down in the grass,” Dove says. “I like that. The bass do, too.”
<p>A beaver style bait with a 3/4- to 1 1/2-ounce weight and a 4/0 hook gets through the thick stuff for Dove. He hauls the bass out with 65-pound Toray Bawo Finesse Braid.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - A beaver style bait with a 3/4- to 1 1/2-ounce weight and a 4/0 hook gets through the thick stuff for Dove. He hauls the bass out with 65-pound Toray Bawo Finesse Braid.
<p>When slop bass want an upbeat presentation, Dove obliges with an El Grande Sapo buzz toad rigged with a 4/0 round bend hook and Toray Bawo Finesse Braid.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - When slop bass want an upbeat presentation, Dove obliges with an El Grande Sapo buzz toad rigged with a 4/0 round bend hook and Toray Bawo Finesse Braid.
<p>Michigan's Chad Pipkens digs into the slop with Spro's Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin' Frog, Poor Boys' Jerk Worm and Damiki's Knock Out creature bait.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Michigan's Chad Pipkens digs into the slop with Spro's Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin' Frog, Poor Boys' Jerk Worm and Damiki's Knock Out creature bait.
<p>Pipkens rigs Poor Boys Jerk Worm with a 3/16-ounce sinker a 3/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin' hook and 16-pound Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon. “I pitch this bait into pockets and holes for more of a finesse presentation,” Pipkens says.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Pipkens rigs Poor Boys Jerk Worm with a 3/16-ounce sinker a 3/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin' hook and 16-pound Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon. “I pitch this bait into pockets and holes for more of a finesse presentation,” Pipkens says.
<p>“Spro's Poppin' Frog has a good, clean pop and I consistently get good hookups with it,” Pipkens says. He likes this bait in black, black or black.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - “Spro's Poppin' Frog has a good, clean pop and I consistently get good hookups with it,” Pipkens says. He likes this bait in black, black or black.
<p>Damiki's Knock Out creature bait looks so imposing it could star in a scream flick. Pipkens rigs it with a 1/2-ounce sinker a 3/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin' Hook and fishes it on 19-pound Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Damiki's Knock Out creature bait looks so imposing it could star in a scream flick. Pipkens rigs it with a 1/2-ounce sinker a 3/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin' Hook and fishes it on 19-pound Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon.
<p>Ohio's Michael Simonton's preference is slop fishing with a white Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog, a Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw and a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Ohio's Michael Simonton's preference is slop fishing with a white Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog, a Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw and a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss.
<p>A white Bronzeye Frog is a big hitter for Simonton in the slop when the water is clear.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - A white Bronzeye Frog is a big hitter for Simonton in the slop when the water is clear.
<p>To tone down the Bronzeye Frog's bright white belly, Simonton scrapes some of the finish off of it.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - To tone down the Bronzeye Frog's bright white belly, Simonton scrapes some of the finish off of it.
<p>Pinching the side flappers off the Pit Boss allows it to penetrate the grass easier when punching, claims Simonton. He rigs it with a 3/4- to 1 1/2-ounce sinker, a straight shank 4/0 hook and 65-pound Berkley Big Game Braid.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - Pinching the side flappers off the Pit Boss allows it to penetrate the grass easier when punching, claims Simonton. He rigs it with a 3/4- to 1 1/2-ounce sinker, a straight shank 4/0 hook and 65-pound Berkley Big Game Braid.
<p>When slop bass demand a smaller lure, Simonton obliges with a Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw. He rigs it just as he does the Pit Boss.</p>
Photo: Mark Hicks - When slop bass demand a smaller lure, Simonton obliges with a Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw. He rigs it just as he does the Pit Boss.