No longer are these fake amphibians used only in supersloppy conditions. It seems this bait type is far more versatile than most anglers could imagine.
Bassmaster Magazine wanted to know exactly how versatile, so it asked readers to submit their best frog tips. The response was overwhelming! Here are the best.
1. Don't get ripped off
If the legs on your frog get ripped up, they can be substituted with the skirt from a tube, and look even better (and taste saltier) than before. Just cut the head end off the tube and use Gorilla Glue to attach the tentacles to the frog body. Make sure the holes are sealed so your bait doesn't get waterlogged.
Justin Gillette, Delmar, Del.
2. Make a splash
A lot of people I know get frustrated fishing frogs in cover because they get hung up every other cast. I actually look for cover that I can get hung in every once in a while because I use it to my advantage. Tall grass I especially love because I can bring my frog right to a blade of grass that comes out of the water. If I can get my frog to catch on the blade and get up out of the water it will make a big splash when it falls back in. I think it mimics the natural action of a frog jumping off the bank. It takes some time to learn the "technique" but I have caught a lot of fish this way.
Neal Calhoun, Roanoke, Texas
3. Act stunned
One valuable tip while fishing with frogs that I have learned is to not jerk right away when a bass does its acrobatics. Many anglers, including myself, have missed trophy bass because of reacting too early. Most of the time when the bass jumps out of the water, it slaps the lure and tries to stun it. If you jerk right away, the bass will realize that it isn't real bait and won't bite. As you're retrieving and the bass jumps, stop and lower your rod. The bass will think that it has stunned the frog and come to bite it for an easy meal. Set your hook. Rinse and repeat.
Steve Baldassari Jr., East Boston, Mass.
4. Never give up
- If you tear your favorite frog and it is taking on water, grab a Senko and melt it onto the torn area — it is an instant patch.
- If you have been using the same frog for more than a couple of hours take the time to retie, as pitching into heavy cover will start to fray your braid and you will risk losing your frog and fish!
- Don't quit on your retrieve if the fish doesn't strike in the first couple of feet. Work the frog all the way to the boat; the fish will follow it out into open water and then decide to strike.
- When you pitch your frog into cover, pop it once and let it sit still for a second or two before you start to walk it out of the cover. This will entice a strike, as the fish will have the frog in the strike zone longer before you begin to walk it back to the boat.
- Anglers tend to stay away from the frog because they miss more then they set. Here are two tips to increase your hook set ratio:
- Don't set the hook the very second that the fish hits the frog. Give it a chance to take the frog down, and then set the hook. Otherwise, the fish will be sucking in water and you will pull the frog out of its mouth before it has a hold of the frog.
- Don't think that because you tried to set the hook and the frog flies into your boat that is the end of it. Pitch the frog right back to that spot and more than likely the fish will strike it again, as the first time it was just tail flashing your frog.
Alex Daicos, Surprise, Ariz.
5. Gitzit will get 'em
My best frog fishing tip is to modify the frog as follows:
- Take the frog and remove the rubber strands from the frog body.
- Pull the factory hook out of the frog. Insert a section of floating worm into a Gitzit.
- Dip the Gitzit into anise. Run the hook through the Gitzit. Insert hook/Gitzit into the body of the frog.
- Cast as close to the shoreline as possible to get the frog in the most natural presentation possible — coming from the shore onto the pads or from a fallen tree to the pads. Try to cast into an area where the pads are not too dense so that the frog can "hop" onto the water between the pads.
Gary E. Miller, Red Hook, N.Y.
6. Add a trailer to increase hookups
To increase my chances of hooking up when the fish are short striking my frog, I like to add a trailer hook to each of the factory hooks (the kind with rubber coating over the eye to keep the hook rigid).
Chris Schwass, McFarland, Wis.
7. Be the frog
When fishing the "floating frog" I always try to put it where I think a frog might be and make it act like one — flippin' it across lily pads or near high grass. Heavy cover such as lily pads has always been a winner for me with this lure. Last year while flippin' across the pads, on my second cast I nailed a 6-pounder! It got better as the afternoon went on. I was constantly pulling in great bass. I caught a total of 12 fish, none less than 4 pounds!
Tom Rowedder, Richlandtown, Pa.
8. Buy smart
When bass hit frogs, they tend to hit frogs with legs. There are plastic frogs made with one skirt on the end and frogs made with two skirts (one for each leg). To catch more fish, buy the frogs with two separate skirts, NOT a single one on its tail, so the presentation is more realistic. Or you can take a single-skirted frog and use a rubber band or glue to separate the full skirt into two smaller ones.
Sean A. MacGillis, Wauwatosa, Wis.
9. More hooks equals more hookups
My tip has to do with fishing plastic frogs like the Zoom Horny Toad. Rig it with a No. 4 treble hook attached to some stiff wire. Run the wire through the back of the toad so the treble hook is back by the legs. Then loop the wire in the front of the toad as a line tie. Using a treble hook greatly increases hookups. I use this kind of rig in light cover or open water. A toad rigged this way is a great wake bait.
Steven Faulkner, Rockford, Ill.
10. Let it sit
I went fishing in early summer on a body of water in Oklahoma that had lots of vegetation around the edges and in various other places. The vegetation could be seen near or on the top. The weather was partly cloudy, temps in the 80s and a normal Oklahoma wind in the 5- to 15-mph range. I decided that a Snag Proof frog would be a good lure to try. I fished it using a medium speed retrieve and tried to walk it. I was getting no takers, no matter how I varied the retrieve. I was about to give up on the frog when I cast it one last time.
This time, however, I fouled my line on the cast. While I was trying to remove the twists and knots from my line, I heard a loud splash where my frog was located. I looked up and saw a large bass flying through the air with my frog flying just above it. I was shocked because my frog was just sitting still in the water before the bass exploded through the vegetation to annihilate my frog. I did not catch that bass but thought this might be a clue as to how to fish the frog that day.
I went back to some of the spots that were not productive previously but this time I just let my frog sit motionless at least one minute before starting a retrieve. Well, before I got to retrieve on most of these casts a bass would explode on the frog, and I hooked up with many bass that day. In each case the frog was just sitting motionless for at least one minute before I started the retrieve, and I caught bass only while it was sitting still. This is a very different approach than I had ever used before and seems to be quite different than most frog users. So my tip is, let the frog sit for a while before retrieving. You never know what might surprise you!
G. Lee Willinger, Norman, Okla.
11. Get stitched
When fishing a frog with paddle feet, stitch the center point of the feet to the frog body with a piece of monofilament.
During a fight, this keeps the pair of legs from getting yanked out of one side of the frog body or the other, which will ruin the bait.
Russell Zell, Wales, Wis.
I usually like to have more rubber behind the frog, so I poke holes in the top and bottom and insert more living rubber. I have changed the length of it to look more like the frog is floating with its legs outstretched. I have used this with good luck near weedbeds and — my favorite way — just hopping it off the bank into the water during the summer.
Life member Frank Goodrich, Colchester, Conn.
13. Squid for bass?
A couple of us were on our way back home from a saltwater trip when we decided to make some casts into a small pond we had passed. I was reluctant to try, because my friends were walking up and down the banks and coming up empty-handed. So, I just decided to take a look at the nice flounder and trout in our cooler when our leftover bait caught my imagination. I took a thawed squid head, cut it in half, and attached each half to the hooks on my topwater frog. Maybe it was the strange scent, the erratic movement of the tentacles, or just plain intrigue, but I had a bass on my first cast. My friends followed suit, using the halved squid head with attached tentacles instead of the original skirt or frog legs. This sudden whim of a modification kept the fish coming, and the natural feel of the bait seemed to keep them from throwing the frog.
Derrick Caban, Gainesville, Fla.
14. Hop to it
A technique that I use when fishing a hollow-body frog — usually a Bronzeye frog, but I am sure that it works with others — is what I call hopping. To make the frog hop you use short, hard, fast, sideways jerks of your rod, four or five at a time followed by a short pause. The short jerks tend to make the frog plane up on the water, giving it a hopping motion similar to a live frog. Usually the strike will occur on the pause. You will need to experiment to see how long of a pause the fish want, and sometimes it is not necessary to pause the lure at all. This can be equally effective in slop or open water.
Todd Martin, Terre Haute, Ind.
15. Make some commotion
To allow the frog to sit deeper in the water and cause more of a commotion when coming through weeds and the water, peel back the rubber frog body and make several wraps around the hook shank with a non-lead soldering wire. Create different buoyancy characteristics by adding or subtracting wraps of the soldering wire. After you finish wrapping the hook, pull the frog's rubber body back into place and you're ready to go fishing! Another trick is to take a pipe cleaner and wrap it several times around the hook shank. This allows you to apply a scent that will slowly disperse into the water behind your bass-enticing frog! I also have added a jig rattle to the frog's hook shank to create even more commotion. I use the rubber jig type rattle holder. You can add either a single rattle or two rattles for even more noise. This works great!
Scott Say, Meadville, Pa.
16. Use the cover
Find a dropoff and locate any cover at all near it. Hydrilla mats, riprap, weedbeds and lily pads (my favorite) will all work fine. Cast your frog out about 10 feet past the dropoff and somewhat close to the cover. Fish your frog very violently but slow for approximately 20 feet. Twitch it and make splashes; hop it up off the water; and for the best effect, add a propeller and a few split shots to your line to churn up the water. Walk it in the rest of the way. Repeat a few times. This will attract the attention of the bass, who at this point is watching from the cover. Now, cast your frog into the cover. Walk the frog in the cover and soon enough the bass will attack. Hold your rod tip up high and count to two. Set the hook and enjoy the fight! If you don't get a bite, persevere — eventually the bass will bite out of frustration.
Arthur Davanzo, Parsippany, N.J.
17. Put on some weight
I like throwing frogs and rats. To help zip them out there, I will shove one or two small worm weights up into the hollow body. They help pitch the lure out there farther, and they act as a rattle as I chug it back to the boat.
Denny Napora, Buffalo, N.Y.
18. Hold it...
Cast the frog onto the bank and pull it into the water about 6 inches off the bank. Let it sit for about 10 seconds before the retrieve. Sometimes a still bait is an easy meal for a bass.
Steven Hurst, Greenup, Ky.
19. Be more frantic
Have you ever seen a frog chased off the bank by a snake? The frog will hit the water and swim in two or three frantic spurts, almost clearing the water. If your regular method of fishing your frog seems to not be drawing interest, try casting to the waterline and reeling your frog in two or three fast spurts with a quick pause between each. If the bass blows up on your frog, STOP, and don't reel the lure out of the strike zone. A bass will blast the frog as if to disable it and will hit a second time if you don't reel it away. Sometimes this frantic frog presentation will draw strikes when others won't.
Phillip W. Sexton, Clarksville, Ark.
20. Shoreline entrance
Many times I'll get more bites by simply casting the frog onto the shore ... if the shoreline is open enough. Because the hooks are "hugging" the body of the frog, I've never been hung up on shoreline grass. By dragging the frog in from dry land, this creates a more natural entry into the water.
Tim Moorman, Cincinnati, Ohio
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
31. Take it to the bank
Casting the frog directly onto the bank (on dry ground) is a great way to get bass to bite. I think it's more realistic and subtle to cast the frog onto the shore and then pop it into the water as if it was hiding from a shore predator, and the bait doesn't make the noise of a lure hitting the water.
Brian Barnett, Santa Maria, Calif.
32. Use the moss to your advantage
Cast the frog high and let it hit the moss with a loud plop. Then just let it sit there. With the rod tip held high, don't move the frog but just plop it several times, moving the moss. Then hop it once and hang on.
Brad Clark, Danville, Ind.
33. Father knows best
I've been fishing on Lake Texoma for quite some time and my mother of all people purchased some weedless frogs out of an Outdoor Life magazine that at the time were the big buzz for catching bass. My fishing buddies and I decided to liberate these miracle frogs and put them to the test! It was early spring 1972 when Lake Texoma was still a fisherman's lake, and we proceeded to fish the coves of Mill Creek. When we began casting we expected to catch fish close to the shoreline, but as we slowly retrieved and paused the frog we did not get any hits until the lure was relatively close to the boat. I was still a novice it took me several missed fish before I remembered fishing on a pond in Rhode Island where my dad told me to count to 10 before setting the hook. I was using a bobber and live shad on that occasion, but the minute I started following that technique using the frogs I did not miss a fish, and we all caught fish from that point on! Presentation and patience pay off, as well as remembering what your dad taught you.
Wes Travis, Richardson, Texas
34. Silent but deadly
For a completely silent but deadly lure presentation, cast your frog onto the shore and pull it into the water. I find this to work more times than not. It doesn't matter if there is cover or just open water if you find a spot that is consistently under shade, causing the water temps to stay a little lower than the rest of the pond/lake. Try "walking" your frog right where the shade and sun meet; you can find some monsters just waiting to gulp down that frog!
Dillon Creason, New Castle, Ind.
35. Let the frog be
My best frog fishing was done last summer with my two children, Tyler and Kayla, at their grandparents' old pond. We would cast our frogs out over the moss that stretched out over the edge of the pond approximately 20 or so feet. We would cast out as far as we could, then walk the frog in to the edge of the moss. If we didn't get a bite on the way in, we would let the frog sit at the outer edge of the moss and then wiggle the tip of our poles to make the frog shake. This would generally cause an explosion when the bass took the frog. Talk about thrilling!
Stan Gibson, Brookfield, Mo.
36. Give it some slack
While fishing one day I saw a huge bass come out from under a log at the edge of some lily pads to look at the buzzbait I was pitching at the time. Over the next several days, I came down and fished that spot at least once a day with different lures and tactics to try to bring this bass to strike. I saw the fish twice more but could not get her to do more than look at my lures. Finally, I snuck up to within casting distance of the log early one morning and tied on a frog. I pitched the frog well behind the log into the lily pads and slowly swam it to the log through the weeds. I pulled it onto the log and let it rest there for at least two minutes. Then I gently hopped the frog off of the log, taking care to leave the line slack when the lure hit the water so the frog would float freely. I let the frog sit until the ripples died down, then I twitched it and the water erupted. Several minutes later, I landed a 24 1/2-inch largemouth that I estimate weighed between 6 and 7 pounds. In my part of the country, that is an exceptional bass. I have only seen a couple in my life to top that one. Since then I have used this technique many times. When you walk the frog with slack in the line, the motion is very realistic and will fool those old fish that ignore everything else.
Allan Wright, Erie, Pa.
37. Dress your frog in a skirt
I add a spinnerbait skirt to increase the action of my frogs. I believe the added movement helps the fish zero in on the lure. This can be accomplished by removing the frog body, adding the spinnerbait skirt in the desired color, and then replacing the body. Make sure to put the skirt on in the proper direction. I prefer straight back (the reverse of how it is on a spinnerbait).
My experience with these frog lures is roughly a 50 percent hookup rate. I add a stinger hook to increase the hookup odds and eliminate short strikes. This can be accomplished by using a three-way swivel. Remove the body of the frog. Carefully squeeze the double hook together so you can slip a loop of the three-way swivel over each hook leg. Next, add a weedguard to the stinger hook. A piece of 20-pound mono tied onto the hook works well, or you can purchase stinger hooks with metal spring wire guards. Lastly I add a split ring to the third loop of the three-way swivel and attach the hook to the split ring so the hook lies upright like the frog hooks. You can then replace the frog body. Prior to replacing the frog body, I prefer to add a spinnerbait skirt to the assembly, which further helps hide the stinger hook and keep the weeds off.
Robert J. Hennick, Cayuga, N.Y.
38. Twitch it
Just outside of town we have two little reservoirs. They are not very good fisheries, but they are also young. My story starts at about 4:45 p.m., Jan. 6, 2008. It was about 45 degrees in 4 to 6 feet of water. Because it was winter I knew that I didn't have much daylight left, however I was dying to go fishing and this was the warmest day we had had in a long time. I knew from prior experience that a topwater frog was the best thing to use, so I tied on a Harrison-Hoge Poison Holographic Superior Frog. It only took me about six casts twitching the bait slowly past a patch of sloppy vegetation stretching 1/2 to 1 foot around before one blew up on it. Being as cold as it was, I never expected how this one hit it. When I finally got it in and weighed it, it was just shy of 6 pounds. It was by far the biggest fish caught out of that little reservoir.
Trevor Birdsell, Ashland, Ill.
39. Get a leg-up on lazy bass
When I can't get a strike no mater how I fish my frog (slow, fast, walking it in the open or in the slop), I one leg most of the way off my Spro frog and stick a storm dot on the side with the long leg. Then I throw it where I would fish it in the open and just twitch it like an injured frog trying to swim. The bass in the clear water can't stand it and blow up on it, but you have to be patient — sometimes it takes a while.
Timothy Freeman, Fayetteville, Ark.
40. Keep the rod high
I've been using rubber frogs a lot for about seven to eight years. When I first started, I missed a ton of strikes with the rod tip pointed at the water. Then I raised the rod tip to 10 to 12 o'clock. When you get a strike, your first reaction is to pull or jerk the bait. If you hold the rod tip up, you won't pull the bait right out of the bass' mouth. Arm movement with the rod tip up is minimized to inches instead of feet, so your reaction to the strike isn't so dramatic. Then you can reel down to the bait, then set the hook, giving the fish time to eat the frog. My percentage of misses went way down using this technique.
James F. Cullen, Canastota, N.Y.
41. Short and soaked
I like to take a Snag Proof frog and trim one of the legs about a half-inch shorter on one side. This creates less drag on one side and makes it easier to walk the dog. I also soak the legs in an attractant to give off a scent trail in the water.
Nathan Alexander, Bigelow, Ark.
42. Try the stinger hook
Here are pictures of something I have been using for more than 20 years for short strikes on topwater frogs. I call it my stinger hook.
Mike Maring, San Antonio, Texas
43. Trim the tails
I always cut the tails off three-quarters of an inch. This makes the frog walk side-to-side a whole lot better and at the same time reduces the amount of short strikes.
Cody Milton, Searcy, Ark.
44. Make it snag-proof
This is another tip to try to improve the hookup ratio, which we all know is a problem. I take a small spinnerbait trailer hook and slip the surgical tubing over the eye of the hook, then run one of the hooks of the frog through the tubing. The hook will stand straight back and will not hang down and snag in the grass or whatever you are throwing it in. You can also put one on each hook to increase the hookups.
Eric Cantrill, Burnet, Texas
45. Add some weight to vary depth
Put weights on your Snag Proof frog. Reel the frog fast enough so the nose of the frog goes down, making a huge wake off of the eyes, and stop about 10 feet from shore so any following bass can hit the frog.
Joey Kelly, Centralia, Wash.
46. Ways to adjust depth
Put some lead tape on the frog's belly, with more in the back than the front (not too much, though). This allows for a longer cast, a slower presentation when needed, and better action moving through the water. The bass can sense the difference, especially in open water. When I think a frog is sitting too low, I stuff a couple of pieces of cut-up plastic worm inside it. This also allows for a longer cast and more floatation.
Tony Mehrl, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
47. Make your frog appear more natural
Cast the frog up on the edge of the bank and just twitch it off. This looks natural plus sometimes this will cause sand or debris to fall into the water, which tends to attract the bass.
Mike Pace, Atlanta, Ind.
48. Give your frog some candy
I use this trick every time I fish hollow-bodied frogs. On the way to my fishing destination I stop by a gas station and get my favorite childhood candy, Pop Rocks. (I buy a few packs because I gotta have some, too.) When I start fishing I make the leg holes a little bigger and put some Pop Rocks into the frog's body. (In the newer body styles, I make a 1/4-inch cut in the center of the frog's back lengthwise to insert the Pop Rocks so I don't damage the legs.) When the Pop Rocks come in contact with water they start crackling and popping, and they also leave scent behind. Try different flavors to see which one the fish like the best.
Adam Foster, Coweta, Okla.
49. Use logs and laydowns
Look for a laydown log or tree lying on its side with some of it sticking out of the water and about 2 to 4 feet from the shore. Cast to the shore, pull the frog in the water and shake. Try to make a lot of commotion. Then pull the frog on top of the log and let it sit there for three to 10 seconds. Then jerk the frog, making it appear to have jumped from the log into the water, and start to swim it back to you. Most hits come within the first 1 to 3 feet of "jumping" it off the log or laydown.
Ron Caponigro, Bensalem, Pa.
50. Cast into the lily pads
When frog fishing lily pads, an ideal cast that provokes many aggressive strikes is one that lands about 2 1/2 feet into the lily pads. Then walk the frog a couple of times until you reach the open water edge. Make sure you pop the frog just a little and wait ... A big bass will watch the frog land, and then wait until that open water moment to strike!
Nick Anton, Traverse City, Mich.
51. Hang it up
Last summer I was fishing my favorite bass lake and apparently, everyone else decided to also; the lake was heavy with anglers. Typically this lake has very good structure fishing and that's where all the anglers headed to first.
Not wanting to play follow the leader and also to give the bass a breather from the influx of anglers, I decided to fish other areas of the lake — grassbeds, points, and so on — but the fishing was sparse. I threw about everything I had in the tacklebox without success.
When the fishermen thinned out later in the day, I began to fish structure. I flipped jigs, tossed worms and bumped crankbaits but had no strikes, so I tied on a Berkley Power Frog, a lure I had done OK with in the past. I began to work the above-water structure.
I noticed the bass would sometimes come up and bump my frog but wouldn't take it. Just before I was going to change to another lure, I made a bad cast and my frog landed on a branch above the water. As I was shaking my frog off the branch, three bass rose to the surface and hovered, waiting for this frog to jump off the limb.
I retrieved my frog and went to the next treetop. I very carefully cast the frog onto a branch above the water and twitched it like the frog was ready to jump, then I would "jump" the frog into the water. On my third cast I connected with a nice bass that blasted the frog when it struck the water from its "jump."
I used this technique of "jumping" the frog from limbs and collected 13 nice bass that evening, the largest about 5 pounds. I did notice that I had to work the frog when it was on the branches above the water or it wouldn't draw the bass' attention. After allowing enough time for the frog to attract the bass, I would leap it into the water and that's when the strike came. I had two bass at one time attack my frog.
Randy Caldwell, Nettie, W.Va.
52. Try more rattles
As soon as I get the Snag Proof frog out of the blister package, I shove a glass worm rattle into the body of the frog. I realize there is a factory rattle but this second one adds just enough additional weight to cause the frog to sit lower in the water and create additional noise. Mr. Bucket Mouth can't take much of that before he explodes. Also, the extra weight gives me the confidence to put that frog into places most people would not think to even try.
Jack Garrett, Wawaka, Ind.
53. Wait until you feel the weight
When you see the bass eat your frog, it makes you feel like you have to set the hook. Do not set the hook until you feel the weight of the fish. If you do this you will not be as frustrated with yourself for missing a lot of frog bites.
Ryan Latinville, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
54. Trim the legs
Trim one side of the "legs" slightly shorter than the other to help the frog walk better.
Cedric Wong, Folsom, Calif.
55. Use a swivel for open water froggin'
Use a three-way swivel to increase your hookup ratio in open water. Place two of the three swivels through each of the two hooks on the frog, then on the third attach a No. 1 treble hook, which will dangle down behind the frog.
Cedric Wong, Folsom, Calif.
56. Pull a Jim
For years, I have had my father-in-law, Jim, show me the proper way to fish with a worm. He'd find a twig standing up in the middle of a lake and work a worm around it, and end up pulling out about four or five fish, each bigger than the last, in a matter of a few casts. I had begun calling it "pulling a Jim" on someone.
Recently, we were out fishing on Otter Lake, and it was a quiet day. Nothing much was biting, so he was throwing his go-to bait (a jointed Rapala in bright orange) while I started tossing a frog in the shallows and in moderate cover. We came to a small island with a scum-covered point, and I dropped the frog on the inland side of the scum, and slowly walked it out.
Next thing I know, I had a 10-inch bass on the line. We moved around the point of the island, and three casts later, I brought in a 12-inch bass. By now, the comments started to fly, loaded with sarcasm from the rear of the boat. Four casts later, in the same 8-foot-diameter scum patch, the next 14-inch bass was reeled in. As we moved off the patch, I cast to its outskirt once more ... and a nice 18-inch tournament fish came to the boat!
My dad dropped his pole to the bottom of the boat, and without looking up said, "Gimme one of whatever that is you're throwing!" And this is how I got to "pull a Jim" for the first time!
Mark Tobola, Thorp, Wis.
57. Hop in and swim
Cast any frog or mouse imitation onto the shoreline. Hop the lure into the water and swim it back. This allows you to cover a lot of water quickly from shallow to deep. Make sure your lure acts like a frog; swim a few inches before pausing. Experiment with tempo, pause time, and how much you move the lure. You can also use this technique in open water if you have exposed cover such as islands, rocks, stumps or trees. Don't ignore isolated cover! I once caught a large bass by hopping a frog imitation off a rowboat tied to a dock. If you get missed strikes or refusals, switch to a slower subsurface lure such as a Floating Rapala, jig or unweighted plastic worm.
Bryce Althoff, Farley, Iowa
58. Gators like frogs, too
My wife likes using her frog lures along the banks. We were fishing in the St. Johns River in Florida a few years back, back in one the coves off the river, when she saw a big roll in the water. Thinking it was a big lunker feasting, she tossed her frog at it. I had the camera ready in case the big one hit her lure when suddenly a small gator broke the surface of the water and began chasing her frog. While quickly reeling in her lure I took a great picture of the chase. I hope this story tells you, not only do bass love frogs, so do their reptilian friends!
Steve and Nancy Bateman, Deltona, Fla.
59. Make your frog stink
After a day of fishing frogs, spray fish scent inside the frog body and set it asideyou're your next fishing trip, grab the frogs and leave the scent at home; each cast will slowly release scent.
Rob Hamilton, Dayton, Va.
60. Make it rattle with glass
Add glass beads into the hollow body cavity of the frog for added attraction. This allows you to use it in less clear water, as well. Use three or more beads, experimenting with the number for sound and also depth caused by the added weight. Match the conditions and what the bass tell you.
Michael E. Ulrich, West Columbia, S.C.
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.
71. Fill 'er up
One day my frog got filled with water and it sank. I discovered that sometimes fish just like the frog submerged, especially after the sun gets up higher in the sky or when fishing slightly submerged grass. Rather than change baits to other plastic frogs that sink, just intentionally fill your frog with water or put a small bullet weight in front of it. An erratic style of retrieve enables the frog to tick the top of the grass and provoke strikes. When you come to slop or emergent vegetation it's simple to squeeze the water out and work it on top again.
Ted Warren, Yantis, Texas
72. More shoreline action
When fishing down a bank with a frog, try throwing it onto the bank. Then hop it into the water and retrieve. One day I found that from the back of the boat this resulted in more strikes than my partner got just casting his frog to the grass away from the bank. I believe casting it onto the bank and hopping it out looks more natural to a bass scanning the shoreline for some action. I've seen bass hit the frog in less than 6 inches of water and flop in the shallow water trying to get it.
Ted Warren, Yantis, Texas
73. Be creative
You can fish a frog virtually anywhere. Of course you can fish the slop, but try fishing about 10 to 20 feet from the cover and you will be rewarded with a heart-thumping hit that you will remember. Also, my fishing buddy and I were fishing for fun and fishing open water with a frog when a boat came by and someone said "You can't catch fish out here with that lure." Well, we had a double hit — a 5-pounder and a 6 1/2-pounder. Those guys took off after they saw that. (I always wondered if they tried the same way.)
Victor E. Toscano, Billerica, Mass.
74. Slow pop
I was fishing pads using a topwater frog and every time I threw the frog, a bass followed it but never took it. I changed frogs and put on a Spro, and started popping it up and down slowly. The bass took it right away. Sometimes you have to slow down.
John Brodkorb, Orange City, Fla.
75. Scent appeal
I use a frog quite often. One day I noticed a bass come up to my frog and nudge it, then swim away. I thought maybe she smelled the plastic and didn't like it. I then took a cotton ball soaked with Baitmate classic scent and stuffed it inside the frog. I fished this way for another hour and caught three nice bass.
Al Smith, Quincy, Ill.
76. Let them run with it
My grandpa and I were fishing along the Ohio River and while he was catfishing, I was bass fishing, throwing a frog around riprap and along the bank. Bass kept hitting the frog but I kept missing them because I kept setting the hook too fast. My grandpa kept yelling at me, saying, "You have to let them run. You have to let the run." After being frustrated and resting, I started throwing the frog again, and right as I was going to bring it up out of the water to make another cast I noticed a bass was right underneath it. I let the frog sit, barely moving it, when all of a sudden the bass smashed my bait. I reared back as hard as I could and the frog came flying out of its mouth and smacked my grandpa right in his mouth! Luckily, it didn't hook him but I learned a good lesson (and had a good laugh): Let the fish run for a second before setting the hook!
Christian Smith, Vicksburg, Mich.
77. Hang-ups aren't always bad
I was fishing with my dad about 10 years ago when he got his frog lure hung up on a stump. He told me to turn the boat around because he was snagged on a stump. The lure was about 8 inches above the water. He was shaking the fishing rod, trying to free the lure from the stump, when suddenly a bass leaped from the water, grabbed the lure and fell to the lake. My dad set the hook and caught a nice 2-pound bass.
Ed Kohl, Waterford, Conn.
78. Flying frogs
Throw the frog across to the opposite bank. Slowly drag it toward the water. Give it a quick, short jerk and let it "hop" into the water. Sounds too simple, but I have caught a lot of bass when it is airborne, and then plops on the water. Watch out for the neighborhood cat lurking on the bank!
Richard Adams, Shoreacres, Texas
79. Water-logged frog
Squeeze the body of the frog while dipping it in the water, then stop squeezing so it fills with water. Adding this extra water weight makes the frog slowly sink down from the surface, attracting hungry bass.
Shawn Mullen, Barrington, R.I.
80. Snell something fishy
Getting short strikes on your topwater frogs, no mater what you try? Try snelling them together with steel wire typically used for pike/muskie fishing. About 6 to 8 inches works best. Heavy diameter superline works fine if you don't have wire. Secure them from the base of the double hook to the eyelet of the second frog. The outcome is amazing even if the bite isn't short!
Mike Burke, Quakertown, Pa.
81. Make it glow
One of my best frog fishing tips is for fishing it at night. Activate a glow stick, and paint the glow-in-the-dark liquid on the frog. You can also use another glow-in-the-dark liquid as long as it lights up. This gives bass a great target to hit on the surface under the moonlight.
Shawn Mullen, Barrington, R.I.
82. Swap hooks for better hooksets
Want to increase your hook-up ratios fishing frogs? You should always make sure the fish has it for a brief moment (I count to three quickly), then use a powerful sweeping overhead hook set, but sometimes this isn't enough to help you stick it to 'em right in the mouth. After many swings, misses, and strikeouts (and a few choice words), I decided to analyze the situation. I decided instead of using standard frog hooks with the screw-in head attached at the eye of the hook, I would use a standard wide gap worm hook. I secure it by pegging it in place with a toothpick and snipping the excess of flush with the frog. If you consider the dynamics behind the force behind the hook set, the advantage is obvious. The pegged hook will tear out the front of the nose and the hook will come out of the frog every time, whereas the screw-on standard hooks leave the point of the hook in the frog because the hook remains in the same place (the screw will not tear out). That extra half-inch of exposed hook can mean the difference between getting that hawg out of the thick stuff and just seeing a nice boil. The downside is you'll go through more frogs.
Matthew Coe, Ewing, Ill.
83. Take it from this kid
My name is Joe and I am 12 years old. When I fish with weedless frog lures, I cast the frogs onto the shoreline and retrieve it back toward the boat with short jerking motions. It looks more realistic as the fake frog jumps in the shallow water and continues to swim back toward us. This imitates the action of a real frog and produces a lot of bass attacks.
Joe Gawle, Lockport, Ill.
84. Stuff your frog to beat the wind
Casting soft hollow bodied frogs in calm or no wind is simple and accomplished without too much effort. Let the wind start blowing, and you will generally do well to find another lure to throw. Or you can break off small pieces of soft plastic worm and stuff the parts into the back of the frog, giving it some weight but not taking away the topwater properties of the frog. Bend the hooks back a little to help with the hook sets.
Claude Rentz, Orangeburg, S.C.
85. Target cover
The easiest way to catch very big bass is to cast your frog close to underwater terrain such as submerged trees or logs. If the hooks are inside or they are weedless you can cast in weed banks; keep doing this for 10 tries and you may catch some bass. If you're in a boat it's easier because you can just cast and bring it back, but if you're on a dock or on land try shooting parallel to the coast. Also, if you have lily pads in your lake you can leave the frog on the lily pad with the tail or skirt in the water and move it slightly; the bass will think the frog is about to die or injured.
Alejandro Gomez, Weston, Fla.
86. Chug and pause
The best tip I have for frog fishing is to be VERY patient on your first cast of the day. If you go out in the morning on still water, your first frog cast is the first sign of life for the bass to key in on. I'll cast a green Snag Proof frog on 20-pound braid into the lily pads. It hits the water and I let it sit for at least 20 seconds (long enough for the wake to go away). Then I chug it a couple of times and pause for 10 seconds. Usually a fish will hit it once you chug it and pause. Works like a charm.
Chris Mader, Pelham, N.H.
87. Fish the skinny
I throw the frog up on the shore/bank and slowly work the frog into the water; I usually get my strikes in the skinny of the water. Other times I will actually throw them on the logs up on the shore to make it look like they fell off the logs into the water.
Rick Ellinger, Rockville, Md.
Originally published in Bassmaster Magazine July 2008.