After fishing a frog for the first time this past season, I have found a new favorite technique; flinging the frog for bass. The image of those bass coming through the slop to grab the frog is permanently etched in my mind for the rest of my life. But the best part, grass is not the only place for a frog. In this article, I’m going to give some of my tips from past experience (and a little advice from some of the pros) on when, where and how to become a better frog flinger.
Froggin’ the Grass
I’ll start with the obvious place to throw a frog– grass beds. There is so much going on around grass beds and weed lines. Between the aquatic organisms, the increased oxygen levels, and more comfortable water temps than surrounding areas, bass can spend an entire season in a grass bed and never have a reason to leave. This makes it an obvious place to fish. The key is to know the sweet spots on the bed.
Anywhere that the grass/weeds make a point, depression or hole is a natural ambush point. Think of the edge of the grass line as a miniature shoreline. All of the points and pockets tend to hold more fish than the regular flat banks. It works the same way with grass. I target these areas with a hollow body frog. I cover water pretty quickly until I get a couple of bites and then slow down and fish the area thoroughly. Normally, you can go through a long stretch of grass without a bite and then come up to a spot that looks just like everything else and catch a ton of fish. Pay close attention, there will be something different. It may be a depth change or maybe the wind is blowing onto the grass. During a local tournament last year, I had to be around grass without any of the slimy, “cheesy-looking” moss in it. These are the differences between fishing and catching. Another thing I have noticed is this pattern does better as the day goes on. I believe during morning and evening hours the fish are still scattered from feeding all night. As the sun gets higher the fish move into the cover, making it easier to find them in the grass.
When I’m fishing a frog in this scenario, I like a Spro Bronzeye hollow body frog. I almost exclusively use a black color. I feel it silhouettes better under the mat and resembles a bluegill better. I particularly like the 7’ 4” medium heavy action Mark Tyler Multipurpose rod made by Denali. Whatever rod you use, it should have a strong backbone to pull them out of the cover but a soft tip to work and cast the bait. I use an Abu Garcia Black Max reel in a 7.1:1. The reel needs to be fast to take up line quickly. Lastly, braided line is the most important part of the whole set up. For this set up, I use at least 50 pound Spiderwire Stealth. Depending on the thickness of the grass, 65 pound might be even better. Regardless of line size, I have found the slick braided lines perform better. I think it’s because it comes through the guides smoother. Power Pro put out a new line called Super 8 Slick that should be perfect for frogging.
This is where I really put the frog to use. No matter where you go in the county, you might not have any thick grass but there are always some docks around. I like to skip the frog into hard to reach areas in and around the dock. While it does take a little practice to learn a skip cast, a hollow body frog is a good bait to learn with. I like to hit the obvious places like the corners of the docks and ladders, but also skip the bait underneath the dock into the shadiest spot I can find. Don’t forget about the front of the dock that is protected by the steel cable. A lot of anglers pass up this area because they may get snagged. That’s what the braided line is for!
I use the same bait and tackle as the grass technique but go down to 30 pound braid. I use the same colored frog but that is more a confidence thing. I have also used the Culprit Ultimate Topwater Shad with great results. It’s not very aerodynamic so doesn’t cast well, but it skips like a dream! I’m trying to emulate a bluegill here so choose colors accordingly.
Froggin’ the Post Spawn
After the spawn and the fry have hatched, both males and females will move to the first available cover heading to deep water. The females are there to recover while the males are there to guard fry. They may be under a dock, around a stump, along the point of a grass line, or holed up in a laydown tree. Tempt these fish with a topwater bait that can sit in the strike zone for a long time, such as a popper. I have found the frog is an even better choice. I can throw it right into the middle of the nastiest cover and not get hung. It can be twitched to “walk the dog” like a Zara Spook. With very small twitches, you can make it walk in place. Keeping the bait in the strike zone and close to cover is what it takes to get fish to bite.
A Few Quick Tips
A common problem with frog fishing is the blow up to hooking ratio. You will miss a lot of fish. A good way to remedy this is take a pair of pliers, grab the hook behind the barb, and bend the hook away from the body about 1/16th of an inch. This will increase your hook up ratio.
Most hollow body frogs come with silicon legs evenly cut and about 4 inches long. I like to cut them down to no more than 3 inches. I may cut them shorter if the fish are short striking the bait. If I want to make the bait walk easier, I will cut one leg about an inch shorter than the other leg. This will make it walk more easily.
So there you have it. Whether you’re on a weed choked lake in Louisiana or clear highland reservoir like Table Rock, there is always a reason to have a hollow body frog in your arsenal. The next time you come across a tangled mess of cover, fling a frog into it. You might just be surprised what you can coax out of there!