Frog fishing has to be the closest thing to heart stopping mayhem in the bass fishing world. It’s a go to technique during the dog days of summer, and a staple when your faced with weed mats and pad fields that would make most everything else unusable. It can also be one of the most frustrating ways to bass fish as the hook up ratios can be nearly non-existent especially if you don’t get the timing just right or aren’t using the right gear. So, here are a few tips that have helped me not only gain confidence in the technique but has increased my hook up rates overall…
- Always bring more than one style of frog with you. If I know I am going to be throwing a frog I always bring one popping frog and one walking frog. It’s rare that I find both work well on the same day so I always over prepare than under in case one outshines the other.
- Use frogs with a softer body. Hollow body frogs can be stiff depending on what brand you buy. This results in the bass needing to lock down harder on the frog to expose enough hook gap to get good hook penetration. Soft body frogs although more fragile in some cases have better hook up ratios because a larger hook gap is exposed on the hook set. Brands like Live Target and Booyah have been my go to frogs because of this. Always bring extras though in case the body tears and water leaks in. Once that happens the frog is pretty much useless.
- Start with a larger profile frog. Big frogs usually mean big bass. If they are short striking or completely missing the frog then I will downsize to a smaller version. However in thick mats or pad fields a larger profile will cause more movement of cover and give the bass a larger profile to hone in on.
- Start with natural colors. Browns and greens are always getting thrown first as they are the most natural presentation you can throw in any water clarity condition. It becomes less necessary as the water gets dirtier or the cover gets denser as they are chasing a profile or noise more so than the actual color. Colors like black, white and yellow can also make their way into the rotation.
- Trim the skirt to equal the body length of the frog. I have seen it happen a few times fishing side by side with another person using the same exact frog and them not getting a good hook set on the fish due to too long of a skirt. The bass can and will short strike a frog when it has too long of a skirt. I try not to go to the extreme and take too much off so I found trimming the legs back just enough to match the length of the frog body.
- Use a longer Medium Heavy or Heavy powered baitcasting rod with a higher ratio reel. Notice I said baitcasting rod and not spinning rod. Spinning rods can be used in a pinch but casting rods are far superior for frog fishing due to the leverage advantage they have over spinning rods and the winching power from a baitcasting reel. My current frog fishing setup is a Kistler KLX 7’ 3” Heavy Moderate-Fast casting rod paired up with a Daiwa Zillion TWS SV 7.3 ratio reel.
- Always use braid. Braid is the only line I would ever consider fishing a hollow body frog with and I usually stick around 50-65 pound test. No other line comes close because in every other case you end up with too much line stretch and the line doesn’t “cut” through matted weeds and pads. Last month a buddy and I found a good frog bite and I unfortunately left my frog rod at home. The only thing powerful enough with me was a 7’ 3” MH X-Fast casting rod with 20 pound fluorocarbon. Literally the third cast and a monster bass blows up through the pads on the frog. I set the hook just like I usually do and came back with nothing but weeds. That line stretched horribly and never got a hook in the fish. Here is a great line I have been using the last few seasons…it casts really well and doesn’t lose its color as quickly as some other brands!
- Tie a double palomar knot. Although the standard palomar knot does well, the double is just additional insurance in case your knot decides to slip. I’ve lost a few big bass because of the knot slipping free from the frog…then comes jumping out of the water with your frog still attached.
- Set the hook in an upward motion. You want leverage and the ability to get them to the surface more quickly in the case you are fishing heavy cover. Side sweeping won’t get the job done in most cases and isn’t recommended.
- Feel the weight of the fish…set the hook. This can work in most cases but I find myself setting the hook just before I know I am going to feel the weight of the fish…if that makes sense. Sometimes when they pull hard it may be too late so set it immediately after you feel or see that line take off…and set it HARD!
- Fish high percentage areas. Weed edges, open pockets, thinner cover, etc. will always have higher hook up percentage. If a bass has to go through an inch or two of matted weeds to hit a frog more times than not they will not completely eat it. I try to put it in spots I know a bass can easily swallow the frog first before I start venturing into low hook up ratio spots.
- Always throw the frog back in the same area if you miss a blow up. More often than not I can capitalize on a missed fish by throwing back right in the same spot I missed a blow up. I try to slow down and let the bait pop or walk in the area for a longer period of time to entice them to come back.
I hope these tips help improve your frog fishing game here in the next couple of months. If you have never tried it I encourage you to do so…it could result in your biggest bass of the season!