Frog Fishing for Bass
Without question top water frog fishing for bass has to be one of the most exciting forms of freshwater fishing.
Seeing a largemouth bass engulf your frog from below will get any anglers pulse racing.
You can throw them in and around heavy cover, twitch them across open water and put them under low hanging trees and docks all to great effect.
There are some subtle differences in how you fish a frog lure in each of the scenario’s above.
Knowing what size and how to retrieve it can have a massive impact on your strike rates.
Your tackle also needs and upgrade to be able to handle all that weed and other potential snags.
The best frogging rods will have need to have a stout backbone so a heavy power rating is a must.
You’ll need a fast to extra fast action so that every move of your rod tip is translated quickly to the frog and it will also set the large single hooks most of these lures have.
Ideally it should be 7 feet or more in length a longer rod gives you better casting performance but also a bit more control as you will be working the lure on the top of weeds and lilies.
A main line choice will always be braid. The heavier the better, 50 lb braided line is not uncommon particularly in very heavy vegetation.
Braid slices through weeds much easier than mono or fluoro due to it’s thinner diameter.
It also has close to zero stretch which is crucial not only for setting your hook, but translates your rod movement more directly to the frog.
Frog Fishing for Bass
Frog fishing for bass means getting you frog right up in heavy cover were frogs would naturally be hiding, it is crucial that when you move it across the water that it generates some noise and splash.
A lot of noise and splash will help the bass to see or locate your frog from below.
If you are fishing a frog lure in open water then you may need to drop down a size, but in heavy cover sometimes the bigger the better as you can cause a lot more disturbances with the larger one.
How to Fish a Frog Lure
Fishing a frog lure involves casting it towards and into cover, the frog is then walked or popped across the top with regular pauses during the retrieve.
More often than not a bass will strike the frog during the pause phase of your retrieve.
This pause can be crucial to your success. Not pausing does not give a bass a chance to have a good look at it and think about striking.
Pausing however needs to be done properly. Try not to pause for too long in open water.
For example in a large mat of lilies there can be gaps in between them, make sure to pause here only for the briefest of moments.
You don’t want to give the bass too long to inspect your fake frog as they may decide against it.
The same holds through when fishing in open water.
When you do go to set the hook often a slight pause is best, sometimes up to 2 to 3 seconds.
Pausing for this long can seem counter intuitive but you will be rewarded with a higher hook up rate and that is what is important.
It takes a few milliseconds for a bass to properly engulf a lure like a frog and setting your hook to quickly will result in just ripped it straight out of the bass’s mouth without the hook bedding in.
1. Thick Cover
For the majority of bass fishermen frog fishing means working their frog across the top of heavy vegetation or cover.
That could mean a variety of different types of cover:
- Lily pads
- Heavy weed
- Pond scum
Thick cover frog fishing means making a lot of splash and noise.
Whilst smaller frogs are more suitable to open water when fishing in thick cover use a big frog as it will make more noise and create a lot more splash.
A lot of anglers will throw a frog at cover and then just mindlessly reel it back towards themselves.
More often than not this type of approach is hurting their success.
Frogs don’t swim in straight lines at the same speed all of the time.
When working this type of water you should be using a weedless lure.
If you are in a boat facing at the bank of the lake then you can cast the lures right up to the waters edge of the bank.
Some anglers will even cast onto the bank and then skip or hop the frog into the water to simulate a frog entering the water from the land.
This would not be possible without a weedless lure!
Once in the water then vary your retrieve to pop the frog forwards and out to the side by varying the direction of your rod tip.
Allow a slight pause and then continue with the same action varying each pull to make them look a bit more natural and random.
2. Open Water
Open water is not what most people associate frog fishing with.
But, it can be very effective.
This is where using a slightly smaller lure will pay dividends. The smaller lure creates less splash and in open water too much splash would look unnatural.
To help this kind of presentation you can use slightly lighter line. In thick cover strong line that can slice through a lot of weed is essential but in open water not so much.
This is also where a hard body frog will really shine, especially those that have legs that kick when moved through the surface.
You want the appearance of the frog to be as natural as possible so a smaller lure that generate smaller wake as it if fished is best.
If the wind is blowing then after a certain speed it will be creating too much ripple on the surface.
Bass in this scenario are relying on their sight and your lure to create a bit of wake on the water surface.
Too much wind and you won’t get nearly as many strikes as in calmer waters.
3. Along Drop Offs
Identify a drop off on your fish finder or by sight if it is shallow and a clear day and then work the lure along the contours of the drop off.
This approach will work best of their is vegetation on the hallow side of the drop off.
Bass love vegetation as cover and in the right scenario will break that cover to smash a topwater lure like a frog.
This approach can beat out thick cover frog fishing on certain days and I find it usually depends on the light conditions and how much wake the wind is causing on the surface.
Too much wind and it’s not that effective.
4. Around Docks
Fishing for bass in and around docks is nothing new. In fact most kids will either start fishing off of a dock or in a small river.
Fishing with frogs however is not that common place.
Saying that it can be very effective, not sure why but it works.
Just like fishing in open water you should aim to use a slightly smaller frog.
Work the frog along the side of the docks and even underneath them if the structure allows.