By Gary A. McCollum
I always keep two lures tied on to my rods this time of year (full disclosure, I always have at least one).
One of my favorite lures in the summertime is the top water frog! They can and do elicit violent, rod bending strikes and fantastic heart stopping action.
Morning and evening are always the times I’ll throw a frog but be sure to not put your frog fishing in strictly that time frame. I have caught huge bass in the heat of the day under vegetation mats. Depending on the lake, structure and cover will dictate which style of frog I’ll be offering the fish. There are times I throw them back to back of each other.
There are basically two major groups of frog baits. Hollow body top water and solid bodied frogs with leg action.
The hollow body frogs float and usually have two hook points coming over the back, sitting close to the body of the bait, making it almost entirely weed less. There are popping frogs, pointed nosed frogs, large, small, and many different colors to choose from. This type of frog usually has latex/rubber skirts to simulate legs. They can be fished fast, slow, walked or just twitched.
The solid body frogs again come in multiple colors, and styles, usually with the noise being generated from the back legs. This style bait will have one hook (although two hook versions are available) you will have the hook sitting close to the bait again making this weed less. This bait must be moving to generate the noise for top water action as they will sink when left sitting.
I personally prefer to use these baits with braid on my line. Braided line has the ability to cut through the vegetation and allows you to throw the bait into the areas where the bass are with a reasonable amount of surety that you will be able to retrieve your bait out of the nastiness where the big ones live.
You can use either of these frogs in many different situations only limited by your ability to get the bait to the spot you want to fish. These floating frogs can allow an angler to cover large amounts of surface matted vegetation fairly quickly. My preference is to start targeting matted grass mats or lily pads as I can pause them at the edge of an open hole or a change in vegetation, stop and twitch it a bit, sometimes triggering a bass to bite. I usually try to cast my bait well beyond my target and use a slow and steady retrieve. The slow & steady retrieve allows the bass to track the bait under the mat as its being retrieved. When the strike occurs, you may see a boil under the water and see something similar to a ‘toilet flush’ or it can be a full out assault on your lure. In either case, don’t set the hook immediately, wait 1-2 seconds, reeling down while you are and swing for the stars. You may have to drive the hooks through grass or pads to get a good hookset. If bass are swirling at it but not taking it, you can change the size, color, type, or add bb’s to the hollow body. Sometimes just the slightest modification can make your day more productive.
I will usually throw the solid body frogs in heavy timbered areas and bump it around trees and stick ups. It can be retrieved through open water and by lone isolated cover. The solid body frogs work in vegetation as well but if it’s extremely thick you won’t get the leg action that churns the water attracting the fish. I really like this bait for fishing docks and isolated cover near shorelines. If you can learn to skip this type of frog, it can be a lethal attack underneath a dock. On a surface retrieve you don’t need to be slow and steady. You do need to keep the bait moving but slight jerks or pauses will make it resemble an injured frog. Remember, bass are the wolves of freshwater and predators of opportunity. The erratic retrieve can trigger violent surface strikes. Again, wait 1 – 2 seconds prior to setting the hook, real down and swing for the stars!
Frog fishing is not just a morning and evening activity. It works great all day long and even during your night fishing trips. Summer time can be a difficult time to pattern the fish but if you keep a frog or two tied on you have a very serious tool in your arsenal. This tool can make the difference in a good day and a great one!
Hope this helps y’all,
Be Safe and Tight Lines!