One of the most enjoyable fishing experiences I have each season is when I get a chance to throw hollow body frogs to heavy shallow cover hoping big bass will “blow up” on and, ultimately, eat those frogs. As a fishing guide, and for several reasons, we don’t employ this pattern a lot. Nevertheless, in the right waters this pattern can offer the year’s most explosive fishing action and, if you haven’t tried it, you should consider it in 2022 because it is flat out fun and extremely exciting!
The “right” froggin’ waters include lakes with lots of shallow cover like lily pads, wild rice, and pencil reeds. These examples of shallow vegetation are prime frog waters, but astute anglers also throw frogs around manmade cover like docks and boat/pontoon lifts as well.
Frog fishing requires stout baitcasting gear and braided line of at least 50-pound test. Lots of frog technique-specific rods have hit the market in recent years and anglers don’t have to break the bank when acquiring a rod and accompanying reel. One thing that will be required, however, is casting practice as long casts are beneficial in expansive shallow areas like lily pad fields, while accurate casts are in order around tighter cover like docks and boat lifts. Last summer I paired a Lew’s KVD dock skipping/frog rod with a matching KVD baitcasting reel and spooled it with heavy Tour braided line. This set up did an excellent job and comes at an affordable price too.
My frog fishing starts by tying a KVD Sexy Frog to my line, heading to the shallows, and starting to cast. Long casts and a straight, steady retrieve will often lead to explosive bites from shallow largemouth bass. At times, however, using a slower “walk the dog” style retrieve will produce strikes too and is effective with shorter casts tighter to cover. Regardless the retrieve utilized, one key to success is to pause a bit before the hookset to be sure the fish has the bait before the hookset. Many novice froggers, and some experienced ones too, tend to set too soon and pull the frog from the fish when the fish “blows up” on the lure but doesn’t have it yet.
Two-time fishing Hall of Famer and veteran frog fisherman Duane Peterson helped me with the above challenge several years ago on a fishing trip when we were making long casts to fish holding in reeds. Duane simply advised me to keep the rod tip high during the steady retrieves we were using. This simple adjustment forces an angler to lower the rod tip before setting the hook, giving the fish the time needed to fully engulf the frog.
Duane also offered a useful hint regarding cover selection during that trip. He said and showed that while one form of cover, maybe a reed bank, may have a fish or two in it, the best spots are often areas where multiple forms of cover intersect. For example, we had some of our best action in spots where reeds had other forms of weeds mixed in.
Choosing productive fishing spots is important and so is frog selection. Various productive frog colors are available, with more coming to the market each year. It pays for anglers to experiment to let the fish show you the preferred “color of the day.” The Sexy Frog comes in many productive color patterns and has two other important components. First, it collapses easily on the bite and, second, it has a big, strong double hook. Both these features increase the odds for successful hook-ups!
If more hook-ups and more fishing fun sounds appealing, consider froggin’ for bass. The tips provided above can, in fact, lead to some explosive topwater blow ups and some of 2022’s most enjoyable fishing!
As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure.
Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series. Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com or follow Fishing the Midwest on Facebook for more “fishy” stuff.