Flinging the Frog
By Steve Basinger
Flinging the Frog
After fishing a frog for the first time this past season, I think I have found a new favorite technique. The image of those bass coming through the slop to grab that frog will be permanently etched in my mind for the rest of my life. But the best part is that grass is not the only place for a frog. In this article, I’m going to give you 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 higher water temps than surrounding areas, a grass bed is a place bass can spend an entire season in and never have a reason to leave. This makes it an obvious place to fish but 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 bank of a lake. All of the points and pockets tend to hold more fish than the regular flat banks. It works the same way with grass. I will target these areas with a hollow body frog. I will cover water pretty quickly until I get a couple of bites and then I will slow down and fish that area thoroughly. Normally, you can go through a hundred yards of grass without a bite and then you come up to a spot that looks just like everything you just fished and you catch a ton of fish. If you pay attention, you will notice something different. It may be a depth change or maybe the wind is blowing onto the grass. At Sheep Creek last year, I had to be around grass without any of the slimy moss in it. These are the differences between fishing and catching. The other thing that I have noticed is that this pattern does better as the day goes on. I’m pretty sure that’s because in the morning and evening hours, the fish are still scattered from feeding all night. But when the sun gets higher, it pushes the fish into the cover, making it easier to find them in the grass.
When I’m fishing a frog in this scenario, I like a hollow body frog like the Spro Bronzeye Frog. I almost exclusively use one in a black color. I do that because I feel that it silhouettes better under the mat and it resembles a bluegill better. I have only used one rod so far and it was a 7’ Med Hvy Diawa Jupiter. Whatever rod you use, you need it to have a strong backbone to pull them out of the cover but a soft tip to work and cast the bait. I also used 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 used 50 pound Spiderwire Stealth. I probably should have upped it to 65 pound but I have found that for frog fishing, 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. In most of the North Dakota waters, we don’t have a lot of 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 to make 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, if available, 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 guys pass up that area because they think they will get snagged. That’s what the braided line is for!
I use the same bait and tackle as the grass technique but I will go down to 30 pound braid. I also use the same colored frog but that is more of a confidence thing. I have also used the Ultimate Topwater Shad made by Culprit with great results. It’s not very aerodynamic so it doesn’t cast well but it skips like a dream! I’m trying to emulate a bluegill here so choose your colors accordingly.
Froggin the Post Spawn
After the bass finish spawning 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, the point of a grass line, or holed up in a lay down tree. A common way to target these fish is to tempt them with a topwater than can sit in the strike zone for a long time such as a popper. But I have found that the frog is even better since I can throw it right into the middle of the nastiest cover and not get hung. It can be twitched to “walk the dog” just like a Zara Spook. And with very small twitches, you can have it walk in place. Keeping the bait in the strike zone and close to cover is what it takes to get those fish to bite.
A Few Quick Tips
A common problem with frog fishing is a lot of blow ups without ever hooking the fish. A good way to remedy this is to take a pair of pliers and 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 ups big time!
Most hollow body frogs come with silicon legs that are 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 I keep having fish short strike 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 with hardly any work on your part.
That’s all I have after one season of frog fishing. I can’t wait to see what I have to write about next winter! Hope you guys get some use out of this. I’ll be counting on you all to show me how to catch them even better next year!
-Badlands Bass Bandits Member