I know a lot of folks out there in Fish Sniffer Country reading this article have experienced the thrill of frog fishing, but there are likely an equal number that have heard about it, yet have never given it a shot. It’s the anglers that have never experienced the thrill of frog fishing that I’m writing this article for.
If you love fishing and have never tried targeting bass with frogs you’ve simply got to do it. Frog fishing is very basic and aggressive and that is in part where its charm comes from.
When you cast out a frog, you are presenting the bass with a substantial meal that looks to be nimble and readily able to escape. This confronts the bass with a basic problem. It can act quickly and secure a full belly or it can let the opportunity slip away. Will the bass play it safe and sit tight or will it catapult skyward and obliterate the frog? It’s the bass that choose obliteration that sear themselves into our mind’s eye!
So how does a mild mannered bass angler that is accustomed to dead sticking Senkos and slow rolling 2 inch grubs rigged on darter heads get started hunting bass with frogs?
The first thing you’ll need is an appropriate rod and reel. Frog fishing requires stout tackle for a few different reasons. First, you’ll often be fishing heavy cover. Second, you’ll be swinging hard when you set the hook in order to compress the bait and drive the hooks home and finally, frogs have a reputation for bringing the biggest bass available up to the surface. When Mr. Big decides to eat, you want to be loaded for bear!
Frog gear consists of a stiff rod in the 7 to 8 foot class with longer being better. Heavy flipping sticks will get the job done, but if your wallet will take the strain, a rod designed for frog fishing will obviously work better.
Match the rod with a high speed high quality baitcaster such as the 7.1 to 1 Abu Garcia Revo. Spool the reel with 65 pound braid and you’re ready to toss your frog into the octagon!
When you get to the store or visit the Snag Proof website you are going to see a confusing array of frogs, but don’t let that shake your confidence. You want to start off with two different frogs, a white or light colored one and a brown or dark colored one, from either Ish Monroe’s Ish’s Phat Frog signature series or Bobby Barrack’s Bobby’s Perfect Frog signature series.
These frogs have many similarities and some notable differences. Both Bobby and Ish are incredible frog fishermen and you won’t go wrong with either bait. Do you want to throw the football like Joe Montana or Brett Farve? ‘NUFF SAID!
Why dark and light colored frogs? When working heavy vegetation, I like to use a light colored frog simply because I can see it better against the dark background. When I’m fishing open water I go with a dark colored frog, which gives the bass a solid silhouette to zero in on.
When most folks think of frog fishing they visualize the weedy waters of the Delta or Clear Lake and it’s true that these are places where frogs really shine, but they’ll work in clear water reservoirs like Folsom and Berryessa too. If you are going to explore clear open water go with your light colored frog or go one better and pick up a clear/flake frog.
Okay we’ve got the rod, we’ve got the frogs and now we are out on the water. How do you go about fishing frogs? Do you twitch, twitch, pause and try to imitate the movement of a real frog? While at times a twitch and stop retrieve will work, for the best result you want to go with a steady walk the dog retrieve as much as possible.
To walk your frog point your rod tip down straight at your feet aimed in the direction of the frog. Twitch the rod from 8 o’clock to 6 o’clock with enough slack in the braid to form a belly. If the line is tight when you twitch, the lure will move in a straight line. When there is slack in the line the frog will move from side to side.
When a bass hits the frog some guys set the hook right away while others let the bass have the frog for a beat or two. I tend to let the bass have the frog. When I first see the fish break the water I try not to react at all. I simple keep working the bait and swing hard when I actually FEEL the fish. This can be tough when a splash reminiscent of bowling ball being thrown into the water explodes where your frog used to be!