How To: Frog Fishing for Bass
Did you know that a lot happens in the spring where breeding is concerned? For one, big bass are getting ready to fatten up before they spawn, and frogs also begin their seasonal breeding pattern. Add these two up and chances are if you use a soft bodied plastic frog in the spring, you might score the biggest bass of the season…and maybe your personal best ever! Although the drop-dead best frog fishing occurs when the water temps get into the 60s, there can also be a great bite while bass fishing in the spring, well before the water warms.
Using soft plastic frogs for bass fishing is something that is both exciting, highly productive and a lot of fun. I will warn you though, when using frogs while bass fishing, you also may become very frustrated by the lack of hook-ups. Hopefully I can help you with the learning curve and how to score fairly consistently while frog fishing for bass.
This view shows what a bass actually sees from under the water.
Before you can hit the water in an attempt to score bass with frogs, you absolutely must have the "right" tackle. This means a stout rod with fast action. A reel capable of throwing long distances, plus have the cranking power needed to winch "hogs" through the junk. Then last but no least a good quality braided line – a heavy one at that!
Some anglers like high speed reels while using frogs when bass fishing. The thought is if a fish misses, they can fast retrieve, then make another cast. I used to have that same belief but the benefits of the fast retrieve do not out-weigh the power of the lower gear ratio. The low ratio on the reel I use – KastKing Kapstan Elite size 300 baitcasting reel allows me to get any bass out of the cover, plus the larger size spool also aids in taking up line. Although it is a higher ratio then the Kapstan, a second choice would be the new Speed Demon Elite Deadbolt – because it is a "no-drag" reel. Keep in mind when using the Deadbolt, you have no give, so understanding your rod's breaking point, plus the line you are using is critical. If you do not pay attention, you could blow up your rod!
As far as the fishing rod is concerned when frog angling for bass, I like a longer rod in the 7-foot, 6-inch to 7-foot, 11-inch models. I like, the KastKing Speed Demon Punchin' rod which is 7-foot, 11-inches and the Abu Garcia Veritas which comes in at 7-foot, 6-inches. These two rods are fairly similar in their action, with the Speed Demon a slightly beefier rod.
On the line end, for bass fishing with frogs, I use two different pound test brads depending on what type of cover I am fishing. If I am in thick lily pad fields or heavy grass, I like a 50-pound KastKing Kastpro Braided Line. For sliding under docks or open water frog fishing for bass, I will downsize to 30-pound test in the same line. The Kast Pro's diamond weave makes it exceptionally strong and abrasion resistant, which is perfect around docks or line snapping lily pads.
Frogs and More Frogs!
I do not think there is a company out there not making a soft hollow bodied plastic frog. In fact, there are also some under-the-radar home-made ones that are incredibly good too. The key to the frog is the hook style and how it performs around the body. You want the hook to be totally exposed to the fish after he attacks and crushes the body. If the body does not allow for exposure of the points, chances are, you are going to miss that fish. Check the plastics and make sure they are soft and pliable like the KastKing MadBite frog.
Colors when frog fishing for bass is another element where I do not weigh too heavily. I love black or white, but that goes back to my days fishing in the surf zone (beach) for stripers where the old adage was the lighter the day the lighter the lure and the darker the day (or night) the darker the lure. I use just about every different color out there. Do I have a preference – YES! I believe when using a soft bodied frog while bass fishing, if you use either a yellow, green tone or black you will catch bass. The key here is not so much what color the frogs are, but how the fish will see it in the water. The colors look real pretty on the surface but the last time I checked I have never seen a bass swimming on top of the water. From underwater a bass sees shades – dark to light. Simply change up your colors until you get hit, then stick with it.
How to Work the Frog
When frog fishing, fast, slow, hop, stop, skip are all options, but what is best? When bass fishing, they all will have their place, depending on where and what the cover is. Again, just like the color, the cadence you use is what gets bit, not necessarily what the guy next to you is doing.
A lot of times, the bass will completely inhale a frog, while others they will swing and miss. Your hook-set method is extremely important when the frog gets attacked.
If I am fishing heavy cover I only use two approaches, and both have worked out for me more times than not. The first approach is too make the cast past your target and begin a slow, but steady retrieve. Every 5 feet or so, I stop cranking and let the frog sit for 2-3 seconds – just like frogs do while traveling over water. If nothing blows up, I continue. The second is to simply reel at a higher pace and never stop. This may not be imitating a frog, but more like a mouse or other rodent that does not stop when swimming.
If I am skipping docks or working open water I use the same approach. I make my cast to the target then walk-the-dog with my frog, trying to keep it in the strike zone as long as possible.
The last key component when using frog baits for bass fishing is the hook set. Again, this can become a personal preference, but what works for me is the following. When using the slower retrieve in cover I allow the lure to disappear before I set the hook. If I am fishing open water or under docks, as soon as the fish explodes on the bass I set the hook. There are a million ways to try, but these two work for me, and if nothing else are a good starting point for you!
Frog fishing for bass in the spring is a load of fun, and can be very rewarding. Your biggest bass of the year, or ever, may be hanging on to the end of your line with a well-placed frog in its mouth. So this spring, break out the frogs and hit the water for bass.