Froggin!By Dustin Smith - July 1, 2002
When fishing a frog, don't skimp on the equipment, stout tackle and heavy line is a must. Rod length from 6 ½-7 ½, that are Medium Heavy or Heavy action. I like a rod with a lot of backbone so I can really set into the fish. Since you are dealing with thick, matted, ugly weeds you need equipment to match. Use a reel with a dependable drag and one that can handle heavy pound test and a high-speed retrieve such as 6.2:1. Braided lines are the craze for slop fishing such as Fireline or Berkley Whiplash, they cut through the weeds like butter, and have no stretch, but do I use it? I am not a big fan of braided line, just never had good luck with it, I stick to monofilament that has low-stretch and abrasion resistant qualities such as Berkley Big Game. For monofilament use 20-25 lb test line and for Braided line use 40-50 lb test line.
There are several tackle companies that make good frogs, experiment which ones you think are best but these are the ones that are my favorite. Snag proof's Tournament Frog, Mann's Swimmin' Rat, and all of Bass Pro's selection of frogs and rats. Strong, Sharp hooks are the first thing I look for in a frog. Light-wire hooks will bend or even break when you set the hook with these baits, dull hooks you will miss almost every fish since sharp hooks are essential since your hook-ratio is decreased already because of the thickness of the cover. For colors, I use just about any color. When your beginning to frog fish use bright colors for this reason. When a bass comes up and hammers your frog, you want to set the hook…DON'T! Look to see if you can see your frog anymore, chances are if you can't he has it. Once you get used to a bass hitting the frog, feel for the weight of the fish, this will increase your hook-up ratio. Remember toothy critters also inhabit this area so buy plenty of extra baits, don't try to use a leader, it will grab every piece of grass in sight. Also, don't be surprised if you get a couple of frogs, frogs are cannibals and if you fish frogs long enough you're bound to get a couple, I know I have. Just flop them in the boat and pop the hook out with pliers.
When and Where
I start fishing this bait as soon as the weeds start to mat up on the surface, this is usually around June in Wisconsin. Eurasian Milfoil, Coontail, Cabbage, Lily pads are all good weeds that will hold fish. This technique is most effective right in the middle of the day when the sun is in its full blaze. The fish will hide up under the matted grass since it provides shade and plenty of forage. Bluegills, Perch, insects, frogs all inhabit this area and it makes a perfect habitat for big bass. In the summer the mat of weeds acts like a cooler, it can actually be up to 10* cooler under the mat of weeds than the surrounding water. Bass often will inhabit this shallow water instead of heading to deepwater.
When retrieving keep in mind that you want to imitate a frog swimming across the top of the water. For my retrieve I usually use a stop and go retrieve, twitching it along several inches and then letting it sit there. Reel it in slowly over matted grass and then stop it at the edge of a hole in the grass and twitch it across the open water. Often a bass will not explode through the matted grass but instead blast it when it comes to a clearing. Fishing in a large flat of weeds can often be overwhelming, as a simple rule fish where the weeds are deepest. Deep water close by shallow attracts all fish since it adds security for them. Fish points, large open areas in the middle of a weed flat are often good. Isolated patches of weeds away from all other weeds are good too. When you catch one fish, most likely other fish are nearby so work the area well.
Keep your hooks sharp, your hooks have to be sharp when fishing in slop. You can take a pair of pliers and bend the hooks slightly outward, this will increase your hooking percentage. Frogs are often pretty light and are hard to cast without additional weight so I usually add a few bb's inside it so I can cast it a little better.
Good luck Frog Fishing,