There are a handful of lure types that anglers should keep in their tackle box at all times, and topwater frogs are among them. When everything is quiet and the water is a pristine mirror, there’s nothing like the sudden, ferocious explosion of a topwater strike to break the still of the morning. Capitalizing with a frog isn’t always as easy as cast-and-retrieve, though, so today we’ll take a look at a few tips to help improve your efficiency with them this season.
Find thick cover
The thickest cover you can locate, to be exact. Big bass love snag-infested havens of weeds and vegetation, so don't shy from the thick stuff and cast your frogs across slop, pads, and wood. Your frog can handle the abuse and it won’t snag often, if at all, due to the hook placement. Furthermore, you should be using the right line for the job, which brings us to…
Go braid or go home
There is only one line option when you’re working with frogs: braid. Mono just doesn’t cut it when you need to pull fish from heavy cover. Braid slices through pads like a hot knife through butter. It’s best to stick with 50 to 65-lb test braid in this instance, too. No need to risk it, right?
Biggie-size your tackle
Matching your tackle to the conditions you’ll face or the lures you’re throwing is a key part of fishing. When you’re fishing with frogs and heavy braid, you’ll want heavy action rods that are specifically made for the job. You need backbone and a limber tip, both to cast the frogs far and to haul fish through the thick slop and pads.
Tie your line directly to your frog. I can’t stress this enough. Swivels and snaps only offer one more weak spot that will fail during a fight or a snag, and they can ruin the action of your bait, not to mention hang up on weeds during the retrieve. Furthermore—and you can ask anyone who uses braid—your hook will bend before the braid breaks, so a swivel will only break if you get wrapped around pads or timber.
Try different retrieves
Fish will dictate what they want and they can be pretty finicky at times. Some days they may want a constant retrieve, while on others, a pause and jerk style. Vary the cadence until you figure it out. If a fish misses your frog entirely, keep calm and let the frog sit still for about 10 to 15 seconds. Then, give it a small jerk. Chances are that the fish will strike again.
Never set the hook on the initial strike when you’re fishing with frogs. More often than not, you’ll end up pulling the lure from the fish altogether. Instead, allow the fish to fully engulf your frog and turn—basically waiting until you feel the weight of the fish. It can be hard to wait two agonizing seconds, but your hook-up percentage will increase dramatically if you do. Trust me.
Keep ‘em up
The best way to make sure your hooked fish makes it into the boat is to keep its head up during the retrieve. Get it on top of the weeds quickly and pull it across the surface. If you give it any slack, it will wrap itself in the heavy vegetation, which will either lead to a longer, more frustrating fight, or a lost fish.
This Spring, I advise you to employ the tips outlined above and toss a few frogs to the slop in search for lurking lunkers. Practicing and fine-tuning your frog skills will further boost your formidability on the water and make you a force to be reckoned with this season.