Topwater baits are at the top of the list when it comes to exciting fishing lures, and there’s not much that can get your heart racing faster than when a big bass explodes on a topwater frog as you pull it across weeds or lily pads.

Any angler can tell you, though, that fishing a topwater frog takes some practice, as a premature hookset can cause you to lose a big fish. Here’s a look at four reasons why most anglers miss out on big fish when using a topwater frogs, so the same thing doesn’t happen to you.

Cast Beyond the Target

I’m not trying to get you to think metaphorically or existentially; this simply means that when you spot an ideal holding spot for a big bass, cast your frog a good five yards past it. Not only does doing so reduce the odds of spooking a fish by dropping a lure right on top of it, but it allows you to get your frog moving the way you want it to by the time it reaches the target. Sometimes your frog could land upside down or get tangled in the line during the cast and having those few extra yards to get sorted can really make all the difference.

Think Like a Frog

Fishing the shallow shoreline to target those early morning bass? Ask yourself how a frog would move around the bank. Odds are they’re not dropping right onto a few feet of water, but rather coming from shore. To mimic this, try casting your frog onto the bank and pulling it into the water. I’ve found this to be such a difference maker when I’m fishing the shoreline.

Avoid Low-Hanging Branches

If you can, try to control your casts as best as possible while fishing near the banks. One major mistake that’s easy to make when casting heavy frogs is overcasting into low-handing branches or bushes near the shore. Even if you’re using braided line, trying to fight a fish while your line is tangled in branches isn’t going to end well. Keep your angle low while casting and try skipping if you’re targeting the shoreline.

Preparation is Key

To make sure you don’t miss out on too many bass, you’ll need to prepare for a strike after each cast. This means keeping your rod tip low so you can get a ton of leverage to set the hook on a strike, setting your feet and arms to set the hook when you feel the weight of the fish and making sure your line isn’t slack. Checking these boxes will ensure you’re ready, because 9 times out of 10 a bass will strike as soon as that frog hits the water.

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