By Mike Frisch
Largemouth bass are numerous in lots of places and they can be caught using a variety of fishing methods. One of the most enjoyable ways is by using a soft hollow body top-water frog. These baits often lead to explosive bites as bass come up from below the baits and “blow up” on them. Here are some tips anglers can use to get in on this exciting fishing action this season.
Shallow cover areas are prime “froggin’” locations. Wild rice, lily pads, and pencil reeds are among the most productive shallow cover areas for fishing frogs. Additionally, anglers will also catch bass on frogs near docks, boat lifts, and a long fallen timber.
“Froggin’” has become a very popular bass fishing method in recent years, and tackle manufacturers have responded as many now make this popular lure. Regardless of the brand chosen, I narrow my color selections to just two patterns. I like frogs featuring either a white belly or a dark brown or black belly. Shallow bass are looking up as the bait passes overhead and so belly color is the most important color, in my opinion, and it seems like one of those two patterns will produce most days.
In addition to frog choice, another key to success when fishing a floating hollow body in thick cover is to use the right equipment. This style of fishing calls for heavy action baitcasting rod and reel combinations. My preference is the new Cabela’s XML Bass Rod model specifically designed for frog fishing paired with an Arachnid baitcasting reel. This combination allows me to make long casts so I can get my bait to a spooky shallow water “largie” and, also has the power to horse a big bass quickly to the boat before it buries itself in the cover.
A final equipment key is to use a braided line. My choice is 65-pound XTCB 8 Braid as this line’s Teflon coating allows for lone casts, and the line’s zero-stretch characteristic allows for solid hooksets at long distances and, again, the line has the strength needed to land big fish from heavy cover.
When targeting the shallows with frogs, I often start by making long casts and using steady retrieves, though I often experiment with retrieve speed until I find one the bass prefer.
Another tip is to keep track of where bites come from in cover as an observant angler can quickly establish a “pattern” that can be duplicated in other, but similar areas of the lake.
Regardless of what retrieve is used or where the bites are found, some days the bass will blow up on the bait without actually eating it. For that reason, it pays to have a “throwback” rod ready. This rod, rigged with a Texas-rigged plastic, can be used to quickly throw back to the spot where a bass “showed” itself. The new 3 ½-inch Impulse Fatty Tubes in black/blue, green pumpkin, or pumpkinseed color patterns have proven to be top throwback baits as they can be accurately pitched to openings in cover where big bass show themselves and, they fall at a rate the bass seem to prefer.
Targeting lunker bass is a favorite of lots of anglers across the country. One of the most productive and exciting ways to catch big bass is to head to heavy cover and throw a hollow body soft frog. Anglers can, in fact, use the tips just presented to get in on some of this explosive action this summer!
Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the Fishing the Midwest TV series. Follow Fishing the Midwest on Facebook for more “fishy” information!