As Bass opening is getting closer I am sure we are all getting ready to find new ways in catching them. Here is a great read from the Bassmaster web site on 87 Frog tips. Here are 25 and I will be posting more as the week rolls by!
1. Don't get ripped off
If the legs on your frog get ripped up, they can be substituted with the skirt from a tube, and look even better (and taste saltier) than before. Just cut the head end off the tube and use Gorilla Glue to attach the tentacles to the frog body. Make sure the holes are sealed so your bait doesn't get waterlogged.
Justin Gillette, Delmar, Del.
2. Make a splash
A lot of people I know get frustrated fishing frogs in cover because they get hung up every other cast. I actually look for cover that I can get hung in every once in a while because I use it to my advantage. Tall grass I especially love because I can bring my frog right to a blade of grass that comes out of the water. If I can get my frog to catch on the blade and get up out of the water it will make a big splash when it falls back in. I think it mimics the natural action of a frog jumping off the bank. It takes some time to learn the "technique" but I have caught a lot of fish this way.
Neal Calhoun, Roanoke, Texas
3. Act stunned
One valuable tip while fishing with frogs that I have learned is to not jerk right away when a bass does its acrobatics. Many anglers, including myself, have missed trophy bass because of reacting too early. Most of the time when the bass jumps out of the water, it slaps the lure and tries to stun it. If you jerk right away, the bass will realize that it isn't real bait and won't bite. As you're retrieving and the bass jumps, stop and lower your rod. The bass will think that it has stunned the frog and come to bite it for an easy meal. Set your hook. Rinse and repeat.
Steve Baldassari Jr., East Boston, Mass.
4. Never give up
If you tear your favorite frog and it is taking on water, grab a Senko and melt it onto the torn area — it is an instant patch.
If you have been using the same frog for more than a couple of hours take the time to retie, as pitching into heavy cover will start to fray your braid and you will risk losing your frog and fish!
Don't quit on your retrieve if the fish doesn't strike in the first couple of feet. Work the frog all the way to the boat; the fish will follow it out into open water and then decide to strike.
When you pitch your frog into cover, pop it once and let it sit still for a second or two before you start to walk it out of the cover. This will entice a strike, as the fish will have the frog in the strike zone longer before you begin to walk it back to the boat.
Anglers tend to stay away from the frog because they miss more then they set. Here are two tips to increase your hook set ratio:
Don't set the hook the very second that the fish hits the frog. Give it a chance to take the frog down, and then set the hook. Otherwise, the fish will be sucking in water and you will pull the frog out of its mouth before it has a hold of the frog.
Don't think that because you tried to set the hook and the frog flies into your boat that is the end of it. Pitch the frog right back to that spot and more than likely the fish will strike it again, as the first time it was just tail flashing your frog.
Alex Daicos, Surprise, Ariz.
5. Gitzit will get 'em
My best frog fishing tip is to modify the frog as follows:
Take the frog and remove the rubber strands from the frog body.
Pull the factory hook out of the frog. Insert a section of floating worm into a Gitzit.
Dip the Gitzit into anise. Run the hook through the Gitzit. Insert hook/Gitzit into the body of the frog.
Cast as close to the shoreline as possible to get the frog in the most natural presentation possible — coming from the shore onto the pads or from a fallen tree to the pads. Try to cast into an area where the pads are not too dense so that the frog can "hop" onto the water between the pads.
Gary E. Miller, Red Hook, N.Y.
6. Add a trailer to increase hookups
To increase my chances of hooking up when the fish are short striking my frog, I like to add a trailer hook to each of the factory hooks (the kind with rubber coating over the eye to keep the hook rigid).
Chris Schwass, McFarland, Wis.
7. Be the frog
When fishing the "floating frog" I always try to put it where I think a frog might be and make it act like one — flippin' it across lily pads or near high grass. Heavy cover such as lily pads has always been a winner for me with this lure. Last year while flippin' across the pads, on my second cast I nailed a 6-pounder! It got better as the afternoon went on. I was constantly pulling in great bass. I caught a total of 12 fish, none less than 4 pounds!
Tom Rowedder, Richlandtown, Pa.
8. Buy smart
When bass hit frogs, they tend to hit frogs with legs. There are plastic frogs made with one skirt on the end and frogs made with two skirts (one for each leg). To catch more fish, buy the frogs with two separate skirts, NOT a single one on its tail, so the presentation is more realistic. Or you can take a single-skirted frog and use a rubber band or glue to separate the full skirt into two smaller ones.
Sean A. MacGillis, Wauwatosa, Wis.
9. More hooks equals more hookups
My tip has to do with fishing plastic frogs like the Zoom Horny Toad. Rig it with a No. 4 treble hook attached to some stiff wire. Run the wire through the back of the toad so the treble hook is back by the legs. Then loop the wire in the front of the toad as a line tie. Using a treble hook greatly increases hookups. I use this kind of rig in light cover or open water. A toad rigged this way is a great wake bait.
Steven Faulkner, Rockford, Ill.
10. Let it sit
I went fishing in early summer on a body of water in Oklahoma that had lots of vegetation around the edges and in various other places. The vegetation could be seen near or on the top. The weather was partly cloudy, temps in the 80s and a normal Oklahoma wind in the 5- to 15-mph range. I decided that a Snag Proof frog would be a good lure to try. I fished it using a medium speed retrieve and tried to walk it. I was getting no takers, no matter how I varied the retrieve. I was about to give up on the frog when I cast it one last time.
This time, however, I fouled my line on the cast. While I was trying to remove the twists and knots from my line, I heard a loud splash where my frog was located. I looked up and saw a large bass flying through the air with my frog flying just above it. I was shocked because my frog was just sitting still in the water before the bass exploded through the vegetation to annihilate my frog. I did not catch that bass but thought this might be a clue as to how to fish the frog that day.
I went back to some of the spots that were not productive previously but this time I just let my frog sit motionless at least one minute before starting a retrieve. Well, before I got to retrieve on most of these casts a bass would explode on the frog, and I hooked up with many bass that day. In each case the frog was just sitting motionless for at least one minute before I started the retrieve, and I caught bass only while it was sitting still. This is a very different approach than I had ever used before and seems to be quite different than most frog users. So my tip is, let the frog sit for a while before retrieving. You never know what might surprise you!
G. Lee Willinger, Norman, Okla.
11. Get stitched
When fishing a frog with paddle feet, stitch the center point of the feet to the frog body with a piece of monofilament.
During a fight, this keeps the pair of legs from getting yanked out of one side of the frog body or the other, which will ruin the bait.
Russell Zell, Wales, Wis.
I usually like to have more rubber behind the frog, so I poke holes in the top and bottom and insert more living rubber. I have changed the length of it to look more like the frog is floating with its legs outstretched. I have used this with good luck near weedbeds and — my favorite way — just hopping it off the bank into the water during the summer.
Life member Frank Goodrich, Colchester, Conn.
13. Squid for bass?
A couple of us were on our way back home from a saltwater trip when we decided to make some casts into a small pond we had passed. I was reluctant to try, because my friends were walking up and down the banks and coming up empty-handed. So, I just decided to take a look at the nice flounder and trout in our cooler when our leftover bait caught my imagination. I took a thawed squid head, cut it in half, and attached each half to the hooks on my topwater frog. Maybe it was the strange scent, the erratic movement of the tentacles, or just plain intrigue, but I had a bass on my first cast. My friends followed suit, using the halved squid head with attached tentacles instead of the original skirt or frog legs. This sudden whim of a modification kept the fish coming, and the natural feel of the bait seemed to keep them from throwing the frog.
Derrick Caban, Gainesville, Fla.
14. Hop to it
A technique that I use when fishing a hollow-body frog — usually a Bronzeye frog, but I am sure that it works with others — is what I call hopping. To make the frog hop you use short, hard, fast, sideways jerks of your rod, four or five at a time followed by a short pause. The short jerks tend to make the frog plane up on the water, giving it a hopping motion similar to a live frog. Usually the strike will occur on the pause. You will need to experiment to see how long of a pause the fish want, and sometimes it is not necessary to pause the lure at all. This can be equally effective in slop or open water.
Todd Martin, Terre Haute, Ind.
15. Make some commotion
To allow the frog to sit deeper in the water and cause more of a commotion when coming through weeds and the water, peel back the rubber frog body and make several wraps around the hook shank with a non-lead soldering wire. Create different buoyancy characteristics by adding or subtracting wraps of the soldering wire. After you finish wrapping the hook, pull the frog's rubber body back into place and you're ready to go fishing! Another trick is to take a pipe cleaner and wrap it several times around the hook shank. This allows you to apply a scent that will slowly disperse into the water behind your bass-enticing frog! I also have added a jig rattle to the frog's hook shank to create even more commotion. I use the rubber jig type rattle holder. You can add either a single rattle or two rattles for even more noise. This works great!
Scott Say, Meadville, Pa.
16. Use the cover
Find a dropoff and locate any cover at all near it. Hydrilla mats, riprap, weedbeds and lily pads (my favorite) will all work fine. Cast your frog out about 10 feet past the dropoff and somewhat close to the cover. Fish your frog very violently but slow for approximately 20 feet. Twitch it and make splashes; hop it up off the water; and for the best effect, add a propeller and a few split shots to your line to churn up the water. Walk it in the rest of the way. Repeat a few times. This will attract the attention of the bass, who at this point is watching from the cover. Now, cast your frog into the cover. Walk the frog in the cover and soon enough the bass will attack. Hold your rod tip up high and count to two. Set the hook and enjoy the fight! If you don't get a bite, persevere — eventually the bass will bite out of frustration.
Arthur Davanzo, Parsippany, N.J.
17. Put on some weight
I like throwing frogs and rats. To help zip them out there, I will shove one or two small worm weights up into the hollow body. They help pitch the lure out there farther, and they act as a rattle as I chug it back to the boat.
Denny Napora, Buffalo, N.Y.
18. Hold it...
Cast the frog onto the bank and pull it into the water about 6 inches off the bank. Let it sit for about 10 seconds before the retrieve. Sometimes a still bait is an easy meal for a bass.
Steven Hurst, Greenup, Ky.
19. Be more frantic
Have you ever seen a frog chased off the bank by a snake? The frog will hit the water and swim in two or three frantic spurts, almost clearing the water. If your regular method of fishing your frog seems to not be drawing interest, try casting to the waterline and reeling your frog in two or three fast spurts with a quick pause between each. If the bass blows up on your frog, STOP, and don't reel the lure out of the strike zone. A bass will blast the frog as if to disable it and will hit a second time if you don't reel it away. Sometimes this frantic frog presentation will draw strikes when others won't.
Phillip W. Sexton, Clarksville, Ark.
20. Shoreline entrance
Many times I'll get more bites by simply casting the frog onto the shore ... if the shoreline is open enough. Because the hooks are "hugging" the body of the frog, I've never been hung up on shoreline grass. By dragging the frog in from dry land, this creates a more natural entry into the water.
Tim Moorman, Cincinnati, Ohio
21. Keep your line afloat
A tip for fishing plastic frogs using braided line: If you apply a silicone dry fly spray or paste to the first 5 feet of the line, it will keep the line floating on the surface, ensuring better hook sets and frog performance. Add the floatant about every 25 casts. To make your frog hop out of the water a foot or so, cut a circle of clear plastic about the size of a quarter out of a plastic lure or hook box. Drill a hole in the center just large enough to slide the plastic over the line tie of the frog. Super Glue it to the nose of the frog. After the cast, give the frog a medium powered jerk and the frog will hop out of the water. Fly tiers have used this trick on their poppers for ages, yet you never hear or see anything about it. Works like a charm, every time.
Wes Brooks, Salinas, Calif.
22. Brace yourself for lifelike action
Use 3/16-inch orthodontics elastics one-third of the way up each leg skirt, doubling the elastic to hold the skirt material tightly together, like a collar on a spinnerbait or jig skirt. Double a third elastic and drop both legs through, pushing the three bands together and forming the appearance of bent legs with flared feet. This is more effective in open water fishing because the leg skirts are banded together, making for a less weedless presentation. The advantage of this alteration is that it makes the frog walk more effectively and look more lifelike!
Jimmy K Gregg, Dayton, Ohio
23. Patience, my friend
When you're fishing a frog or any topwater lure, you have to be incredibly patient not only before a strike but after, too. It can be difficult to remember to let the fish take the lure before setting the hook. I can't count how many times excitement took over when a big bass exploded on my frog, and I jerked it away from the bass before he could really take it.
Rick Simon, Dewittville, N.Y.
24. Shake, rattle and roll
Here are a few tips I have learned over the years to increase your number of strikes and hookups with a frog. The first is to insert rattles into the lure. There are two ways to do this.
One way is to pull the skirt material out of the rear of the frog. Insert eight brass rattles made for tube baits into the holes where you pulled the skirt out. Using a piece of 25-pound mono, Super Glue the line to the center of the skirt. Thread the line through the hole you put the rattles in and out the other hole. Pull the line and skirt out to length and cut the line.
The next way is the simplest. Cut a small hole in the top rear of the frog. Insert rattles through the cut hole and use silicone to plug the hole. Cut the skirt off 1 inch long on each side. By cutting the skirt to 1 inch, you take away the possibility that on a strike the mat or fish hitting the tail will push the bait away. I use a heat gun or blow dryer to make the bait concave on top, even though the bait is hollow. Start 1/4-inch in front of the hook point and go 1 inch forward. Only concave about 1/4-inch deep.
The bait will be just as weedless, and your hookup ratio will increase. There are two reasons for adding the rattles. They add weight to make the bait sit lower in the mat and also noise to attract fish. Throw your frog into the mat, move it a few inches and shake it in one place. Then move it a few inches and repeat. You have to give the fish time to find the bait in thick mats. These tips only work in thick mats, not open water.
Jimmy Little, Macon, Ga.
25. Give a rat a chance
I use the exact same tactics as Bobby Barrack describes in "Non-Slop Frogging" (March 2008 issue of Bassmaster Magazine) except I use Snag Proof's medium-sized Brown Rat. This lure is my favorite topwater lure of all time and use it everywhere I fish; sometimes it's the only lure I'll use for hours. On a small lake in Patchogue, Long Island, I got a 9-pound bass while fishing from a small one-man boat called a "Lunker Mobile." It pulled me all over the lake for about 10 minutes. I have had great success with this lure no matter where I fish here in New York.
Frank Pennino, Farmingdale, N.Y.