Fishing a Walking Frog in Heavy Coover

Fishing the Jungle with a Walking Frog

Few experiences match the thrill of frog fishing—the unexpected, unbridled violence perpetrated on that poor little lure! On the flip side, few experiences match the agony of trying to set a hook in the fish that just smashed your frog—the explosion, the swing and miss, the frog flying back at you.

Hollow-bodied frogs allow anglers to fish through the nastiest cover and over the slimiest slop. The jungle. Where the big bass live. To hook and land these fish, you need the right gear and a wee bit of patience.

To provoke a strike, scurry the frog quickly across open expanses but walk it slowly over matted surfaces, pads and grass. When a fish smashes the frog, make sure the lure is gone inside its mouth before attempting to set the hook. Some people like to count two seconds after they see the strike. In open water you can hit the fish sooner but in heavy cover, you need to show restraint.

When you set the hook, set it hard. Take advantage of the power in that rod and line. This is no time to play pretty. It’s a bare-knuckle brawl. Just crank ‘em in!

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Video transcript:

Mikey Balzz:
So today, we are going to learn about the most fun bite in bass fishing, and that's a frog. This is a floating frog, a walking style frog. But when it comes down to it, if you got a little bit of grass, a lot of bit of grass, or any kind of heavy cover, a frog is a super viable way to catch them. All the way from late spring through fall. It's just an absolutely fun bite. There's nothing, nothing like a bass coming out of the water and body slamming WWF-style a floating frog.

Mikey Balzz:
So you get to the lake, you're out there, you got your frogs all rigged up, got this vicious Pad Crasher ready to go, what are you looking for cover wise to situate the bass to set them up for a good floating frog bite? And really, it's super simple. It's a lot like what we look at for other baits to find those bass. It's going to be points, turns, openings, but the trick is it's all going to be related to that cover.

Mikey Balzz:
So say you got a little set of pads and they make like a little circle and it's isolated. Perfect. You got a point you can fish it right through the middle. Say you got a big flat of eelgrass right here on Lake Guntersville. There's a lot of eelgrass. Sometimes there'll be little holes in that eelgrass, and they're usually hard spots. And those bass love that hard bottom. So it'll set up in those little holes. You can walk your bait right over the grass and stop it right in that hole. Basically, you're looking for any kind of changes or vegetation junctures that sort of differentiate the cover, because the cover kind of looks all the same. You got a bunch of grass, a bunch of stuff growing up. You're looking for changes and little subtleties in that grass where those bass will kind of hold as sort of a staging point to either ambush, prey, spawn or do whatever they're doing.

Mikey Balzz:
But what a lot of people don't know is sometimes those fish aren't set up directly under that super duper thick stuff. Sometimes they're relaying to it, but not in it. So what I'll actually do is have two frog setups usually. So you can see right here, this is a 7'3" medium heavy rod, and you're like, "Hold on, a medium heavy? You're just talking about fishing all that super thick cover." Well, I have a medium heavy always set up with a floating frog like this with about 40 or 50 pound braid. And what I use this guy for is fishing around that heavy cover. A lot of times these fish will use those edges, use those breaks in that grass, whether it's a mat, whether it's a tree lane in the water, they'll use those edges to ambush prey, so the most viable place to put your bait is right next to it. Running it parallel to sort of a cheese grass line, parallel to a hydrilla mat, parallel to a junk mat.

Mikey Balzz:
I like that little bit lighter rod because I'm able to impart more of that back and forth, walk the dog action on that floating frog, and I just feel like I get that better action with that slightly lighter line and a little softer rod. So, the other setup I have is my heavy cover setup. And usually what I'd recommend, this is a 7'2" heavy action rod, not an extra heavy, but a heavy. Once again, it's still got a little bit of tip play so I can walk that frog, because there is kind of an art to walking this thing. It's just like when you learn how to fish a spook, got to get that cadence down. And using the right rod with the right tip is hugely important in getting that cadence. But at the same time, especially when you're talking about getting that frog deep in that jungle, deep in that heavy cover, you got to have enough backbone to get it out. So, I use a heavy action, 7'2".

Mikey Balzz:
The other thing too is I wouldn't go much longer than a 7'2", 7'3" for fishing around the cover or even in it, unless you're making super long cast. The reason being is a lot of times you're trying to be super accurate with a frog. Maybe you're trying to fish like a little hole in the grass. Maybe you're actually skipping around a tree and trying to get it back under the tree. That slightly shorter rod gives you a lot more accuracy and a lot better ability to put that frog exactly where you want it. On all these frog setups though, I'm going to be running braid. On my lighter setup, I run 40 to 50 pound. On my heavier kind of heavy cover fish in the jungle setup, I'll run 50 to 65 pound braid.

Mikey Balzz:
And what's interesting too, is that braid does two things. One, it has no stretch, so when you actually set the hook with that frog, because those hooks are pretty dancing, because you're in pretty heavy cover, you get a really good drive in on that hook set. The other thing is braid floats, so it actually helps to keep your frog above some of that cover and walk through it a little bit better. You almost always want to use a high speed reel, either 821, 721, never go down to a 621. It's just a little bit slow, because really with a frog, the action is a twitch, and then you're reeling up that slack and twitching. You're not really using the reel to move the bait, you're using the rod tip to kind of work the bait around or through the cover that you're fishing.

Mikey Balzz:
A little trick that I'll throw you with these floating frogs. I'm going to show you the frog that I've modded and then the original Pad Crasher. So you'll notice one thing and that has to do with the skirts. So usually floating frogs have these little skirt appendages, basically their legs kind of kicking out from them and you'll notice on the original one, the one that I haven't modified skirts pretty long, right?

Mikey Balzz:
So what I'll do is I'll actually go and I'll cut these little legs down a little bit and that does two things for me. If you guys have frog fished at all, you'll know that you do miss a lot of fish, a lot of fish will be a little kind of non-committal like, "Yeah, I don't know if I want to eat it." They'll blow up on it, blow up next to it, but not quite eat it. So what that does is it makes the presentation a little more compact, it's a little smaller, it's a little less intrusive.

Mikey Balzz:
The other thing that I found too is when I cut these legs down, like we talked about. A floating frog, especially a walking frog, that kind of has that walk-the-dog action. That's sort of the ideal action you want to get out of it. And when you actually cut those legs down, you get a little harder dart, a little bit more back and forth from that frog when you're walking it. It seems like the longer legs sort of dull that action and give it more of kind of a plowing kind of S or a plowing kind of walk-the-dog. But when you cut down those legs, you get a very hard kind of turn. And for me, personally, I find most of my bites come right after maybe one or two twitches, and that pause. And that pause that frog is kind of gliding and that hard glide right after that last pause is usually what kind of closes the deal for em.


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