One of the most popular categories of topwater lures is the frog. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and are one of the best ways to trick bass into biting. They are a fun lure to fish and have a knack for catching big fish.
Here are a few things you need to know about fishing a frog.
The three main categories of frogs are the hollow body frog, the popping frog, and buzz frog. These lures have significantly changed over the years for the better and are now softer, more realistic, and much better at hooking fish. They have also come a long way with their ability to walk side-to-side.
Hollow Body Frog
There are countless versions of these frogs on the market, and some are not even frog imitators at all. Ducks, birds, rats, mice, and more creatures are grouped into this category that generally means a hollow bait with a weedless design and a double hook. One lure brand which has worked hard to develop lures that fit in this category is LIVETARGET. They took home ICAST "Best of Show" awards for their original Frog, their Mouse, and their Sunfish, in this category. This company obviously has its act together on producing the most life-like and species specific frogging and topwater hollow body style lures on the market.
One recent trend is the addition of “plopping” devices that are attached to the rear of the bait. The Teckel Sprinker Frog was one of the first, but this group also now includes the Booyah Toad Runner and others. These baits are often fished with a standard cast and retrieve action, and the tail attachments impart the additional effect.
These baits share the same profile and shape of standard popping frogs but feature a cupped lip in front to allow them to pop during the retrieve. The majority of these lures are soft, but LIVETARGET’s Frog Popper is a hard lure that also took home an ICAST “Best of Show” award for this design.
Buzz Frogs and Toads
First popularized by lures like the Zoom Horny Toad, these soft baits buzz along the surface and work great in shallow water. They also excel on the back of a buzzbait when attached in place of a skirt.
When and Where to Throw a Frog
For the most part, these baits are best during warm water conditions during the summer months, but they can be great other times of the year as well. Right before the bass spawn each spring, a frog can be deadly for bass looking to feed up before they spawn. The same is true later in the year as the water starts to cool down every fall.
As far as where to fish them, it is up to your imagination. They excel when fished over matted grass and lily pads, but they are useful tools around docks, submerged brush, over rocks, and sometimes even in open water.
Depending on the type of frog that you tie on, your retrieve can vary greatly.
Let’s start with the simplest, the buzzing toad style. The best approach to fishing these is to cast and begin your retrieve quickly to bring them to the surface. From there, you can determine your speed based on how aggressive the fish are on that particular day, but ensure that the frog stays on the surface during the retrieve for best results.
For popping and standard hollow body frogs, there are more options when it comes to retrieves. A few twitches of the rod followed by a pause is a good practice for both types of frogs and will closely imitate a real frog.
Another way to fish them is by walking them, similar to how you fish a walking topwater bait. Some frogs are easier to walk than others, such as those with flatter sides, but nearly all modern frogs can do it with a little practice.
The Right Gear
When fishing a frog, one of the most crucial factors is to use a braided line. This serves a few purposes, one being that it floats and this means it will not affect the action of your frog or pull it downwards. The other reason for using braided line comes down to where most frog fishing occurs, in thick cover, and a 50-pound or heavier braided line will allow you to have the power to pull fish in. Also, since braid has no stretch, it ensures that you get a good hookset on the bass.
When it comes to rod and reels, much of that comes down to personal preference and how you are working a frog. Some anglers prefer stout, heavy action rods, but anglers who like to walk the frog side-to-side more have learned that a medium-heavy rod has more tip action to walk the bait and still has the power to drive hooks.
Reel retrieve speed is not as important, but a 7.1:1 or similar retrieve offers a nice balance of speed and winching power to land the fish.
Fishing for bass with lures that imitate frogs has exploded in popularity in recent years. In that time, the lures have continued to evolve with better designs and attachments to change the action.
How anglers fish frogs has also changed as more anglers are seeing how good they can be in a variety of situations and outside of the summer months.
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