Hollow-belly Frogs have been catching bass for nearly 50 years, but for much of that time, many anglers thought they were relegated to fishing in Florida around lily pads.
However, about 20 years ago, some Western bass anglers began dispelling that particular myth. Tournaments started getting won with huge weights in California, particularly at Clear Lake and the Delta, and as a consequence, this technique started to slowly spread across the nation.
With this renewed interest in frog fishing came new frog technology.
Instead of the traditional method of just reeling a frog over heavy cover, new frog designs allowed the angler to “walk” a frog the same way one would a walking-style hardbait.
Anglers discovered this walking action was deadly on shallow bass, even if the area was devoid of cover.
These shallow, cruising bass that were difficult to catch with other techniques fell hard for the subtle, enticing action of a walking frog. Of course, anglers quickly discovered how successful these same frogs could be when targeting pockets in heavy cover as well!
There are several keys that will help any angler have better frog-fishing success:
First, remember that the season for frog fishing is longer than most people realize. Once the water temperature approaches 60 degrees and until it falls back into the middle 50’s, frogs will produce well under the right conditions.
Ideal frog fishing conditions are water visibility between 1-3 feet, some shallow cover right against the bank, overhanging trees, sunny conditions, warm water, and little to no wind.
Although you can catch bass under other conditions, the more the conditions are in line with the above description, the better your chances!
These conditions will put a segment of the bass population in extremely shallow water, and although you can catch frog fish in any light condition, sunny days are often the best. The reason is simple: the sun positions bass in the shade, where the anglers can target them better.
Many times, this shade is in hard-to-reach areas, and you will notice that expert frog anglers on the professional tours are excellent at skipping frogs under objects to reach these shade pockets.
The second-most-important aspect of frog fishing is your tackle setup.
The reason is that one setup must be able to cover very different requirements: it must allow you to skip (which is a highly-technical cast), have the right tip and balance to impart walking action, and the power to drive big hooks home and haul bass from heavy cover.
There are two types of frog rods to choose depending on vegetation and the size of the target fish. The first is the Orochi XX F7-72XX PERFECT PITCH, which is an ideal model for open water and/or light-vegetation cover with its shorter length and forgiving tip. This maximizes cast accuracy (especially when skipping) and allows for easy-walking action.
The second is the Destroyer USA F7-76X VALDIVIA, which is great for heavy mats or targeting larger fish. Adding more length and power in the butt-section, the VALDIVIA allows anglers to keep big fish pinned under mats while navigating into cover with the trolling motor to hand-land DD’s.
Both setups require straight braid between 40-65lbs. depending on vegetation thickness and target size, with a solid frame high-speed baitcasting reel. This not only eliminates stretch to transmit full power to fish from hookset to landing but also allows frogs to walk most freely.
High-tech walking frogs like the BIG GABOT (currently in development and scheduled for 2019) offer excellent castability, high hook up ratios, a very easy walk, and killer colors.
Aside from being an extremely effective way to catch bass, frog fishing is one of the most exciting ways to fish that any angler will experience. Anytime you’re wondering whether or not to try a frog, just remember—every myth is just asking to be challenged!