Feeling Froggy

I was first introduced to “frog fishing” a few years ago. It was later in the summer and I was going fishing with a local tournament angler on Lake Guntersville. In planning the logistics, he asked if I had a frog set up. At first I thought this was one of those questions you ask to make fun of the new guy. Kind of like having someone check the blinker fluid in their car. But after talking for several minutes, he assured me it could be one of the most frustrating and fun ways to fish.

Using a kayak makes frog fishing even better since you are able to access backwaters that big boats can’t get to. In the backwaters you may find grass mats that have not been touched at all. I start by looking for more mature mats that are close to a depth change or structure. A creek channel or hump on a flat could be a good place to start. Once you find a mat, taking some time to read it could help you decide if you want to fish it or not. Some signs that a mat could be holding fish are the presence of “blow ups” and if the mat is making noise or not. Blow ups are holes in the vegetation made when a fish strikes at some thing close to the surface or busts through the mat trying to get a meal. Listening to the mat is also a good indication that fish may be present. A mat that sounds like a bowl of “Rice Krispies” means that the small critters and fish resident underneath are active.

Frog fishing in heavy vegetation can be tough on your gear and requires more lifting power then other techniques. Also your reels will get filthy from all the scum your line brings in. A good cleaning could be required after several trips. My current set up is a 7’3” medium heavy power, fast action Osprey Rod paired with a 6.8:1 Lew’s LFS Speed Spool and 65 pound test Power Pro braid. With this combination I have the ability to make very long casts when trying to cover a large area, but also the accuracy needed for fishing targeted spots.

As with any other lure there are numerous brands of hollow bodied frogs on market. Over the last two years I have narrowed down my preferred frog to the Stanley Top Toad. The Top Toad is a hollow bodied frog that can be rigged on either a weighted or weightless hook. The one interesting feature is it’s boot style legs. These legs give the lure a lively kicking action on the retrieve in both open water and thick cover.

The tricky part with frog fishing comes when a fish strikes. The natural instinct is to try and set the hook as soon as the lure is hit. I can assure you, this will most likely result in your frog flying out of the water in your general direction at a very high rate of speed. So with frogs as in life, patience is a virtue. Once the lure is struck, take up any slack in the line and apply a small amount of pressure. If you feel the fish on the line, then set the hook with a strong sweeping action. If there is no pressure on the line, then chances are the fish missed on the first strike and maybe waiting to make another attempt. Just continue to work the frog and be ready for a follow on strike. Make a few follow up casts right back at the blow up. Many times the fish will strike again with better accuracy.

Frog fishing has become one of my favorite ways to fish in heavy cover and thick vegetation. Sometimes the strikes catch you completely off guard and other times the fish looks like a torpedo rushing head long to its target. You need patience to get your technique down and gear heavy enough to turn the fish and keep it coming to you even in the thickest grass. Catching fish in heavy vegetation is always fun. It is kind of like unwrapping a present because you never know what you will find in all that grass.

– Robert Brown

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