Many first-time bass anglers head straight for frog lures when they start to go out on the water. A bite on the end of your line when you’re out fishing with a frog lure, or ‘frogging’, is thrilling because it’s primarily larger bass that eat the frogs and amphibians frog lures are meant to mimic and the larger bass splashing out of the water when it makes an attack on a frog lure is likely to be very animated. These attacks on a frog lure are called blowups and most fishermen love to see them. However, for several reasons, frogging is much more difficult than it’s made out to be by top sport fishermen. The technique itself is no easy task and the kind of gear needed to be really successful at frogging is too frequently not something anglers think about before heading out on the water.
A rod is one of the most important things in frogging, as it is in fishing in general. One important thing to keep in mind is that frogs are usually inland, near lily pads and in areas with lots of vegetation. The ability to make a frog lure ‘hop’ into the water and mimic their swimming movements in a way that will entice a bass to strike is a skill that takes a long time to develop. One thing that discourages many anglers from continuing to learn how to fish frog lures is their low strike ratio, meaning the number of strikes they elicit from a bass. Several hours on a lake one morning may net several blowups but only a few bass actually brought up onto the boat.
Since anglers will need a rod with enough strength to rip the frog lure through vegetation but also be sensitive enough to translate small hops from the rod to the lure at the end of the line, specialized rods have been developed that can accomplish both purposes. Frogging usually happens on a lake and relatively near the shore or a dock, so a rod shouldn’t be too long to avoid slapping the water and scaring fish or getting caught in nearby water vegetation. Some people think they should just spring for an ultra-fast tip on their frogging rod to prevent pulling the lure from the fish’s mouth. However, with some improvement in patience and skill, it’s much better to get a fast-tipped rod that is more flexible at the end in order to set the hook sooner and pull the bass out of its cover and into open water as soon as possible.
Selecting the right frogging rod is crucial but the more important thing to concentrate on is learning how to use frog lures. Line weight is important to prevent losing lure in high vegetation. Differences in frog lures and their different applications may call for different styles of fishing rods. However, one of the most important things is for anglers to learn how to use frog lures so they understand what features they need in a rod. With enough time and effort put it, anglers can expect many exciting blowups while they trawl around inlets, coves, and docks looking for good-sized bass with a frog lure.
Since it can be so frustrating to master the art of frogging, it’s really important for anglers not to bungle their chances by selecting the wrong equipment. We’ll take you through some of the common misconceptions and move on to some tips that will help you put a rod and frog lure to good use. With all that knowledge, it should be easier to pick out the right rod to use with a frog lure. Improve your chances of getting blowouts and pulling larger bass onto the boat with improved knowledge of tactics and tools needed to properly fish frog lures.
First off, one of the most common misunderstandings about frog lures is that they are designed to look like frogs and frogs only. They do mimic the movement of frogs and other amphibians when used correctly, but largemouth bass also take them to be baitfish. Bass eat pretty much anything that moves outside of their more dormant winter months. If you can land a frog lure into the water and pull it back toward the boat the right way, you’re sure to find yourself a blowout soon. The biggest takeaway from this knowledge is that anglers shouldn’t restrict themselves to using frog lures in reservoirs and other places where frogs live. A bass who doesn’t commonly have frogs on their dinner menu will strike at a frog lure, even in lakes and rivers that don’t have grass or other vegetation growing underneath the surface.
The idea behind frog lures is to get them as close to shore as possible since the animals a frog lure is meant to imitate live near the shore. Many anglers have adopted a technique of landing the frog lure onto the shore and then ‘hopping’ it back out into the water. We’ll review a few more tactics for frog fishing a little bit later on in this post.
Although frog lures are perfectly usable in grassless bodies of water, all this casting toward the shore can lead to some entanglements and possibly loss of the lure itself. What most people don’t realize until they’ve been out on a frogging excursion is that frog lures are unlikely to snag since they are designed to float along on the surface. It’s still wise to use a heavier line just in case, though.
And while it is true that frog lures generally have a lower strike ratio, that problem is usually due to a lack of experience and skill on the part of the angler and some inherent failing of the lure itself. Learning how to walk a frog lure through the water properly is critical to getting blowouts and avoiding misstrikes from a bass. If the frog lure isn’t swimming right, then the bass is likely to miss it or catch it in their mouths in a way that will prevent the hook from grabbing them.
Parts of a Fishing Blank
Before we explain what kind of a rod works best for frogging, let’s take some time to discuss a few terms that have to do with fishing rods so every reader can understand what we mean when we describe the best rod for fishing frog lures.
- Action: A word for describing the flexibility of a rod, or the degree to which it will bend when there is pressure on the tip of the rod, action is one of the most important considerations for a great frogging rod. Unlike tools in other sports, when it comes to tackle absolute rigidity is not desirable. The description of the action of a fishing rod is generally either slow, moderate, fast, or very fast. The closer to the tip of the rod the bending stops, the faster it is. Most bass fishing rods are fast or extra fast because the hook has to be set, or cut into the mouth of the fish, really fast to prevent them from jumping off the line.
- Power: When it comes to fishing rods, power describes the strength of the rod itself. A more powerful rod can handle heavier weights of line, which we’ve already mentioned will be super useful for trawling a frog lure through thick vegetation. More power also means a greater ability to lift a large bass out of the water where it won’t be able to fight the hook as easily. The power of a rod has a lot to do with the backbone, a specific piece of the rod that doesn’t bend at all. Make sure to look at the line weights suitable with a certain model before you buy.
- Responsiveness: This is a measure of how quickly the rod will bend to release energy from the angler. It’s directly correlated to the action of the rod since the rod is the most critical place a rod should have bending to get high responsiveness. It will also help with making a cast out more accurate, which is handy with frog lures that you’ll want to really land in the middle of vegetation or a pollen strip on the top of the water to get more bites.
- Handle: The grip on the lower end of the rod should be a comfortable material like cork to prevent unnecessary calluses or discomfort when you’re out on the water for a long time. The vibrations from the fish you’re targeting will move through the line and back to the rod. You’ll feel them in the material of the handle of your rod, so that section should be made of something that will transmit well. Cork works for this purpose as well, although the best cork handles are going to be found on the most expensive rods and most people forego a really expensive rod and miss out on high-quality cork in their handles.
How to Fish with a Frog Lure
There are a few pieces of widely known advice to fish with a frog lure, but there are some additional helpful hints and a few things that anglers commonly misunderstand about frogging that make the whole experience more frustrating and lead to way fewer bites on the line. Luckily, the basic steps of the process aren’t very difficult to understand in theory. Putting them into practice is another story and will take a ton of practice, but for choosing the right rod everything you need to know is fairly straightforward.
For those who don’t know, a frog lure is a kind of topwater bait that is soft and has a light-colored stomach meant to mimic that of a frog. There are some that have some additional features like legs or streamers meant to mimic frog’s legs. The hooks in a frog lure are on the top of the lure. Essentially, once a bass attacks the lure, the pressure from the frog’s mouth compresses the body of the lure, exposing the hooks and causing them to pierce the bass. With the right hook set from the angler, the hooks can find purchase in the mouth or gills of the fish, ensuring a snug grip and making it more likely that the bass will be successfully pulled onto the boat.
What you want to find for great frog fishing are lilypads or grass mats. Another lesser-known place to throw a frog lure is a pollen mat, where pollen collects on the top of the water. Bass are often hiding in the shady water beneath pollen mats in the warmer months and they will strike a frog lure from there as well. Most anglers look for openings in underwater grass where trout will be hiding in wait for frogs.
One very important thing about using a frog lure is making sure to give it some natural movement in the water. The two most common methods for moving a frog lure are to keep it moving slowly all the way back to the boat and to move it in small sections will adding small twitches. The latter method is a more direct imitation of the swimming habits of frogs and more likely to get the attention of the bass. Some go as far as to leave the frog lure in place for several minutes before moving it again.
Getting the Right Hookset with a Frog Lure
A hook set describes the process of getting the hook into the fish in a way that will bring it back to the boat. This is the most important and most challenging part of frogging. Many times it is the inability to do this that frustrated anglers and puts them off frog lures altogether. As we’ve already described, the hooks on a frog lure are on the top side, and the bass has to attack the lure before it can be hooked successfully. When a bass attacks a frog on the surface of the water, it first examines it with its senses, especially vision. The bass will be taking a hard look to determine whether the lure is a real frog right up until the moment it strikes. When it strikes all of its fins will be expanded to make sure it can move as quickly as possible.
The bass will suddenly attack from slightly underneath the frog lure and then take it into its mouth before turning to push the frog deeper into the water, which would drown it if it were a real frog. It’s at this moment, and not earlier, that an angler should pull back to get a clean hook set. The most common mistake is reacting two or three seconds earlier, right when the bass attacks the lure and not waiting until the bass has taken the lure fully in its mouth. Normally, although many anglers think a frog lure can be ripped from a bass’ mouth, it’s actually the case that the bass missed its attack. If you learn how to swim your frog lure correctly and wait a few seconds to get a clean hookset, you’ll soon be pulling in bass left and right.
The Best Rod to Use with Frog Lures
Okay, now that we have a general sense of the process of using frog lures and just what the pole should be built to do, we can explain what to look for in a rod.
First, the length of the rod should be about 7’ long. Some go higher, up to 7’3”, but the seven-foot minimum is necessary to give it enough strength and leverage. A much longer pole risks smacking the water and scaring fish away or hitting the side of the boat while you’re busy fighting a fish.
You’ll need a high-action rod that has enough stiffness and strength to rip through weeds and other vegetation, but the stiffest rod won’t give a quick enough reaction when the bass strikes the lure. For this reason, the best rod will have a fast action and some flexibility. This will help cast out long distances to reach near the shore or land the frog lure onto the shore. The fast action will allow for a quick hook set when the bass does strike. Most people use baitcasters on their rods to get that far cast out and enable a fast reaction to striking bass.
Anglers are always looking for the one most perfect rod for the various types of bait and fish they’re chasing. However, it’s sometimes best to take a holistic look at the process of fishing and determine from that process what features you need in a fishing rod. This is certainly the case with frog lures, which take some very specific skills to use successfully. Learning how to walk the frog along the surface of the water and preparing with a rod that can rip through vegetation are both key to making sure you aren’t frustrated on your next frogging trip.
Anyone who has purchased a fishing rod before likely knows the basic characteristics like strength, flexibility, and action. For those unacquainted, frog lures are a great way to experience hands-on why a high action rod is so useful. The transmitting of an attack from a bass or any other fish are critical to a good hook set, which depends on the angler’s reaction time to really work correctly.
Some things, like learning to restrain a reaction time for a few seconds and how to walk the frog lure, can only be learned on a boat with the rod in your hands. But the characteristics of a good fishing rod for fishing frog lures are readily understood once the whole process is explained in detail. We hope this guide has provided enough detail for you to get out on the water with the right fishing rod in hand and a few frog lures to try your luck with large bass. Hop to it!
Bonus tip: Curious what successful frogging looks like? Check out this video for some huge topwater blowups!