Getting the Conditions Right
When the water temperature is in the low 50’s big largemouth will chase down a frog with fierce and pure aggression. Some of my biggest bass in that 5 to 7 pound range have choked down on a frog in the spring, and I don’t even live on lake or river known for frog fishing.
It’s all about knowing the conditions. When it starts to warm up in the spring, the largemouth begin their move to the shallows where they stage to spawn. They’ll pull up to the banks and stage around lay-downs, overhanging bushes, and other forms of cover. The best combination is the spot that provides both structure and cover as it allows the bass to feel safe, shaded, and sets up as a good ambush spot.
Those days in the spring where the sun is beating down and those water temperatures are on the rapid incline… those are the days to break out your frog and go to work!
Springtime Frog Fishing Gear
The gear I use for throwing a frog this early in the year might surprise you! What I don’t use is the standard 65 pound braid or a rod over 7 foot in length, the reason for that is that the weeds are not up to the surface and I don’t have to worry about them burying up in it after they get a hook in em. I use a 7 foot Heavy Duckett Micro Magic Pro paired with a Lew’s Super Duty 8.0:1 reel spooled with 50 pound Sunline FX 2 braided line. The 50 pound braid is critical when you are in open or semi open water, because it still floats well and being so thin it really lets the frog work well.
I like the 7 foot heavy action Duckett Micro Magic Pro for a few reasons.
First, you think it would be overkill but the tip on this rod is so limber that when fishing open and semi open water the back bone really drives those big frog hooks home and the tip gives the fish time to really inhale it before you jack him up!.
The type of frog I choose is also imperative. I like small frogs and none are better than the River2Sea Bully WA 55 and the SPRO Bronzeye 60 JR. The colors I prefer are natural looking like greens and browns on bright sunny days and plain old black when it’s overcast.
I use the two models of frogs in totally different ways from one another.
The colors I like in the Bully WA, is the armed forces color for all around appeal. It just looks so natural as with the SPRO Leopard frog color and if it is overcast you cannot beat a black one in either company’s colors. I like “walking the dog” similar to how you work a spook when fishing the SPRO and since the Bully WA has a keel on it, I like to pop it back and forth.
The walk the dog with SPRO just means it glides better and the pop of the Bully WA just means it almost walks in place which is better for stick ups, overhangs, trees and cover. While on the subject of frog characteristics the Bully WA will chug like a popper too, so you really get two different looks from the same lure and sometimes mixing up the two is just what the doctor ordered. It will spit better than most poppers’ in my opinion.
Where to Target when Springtime Frog Fishing
The places I target are those staging and pre-spawn areas of the lake. Types’ being rocky, gravel bottom flats and deep rocky shorelines with overhangs and trees in the water. The flats I mentioned are usually no deeper than 12 foot, but I like them to have rocky or gravel bottoms and some emergent weed growth. By that I mean, emergent weed growth as it is just starting to grow so it will be around 6 inches to 2 foot long.
Water clarity isn’t a real big factor when casting a frog in the spring but the way you rig it is. If I am throwing it in a little dingier water I like to add some noise to it, a couple of bb’s or even one of those tube rattles can make a huge difference. Also, I like to fan cast the flat in search of those bass willing to travel for a meal, and if it has stick ups or any other form of structure emerging from the water pay extra close attention to those areas.
When throwing up against those steep rocky banks or bluff walls, look for little indentations that create a little secondary point or a very small cut in the bank. If there is an overhanging bush or tree in the water, make multiple casts to both sides of the bush or tree from different angles and directions. I can’t count how many times I had to cast to a tree to aggravate a fish into biting.
For example, last year I made 19 different casts with two different frog actions on the same tree before a fish took my offering.
That’s an extreme case, but it can happen!
So the next time you’re having trouble getting a bite in the early spring and the water temperature is right, think outside the box and do what I do – throw that little frog!
So quit wish’n and let’s get fish’n!