It’s that time of year when a lot of fishing holes are getting crowded with surface weeds. This is especially true in areas that haven’t had much rain in a while. The water level drops slightly, and weeds that were already present are taking up a higher percentage of surface water, and new weeds are filling in as well. It can seemingly choke out a fishing hole.
Unless you’re throwing the proper lures, and using them correctly. If you’re doing that, you can have some of the best fishing you’ve ever had, and will wish for more surface weeds.
So what’s the right lure? Hollow body frogs – well, actually, hollow body anything. Frogs are the oldest hollow body lures on the market, but they are no longer the only ones. They are still just as effective, but it’s always good to have more choices, and never have anglers had it so good when it comes to choosing fishing lures for waters that are choked up with surface weeds.
Today’s frog bodies are softer than they’ve ever been, meaning the bass have an easier time crushing them, which exposes the hooks, making it easier for anglers to put the steel in a fish’s mouth.
Snag Proof, Baby Kahara, Booyah Pad Crasher, Lunkerhunt, Jackall, Mann’s, LIVETARGET, Megabass, and Molix are just a handful of manufacturers that make high-quality, hollow body frogs. With the same basic concept, most are similar in shape, but they all have their own nuances that some anglers like better than others. And many anglers like them all. The choices are even wider when it comes to colors. And the size, shape, and length of the legs vary among manufacturers. Why limit yourself to just one brand?
Many of those same manufacturers also make hollow body mice. They are slimmer and instead of having two legs or pieces of leg material, they have one long tail. Their smaller profile may work better in some bodies of water, or when the fish are either more or less aggressive than they are when they are hot for the frogs.
The LIVETARGET Sunfish is a panfish-shaped body that lies on its side like an injured bream. The dual hooks are positioned in the same fashion as they are on frogs and mice, and working the lures gives it the impression of a dying sunfish, flopping about on its side. Its available in every sunfish color and paint scheme imaginable. Culprit, Picasso, and Renosky are a few other manufacturers that just recently introduced hollow body baitfish similar to LIVETARGET’s.
LIVETARGET also offers a new hollow body mullet, which looks very similar to their hard body plastic topwater mullet. It’s look is ultra realistic, as you would expect from LIVETARGET.
Another one of the newest hollow body lures on the market is the D.O.A. PT-7. The makers of the most famous artificial shrimp began making prototypes of this small, cigar-shaped lure a few years ago, and they’ve made a number of improvements to it, including adding rattles. It’s got a single hook instead of the dual hook that most other hollow body lures have, and without frog legs or mouse tails, it has a totally different look than the others.
The trick to all of them is to work them on surface weeds, either in a walk-the-dog fashion, a simple slow and steady retrieve, or a varied pattern of pulling, pausing, and reeling in slack. The speed of retrieve, and even the manner of retrieve can vary from one day to the next, and from one body of water to the next. What works best in this area (or in the same waters on one particular day) may not be what’s best in another, etc.
Getting bites on these lures is usually not a problem, but some anglers do struggle with getting a good solid hookset on fish. The blowups are often so explosive that anglers set the hook instantly out of reflex, which almost always brings the lure sailing past the angler as the fish goes about its business.
Hookup percentages increase when anglers can keep their calm after a blowup, reel in any slack line, then set the hook when they actually feel the pressure of the fish on the line.
It’s also notable that when surface weeds heavily line only the banks of a body of water which has vast amounts of surface without weeds, the fish will normally hit closest to the edge of the weeds where the weeds meet open water. But if you’re fishing a large area that is completely covered, you’ll usually get more hits any time there is some sort of change, like a downed tree, a slightly thinner area of weeds, or a section of weeds that is over a deep hole or close to where the bottom slopes into deeper water.
When it comes to gear, you really want a heavy rod. Many anglers prefer one rated Extra-Heavy, because these fish often tangle themselves in the weeds, which can really test a lighter-rated rod, partly because the roots of these weeds are still intact as you’re fighting the entangled fish.
A high-speed reel is also crucial because you want to reel them out of those weeds before they tangle themselves.
And this is no place for 15-pound test line. Go with braid, and you might as well go big. Most frog anglers prefer at least 60-pound test, and they tie that mainline directly to the lure.
One thing’s for sure when frog fishing. The blowups alone are worth the price of admission.