This time of year, lakes, ponds, and even some rivers across the Carolinas have plenty of weeds on the surface. Lily pads and other aquatic vegetation can make for a difficult day of fishing with most conventional lures. Crankbaits are out of the question in these areas, and spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are tough to maneuver in the weeds too.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t catch bass in these haunts. You can catch plenty, and big ones, but you have to fish with the right lures.
Hollow-body frogs are always a good bet, and anglers have never had so many options for frogs. Today’s frogs have softer bodies, sharper hooks, and come in many different sizes, colors, and body types. Variations also include hollow-body mice, birds, and baitfish.
Mike Lane of Dalzell, SC loves fishing with hollow-body frogs, and said he’s learned a lot over the years about what makes him successful at it.
“When I first started fishing frogs, I had no idea what I was doing. I lost so many fish on frogs, but I loved seeing those fish blow up on them. There is nothing like easing that frog along in the thickest of weeds, then all of a sudden it sounds like a toilet flushing and the frog just goes flying in the air. It’s an adrenaline rush,” he said.
And even on the rare occasion Lane hooked a bass on a frog, he said he almost always lost the fish.
“The fish would usually just get so hung up in the lilies or weeds that I just couldn’t pull it in. So I’d just keep my line tight and work my way to the spot, and by then, the fish was always off. Then I talked to some tournament anglers that catch them on frogs a lot. They gave me a gold mine of information, and it’s helped a bunch. I fully expect to catch a bass on every cast now,” said Lane.
Lane’s first tip is to use a heavy powered rod.
“You need a rod that is strong. It’s going to help you pull them out of those weeds, or allow you to pull the weeds along with it. That’s a lot of weight, even if the fish isn’t that big. That stout rod is just essential to frog fishing,” he said.
His second tip is to use heavy braided line.
“There’s no sense in spooling with anything under than 65-pound braided line. It casts like 12-pound mono, it is strong, will allow you to pull all that weight of the weeds in, and it even slices through its share of weeds. This is heavy duty fishing and no place for 12-pound test. And tie that braid directly to the frog,” he said.
Tip number three from Lane? Use a high-speed reel. The higher, the better.
“The faster you get that fish in, the less time it has to wrap you up in all those weeds. Once you set the hook, reel, reel, reel. As fast as you can. I use a 7.3:1 gear ratio reel, but I saw that someone just came out with a 10:1 gear ratio reel. I’m getting one of those,” he said.
The fourth tip is one that many anglers fail to do, especially because of the excitement created when a bass bites these lures. And that is to wait until you feel the bass on the line before setting the hook.
“Most folks, and I was like this when I first started fishing with frogs, they set the hook as soon as they hear the splash or see the splash of the fish hitting the lure. It’s just human nature to rear back and set the hook then. But it almost always comes right back and sails past your head, or even worse, just barely hooks the bass and you lose him after thinking you’ve got him. Resist that urge, then set the hook when you feel the weight of the bass on your line,” he said.
“These tips will help you catch plenty of bass on these lures,” said Lane.