There are hollow-body frogs, hard-plastic frogs, frogs that pop and spit, soft-plastic frogs…so many choices that anglers may have a difficult time selecting the right one for the job. Here’s a brief rundown of when and where to use each type of frog lure to catch big bass.
The hollow-body frog features a hollow, pliable plastic body with a double upturned hook. The body snugs against the hooks to make it weedless, yet is soft enough to collapse and hook a fish when it strikes. Popular hollow body frogs include the Booyah Pad Crasher and Pad Crasher Jr.
Anglers fishing waters with a lot of surface vegetation, or “slop,” drag hollow-body frogs across the top of the gunk. For uninitiated, water covered in surface vegetation looks like a solid mass that couldn’t hold fish, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Normally these mats of vegetation are only solid on top and more open underneath, and attract bass like crazy.
Throwing a hollow-body frog on top of the grass is one of most exciting bass fishing tactics. Look for solid areas of vegetation with dinner plate sized holes on top, an indicator that a bass has burst through. Listen for the quiet “pops” and “slurps” of bluegills feeding under the grass to find active bass.
Realistic hard plastic frogs are used in open water because they feature exposed treble hooks that snag in wood or grass cover. They have natural frog bodies and color patterns that match the real thing. Action is a “walk-the-dog” side-to-side movement the angler imparts by working the rod in a certain manner.
To accomplish the walk-the-dog action, twitch downward on the rod on a semi-taut line. Repeating this fairly short action over and over makes the frog zigzag back and forth as it moves across the water. These frog lures such as the Rebel Frog-R are great alternatives to larger dog-walkers like the Heddon Spook, and can be more effective in clear water where fish are feeding visually.
This style of frog lure also is perfect for fishing smaller waters such as ponds and streams. These environments often aren’t full of shad or other baitfish, making frogs and other critters a bigger part of a bass’s diet.
Frogs That Pop
Popping frogs can have either body style – soft or hard plastic. The defining feature is a concave face that catches and spits water when the bait is twitched on the surface. Both styles create more surface disturbance than their companions without this cupped mouth.
Popping or chugging topwaters are nothing new, but anglers are discovering that there are times with a realistic frog look is more effective than the traditional style that mimics a baitfish. Plus, this style of lure is simply fun to throw and catch fish on.
The popping hollow-body frog is effective in open water as well as on top of the slop. These baits, such as the Booyah Poppin’ Pad Crasher, create fish-attracting pops and splashes when twitched in open holes in the weeds or can be worked right off the weed edge and into open water. This is effective during low-light conditions when bass move away from the grass into open water to feed.
The bait’s style and action also makes it effective in combinations of cover, such as shoreline grass mixed with wood cover, and especially in newly flooded areas of pasture grasses, briars, buck brush and floating debris. The weedless properties of the hollow-body frog helps it come through and over these snags while the concave face kicks up a surface disturbance like a chugging bait.
A hard-plastic popping frog like the Rebel Pop’N Frog still walks-the-dog on the surface but adds more splash and commotion to attract fish from farther away. It’s the bait-of-choice in more stained water and in windy or low light conditions, and for small waters such as ponds and small natural lakes.
Soft-plastic frogs like the YUM Money Frog are weedless like a hollow-body frog but slowly sink instead of floating on the surface. The angler rigs the soft plastic frog on a wide-gapped, often slightly weighted, hook, which acts as a keel to keep the frog running straight and helps keep the frog right side up.
Soft-plastic frogs feature some type of kicking, swimming legs. When reeled at a medium to quick pace with the rod held at the 1 o’clock position, the soft plastic frog buzzes and swims across the surface, but when paused it slowly sinks like a stunned amphibian.
Soft-plastic frogs are most effective when fish are active, and in areas with shoreline vegetation and moss. In these areas a buzzbait will quickly foul as the moss and grass twists and clogs the spinning blade, but a soft-plastic frog comes right through.
Many lures mimic the shape and action of this amphibious delicacy and come in various shapes and styles. One unique frog is the Buzz’n Frog, which features a frog shape and color pattern with buzzbait-style legs that spin and kick up tremendous surface disturbance to attract and catch fish. The same company that makes the Buzz’n Frog also manufactures two ultralight crankbait-style frogs, the Wee Frog and the Teeny Wee Frog.
These two tiny frogs are effective when fished in streams or small waters and can be twitched on the surface or pulled like a crankbait. Stream smallmouth love them.