Nik Autrey Topwater Bass
Topwater frog fishing is undoubtedly one of the most exciting ways to fish for bass. The vicious strikes you get when throwing frogs really gets the adrenaline pumping and the knees shaking! With that said, it can also be an extremely frustrating technique. When fish after fish blow up on your frog but constantly miss getting hooked it can really mess with your head! In this article I offer up some helpful tips and advice that will increase the numbers of bass you put in the boat.
The first thing I want to talk about is the type of cover that I fish frogs around. I mainly fish up in the northwest where there are a lot of natural lakes that are full of shallow weeds. These bodies of water offer great opportunities for productive frog fishing. They are extremely effective in or around structure and cover like boat docks, fallen trees, brush, lily pads, and matted grass, among others. Due to their snag-resistant design, they truly excel in areas where other lures simply cannot be thrown.
Compared to techniques like flipping and pitching, I can cover water much faster with a frog.
If I’m faced with an expansive grass-filled flat, I generally first throw a frog as a search bait to help locate the fish. Whether the fish eat the frog or completely miss it, once I can get a few bass to at least show themselves in a defined area, I will then slow down and methodically pick back through that same zone with a soft plastic. This consistently gets me a few extra bites from bass that either didn’t want the frog, or ones that tried to eat it but missed it entirely. The frog is a valuable asset that helps me to determine the whereabouts of bass quickly, and has been the key to unlocking some other great bites in the past!
Frogs can work great when bass are up spawning, especially when the water is dirty enough where I can’t even see the fish on the their beds. In situations like this, sight fishing goes out the window, so the frog is a great choice for finding beds without actually seeing them. Bass get extremely territorial of their nests during the spawn and will often aggressively blow up on the bait, even if they don’t want to eat it. Just like I previously mentioned, this allows me to slow down and thoroughly fish an area where a bass lives, and where a bed may also exist.
It’s crucial that the proper gear is selected to fish a frog properly. The rod needs to have a fast tip with a bit of “give” to properly walk a frog in more open waters, but it must also have a stout backbone for powerful hook sets and hauling fish out of heavy cover. My personal favorite rod blank for froggin’ is the RainShadow REVELATION 7’2″ heavy action model. This blank has all of the key attributes that makes up an outstanding frog rod. Hands down it is the best rod blank on the market for frog fishing from open water to the gnarliest cover!
Using the proper reel and line setup is equally as important as choosing the correct rod. I prefer a reel with a high gear ratio, such as my 7.1:1 Lews Tournament Pro reel. Why is such a fast ratio necessary? It allows me to pick up slack line quickly for an effective hook set, and it also enables me to wind my frog in rapidly to make a new cast without delay. The more time that frog spends in productive zones, the better!
My line choice is also a key element in effective, productive frog fishing. Having a strong, stretch-free braided line is essential to optimize success. I prefer 60lb Sunline FX2, as it is specifically designed for frog fishing and is the best line I have ever used for this technique. Using a no-stretch braided line allows me to maximize the power of every hook set, and it also cuts through soft cover very effectively. Braid delivers high pound-test ratings in small diameters, allowing for longer casts and making it easier to walk a frog, too.
My favorite frog to throw is a Spro Bronzeye Frog 65. I have found this to be the very best on the market due to it’s design and versatility. It “walks the dog” very easily and also “chugs” during the retrieve, both of which helps draw more strikes. The Bronzeye also comes in some fantastic colors that are highly effective. I prefer to have a couple of baits in a variety of colors because it allows me to quickly and easily adapt to different water conditions and various forage that are unique to each body of water. It is essential to have a color that closely matches the type of forage that the bass may be feeding on. My preferred colors are “Leopard”, “Night Walker”, “Natural Green”, “Natural Red”, “Navy Seal”, and “The Killer”. Utilizing different shades of black, green, and brown will cover most situations I encounter. On overcast days or when the light is low, I prefer to use a black or dark blue type color. When skies are clear and the sun is shining, green and brown are highly effective. These are all just general guidelines for color selection, but if there is a particular type of forage that is most common in a given lake, emulating that food source by “matching the hatch” is always a solid bet.
When I fish a topwater bait like a frog, choosing the right follow-up bait is also critical. I always have a 5 inch green pumpkin V&M Chopstick on one of my REVELATION rods ready to go at all times. This is a soft stickbait that can be fished many ways, including weightless, wacky rigged, or texas-rigged with a small bullet weight. I feel very confident that if a fish misses my Bronzeye that I can throw the V&M Chopstick right back in the same spot and catch that bass!
Using the Spro Bronzeye frog is an exciting way to fish and can coax some of the biggest bass in the lake to bite! I hope that this article will help you enjoy the great benefits of topwater frog fishing. With a little practice, I’m certain it will become one of your most productive and favorite techniques.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and experience the awesome opportunities that the Bronzeye has to offer!