Improve Your Frogging this Summer

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Zak Elrite 2013 WON Bass Clear Lake Open

Zak Elrite with his River2Sea Spittin’ Wa at the 2013 WON Bass Clear Lake Open

by Zak Elrite – Northern California Guide and Tournament Angler

The summer heat is in full swing and it’s only going to get hotter. Hopefully by this time, you’ve taken advantage of the heat and caught your fair share of topwater fish. But, if you haven’t, then this article is for you.

Let’s talk about what, where and when to throw the unanimously favorite summer time topwater bait, the hollow bodied frog. Are you tweaking yours to get the right action? Are you throwing it in the best areas and during the best times?

Looking at the wide variety of frogs available today can make one’s head spin. You’ll find the very basic models to the extremely realistic frogs that cost a fortune. I’ve found that when I need to get the best overall action and produce results, I go with the River2Sea BullyWa frog.

River2Sea BullyWa Choked - photo courtesy Zak Elrite

River2Sea BullyWa Choked – photo courtesy Zak Elrite

River2Sea has three different frog types available and I have complete confidence in all three, but for very different applications. These three baits take an original approach to the look of the frog and bring consistent results.

The standard BullyWa is pictured here in the mouth of this Clear Lake bass. The Spittin’ Wa is the newest addition the market and features a cupped mouth which can be chugged, popped and walked with ease. The StepWa has a wide, soft bill across its nose that gives this bait the ability to swim like a wake bait or walk side to side, almost without any forward movement. These frogs cover any type of cover situation that I run into.

Without a doubt, there are certain times when a frog is an absolute money maker when it comes to tournament fishing. You could fish this bait all day, but I’ve found the two best times to fish a frog are the first hour or two of the morning and the early to mid-afternoon when it’s the hottest part of the day and here’s why.

Two things happen at these times that make them my target times to fish the BullyWa and the SpittinWa(or StepWa in open water). During the early hours of the day, bass have both protection of low light conditions and the ability to hunt their prey without being seen. This is when I throw the SpittinWa on points and around sparse tulles, grass or wood.

River2Sea Bully Wa 2

River2Sea Bully Wa 2

Then, once the sun gets high and bass start to seek cover or structure which keeps them cool, safe and still near a food supply, I’ll focus on matted vegetation or heavy grass These early to mid-afternoon hours when the temps are at their hottest is when I target the outside edges of the mats and then work my way in. If you miss the outside of the mat, you’ll miss fish that are sitting there waiting for an easy meal.

What about some tweaking secrets? Very rarely do I fish any topwater frog straight out of the box without tweaking it in some fashion. The first thing I do is trim the legs. This amount can vary based on your desired length but I prefer to trim them to about an inch and a half. I also make sure to leave one side longer than the other. This greatly improves the “walking” ability to any type of frog.

I’ll also do some hook bending in order to increase my hook-up ratio. I bend the hooks up and apart just a little bit, which will get those bass hooked easier and in the boat. Finally, here’s one tip that many people don’t hear about. I take a couple of BBs and insert them into the hollow body of the frog via the bottom where the hook exits the bait. This adds a little bit of sound for stained water and a little bit of weight when fishing on grass mats. Sometimes that’s all the difference it takes to turn on those big bass.

Many times anglers don’t think outside the box when frog fishing but I promise you, if you fish a topwater frog using these tips during the most productive times of the day, you’ll catch more fish.

Try fishing different frogs, with a different retrieve and over different cover that you’re used to. I always make it a point to show my clients what areas make good frog water and why we’re fishing there. Once you have a feel for what type of frog the fish want, what cadence and where to throw it, you’ll be able to dissect productive water quickly.

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