July 12th, 2014
You toss your frog into that spot between the grass mats, and slowly walk it across the grass, pausing after three “twitches” to see what happens, and BAM!, it disappears in a swirl of water and tail! Heart racing, you lean back and yank, and….it’s gone. Had to be at least 4 pounds.
This ever happen to you? It has to me, and it’s a hard but valuable lesson to learn. Instinctively, we bass fisherman set the hook hard & fast, but with hollow body frogs, it pays to take a second a “feel” the fish on your line before your rear back, for a couple of reasons. First, bass often “stun” a frog and make a return trip to eat the now defenseless and disoriented meal, and if you snatch it immediately upon that first “stun” hit, you will miss the bass every time. Time and time again I have caught bass on hollow body frogs after an initial miss by the fish by staying calm and just letting the frog sit. (The 5.28 pounder pictured above was sucked down after I paused the bait for about 5 seconds, which is an ENORMOUS amount of time when you are amped up in a tournament).
Second, by giving the bass a second or two to turn away before you set the hook, and with frogs you REALLY set the hook, the bass will typically have its mouth at a better angle for a solid hook set when you do set the hook, meaning more catches.
Last club tournament, I had the pleasure of fishing with Herman Prescott, who is somewhat of a frog fiend on the Potomac, and an all around fun guy to hang out with. During the course of our day, Herman and I got to talking about fishing, and I got the chance to pick his brain about Potomac River grass fishing. As Herman expounded upon his favorite frog colors, I paid attention to him, and not my frog. Mid-sentence, Herman paused and said “Dude…..I think your frog is gone…”. I turned to where my frog should have been, saw that it was indeed gone, reeled down, and set the hook on a three pound bass. I have no idea how long he had the frog, and I never saw him take it, but I brought him to the boat and was able to cull a smaller bass (incidentally, I finished 3rd with just over 14 pounds).
So what can we learn from this?
1) LONG pauses will trigger strikes
2) Vary your presentation speed often, as a change in pace may be what triggers the strike and
3) Bass will hold onto that frog for some time, so don’t rush your hookset!!
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Chris Murphy is a Pro Angler who competes in the Bassmaster and Everstart tournament series. His lifetime passion for fishing led him to earn a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Tech, where he could “occasionally” be found fishing the New River for smallmouth rather than attending class. Chris loves to share information about fishing techniques, strategies, and results, and is very active in the online social fishing community.More by Chris Murphy