December 19th, 2015
Hollow Body Frog Tuning Tipsby Grant Pentiricci November 25, 2012
Hollow Body frogs are one of the best and most entertaining baits for catching Largemouth bass in cover. I particularly enjoy the explosive strikes that topwater baits entice. The excitement is a great way of keeping fishing interesting and can be a welcome change to your fishing style if topwater fishing is something you don’t do often. I strongly recommend that every bass angler have this technique in their repertoire of presentations.
This article is focused exclusively on hollow body frogs with skirted legs. There are a ton of different frog types, all with cool unique actions and presentation capabilities. For this article to be relevant and provide you with proper information we’re going to focus on this one type of frog. The other types will be covered in later articles.
Why Tune Your Hollow Body Frogs?
From spending countless hours fishing I have learned that lures seldom come out of the packaging ready to fish. There are just too many variables and many anglers prefer to add their own touch to their baits.
This need to modify your baits serves two purposes:
- Firstly it adds confidence. Bait modification allows the angler to have the mental confidence to utilize the bait and believe that it will catch him/her fish. This is very important.
- Secondly, it increases the effectiveness of the bait. This effectiveness can be measured in hookup ratio, how straight the bait runs, how well it floats, the action of the bait, how it casts etc. The measure that you use depends on your expectations of what the bait is expected to do.
Things to Consider When Purchasing Hollow Body Frogs
When you pick your hollow body topwater frogs keep in mind where you will be fishing it and the forage in the area. In Southern Ontario we have several species of frogs. You can view them here. Natural colors will work well in certain conditions, however bright colors or unusual colors are effective in other situations.
Most of marketing for frog baits is focused on the angler and how they think the bait ought to look. It is important that you look at the belly of the frog since this is what the fish will be trying to strike . Not all frog colors are equal. The dark and light bellied frogs have applications that you need to be aware of. There are also weather considerations that need to be taken into account before you tie on your frog.
If you are looking for natural colors and intend on fishing the frog in a realistic manner, then pick a bait that looks realistic. If you are looking for something a little more extravagant, then keep in mind that you may want to try a different approach. It is really up to what the bass want. I can tell you that when I fish with frog I am aiming for a realistic presentation, but those details will be in a later article…
When you get the bait home, take the bait out of the packaging and evaluate the bait on what you expect from it. After a few casts you will know if it is not performing as you expect. This is when the need to tune your frog presents itself.
This article is not intended to communicate how to fish using a frog, but to give you tips on the best way to optimize your frog’s performance. Depending on your style and experience, you may choose to employ all or some of the modifications shown. It is all up to you. Most anglers will place their mental confidence at the top of their requirements and modify a bait only until they are confident in it , regardless of the bait’s actual performance. It is important to realize what the problem is if you are not catching fish with your frog and take the necessary action to correct the problem.
The following tips will give you an overview of different things that anglers do to tune their frogs and optimize the performance of the baits.
Hollow body frogs are weedless. The double hooks are usually bent in and even touch the back of the frog as shown in the video. This makes the frog extremely weedless, however the hooks are sometimes bent too far in. This makes the hook much less likely to come into contact with the fish’s mouth on the hookset. To improve the hookup ratio follow the video’s instructions. Note it is important to not bend the hooks too far out. If you do this will negatively affect the weedless abilities of the bait. It is important to find the sweet spot where you are happy with the weedless capabilities of the bait as well as are capable of getting reliable hooksets. Also, it is important to be careful to not bend the barb of the hook down when you are gripping it with your pliers.
Trim the legs. Most hollow body frogs that this article focuses on come with very long skirted legs. In my experience, these are made too long by manufacturers. I think this is done on purpose so anglers can cut them to size. It is amazing how many anglers fish with a frog with untrimmed legs that are too long and miss fish consistently due to short strikes.
Untrimmed legs can cause fish to strike short, missing the body of the bait. This is especially true when fishing very thick mats. The fish tends to strike in the wrong spot if the legs are too long. I typically have two of the same frog, one with very short legs for heavily matted vegetation and another for skipping around and through lilly pads.
Add scent! This is a very controversial issue with anglers, but in my opinion, scent works. The addition of scent is intended to make the bass hold on longer to the frog once he has it in his mouth. A lot of anglers miss hooksets because they waited too long. The addition of scent makes the frog just a little tastier and entices the fish to give you a little more time. If you have ever missed a fish using the frog I recommend you try some scent. It just may be the ticket!
Since bass are known to be attracted to noise, its logical to assume that the splashing and gurgling that a topwater produces will bring curious fish to your bait. To increase this noise you can add rattles. As the video shows, you can add rattles to your frog by pushing them into the belly of the bait. The rattles will produce a slightly different noise than the gurgle and splash of working the along the surface and this may be just what entices the bass over to investigate.
A hollow bodied frog is designed to attract attention by displacing water. If you look under your frog you can see the weight that is there to make it sit low in the water. You can add weight to your frog making the frog sit lower in the water. This will have several effects on the bait.
- It will make it sit lower and displace more water. This will create more movement in the weeds and surrounding vegetation as you work it.
- It will also give the impression of larger prey and may produce more strikes
- The added weight will increase your casting distance
When adding weight as shown in the video. It is important to make sure that you don’t overdo it. If too much weight is added the frog will not float and the action will be totally messed up. I highly recommend that you test the buoyancy of your frog in a bathtub before heading out on the water.
This tip is perhaps my favorite one of all. The addition of a trailer hook will give you the ability to catch those bass that strike short at the legs of the frog. This addition to your bait will help you if short strikes are a constant problem. You can pick the frog hooks up at Tackle Warehouse or by visiting Lake Fork Tackle’s Website.
So there you have it. If you never fish hollow body frogs you definitely need to try it. If you are a seasoned topwater frog fishing machine then you probably know a few of the tips in this post, or all of them.
Until next time, Tight Lines!
About AuthorMore info about author
Grant is the Founder of AnglingAuthority.com. While he primarily fishes for large mouth and small mouth bass, he’s passionate about sport fishing in general and an avid multispecies angler. Learning about new tactics, gear, species and conditions is all part of what makes the sport challenging and enjoyable. Grant also loves to travel, particularly to prime fishing destinations. Grant participates in regional tournaments and is a proud pro staff member of State Apparel, Power-Pole and Gambler Lures. Grant is a member of B.A.S.S, Canadian Bass Anglers Federation and Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters.More by Grant Pentiricci