Denis Peirce: Fake frog skims muck, tempts hungry bass
My local bass pond fishing is generally a springtime endeavor. As the water warms the fish are hungry, actively preparing to spawn and the aquatic weeds have yet to grow. As we reach mid-June the trout fishing up the hill beckons and the ponds are left until next spring.
Recently I went bass fishing with Ed Everhart on a local pond. This time of year any water less than 5 feet deep, has a mat of vegetation on the surface. This precludes any of the standard tackle options we employ in spring time fishing. Any lure retrieved through this muck will be a 5-pound ball of weeds if you can get it back through the subsurface jungle.
I never cease to be amazed at the amount of brain power, ingenuity, time and money devoted to catching fish. Especially for fish we intend to throw back.
Well, the weed choked water problem was solved a number of decades ago by an angler in Ohio who manufactured molded rubber boots. He designed a molded rubber, hollow frog that is worked across the top of the surface muck, the “Snag Proof Frog.” This ingenious design sits with the rear lowered and the nose raise so that the line to lure knot is out of the water and does not pick up weeds. The hook points are tight to the top of the soft rubber body and do not get hung up when cast into the densest cover. This is important when equipping young boys with $7 lures.
The effectiveness of this type bait is based on the frog populations on our ponds and the penchant bass have for eating them. The technique is to cast across the heavy cover then slowly hop and slide the frog across the top. Even if the surface looks totally choked there are pathways below for the bass to swim through.
As the unfortunate frog is working his way over the cover he is hopefully being stalked by a bass from below. The exciting part occurs when the bass “blow up” on the frog. Frequently they miss their target by pushing it away as they come up through the surface debris. You are supposed to wait until you feel the fish before you set the hook, then hit it as hard as you dare.
Actual bull frogs are territorial and will chase and pounce on the fake if it is cast into the real frog’s backyard. It is possible to hook the real thing if you set the hook as the lure gets jumped by the frog.
The ideal tackle for this style of fishing is heavy line with little or no stretch and a stiff rod. This is the opposite of finesse fishing. You need heavy gear to hoist or drag the fish and a few pounds of wet weeds back to you. The Sacramento Delta and its weed-choked waters are famous for this style of bass fishing.
As is typical in the competitive angling industry there are many frog lures built overseas that are based on the original design.
The original is still made in Cincinnati, Ohio. You might save a buck buying an import, but for me the original is my choice in frogs. So if you want to fish close to home and save fuel, all you need is access to a pond and a Snag Proof Frog.
It is a recipe for an enjoyable summer evening on the water.
Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union and is host of “The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report,” which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. He may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Bluff Diversion Dam salmon count over weekend …
n Aug. 3 = 39
n Aug. 2 = 85
n Aug. 1 = 51
n Year to date 2008 = 1813 salmon
n Year to date 2007 = 2760 salmon
* We are printing the salmon counts at Red Bluff as a indicator of the valley salmon run in general. Salmon fishing on the Sacramento River is closed until November.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.