Denis Peirce: Frog days of summer
The annual cycle of fishing goes from water that is too cold in the winter to too warm in the summer.
The best fishing is available at the transition times in spring and fall.
Fishing at the extremes can be tough. For summer bass anglers, fishing in shallow waters like our local ponds or the Sacramento Delta, the weeds and moss limit our fishing methods. The most effective option we have is fishing “Frogs”.
These ingenious lures are specifically designed to be thrown into the densest cover and come back out. They can crawl over the top of mats of moss or rafts of floating debris yet still hook a bass when they bite.
Each year in early August a lure company sponsors a bass tournament in the Delta where only frog lures are allowed. Local tournament angler Ed Everhart fished this event recently and explained some of the ins and outs of this style of fishing.
In the dog days of summer, bass are active at night but during the day the key to finding bass is shade. Weeds growing up from the bottom reach to the surface and spread out. What looks like choked off water is actually open underneath with shade. Frogs are specifically made to get bass out of this cover. These floating lures are weighted to ride belly down and to land with a thud on the top of the vegetation. The frog is then hopped across the top. The bass below can see or hear something on top of the mat and explosively come up through the cover to eat the hapless victim. The other ambush spot is the edge of cover as the lure reaches open water. It can be some exciting action when you locate fish-holding cover.
Bass are not the only creatures to succumb to frog lures. Bull frogs are present on weedy shallow waters and they are not above making a meal out of their smaller brethren. Casting the fake frog into brush over hanging the shore line will get the attention of a bull frog. Ed’s technique is to tease the bull frog with a twitching lure until the bull frog is goaded into striking. If the bass are not biting it is an amusing way to keep fishing.
“Frogging” also works over open water. As a top water bait, frogs swim over submerged weeds. Ed likes to customize his frogs that have multi-strand rubber legs. He will cut one side of the frog legs short. This creates an unbalanced lure when retrieved in open water. When reeled in a series of short twitches the frog swims side to side. A different motion that can often get a bass to bite.
There has been a proliferation of frog designs in recent years. They come with popping noses, spinner blades, and many leg styles. There are flat bellied frogs for dragging over cover and deep bellied frogs for fishing over deep water.
If your favorite bass pond is choked over with weeds, just leave your regular crank baits in the box and put on a frog.
Denis Peirce writes a fishing column for The Union’s Outdoors section 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. Contact him via his website at http://www.trollingflies.com.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.