Select Page

Long ago anglers realized the importance of imitating the look and motion of natural forage fish food sources in their local waters. Limited materials and funds meant carefully chosen artificial baits could be used when the real thing wasn’t available. Natural settings like, small lakes, creeks and ponds were often the site of casting for bass with the crude equipment of the era. A quick view of old catalogs from the 1940’s shows a few natural looking (and some not so natural) possibilities for the bass, northern pike and musky anglers. Wooden, jointed and equipped with antiquated hooks frogs were a featured item, one of the earliest was the Paw Paw Wotta-A-Frog first appearing in 1941. Made to mimic the abundant and common real leopard frog and bullfrog, frog baits were proven fish foolers. A resurgence of a more sophisticated hollow bodied frog bait coupled with more efficient rods, reels and line plus updated techniques makes “frogging” fun.

While today’s topwater frogs can be fished in a variety of places they are deadly around many types of cover. Typical topwater locations such as boat docks are likely locations to fling the frog. Another possible target would be submerged wood, shoreline cover certainly warrants a cast or two as does an isolated rock pile. Where frog fishing is the most fun is around aquatic vegetation. In the south where water warms quickly, there’s abundant sunshine and weather stays hot and humid water weeds, moss and lily pads emerge, thrive and make tremendous bass habitat and present unparalleled opportunity for the angler willing to hop the top with a bogus bullfrog. In many locations the aquatic vegetation appears as early as April and stays into October, some locations it comes earlier and stays longer.
Friend bass fishing friend Michael Vines a frequent frogger offers this insight. “I use the paddle foot model of soft plastic fogs, I can tell by the bite how aggressive the fish are. I fish the frog much like a buzzbait, starting fast and slowing the retrieve down until I find what the fish respond to best. The rod is at 10 o’clock to allow for the hook set. I make at least four or five casts to each piece of cover.”

Kayak Fishing | Frogs on the Menu
Fished in and around hydrilla and milfoil frogs are a staple in lakes that are loaded with heavy doses of aquatic vegetation. Fishing the mats is popular for fun fishermen and the tournament set. Bass will stage in the grass and the shadows it produces, this makes the location of the fish a little more predictable. For me the lily pads are the most preferable. On the sunny days the pads offer shade, cover and will draw in food sources, a perfect set up for flipping the frog in and around the lily pads. A quick equipment check is in order. I prefer seven foot rods in the kayak, my rod action choice is medium heavy coupled with a strong baitcasting reel. Both my rod and reel choices are Lew’s A strong no stretch line means either braid of fluorocarbonis pooled on my reels, I use both 30 pound test braid (some frog fishermen go much higher) and I also use 20 pound fluorocarbon. The rod, reel and line all work in concert to present the bait, make for a solid hookset and allow you to bring the fish to the boat.


  • 1. Make sure you have a well tied knot. The vegetation and the fish will test the best knots. I prefer the Palomar knot for its strength and ease of tying.
  • 2. Approach the pad fields and patches quietly and cast to the edges first. This makes it easier to pull the fish away from cover quickly. Look for a pattern that is repeatable.
  • 3. Generally there are points formed by the pads (or grass, moss) these can be a great pattern.
  • 4. Look for holes in the vegetation and cast PAST the holes, anticipate the strike occurring in the openings. Allow the bait to hesitate in the openings. I twitch the frog in short hops, this almost always works best. A slow crawl is another proven tactic for bass hiding in vegetation.
  • 5. Experiment with the retrieve until the fish show you what they want. Be prepared to adjust, the bite tends to change throughout the course of the day. Start slow, and increase the speed.
  • 6. Look for visual clues. Bass will chase bluegill, bait and other “intruders” and show themselves. These fish are already aggressive and susceptible to the frog presentation.
  • 7. On the strike pause on the hookset until you feel the fish. This will allow the bass to really take the bait. Lots of swing and a miss for the quick setting frog fisherman. It takes self-discipline.
  • 8. Get in amongst em. Advantage kayak! You can paddle your way into the fields of pads and thick grass. Once again the kayak makes places otherwise inaccessible to bigger water craft available to the kayaker.
  • 9. Anticipate the “blow up” and be ready to lower the rod tip creating a natural pause making it a greater possibility to a sink the hook. Once the bass is hooked reel like crazy, fish, pads and all.
  • 10. Have a backup bait ready. A large percentage of the time a Texas rigged soft plastic worm, or crawfish pitched in behind a miss will draw a reaction hit from the “tuned up” fish.

Kayak Fishing | Frogs on the Menu

I tend to depend on the Strike King KVD frog. As far as colors it’s kind of like chicken, do you want light or dark? The underside of lily pads is actually red so I prefer to use black or natural frog patterns in order to stand out. *remember the fish only sees the underside of a topwater bait.
If you’re feeling froggy add this technique to your arsenal, it’s exciting and different.