Frog Imitations Bass Getters
Inside the Outdoors, June 04, 2010

It won’t be long now until bass season gets underway. June 12 marks the date fishermen will be angling for these fish. And according to past history of knowing what bait people will be using, nightcrawlers have always been the ticket. Fished from the shore or from boats, those wigglers definitely have a good track record.

Over and above them, plugs, spinners and even shiners have produced some nice lunkers.

With all that said, however, today, I’m going to base my talk around frog imitations.

Like fly fishing where anglers try to match the hatch, those trying for bass should keep in mind that using replicas that are found where these fish live in most cases will attract any number of fish that may be lurking along the weed beds or in the shallows.

Many years ago, I saw a frog imitation in a Stamina catalog and ordered it. I thought to myself, it looked so real, why not give it a shot. After getting it in, I tried it on one of two ponds I used to frequent a lot in my first few years of fishing in this part of the state.

The lure was made out of a plastic substance, painted green and black, precisely like a frog, with legs that dangled below it. It even had feet resembling that of the critter. There was a two-wire protector on it so it wouldn’t get hooked on the brush. I had a sneaking suspicion that I had found myself a winner.

I’ll never forget a fishing trip I made one summer afternoon. The well-hidden body of water was surrounded with trees with boulders along one side, more than on the other. Anyone going for bass should know, structure is very important. Most fish will be hanging out and about stumps, rocks, tree roots, fallen branches, fallen trees or even sunken appliances, old cars or in some cases, homes, after fields and valleys have been flooded similar to Keystone Power Dam.

So, there I stood, eyeing a large boulder straight-ahead about one-half way toward the opposite bank. I flung my frog about one to two feet to the left of it and let it sit for a moment. That’s an act all fishermen should remember. To make it a natural presentation, one approach is to let any lure sit a minute or two before retrieving. Sometimes fish will come up to the surface and wolf up the lure before any return action is made.

All of a sudden I felt a tug like no other. But what followed was the weirdest feeling yet. I’m used to the tension often felt upon reeling in these aquatic species, but there was no tug, no tension, nothing. I let it sit again, but this time, nothing. Then I decided it was time to reel the frog into shore. I was more than awe struck to see a body without one leg. I think there was surprise on both ends of the line – the fish, for the leg didn’t taste like chicken, or whatever frog legs taste to fish, and yours truly who ended up with three-quarters of a lure. The great thing is that I had a couple more at home. It was good I did, because I was astonished to learn that this productive creation was discontinued. I can only surmise sales were down on this imitation. I guess it’s like the law of the land. One is only to have what is given for a time, and when that time runs out, you just don’t got it anymore!

One thing I learned about bass a long time ago, they are territorial and anything that comes into their “home turf” just may find themselves inside the belly of the fish. Above, I made mention of the imitation sitting still for a moment. Another approach, particularly when using a buzz frog, similar to a buzzbait is to cast it in (from a boat) to the shore and reel back. The lure, with a metal spinner on it, will leave a bubble trail behind it. That will drive a fish mad.

You may want to try some of the other companies’ imitations that have a good reputation for its plastics that look like the real things. Yum has just introduced a Money Frog that comes in six unique colors, plus other features that will work in your favor. Panther Martin has put out its best frog in 50 years, it claims, called the Big Eyed Pro Frog, and Spro JungleFrog 30 has added yet another product to its fish-getters. Anyone of these three will do the job if they are presented properly.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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