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Josh Smith

Losing Bass On Frogs -- Not Sure Why

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Hi Folks,

 

Yesterday I fished for four or five hours.  It was slow.

 

One bass hit a topwater frog I was fishing on heavy mat.  I lost that one, but did hook up again and land it when I threw a wacky worm right after the miss.

 

Today was worse.  I was fishing frogs on scum and isolated mat.  One bass blew up the frog.  It surprised me and I'm sure I yanked the frog away from the bass before it could commit as I set the hook as a reaction.

 

I hooked up again in the same area with a different frog.  I waited for a moment to set the hook this time, but the bass managed to spit the frog.

 

After that area stopped activity, I moved to heavier mat on the other side of the lake.  The first frog toss onto this mat resulted in a missed strike. 

 

The second bass from this area took it under water into very thick weeds and managed to get off.

 

So... I lost four nice bass (one felt like it could have been a personal best) and landed a big fat zero for four hours of fishing!

 

Two of those I know I set the hook early.  This is the first year I've used a frog, and I'm having to adjust.  I've landed one bass on the frog this year, but six or seven have hit the frog.  I've lost a total of three or four due to my haste in setting the hook, but the others I can't explain.

 

The bass in this lake love the frogs, but I'm not hooking up. 

 

I'm thinking soft mouth.  I've been using a 7' MH/F Daiwa rod.  Thinking about this, I've lost all of them on this rod.  Too stiff, maybe?

 

The one I landed with a frog was caught on a MH/F 6' Cherrywood HD, which is a blended glass and graphite rod.  Though it's marked as a "fast" action, it's certainly much softer than the Daiwa.  I prefer it for most of my fishing.

 

Do you have thoughts on this?  I wasn't wanting to go to a medium rod because of the heavy cover I fish.  I was thinking about a long rod with a soft tip like an Ugly Stick, but wanted to bounce this off you good folks first.

 

Regards,

 

Josh

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Frog fishing is fun, but really tough. Even top pros don't have spectacular hookup ratios on them. Last time I used a frog I had my skirt trimmed quite a bit and the hooks bent up a little and caught 3 out of 4. The one I missed had a good hookup but came off as soon as I got him out of the pads. So there are things you can do to improve your chances. It's just something that you have to learn to live with the frustration. Otherwise you'll hate it. And it's much too fun to hate.

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I'm not seeing if you're using braid or not?  If not, well there's problem #1.  Heavy matt/grass fish on frogs are never 100%.  My technique is to reel down when I see the bite till I feel the pressure/weight and then swing. Once the fish is hooked, then I NEVER give that fish a chance to get his head turned. I keep my rod tip up and the handle turning.  If the fish is balled up in the weeds, well then it's gonna stay pinned and the weeds are coming with the fish or I'm headed in to get the fish out of the weeds, but never letting any slack or letting that fish move.  My rod of choice for a frog is a 7'3"H Falcon Fast action with a 7.3:1 or 8:1 reel and either 30 or 40lb braid (my choice some like heavier) depending on how heavy the cover is.  Also check the hooks, make sure they are sharp and not digging back into the frog.

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Could be the frog your using. My hookups while frog fishing greatly improved when I started useing the booya brand frogs. Softer body and a good hook and braided line can make all the difference.

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Using the Lake Fork frog stinger hook can really help when bass are slapping at it rather than swallowing it whole.

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Is your frog new? Maybe a scent or spike it pen garlic scent? I believe since the fish have keen sences of smell there not hanging on long enough to set the hook. Just my thoughts.

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There is also a very high possibility they never really had it to begin with. Or it could be they completely missed it entirely. That is actually pretty common when fishing frogs. You will kinda develop a sense over time and know if they really grab it or not. But not always. I set the hook like I do when pitching. I don't snap a hook set really fast. I lower the rod and then pick up and lean back on it. It is still a very powerful hookset but it doesn't rip it away from them like Lightning.

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I don't think "soft mouth" is the trouble...   I use heavy braid and a 7'6" Heavy action rod for frogs.  I reel down until I feel pressure, then set hard and don't let up for an instant; rod high and cranking hard on the reel, like it's a race or something.   I use the cheap, regular Scum Frogs.  I find that the double hook most often ends up in the roof the bass' mouth, so I make sure I set the hook hard enough to be able to get that big ol' no-name double hook sunk in past the barbs.

 

Like lecisnith, I went three for four on frog fishing this morning.  I also had two bass that exploded on the frog, but missed it completely, like matrix mentioned.

 

You just have to accept the fact that some of them are going to get off... it's  part of the deal.  It's worth all the excitement!

 

Tight lines,

Bob

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Statistically, hollow body frogs have the worst hookup ratio of almost any baits. It's just hard to drive those thick hooks home, also because they are on top. Perhaps try bending out the hooks just a little and force yourself to wait a second before you set the hook when the bass blows up.

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Hi Folks,

 

Yesterday I fished for four or five hours.  It was slow.

 

One bass hit a topwater frog I was fishing on heavy mat.  I lost that one, but did hook up again and land it when I threw a wacky worm right after the miss.

 

Today was worse.  I was fishing frogs on scum and isolated mat.  One bass blew up the frog.  It surprised me and I'm sure I yanked the frog away from the bass before it could commit as I set the hook as a reaction.

 

I hooked up again in the same area with a different frog.  I waited for a moment to set the hook this time, but the bass managed to spit the frog.

 

After that area stopped activity, I moved to heavier mat on the other side of the lake.  The first frog toss onto this mat resulted in a missed strike. 

 

The second bass from this area took it under water into very thick weeds and managed to get off.

 

So... I lost four nice bass (one felt like it could have been a personal best) and landed a big fat zero for four hours of fishing!

 

Two of those I know I set the hook early.  This is the first year I've used a frog, and I'm having to adjust.  I've landed one bass on the frog this year, but six or seven have hit the frog.  I've lost a total of three or four due to my haste in setting the hook, but the others I can't explain.

 

The bass in this lake love the frogs, but I'm not hooking up. 

 

I'm thinking soft mouth.  I've been using a 7' MH/F Daiwa rod.  Thinking about this, I've lost all of them on this rod.  Too stiff, maybe?

 

The one I landed with a frog was caught on a MH/F 6' Cherrywood HD, which is a blended glass and graphite rod.  Though it's marked as a "fast" action, it's certainly much softer than the Daiwa.  I prefer it for most of my fishing.

 

Do you have thoughts on this?  I wasn't wanting to go to a medium rod because of the heavy cover I fish.  I was thinking about a long rod with a soft tip like an Ugly Stick, but wanted to bounce this off you good folks first.

 

Regards,

 

Josh

 

What I highlighted is pretty much what I have went to on scum/mats and have worlds better success. Like you just missed too many good hits and was backing those hits with a wacky rig well then started thinking why not just start with the wacky and be done with it. I can work a senko or fat ika on lots of the same places I work a frog and actually get places below surface a frog wont go so more versatility & way better hook-ups.

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This is my first year frog fishing as well. I have just accepted that hookups are gonna be erratic at best. All u can do is use the right equipment and make sure you feel the weight of the fish before you lean back into hook set. The pros miss them on frogs and so will the rest of us. The blow ups and hook ups are so exciting, the misses are worth it to me. I try to convince myself the misses are just little ones to help ease the disappointment. Keep on froggin!

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I use an old 7'6" abu garcia black max heavy rod with an even older browning casting reel thats been put through h**l. 50# power pro braid.Most of the time i'm throwing a zoom frog and if i find myself missing alot i slip a weedless hook over the barb of the main hook and let it hang as a trailer hook.I find alot of my missed fish are because the bass just knock the darn thing out of the way as he's coming up for it or they just short strike it..I have caught them on this trailer hook and the frog and main hook are hanging out of its mouth.Hardest thing i had to learn frog fishing was to wait to feel the fish before i set the hook.I was so used to just yanking it when i feel the least little bite.

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Fishing the frog from a kayak adds another degree of difficulty because you're almost never in a perfect position to set the hook. But I think it can help because you usually have a little extra line in the water to reel in before setting.

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1. It's pretty hard to overpower a frog set up, most use MH, H, and even XH and hit em hard. Braid is a must though especially in very thick vegetation. Once hooked, drag em up and out or go in a get him, just never lose tension.

 

2. People don't realize how long bass take that frog down, and though this might be painful, let a few bass blow up the frog and dont set the hook but keep light pressure until he spits it. In my experience (tournament practice where you don't want to sting the bass) I have had trouble making a bass let go of the dang thing when I dont want to hook it and just let him have it. I would bet that you would have more successful hookups frog fishing waiting a full 8 seconds than setting in less than 1 second. Though 8 seconds is extreme, I believe it to hold true. The more ideal delay is about 2 to 4 seconds in my experience.

 

in summary, too late is better than too early in frog fishing, and horse em out or they win.

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Bass will often completely miss a frog through the grass, it's just the nature of the beast, but they'll also often come back if you pull it through the same spot. Like others have said, braid is a must and so is a heavy rod when fishing mats. I don't even fish real heavy stuff but I use a 7' 3" H/F and it's proven to be a great frog rod when matched with a E7 Curado and 50lb braid. I'm not a fan of often suggested "wait to feel the fish" method. If I see a strike and my bait is gone, I'm driving the hooks home because there's really only one reason that bait should be gone and that's because it's still in the fish's mouth. I don't see the point in giving him a chance to wad the bait up in his mouth or turn it around funny so the hooks don't bite when I set on them. 

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The first advice I got when getting into frogs was to bend the hooks out. It does make it less weed less but I think it helps with hook set. And trimming the legs down will allow the bass to take more of the frog and not just grab onto the long legs hanging way out the back.  

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Could be the frog your using. My hookups while frog fishing greatly improved when I started useing the booya brand frogs. Softer body and a good hook and braided line can make all the difference.

 

I am using Live Target, Booyah, and River2Sea.

 

Regards,

 

Josh

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I'm not seeing if you're using braid or not?  If not, well there's problem #1.  Heavy matt/grass fish on frogs are never 100%.  My technique is to reel down when I see the bite till I feel the pressure/weight and then swing. Once the fish is hooked, then I NEVER give that fish a chance to get his head turned. I keep my rod tip up and the handle turning.  If the fish is balled up in the weeds, well then it's gonna stay pinned and the weeds are coming with the fish or I'm headed in to get the fish out of the weeds, but never letting any slack or letting that fish move.  My rod of choice for a frog is a 7'3"H Falcon Fast action with a 7.3:1 or 8:1 reel and either 30 or 40lb braid (my choice some like heavier) depending on how heavy the cover is.  Also check the hooks, make sure they are sharp and not digging back into the frog.

 

I'm using 50lb braid, and have 65lb ready to spool when this stuff gets too low.

 

My biggest problem seems like I'm not pausing, according to your and others' answers.

 

Thanks!

 

Josh

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Using the Lake Fork frog stinger hook can really help when bass are slapping at it rather than swallowing it whole.

 

I never heard of this.  Looking into it.

 

Thanks!

 

Josh

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Is your frog new? Maybe a scent or spike it pen garlic scent? I believe since the fish have keen sences of smell there not hanging on long enough to set the hook. Just my thoughts.

 

Thank you.  They did smell like release agent, so they all got soaked overnight in Gulp! Crawfish before using.

 

Funny; the Live Target got used before I soaked it, and I caught a bass on it.

 

Josh

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There is also a very high possibility they never really had it to begin with. Or it could be they completely missed it entirely. That is actually pretty common when fishing frogs. You will kinda develop a sense over time and know if they really grab it or not. But not always. I set the hook like I do when pitching. I don't snap a hook set really fast. I lower the rod and then pick up and lean back on it. It is still a very powerful hookset but it doesn't rip it away from them like Lightning.

 

I'm a bit hyper, I guess.  I need to teach myself to do this.

 

Until the past three years I used mono only.  I'd taken 10 years off fishing for college etc, and missed out on a lot of the innovations.  When I left for college, the first superlines were around $50.  Got to a point in my life where I could start enjoying fishing again without being rushed, so moved by some lakes.  Now I get to play with braid, frogs, and new reel technology! :)

 

Josh

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The first advice I got when getting into frogs was to bend the hooks out. It does make it less weed less but I think it helps with hook set. And trimming the legs down will allow the bass to take more of the frog and not just grab onto the long legs hanging way out the back.  

 

I think I'm going to try the "bend the hooks out a bit" thing.  I trimmed 1/3 of the legs because they just seemed too long.

 

Never heard of bending the hooks until it was posted here.

 

Thank you,

 

Josh

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What I highlighted is pretty much what I have went to on scum/mats and have worlds better success. Like you just missed too many good hits and was backing those hits with a wacky rig well then started thinking why not just start with the wacky and be done with it. I can work a senko or fat ika on lots of the same places I work a frog and actually get places below surface a frog wont go so more versatility & way better hook-ups.

 

^This. Fishing below the surface of the water will increase your hook-ups (and number of bites) substantially. If the fish are keyed on frogs or you are after the big bite try this.

http://www.fishhound.com/content/rethinking-frog

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2. People don't realize how long bass take that frog down, and though this might be painful, let a few bass blow up the frog and dont set the hook but keep light pressure until he spits it. In my experience (tournament practice where you don't want to sting the bass) I have had trouble making a bass let go of the dang thing when I dont want to hook it and just let him have it. I would bet that you would have more successful hookups frog fishing waiting a full 8 seconds than setting in less than 1 second. Though 8 seconds is extreme, I believe it to hold true. The more ideal delay is about 2 to 4 seconds in my experience.

I could not possibly disagree more with this statement. I frog fish literally every time I go out and I've found the opposite to be true. Bass can spit a non-food item just about as fast as you can blink so when I see the frog disappear, I set the hook- hard. None of the reeling until I feel the weight jazz, no sir- crack that whip as hard and fast as you can and make sure the frog doesn't move until it's basically going to get all that force at once. My hookup percentage on actual hits(not missed swipes) is at least a good 80% or so. I miss very few these days and if I do it's usually in the fight through the pads when they twist out. When I was waiting on fish to take it and swim away it was MAYBE 50%.

My take is that the less time you leave for a fish to reject that initial decision to take the frog down the better, and that window can be EXTREMELY small. We don't wait for it to swim away with it when it's any other kind of bait so why should we let them decide with a frog?? Doesn't make sense to me but to each his own I guess. I just kind I cringe when I see people saying to wait and let the fish basically catch itself which it will almost never do in my experience.

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