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Kyle46N

Frogging in cow lilly/spatterdock

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Hey everyone, I've been throwing the frog on the Potomac for the past couple weeks and getting a ton of blowups, but only landing half or so.  I have a big issue when hooking up with a fish in the Potomac's giant lilly pads, called cow lilly or spatterdock.  I'm not sure if this stuff grows anywhere else in the country, but I would love to hear how you get a bass out of this stuff if you do fish it.  I cringe everytime I get bit in it because it is sooo difficult to pull a fish out of this stuff.   Yet, there are so many fish in it on a high tide.  I lost four bass this morning in the lilly's that were all good fish (4-5's), hooked up with them on the bite, try to pull them out...they get tangled up in the lilly after about 5 yards.  I then put the TM on high to go in and get them, but they've pulled free by time I get to them.  The lilly's stalks and leaves are so thick, they take a bunch of pressure off your hook inside the fishes mouth, which causes the hooks to pull.  I'm not sure if there is a solution to this, but I thought I'd ask anyhow.  Thanks!

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I fish heavy cover too. It's tough to land them for all of us. Best you can hope for is to get them up after the hook set and start hauling them in. If they get deep the only other attempt to get them is keep a high rod and tight line while t motoring towards them. Go past them and turn them around hopefully into less covered water and reel them in.

I lost what I'm quite sure was a state record bass a few weeks ago. I fought him while he was 4' deep in cabomba at least 60'. Got him to the side of the boat net ready and lifted him straight up. The hook pulled out the tip went high and he was gone. I've re-lived it several times since. I should have moved the boat in and turned him around. 

It was like fighting a striper. I was using my Lews Custom Lite Magnum Grass rod. It's a real stick..  Toughest bass I've ever hooked. What a fighter.

I'm using Owner hooks now.. long throat should help keep the barbs in. Stanley 4s are history. I've lost to many lunkers using them. I will use the 5s though... 

 

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I assume you're useing a minimum 50# braid..If so you need to get thier head up as fast as you can..Don't just set the hook and try to fight her out of there..more times than not they'll get off which is what is happening. I fish pads almost every outing, so thick you'd think you can walk across it. If you let them stay down, or worse yet go deeper you'll just have motor over and dig her out. 

Set the hook, head out of the water and skim her acroos to you..Or go get her..Those are your only choices. 

 

Mike 

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1 hour ago, Mike L said:

I assume you're useing a minimum 50# braid..If so you need to get thier head up as fast as you can..Don't just set the hook and try to fight her out of there..more times than not they'll get off which is what is happening. I fish pads almost every outing, so thick you'd think you can walk across it. If you let them stay down, or worse yet go deeper you'll just have motor over and dig her out. 

Set the hook, head out of the water and skim her acroos to you..Or go get her..Those are your only choices. 

 

Mike 

50 lb PP, but you're right, I think I'm probably babying them honestly.  I certainly have the strength to horse them out, and I have the rod and line to get it done....just need to be aggressive.  I knew the answer was a simple one, but you know how it goes, it's hard to step back and see the simple fixes sometimes.  Thanks!

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I likin froggin in heavy cover and punching mat's to the hand to hand combat senario in all of fishing. You gotta fight 'em but you're gonna lose if you give 'em just a small opening. 

Hook 'em and get them out of there. This ain't senko fishin with mono line!

 

 

Mike 

14 minutes ago, Kyle46N said:

50 lb PP, but you're right, I think I'm probably babying them honestly.  I certainly have the strength to horse them out, and I have the rod and line to get it done....just need to be aggressive.  I knew the answer was a simple one, but you know how it goes, it's hard to step back and see the simple fixes sometimes.  Thanks!

 

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Fish miss them often in Lily pads and in that smaller spatter weed patches so I really watch the top of my Frog to make sure it goes under, I like a bright top so I can see the frog since if you wait to feel them in pads, once a big fish gets it's head turned, you will have a hard time getting them out, best option is to keep tension and go in after the fish once they wrap. braid is a must since it cuts through weeds I use 50lb Power Pro Plus, Med heavy rod 7'-6" or 7' stiff tip so you can drive the hooks home, fast gear ratio to pick up line. 

A rattle can help them find it better is what I am told but I am not sure if a rattle helps or not, Some days maybe, but I like it without and I have learned that I do much better fishing much slower and in a steady cadence. Most strikes will come when it first lands, while it sits, or on a pause or start up. Let it sit on the pads, shake it, then work it off and kill it in holes. I watch the frog, pretend it is a bobber and once it is gone, it is hard to do since the splash is often hard to see through, but you can also just keep the rod high, hope the fish has it, and reel up slack and swing away. Some days you get 20 strikes and hook 4 fish, some days you get 10 and hook 9, but often times if the fish misses it, leave it since fish often stun it and then come back to suck it under. I let it sit for about 10 seconds and then barely twitch it like it is wounded and if nothing, chuck a soft bait back to the same spot....Key is horsing the head up above the pads as quickly as possible and keeping tension. You will know you are doing it right when small fish come flying back at you a good 10 feet. You need to drive the hooks home and get momentum.

 Make sure you have a good frog that is known for good hook set ratios, some are tough, but if you get 10 fish to take it under, you will always miss a few since they grab it by the legs or who knows...Just part of fishing. Most popular are booyah,LT,Snagproof, Scum Frogs, Sk, and just read reviews because several brands that look good are horrible for design reasons....

If the fish take it they will get the hooks. Small fish or big fish, most guys will wait to feel the fish but I feel that is only good in open water, think of a hollow body like any other soft bait, because it is a soft bait, fish will hold it and run with it for a long time if you let them. I have messed around with smaller bass and if they want it they will take it and hold it, so 2 seconds is all you need but make sure it is down. That is the tricky part, I still miss good strikes because I get excited/Nervous but I find if top color gone, swing, or just count to 2 Mississippi. 

Bobby's Perfect seems to always end up in the roof of the mouth more than any other frog I have used and not sure why. Small and big fish I would say I get the best hook up with that frog. Not expensive either.

I am a frog addict, I try to force feed a frog all year long, You usually know if it is a good frog day within the first 1/2 hour. If they are smacking it but not taking, then try a soft plastic toad so you can go subsurface or throw a different soft bait in the weeds, or pitch.

Hope that helps. It is not an easy technique, but it is worth the time and missing fish is just part of frog fishing from what I have seen. If you are hooking 50% overall that is good imo, but if you think about it, topwater lures with treble hooks are only 8/10 anyway. Frog fish are usually bigger. Except this one which I caught yesterday but I was impressed with my hook set, so I took a picture to show off.

download?mid=2%5f0%5f0%5f1%5f1%5fAERUimIAGaKIWAZSEgMomFJRUvU&m=YaDownload&pid=3&fid=Inbox&inline=1&appid=yahoomail

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Thanks for all the details Primetime.  Good stuff.  In addition to not horsing them out of the like I should be, I've also been very focused on the "wait for weight before setting the hook".   Which is killing me in the pads.  I'm getting solid hook sets, but doesn't do me any good if I can't get them to the boat.  

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18 hours ago, Kyle46N said:

50 lb PP, but you're right, I think I'm probably babying them honestly.  I certainly have the strength to horse them out, and I have the rod and line to get it done....just need to be aggressive.  I knew the answer was a simple one, but you know how it goes, it's hard to step back and see the simple fixes sometimes.  Thanks!

Hopefully your next outing shows improvement!

You mentioned that the fish you missed were all big ones. It is most everyone's instinct to go easy on a bigger fish, but in this case you have to man handle him just like you would a dink and drag his butt to the boat!

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2 hours ago, Kyle46N said:

Thanks for all the details Primetime.  Good stuff.  In addition to not horsing them out of the like I should be, I've also been very focused on the "wait for weight before setting the hook".   Which is killing me in the pads.  I'm getting solid hook sets, but doesn't do me any good if I can't get them to the boat.  

I suffer from the same issues you do and for some reason losing big Frog fish hurts more than losing other big fish because you always get to see the blowup or just the "Flush" so all the one's that get away were "Giants". I miss a good amount of  fish every year because I get distracted easy and am always looking for the next cast, especially when you hear them and expect a fish every cast.

I am convinced that there is a good amount of luck involved in frog fishing since I have watched big bass take the frog and then spin it around so if you swing when the hooks are not in the right spot you will miss, or if the legs are covering the hooks, they can  go into the plastic. I watched Ish Monroe on TV and he missed every strike for a good 4 hours and he only needed one more to move on,he finally got his 2lber with a nice skip cast that went perfectly under an overturned boat. He does it for a living so it was interesting to watch since it was a Florida lake, and the strikes looked solid, and he is known as one of the better guys with a frog.

You Tube has a few really good videos of how to get fish out of cover with frogs and punch rigs, I forget who did them, maybe Aaron Martins?

I learn alot from videos especialy just watching how people play the fish and get them to the boat, Punching is easier since you can do the lean since you are in close and have leverage right away, long casts are just tough. 

Good Luck. You know what your doing, you are obviously putting the frog in the right spot and getting the strikes, that is the hardest and most important part. Missing fish is a good problem to have, at least you are on fish, it can always be worse.

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I was guilty of the pitfall many anglers fall into when I first started fishing heavy, matted pads; I enjoy the fight as much as I do the challenge of finding and hooking the fish.  Because of that, I would let the fish head shake and bury itself in the stems. Now, I get their head up and winch them out. Once they're out in open water you can 'play' with them. 

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I prefer a different approach. A sharp hard hookset and let them bury in the pads/grass. Holding a little tension on the fish but not a lot. I push pole the boat over to the fish and dig him out. Also I let them swim a bit with light tension on the rod. If he comes up then haul him across the top and teach him to water ski. My rods are medium heavy 7 foot with salt water Cabo 40 reels with 20lb drag and 40lb braid line. I crank the drag all the way down.

That is how I guide on the Potomac in the heavy stuff.

Capt Mike

 

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