Targeting bass that are buried underneath matted vegetation with a topwater frog could possibly be one of the most exciting and adrenaline filled ways to target and catch bass. The technique of fishing topwater frogs for bass at times is a straight forward one, cast your frog out atop of the vegetation, bring it back to the boat, bass hits…wait, set the hook and bring the bass in.
Slop as it is referred to by anglers, is when vegetation forms a large blanket-like coating over the water. There are several forms of vegetation that can create these vast regions of slop fields. Vegetation provides bass with numerous ambush opportunities to grab a quick meal and stay out of the hot summer sun, which is why many bass anglers spend a lot of their time fishing this type of cover. It is common to find the mother lode of bass tucked up in the nastiest of cover, so by looking for the vegetation you are giving yourself a good chance to go looking for a nice green paycheck at the end of the day!
Whenever I am fishing vegetation, I always am keeping an eye on two things, the first is current, and the second is the adjacent secondary cover. Current is the lifeblood to a bass; it brings them food and freshwater. Not only is finding vegetation near the current key but also determining exactly how that current is positioning the bass on the vegetation is how you will turn an ok day of fishing into a great one!
I will retrieve my Snag Proof Frog in two ways, the first is a fast retrieve across the top of the matted vegetation. My goal of this retrieve is to generate a reaction bite out of a bass; along with covering water quickly, I can identify the key areas in that vegetation that are holding a concentration of. My frog of choice for this retrieve is the Bobby’s Perfect as its wide-body creates a disturbance below the vegetation that catches the bass’s eye.
If I’m fishing around scattered vegetation, such as lily pad fields where there is a fair amount of open water present, along a grass line where I’ll be bringing my bait back across open water to the boat, or skipping the frog underneath overhanging trees or boat docks, I turn to the walk-the-dog retrieve. I like this retrieve because, in the open water, the side-to-side cadence drives bass wild as they are looking up along a weedline or sitting underneath a dock ready to dart out and grab a meal.
The Gear –
It is important to use the right gear as the right gear will aid in your ability to retrieve your bait and then most importantly, hook and land the bass that hit, the wrong gear here will cause heartache for you!
A heavy action rod with a fast to extra-fast action is important because you need to have plenty of backbone to hook and haul a bass out of the thickest of cover, while still being able to work your frog back to the boat. I prefer a Witch Doctor Tackle Shaman Series 6’10” Heavy power, extra-fast action when frogging as this series of rods super strong, while still being sensitive and feather-lite, meaning I can fish all day with it and not get fatigued and with the shorter grip it allows for easier walking-the-dog.
For my reel, I’ll use a Wright & McGill Victory II reel that has a 7.3:1 gear ratio, which allows me to pick up the slack very quickly and the oversized power handle gives me the solid grip on the reel when hauling in a big bass!
Spooling your reel up with a line that is strong and has no stretch is imperative for success. On my reels, I use 65 lb test Seaguar Smackdown as it has no stretch and cuts through the vegetation. What is great about the new color of Smackdown, Stealth Gray, is you no longer must worry about your braided line fading or alerting bass to your presence.