The week before I left for the sweltering hot Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship in Oklahoma, I caught an 8-pound bass in 88-degree water on a topwater frog. That’s not a bunch of brag. Nope. It’s just a totally true fishin story to prove not all big bass live in deep water during the hot summer months. And I’m not sure bass fishing gets any better than having a fattie smash your topwater frog in shallow water.
As a student at Bryan College in East Tennessee, my buddies and I are blessed to take advantage of the incredible early summer post spawn fishing that takes place on the deeper ledges of nearby Chickamauga Lake. But once the beat-down heat of July and August comes along, a surprising number of those deep ‘ledge fish’ move way shallower than a lot of anglers think.
Maybe because bass are seeking better water oxygen levels, or feeding on the truckloads of bluegills that are active in shallow summer water, but whatever the reason, my favorite way to catch them at this time of year is with a frog.
Shade is critical
The first tip I can share with you about frog fishing, is hunt for shade. Make casts to dark shadows created by every thing from overhanging limbs along the shoreline to covered boat docks. And that said, much of the best frog fishing occurs at midday when the sun is highest, and shade is at a premium.
The right rod, and three basic colors
To be successful with a frog you have to be able to make really precise casts, which often involves skipping the frog like a flat rock under limbs.
‘Skipping’ requires practice, plus a rod with a little bit of spring in the tip, but still plenty of backbone in the rest of the rod blank to pull fish from the sort of habitat where frog fishing is usually best. I choose a 7’ rod with a medium heavy action.
As far as colors of frogs, keep it simple. Use a black one when it’s cloudy, a mostly white frog when it’s sunny, and a natural green pattern for partly sunny days, or when black and white aren’t getting bites.
Don’t be afraid of braid
I realize that braided line can be more expensive than monofilament, and is a little more unfamiliar to most anglers than mono, but braid really does have a lot of advantages when froggin’.
It floats, it’s super abrasion resistant when you’re casting around limbs, thick vegetation, and docks. And because it doesn’t stretch, you have a way better hook-up percentage when fish bite. I use the Seaguar brand of braid in 50 to 65 pound test.
The hotter the better
Right now, no matter where you live, water surface temps are at their peak of the entire calendar year. But just remember, it’s not too hot for frogging. In fact, it seems like the hotter the water gets, the shallower the bass get. And as proof, there sure were a ton of bass caught last week in shallow water at the Bass Pro Shops Eastern Open on Lake Champlain using lots of lures that looked like ‘ol Kermit.