Tackle & Techniques – Frog Retrieves

Tackle & Techniques – Frog Retrieves

Apr 29, 2012

The Art of the Frog Retrieve

See exclusive SWF video on frog retrieves with Marty Stone

By Mike Pehanich

Make no mistake about it. Anglers have caught bass on hollow-bodied frogs with every conceivable hop, bounce, spit, shudder, twist and cadence .

But surely there’s a “best” retrieve, isn’t there?

If a survey of some of the best frog fishermen in the pro ranks counts for anything, the answer is a resounding “No!”

“Frogging” (a.k.a. “froggin’”) is an art, and, like all art forms, it demands that the artist put a bit of his own personality into the performance.

Now don’t feel you have to take a deep plunge into your subconscious to find your “inner frog.” (If that’s your goal, a hearty meal of beans and franks will find him fast enough!) But going with your senses and instincts and tailoring your retrieve to your own style may not be a bad idea at all.

Still, like a method actor might study a Marlon Brando performance, you, too, might want to take a tip from some of the great “froggers” of our time.

Here’s how to get an Academy Award-winning performance out of your hollow-bodied frog. (Note: we will limit this discussion to the standard “tapered nose” frogs and cover “popping frogs” separately.)

Marty Stone

The amiable North Carolinian bass pro Marty Stone employs two retrieves at the edge of cover and in open water.

“One is a speed retrieve — four or five hard pops, followed by a pause, then repeat the sequence,” explains Stone. “The other is a ‘pop-pause’ — pop then let it sit…pop, let it sit. One of those two will do it. If not, it’s not a frog day!”

He uses the “pop-pause” retrieve at the edge of prime cover, varying both the length of the pop and the duration of the pause. “It’s like the frog coming out of cover and just looking,” he says.

Stone declares that 90 percent of his strikes come while the bait is sitting.

In open water, his retrieve is faster accompanied by a shorter pause. Open water frogging employs the frog as a search bait. It is designed to call fish from a longer distance.

Exclusive video with Marty Stone: Retrieves for Hollow-Bodied Frogs


Dean Rojas

The “dean of frogging,” Bassmaster Elite pro Dean Rojas, designed the Spro Bronzeye Frog, one of the most popular hollow-bodied frogs on the market today.

Rojas prefers to “walk” his frog. To do so more effectively, he trims the skirted legs of the bait.

“We made the (Spro) frog with the longer legs because some people prefer to just  chug their frog,,” explains Rojas. “But, for me, because I am target fishing, I walk the bait and try to keep it in the same strike zone as long as I can. I try to make it dance without coming forward too much, so I shorten the legs.”

Why shorten the legs to walk the frog? “The shorter the legs, the less drag you have in the back,” he notes. “That allows it to walk back and forth. With longer legs, it has a wobble to it. …I usually take off about an inch from each leg with a pair of scissors. If you shorten the legs further, it will walk even more.

Ish Monroe

Bassmaster Elite pro Ish Monroe also likes to take his frog for a walk.  That is, he likes to give it a frantic side-to-side walking motion beside cover, in open water, and especially in the pockets in matted vegetation.

He designed a premium frog for Snag Proof —  Ish’s Phat Frog – that he says was “made to walk right out of the package” without trimming the skirt legs or making any other modifications.

A lot of anglers, including pros, like to ‘surge’ or ‘pop’ the frog, lifting and dropping the nose with each surge. Not Ish!

“The big part about the surging or popping of the frogs is to spray water.,” he says. “I can achieve that also with my frog just by walking it, so I get the best of both worlds.

Ish claims he can walk the Phat Frog so tightly that four to five twitches of the rod tip advance the frog no more than a foot. “That’s important when you are in an area where you know a big one is sitting,” he says. “You throw it in a small hole in the grass…you can walk it in that area and create an action that triggers a fish into striking.

As for fishing frogs over the top of a grass mat, he says: “Basically you are just pulling the frog across the matted vegetation, using the rod tip to drag it over the top.”

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