Fishing Tips


Posted 3/8/2011

It isn’t surprising that one of Cliff Crochet’s favorite spring bass lures is a floating frog. Afterall, the Yamaha Pro lives in south Louisiana where the water is shallow and filled with vegetation, and frogs are part of the regular diet of largemouth bass. What surprises many, however, is that Crochet doesn’t hesitate to throw frogs into open water, too.

“I really like to fish frogs along sea walls, boat ramps, and even featureless shorelines,” says Crochet, “because you can retrieve frogs extremely slow with a lot of stop-and-go movement that brings impulse strikes from fish all over the area.

“This time of year, floating frogs can also be excellent ‘search baits’, too, because bass may just swirl at the lure rather than really hit it. When they do that, they immediately give away their location, and you can cast back with a small plastic worm or tube jig and usually catch them.”

When he is fishing open water, Crochet still tries to cast his frogs as close as possible to the edge of cover, be it lily pads, laydowns, brush, or the sea walls and ramps. The hollow body frogs are weedless, but in the open water the Yamaha Pro can “walk” his lure side to side so it makes even more commotion. He can’t use this retrieve when he’s fishing the frog through weeds and grass.

“Overall, a really slow retrieve works best,” he explains, “so even if I’m twitching the frog to make it walk from side to side, I stop it every foot or so and just let it sit there for a few moments. Strikes come anytime during the retrieve, but most often just as I start twitching it again. I wonder if bass may follow the lure and when I stop it, they’re sitting underneath it waiting to see where it goes next.”

When he’s fishing sea walls, boat docks, or ramps, Crochet also makes certain his retrieves come across any corners or around the ends of the structures. Frogs can be skipped easily, so he uses this presentation to get the lure underneath docks, as well.

“What makes frogs so effective now in the early spring is the fact they look so natural in the water that bass hit them purely out of reflex, not out of hunger,” points out Crochet. “The bass may be on beds that you can’t see, but when you use a slow retrieve, they just can’t resist hitting it.

“Around sea walls, especially, a lot of fishermen prefer to use jigs or swimbaits, but both of those lures sink when you stop reeling them, and I don’t think they look that natural. Even when you stop reeling a frog and just let it sit motionless on the surface, it still looks like it really belongs in the water.”

Because spring bass are normally very shallow and usually spook easily, Crochet keeps his boat well away from his targets and instead makes long casts. The Yamaha Pro uses either 50 or 65-pound braided line and a heavy action rod that allows him to make such casts and also get good hook-sets from a distance. The braided line does not stretch, and also provides plenty of abrasion resistance.

“Frogs are also excellent in the pre-spawn as well as the post-spawn seasons,” the Yamaha Pro concludes, “and for the very same reasons. They look natural in the water and you can easily control the speed of your retrieve, depending on how the bass are reacting. Normally, I limit myself to fishing frogs in water five feet or less, but I know other pros who fish them over much deeper depths, especially in clear water. 

“Plastic frogs like this have been around for decades, but we’re still learning new ways to fish them. In the past, they were used primarily in the autumn months when the vegetation was thickest and bass were shallow, but now we know they’re just as effective in spring when the vegetation may not even be present.”