Frogging and flipping technique works for bass | News, Sports, Jobs

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Just as hunters have their bird dogs, pro sports use scouts and nations employ spies, we anglers have our own tools to flush and conquer our quarry.

Winning in fishing, of course, is catching as many fish as we can. While the uninitiated might tell us it is all a matter of luck, we know that winning boils down to finding the best concentration of fish and putting the most effective lures to work.

Such was the case earlier this week.

I visited Mosquito Lake to figure out where I might best find a lode of bass in the mood to eat my lures. One hour into the morning, a bass just shy of 3 pounds rolled up from behind a clump of weeds and gobbled my plastic worm.

The fish put up a spunky fight before I unhooked and released it. At that point, I guessed the black and blue ribbontail worm was the ticket, so I stuck with it for a couple of hours.

Slowly picking apart acres of underwater grass beds can be highly productive, but it also can be frustrating. An acre of coontail or curlyleaf pondweed might hold a dozen largemouth bass or more, but finding them can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

By 10 a.m. I still had just one bass on my scorecard, so I pulled up the trolling motor and decided to hunt new territory. I settled in on the massive lily pad flat on the north end and picked up the rod I rig with braided line and a hollow-body frog.

Ten minutes into my frogging, a bass attacked with a splashy strike — and missed. I eased up to the clump of pads where the fish showed itself, pitched a Texas-rigged plastic beaver-tail bait and felt the line jump.

The bass that hit and missed the frog churned the water under the lily pads as I wrestled it free and swung it over the gunwale.

Pulling largemouths from thickets of water lilies is the kind of fun that bass anglers dream about. Mosquito Lake is a good bass lake, but with thousands of acres of pads to flip, the first job is to eliminate the unproductive water.

Fortunately for anglers, largemouth bass typically are aggressive. They will attack even if they aren’t necessarily interested in eating.

That fish that struck my frog provided an excellent clue that I could use that tactic to search for more bass. Frogging enables the angler to cover a lot of water horizontally during each cast and retrieve, far more territory than we can cover flipping baits to fall vertically.

The frog turned out to be my search bait Tuesday. I ended up with five strikes while fishing fast along a half-mile of stretch of lily pads, but none of the bass actually committed to eating the bait.

My follow-up pitches into the holes where the bass showed themselves, however, did produce four solid largemouths.

On many days, the bass do get the hooks when they wallop a topwater frog. But even when they hit and miss, frogging is still a good tactic to use to bird-dog for fish that are more likely to slurp a soft plastic that slinks down through the cover.

For me, frogging and flipping go together like peanut butter and jelly. Both are good alone, but together they are outstanding.

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