Jul 20, 2017

On The Hunt - Zero Bass Thirty - Froggin`

Operation Froggin`

If I have learned only one thing over decades of bass angling is that the only assumption one should make is to never assume! In order to avoid the aforementioned condition, I've come up with some guidelines for froggin` on a summer day @ zero bass thirty.

When is Zero Bass Thirty

Summer Bassin` is for morning people. Just arrive at any boat ramp before dawn and you'll witness a real bass angler. He is likely launching his boat before daylight. His rods are rigged and ready. He's already had his coffee and he has a plan. His day of fishing is done before most ever arrive at the water.

So what is his plan

In Summer conditions I generally kick off a day with topwater. Anytime before sun is on the water is a good time to call up bass to the surface. Bass really don't like sun all that much and will avoid it during mid summer days. On cloudy overcast days the topwater action may continue through noon and maybe even the entire day. Never assume that topwater is only effective in mornings and evenings.


My gear for topwater is simple. Eight weight frog rod. A large deer hair frog can catch fish coast to coast but it's not a lot of fun to cast. My froggin` brothers agree, if you want to fish the frog effectively, bring out the eight weights.

Reasons for an eight weight

  1. The deer hair frog has a lot of wind resistance to overcome. Don't wear yourself out with a six weight. 
  2. Throw caution to the wind and throw deep into heavy shoreline cover. Popular saying is "if your not getting snagged then you are not getting close enough". 
  3. Once hooked up you will need power to pull a bucketmouth from heavy cover. This is no time to be thinking about line on reel or trout sets. You've got to strip set bury the hook and immediately get pressure on that fish before he takes you to the rock garden or bush pile you just coaxed him from.

My Rod Choice

I have two sticks I use for varying situations. If casting short distances, like river drift boat floats I reach for my Sage Bass II Largemouth Rod. The 7'11" stick provides a lot of control and this fly rod has the backbone to pull fish from heavy cover. When longer cast are key and fishing bigger lake type water I reach for my Sage Method 890-4. It casts shooting head lines and big frogs with authority and provides ample power for lifting and pulling fly for one shot backcast and re-cast. The ability to place your frog back on location in a one shot cast is very important for getting a second or third opportunity of a jacked up bass.

Topwater presentation is most fickle

What does that mean you ask? My point is not all bass respond to one presentation...some like fast...some like gentle radiating rings of water movement while others need to hear the kaplump noise made by a short hard strip and yet other fish won't strike it until it has sat motionless for a minute. Refer back to first paragraph regarding assumptions.

Until the fish tell me different, my approach loosely involves this pattern. Once landed allow the water rings to fully dissipate before moving your fly. Once dissipated follow up with a single small twitch and wait as long as you can stand before making another move. If no reaction has taken place at this point you can now experiment any way you like. Try a hard diving strip. Try a hard short kaplump strip. try several small twitchy strips. Make a cast to a new location and repeat.

While we anticipate an extreme surface ruckus on the strike don't assume that will always be the case. I've seen big bass slurp bugs under like a trout sipping a caddis. Always remain vigilant for any and all signs. Watch for a swirl or push of water. These are signs that a bass has come to investigate. Be very aware if a shadow appears under your fly.

Fly rod Froggin` is some of the best warm water action one can experience with a fly!

This is part of the hunt! Don't miss it! Be the Frog!

More "On The Hunt" Series Articles
> Never Sit Down
> Stand Ready
> Strip Like You Mean It!

Watch for my next article "Detect The Strike"

Greg Darling 

"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"


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