Frog fishing, like all topwater tactics, rewards diligent casting with that pulse-pounding surface assault. Whether it’s a walking frog or a popper, we watch that steady motion like a birddog on point, hoping with clinched jaw and held breath that the next movement of that plastic nose will detonate the explosive charge.
That’s how it goes most of the time, but occasionally, a more subdued tactic gets the job done. I recently watched FLW regional pro Todd Castledine painstakingly work his Strike King Popping Perch at a glacial pace during a tough bite. He had gotten bit on a particular shoreline and knew the fish were there, so he stuck with them, slowed down to a plodding presentation and ended up plucking several good ones while other anglers struggled.
“It was slow, horribly slow, worse-than-slow, deathly slow, I can go on and on,” Castledine lamented. “I’ve never seen anything like that before; how slow you had to work it. If you didn’t work it slowly, you weren’t going to get bit.”
Whereas as a normal cast and retrieve might take 30 seconds, he was stretching each to several minutes.
Here, subtle moves, just little sideways turns mimic a nervous frog looking one way and then the other to see if the coast is clear. Anglers can imitate this with light rod tip twitches on a slack line. Consider this: A tight line imparts the full force of your rod movement, so the frog’s going to advance at least a little bit, with each tug.
However, with a little slack between your rod tip and the frog, you’ll be able to send muted shivers toward the frog and subtly nudge it back and forth without moving it off of its primary position. Suffice it to say, any fish that restrains itself while watching this taunting display will unload both barrels on your frog when you finally pull it forward.
Faster reels (7.3:1) are essential for quickly gathering slack on this presentation, along with rapidly reeling up for another cast if you spot movement in the cover.