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Big Bucketmouths in the Pads

Karls pull a huge largemouth bass from the water using top of water frogs. • Credit: Karl Kalonka
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Big Bucketmouths in the Pads

Using plastic imitation frogs to catch big largemouth bass

There are so many ways to catch largemouth bass, but there is something magical about seeing the violent strike of a big bass eating an artificial frog on the surface.

Without any warning, the water erupts with a huge splash, sending shock waves of excitement through an angler's soul and raising a normal heartbeat into overdrive.

Fishing for bass with plastic imitation frogs is also one of the simplest presentations to master. That is after you learn not to set the hook upon seeing the strike. One of the biggest mistakes an angler can make is setting the hook upon hearing or seeing the splash from the strike. A general rule of thumb is to wait to feel the weight of the fish, lower your rod tip, reel in any slack line, and then lean back and set the hook!

Largemouth Frog Attack!
(Photo credit: Karl Kalonka)

This is the time when adrenaline shoots through your entire body trying to pull that big, thick-bodied bass through the aquatic jungle without breaking your line or pulling the hooks free from the fish.

Braided lines are a very popular choice when frog fishing for bass in heavy cover like lilypads, eelgrass, milfoil, or cabbage weed. The added casting distance and overall strength of braided line increase strike-to-catch ratios.

Where to Fish

Some of my favourite locations for frog fishing include small back bays, tapering island points with submerged grass that is just below the surface, log-infested bays, and small pockets of lily pads that dot almost every lake across Ontario. Sometimes the smallest spots harbour the biggest bass, and one of the best things about frog fishing these smaller locations is that the very first cast is the one that usually gets blasted by Mr. Bigmouth Bass.

It's a very effective way to cover water and locate an aggressive bass.

Alter your presentation speeds and cadence to match the mood of the fish. If they are smashing your frog on the first cast, that's great, but if you start missing fish, even if you are waiting to feel the weight of the fish and still not hooking up, consider changing the speed you are fishing and slow down your cadence.

The Dead Stick Approach

Also consider the "dead stick" approach: casting your frog to high potential locations and not moving the frog at all. Let it sit in the exact spot it landed. Trust me when I tell you, a bass will know when something has entered its domain. With your rod tip pointed down, use short, twitching movements which should make your imitation frog crawl slowly in a side-to-side motion, then stop it again. This stop-and-go approach can produce violent strikes from non-aggressive bass and keep you in "catch mode" all day long.

Every season, anglers from all across North America travel to Ontario, knowing we are truly blessed with thousands of lakes, rivers and ponds that harbour excellent populations of largemouth bass. Witnessing firsthand the sheer rugged beauty of our landscapes, sunrises, and multi-species angling opportunities is somewhat addictive.

Plan your next fishing trip to Ontario and experience the heart-pounding excitement and sheer enjoyment these topwater bass can provide!

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