Largemouth Bass are by far one of my favorite fish to target. It could be the enormous mouth that gives this fish its name. Possibly the great fight of this fish, or maybe even the great explosions that Largemouth Bass make on topwater lures. All of these qualities were present as I fished some topwater frogs on the South Llano River.
I have recently been trying new baits that I have never used, and one in particular that I really like are topwater frogs. They have great weedless properties, realistic action, and they bring awesome explosions from big bass. When fishing these type of topwater frogs you want to throw them right into heavy cover, sometimes it is even good to through it where you know it won't hit the water. Often while your lure is hanging from the vegetation a big bass will jump out of the water to get it. I try to just twitch my frog a little when it is stuck to see if a big bass is willing to bite before I move the lure on the water. You can also cast your frog on the bank and work it into the water for a subtle approach. There is also the surprise attack, where you want to make a big noise so that it may bring out the predatory instinct of bass to feed. Which approach will work is really an experimental process that can never be truly mastered no matter how much skill you may have.
Having a good kayak, such as the Jackson Kayak Big Tuna is crucial to fishing this style of topwater fishing, as you can really get in some remote places where other guys don't want to try and they can't get to even if they wanted to. I'll just say that if it looks hard to get to, there is probably big bass. That is why there is often big bass in in vegetation, because it is a great place for bass to ambush prey. They hand around in the weeds waiting for some not so lucky shad to pass by, and then the funeral arrangements are already made. The nice thing about using my Big Tuna Kayak is I can go right into the vegetation because my kayak doesn't weigh that much and has very little draft. This allows me to get to even heavier cover, or to get a fish that is stuck in the vegetation. For the longest time I used to overlook heavy cover because it is somewhat hard to fish, but if you want to catch big bass, that is where they will be.
When you do get your lure on the water you want to just twitch your frog in a life-like action. I try to mix it up with two twitches - four twitches - one twitch - a little pause - three twitches. You want to mix it up. It is better if you have a random approach and not just a constant two twitches - two twitches - two twitches. It is also important to pause a little.
When you do see that Fourth of July explosion on the water, you want to wait just a split second for the bass to actually inhale your lure. If try to set the hook immediately, you will just pull the lure out of the fishes mouth. I like to wait for the bite to occur, reel in all of my slack line and bring my rod tip to the water, and then set the hook ferociously.
You will want a stiff rod and heavy line. I prefer a medium heavy rod paired with heavy duty braid. I use fifty pound braid on my bait caster and about ten to fifteen on my spinning. Generally I only use the topwater on my bait caster due to the heavier line I can use just as a precaution. You might think that fifty pound test is too overkill, but it actually only has the diameter of twelve pound monofilament line. On a bait caster you really need a minimum of ten to twelve pound test of mono diameter so that when you set the hook, your line doesn't get buried in the spool and cause a huge backlash on your next cast. It is just the opposite with a spinning reel, you want to try and use as light as line as possible. The primary reason I like such heavy duty non stretch line, is due to the rough conditions I am often fishing a topwater frog in. It is not so much that I plan on catching a fifty pound bass, but more so that I can get a good hook set and control a fish through all of the thick weeds and cover. However, if you are not fishing heavy cover, and you are out in the open water or above vegetation, you will want to use monofilament. The reason being is due to the fact that mono has a special characteristic of floating on top of the water. This allows your bait to look as life like as possible, as braid sinks. This is a small factor but can mean the difference in catching a fish and not catching one. Once again, if you are in cover, which ever topwater frog should be thrown into cover, you most definitely will benefit with braid.
So next time you are out fishing with lily pads all around you or heavy vegetation, try a topwater frog and get ready for a big one. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of catching a big bass in some heavy cover, so go give it a shot.