all can be a very disjointed time of year, with fish
moving out of their summer patterns and chowing
down in preparation for winter’s leanness. The key is to cover water for fish that are often looking up.
One of your best tools for this deal is the topwater from.
We asked a couple of seasoned frog slingers — Brent Ehrler
and Bradley Hallman — for their insight and here’s what
WHERE TO THROW IT
Because frogs of various sizes and colors can mimic not only their amphibian inspiration, but also baitfish and bluegill, there aren’t many wrong places to throw this topwater bait. That said, there are several high-percentage spots.
VERTICAL RELIEF: Tules, reeds, or any of your tall, stalky vegetation standing above the water’s surface can be an overlooked frogging target. However, Ehrler sees this as ideal habitat, as long as one key element is in place.
“If you can have some of the dead reeds blown in so it creates a little bit of horizontal cover that pushes up against the edge,” Ehrler said. “Also, a lot of times in the fall, grass is dying, and the wind pushes the grass around.
“When the wind blows up against a tule patch, it creates that little bit of matted vegetation right on the edge of those tules.”
Such isolated sweet spots may hold only one big fish, but the commotion of a frog rumbling overhead typically meets with violent reception.
“I like the standard SPRO Bronzeye frog because it glides through cover better,” Ehrler said. “If you skip into the tules, the popping frog likes to hang a little bite, whereas the standard frog walks out of there a lot better.”
HARD COVER: An obvious shade point for sunny days, boat docks and laydowns also provide ambush positions for the fall feeding priority.
“Anything that has a shade pocket where you can skip back underneath is a good target,” Ehrler said. “If there’s an overhanging tree, I’ll skip up under it.”
“That’s the great thing about a frog — it barely moves toward you when you’re twitching it. So, when you’re walking it left and right, there’s not a lot of forward movement, so you’re not pulling it away from the strike zone.”
MATTED GRASS: Hallman’s a big fan of frogging grass mats, but he’s very discerning as to which mats he chooses. Specifically, while hydrilla mats offer specific areas of opportunity, he gravitates toward the more broadly productive milfoil.
“Milfoil mats are thinner, and the fish can come through them; they don’t come through hydrilla mats,” Hallman said. “If you’re fishing a hydrilla mat, you want to look for the holes, cuts and points — they have to have an ambush spot where they can come out from the cover.”
Hallman said he likes the thickest milfoil he can find and mats with “cheese” (seasonal film resulting from dying grass are always particularly attractive. Reason being, that cheese holds a lot of insect; insects attract bluegill; bass love bluegill — well, hate them, but love to eat them — so there ya go.
“When I’m near a cheese mat, I’ll listen a lot, because you can hear those bluegill popping, under the mat,” Hallman said. “What they’re doing is sucking down those insects and any activity like that is a really good sign. If it has bream in it, it has bass in it.”
TIPS AND TACTICS
A handful of pointers to get the most of your fall frogging game.
BIGGER’S NOT ALWAYS BETTER: Yes, fall bass want to fill their bellies and hefty forage gets them to their goal quickly. However, when fall finds pods of young-of-the-year