By: John Neporadny
Frog fishing and baseball have something in common. Both have lots of swings and misses. When I played baseball as a kid I had lots of swings and misses; I have the same problem now when I fish with hollow-belly topwater frogs. I have had plenty of clean misses throughout the years when a bass explodes on the surface and my topwater frog disappears. Sometimes I can throw the frog back to the same spot and trick the bass into hitting again but I might swing and miss again. However, I seem to get more hookups if I throw a follow-up bait to the spot where I missed connections the first time I got a strike.
Swinging and missing on a frog bite can be frustrating but you can still succeed at catching that bass because it is an aggressive fish and it has given away its position when the fish missed your frog. You get a second chance at that fish if you quickly deliver a different bait to the location where the bass took a swipe at your frog.
A variety of slow-sinking baits such as tubes, finesse jigs, finesse worms and Senko-style worms that stay in the strike zone longer are good choices for follow-up baits after you miss a bass on a frog. Most missed frog bites occur around matted vegetation or thick lily pads so I select follow-up lures that can be rigged weedless to prevent my baits from snagging or bogging down in the weeds.
Texas Rigged Tube
My first choice as a follow-up bait is a Texas-rigged flipping tube. The thin body of the tube with its straight tentacles allows the bait to slide smoothly through the weeds and slowly sink into the bass’ lair. Bass missing a frog skittered over a mat of vegetation often leave a hole in the greenery, so I pitch the tube with a light sinker (1/8 or 1/4 ounce) into the opening to slow the bait’s fall. Strikes usually occur on the fall but if a bass fails to hit it on the descent, then I will shake it on the bottom for a couple of seconds to trigger a strike.
A finesse worm on a 1/8-ounce shaky jighead is also a good follow-up bait for tossing into the opening created by a bass explosion in a vegetation mat. You can either shake the worm along the bottom or yo-yo- it up and down in the water column to generate a strike.
Stick Worm (Senko)
A Senko-style worm is a great follow-up bait for either throwing into the mat holes or the open water along weed edges. If a bass misses a frog in the mat, I will follow up with a Texas-rigged stickworm to prevent the worm from snagging in the vegetation. I rig the stickworm wacky style as a follow-up bait for bass that miss my frog in open water or along the weed edges. The slow, subtle fall of the stickworm usually triggers a strike so there is no need to impart any further action to this lure.
A finesse jig with a small beaver-style soft plastic trailer is a good option as a follow-up bait for frog fishing in open water. The jig will provoke a strike either on the fall or when you hop it off the bottom or swim it through the water column.
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