One effective way to catch more bass when not on the water is by educating yourself on bass biology. Every hard bait, soft plastic and swimbait on the market is designed to match something that the bass crave, hunt and eat. In this series we will feature different bass forage giving you specific information on the highlighted species. The goal is to provide valuable information so you will know how and when to “match the hatch” in hopes of putting more bass in the boat.
Frogs are amphibians and in the order of Anura meaning tailless. There are over 6,000 different species of amphibians in the world, which include frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecillians (legless, tailless and resemble earthworms) and 90 different species of frogs and toads in the United States.
Frogs can be found on every continent except for Antarctica and mainly live in moist and humid environments. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on frogs in North America.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY
Frogs begin their lives in the water as an egg that eventually hatches into a limbless larva with gills: a tadpole. As the tadpole grows, it undergoes a metamorphosis in which it grows legs, loses its tail, and its gills get replaced by lungs. The water bound tadpole is transformed into a land dwelling frog. Once this transformation takes place, the frog can live in both water and on land. Like most amphibians, their skin is very thin and permeable. This unique trait allows oxygen to pass through and dissolve into their blood; this allows them to breathe under water and even when burrowed in the ground. The distinctive croak of the frog is unique to its species and used mainly by males to attract a mate or drive other males away from its mating territory. Frogs are ectotherms (cold blooded) and have to regulate their own body temperature based on their surroundings and climate. This is why frogs are most active during the warmer months of the year and why we anglers tie up frog baits in the summer. If the weather gets too hot they will burrow into cold soil or leaves and if it gets cold you will find them basking in the sun. When the surrounding temperatures get too cold they will go into a state of torpor (state of decreased activity) or hibernate. Depending on their abilities and habitat, frogs will burrow into the ground, squeeze into crevices, crawl under a pile of leaves and even sink to the bottom of a lake (partial immersed in mud) during this period of inactivity.
The search for frog baits can be a daunting task with all the options on the market; Tackle Warehouse has 122 variations of frog baits! Try to keep your bait selections simple by breaking it down by speed (slow=hollow body versus fast=buzz toad) and color (what forage are you trying to mimic). Hollow body frogs are extremely weedless and you can throw them in some of the nastiest cover. Look for heavy cover in shallow water like sparse tullies, Lilly pads, and hydrilla mats with holes or openings. Work the frog across and through the cover and don’t forget to work it along the edges too. Hollow bodied frogs can be very effective in open water too. For this technique, use ones that have a keel design on their belly which promote a ‘walk the dog action’ and since they float, you can work it both fast and slow depending on the mood of the fish. When surface weeds prevent you from throwing a buzzbait, try switching to the buzz toad (ultra weedless version of a bladed buzzbait). When working the buzz toad, look for shallow coves with tullies, laydowns, rock piles and any other cover that bass will be waiting to annihilate your bait. When throwing a frog or buzz toad, make sure you have the appropriate gear. Heavy cover requires braided line and a rod with a fast tip to make accurate casts and heavy backbone to haul bass out of the cover. A reel with a high speed gear ratio is great when you need to keep bass from digging down further into cover or covering water quickly with the buzz toad.
Armed with the right frog, the right gear and locating productive areas can lead to explosive strikes and hours of exciting fishing. Ribbit! Until next time, stay focused, fish hard and I’ll see you on the water.
Aaron LeSieur has a BA in Psychology from Sacramento State University, is an outdoor writer and professional tournament angler. Aaron’s sponsors are Bass Angler Headquarters, Damiki, A&M Graphics, Dobyns Rods, Pizz Customs, Bass Angler Magazine, River2Sea, Simms Fishing, Lowrance, Power Pole, Costa Del Mar, Blade Runner Tackle, C&C Marine, Saber6sports and Pergrine250. Aaron can be reached at aaronlesieur.com