Popping frog

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Last but certainly not least, the popping frog is the best topwater bait for targeting shallow summer largemouth, in particular around and under dense cover. Whether fishing through thick water willow grass or skipping under trees, docks and bushes, there isn’t a better bait made in my opinion than a popping frog. My particular favorite is the the SPRO Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog 60.

A popping frog has two big, bold hooks that allow for the use of heavy braided line and beefy gear. So you have all you need to pull fish out of the thickest cover imaginable and the recessed hooks also prevent the accidental snagging of cover, at least most of the time. So if I’m fishing down the edge of water willow line for example, I’m going to go with the popping frog over the popper. There’s often an equally good chance of the fish hitting both but there’s a better chance of a fish biting the popper and then hanging one of the exposed trebles on cover. With a frog, both hooks are usually buried in the fish and there’s far less of a chance of the fish hanging a hook in the cover and pulling free.

For the frog, I really like a 7-foot, 3-inch heavy-action casting rod with 40-pound Sufix 832 Braid and the same Lew’s Super Duty Speed Spool LFS in 7.5:1 that I use with the Whopper Plopper. The 7-foot, 3-inch heavy is a little more rod than some folks recommend for a frog but there’s no doubt that it’s put some fish in the boat I would have otherwise lost on lesser rods.

To sum it up, there are big ones shallow in the summer. They eat topwaters, so that’s where you’ll find me most of the time. A Plopper-style bait, finesse popper and popping frog give me three versatile topwater tools to apply to the shallows and effectively go from search mode to picking apart any type of shallow cover I might find.

Be sure to pick the right rod, reel and line setup for each approach and then really pay attention to which of the three of these offerings are best suited for the particular situation you’re in and you’ll be ready to put big ones in the boat this summer.