Put it this way, photographing topwater frogs in action usually means I’m using a high shutter speed and ripping off a long burst of shots in hopes of catching a few in-focus frames.
With Todd Castledine’s retrieve, it was more like shooting portraits.
During the recent Coast FLW Series tournament on Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle, the Texas pro found a bunch of bass in a shallow backwater stretch. Working the KVD Popping Perch — a baitfish/topwater frog hybrid that he designed for Strike King— he struggled to establish consistency until he eased off the presentation throttle.
Lamenting the painfully slow pace at which he had to work his bait, Castledine pondered a name for this glacial frog presentation.
I suggested “Slogging” (slow frogging). I think we’ll go with that one.
In fairness, the Texas pro more frequently employs a peppy topwater pace. But when cooler temperatures and fluctuating water have the fish unsettled, he’ll keep the enticing profile in their strike zone much longer than normal.
The key here is opportunity. Few hungry bass can resist a protein-rich amphibian sauntering across their radar in hapless vulnerability. Warm, stable conditions — you’ll often see fish submarine across the surface to grab a frog. Others will blast up from weedy cover to blow a pothole in the water.
But when temperature and water level inconsistencies turn their world upside down, the fish have to balance their appetite with overall comfort and energy level.
Yes, there are other baits that produce in touch conditions and if wiggling that little shaky head or creeping a Carolina rig excites you, by all means, go for it. Catch ’em how you want to catch ’em.
However, a topwater bite—even a relatively lethargic one—is the adrenaline rush that most bass anglers prefer.
Frogs make this happen. You just have to find the right speed.
Next time funky conditions stymie a frog bite that you know should be there, try slogging.