How to Catch Monster Bass with a Frog
Expert tactics from pro Ish Monroe, the king of modern day frog fishing
Major League Fishing’s Ish Monroe is the man when it comes to catching big bass with a frog. With nine majors and 51 top 10s, his career earnings total over $2.2 million. So we sat down with Monroe to find out the best ways to catch more monster largemoughs with this lure. Here is what he had to say.
1. Outdoor Life: What time of year/day is best for fishing with frogs?
Ish Monroe: The best season to fish with frogs is post spawn anywhere in the country. Right after spawning, fish are guarding their fry (offspring) and frogs offer lots of nutrients for their fry. The best opportunity is first thing in the morning or late in the day, but you will catch the biggest fish midday (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) fishing in super thick, heavy cover, and high sun.
2. OL: I keep missing fish while frog fishing. What am I doing wrong?
IM: Having the right equipment is number one. First, make sure you’re using a fishing braid, 50- to 60-pound class braid. Your rod needs to be an extra heavy rod; it needs to have a little tip so you don’t pull the frog out of the fish’s mouth. I designed the Ish Monroe Signature Frog Series by Daiwa for this very reason and it’s what I use on the Bass Pro Tour.
3. OL: What are your keys to fake frog color selection?
IM: Color selection is very easy: in dark water, an overcast day, or location under shadow use dark browns, blues, purples, or blacks. In clear water, middle of the day, or high sun, you want a white or chartreuse; and you will want a blue gill pattern when casting off the beds. They eat a lot of blue gill pattern from the beds. Ish Monroe River2Sea series offers each of my favorites for these varied conditions.
4. OL: Is it best to keep frogs moving or let it sit? How do I know which to do?
IM: Let the fish dictate what they want. If they don’t respond to the moving, then stop and pause. Fish have to dictate and you will need to experiment to figure it out.
5. OL: What’s your rod/reel/line set up?
IM: The Ish Monroe Daiwa Tatula Series Casting Rod, size 7 foot, 4 inches with the Tatula Elite Series Reel, 7:1 gear ratio and usually the 70-pound Daiwa Samurai braid or sometimes the Daiwa J-braid, minimum 50 pounds to a maximum of 70 pounds.
6. OL: Do you set the hook differently when fishing frogs as opposed to other lures?
IM: With the frog, you want to set the hook at 1 o’clock or 11 o’clock; never swing to 3 o’clock or downward so you can be sure to hook the fish in the top of the mouth.
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7. OL: Do you ever modify your frogs? If so, how?
IM: I rarely do modifications. The Ish Monroe River2Sea frogs are best out of the box. The only exception is that I might trim the legs if they’re catching short so I can have more body closer to the hook. I might pull the hooks off of the body in open water, but not if I’m fishing (grass) mats.
8. OL: Where should I fish it?
IM: There is not one lake in the country that I don’t think you can catch’em on a frog. Frogs work in the shallows of the Sabine River (Texas/Louisiana) and the depths of Lake Mead (Arizona/Nevada). You can fish a frog around any type of structure—grass, wood, rock, docks, over-hanging trees—as long as they have the opportunity to see it. The frog is a very versatile lure. One of the biggest keys to mastering them is to learn to “walk the frog.”
9. OL: Do you ever use scents with frogs?
IM: No scents at all. I might use worm rattles inside the legs; I’ve even used cat bells for noise, but no scents.
10. OL: What size frog should I use and when?
IM: I make the Ish Monroe River2Sea Phat Mat Daddy frog in one size because it’s the only size you need. During Stage 3 of the Bass Pro Tour in March, when I caught eight scorable bass for 34 pounds on day one, it was all with the frog. Great day on Lake Fork, even though it was pre-spawn, there was lots of cover.