How to Rig a Soft Plastic Frog: Topwater Bass Fishing Tips

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Fishing for big bass with a topwater frog lure is a very successful method to use for big fish. Bass love taking frog lures, and top water soft plastic frogs are an extremely common addition to most anglers’ tackle boxes.

Let’s take a closer look at how to choose, tie, and fish with a topwater frog lure so your next bass fishing trip for big bass can be both fun and successful, regardless of whether you are fishing in deep water, open water, shallow cover, or matted vegetation areas.

Choosing a Frog for Bass

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To catch largemouth bass with soft plastic frogs, look for a frog that fits well on your hook and experiment with different colors. Try multiple styles to see which works best in your fishing spot.

The largemouth bass is willing to take good-sized soft plastic frogs, but you want to look for something that works well with your chosen hook in order to catch bass reliably. If you are using a 1/0 hook, for example, look for a soft plastic frog that fits well on that single or treble hook so you can get a good hook set when the fish strikes.

The color of the bait when fishing soft plastic frogs can also come into play and may be an important consideration too. When fishing in clear water on sunny days, you can use naturally colored frogs such as browns, greens, and tans.  Additionally, mixtures of these colors and custom-painted hard body lures can be just as reliable as any color of soft plastics.

If you find yourself fishing in muddy or stained water or during overcast days, you can try dark colors such as black, navy, or purple to provide a good contrast with the sky above. In some cases, white and chartreuse-colored frogs will work as well, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors and see which works best in your fishing spot.

A few specific frog lures to consider are the soft plastic Horny Toad, the Booyah Pad Crasher, and the Pocket Frog, which is great at attracting bass on a high-speed reel due to its short legs.

When fishing soft plastic frogs, don’t be afraid to bring along multiple different styles of frogs and give them a try independently. Some will work much better than others when bass fishing in specific locations.

Tying on the Frog

Anglers use a wide range of different knots when tying their soft plastics to the fishing line. You want to use a knot that is secure and won’t loosen up over time. The most common and easiest to tie knot is the loop knot. This not only provides a natural look for the bait while also helping get it rigged weedless but is also great for allowing free movement of the frog’s appendages when it’s in the water.

Many anglers will also use the Palomar knot with their soft plastic frog lure due to its ruggedness and security. This knot is well known for being the strongest knot for fishing lines of all types and is great to use when you know the bass on the other end of the lines will put up a fight and create some pressure on your leader.

The Palomar knot is easy to tie and works with all fishing line types and sizes, including braided lines. It’s highly successful for use with topwater frog lures but can also work for jigs, crankbaits, poppers, and other lure types you may be using in the same fishing spot.

Where to Cast the Frog

how to rig a frog frogs can be effective in weed
Bass typically hide undercover in bright sunlight and during warmer seasons, so try casting your frog near overhanging branches, thick lily pad clusters, and under docks or bridges.

When finding a good spot to cast your top water soft plastic frog lures, look for areas around boat ramps, docks, piers, and other man-made structures. Bass will hang out under good cover areas, especially in bright sunlight and warmer seasons, so try casting your frog around overhanging tree branches, near thick lily pad clusters, and under docks or bridges (see here for our favorite rods for casting frog lures).

After finding a good spot to cast your frog, start slowly scooting it across the surface of the water. This helps grab the attention of fish suspended below and gives them a chance to not only notice the frog but line up a strike on it as well. Move the frog slowly and use gentle twitching and wiggling motions so as not to spook the fish away from the area.

How to Retrieve the Frog

Retrieving your frog can be just as important as casting and moving it around on the surface. Many anglers, myself included, will just quickly reel the line in without worrying about spooking fish. 

Instead, you should make an effort to retrieve the frog slowly while adding in a few light jerks and pops. It’s not uncommon for anglers to get a strong bass strike on their top water frog lures during the process of retrieving it for a second cast.

When retrieving your frog fishing lures, use variation in your movements. Instead of just mindlessly reeling it back to the boat in a straight line, work your rod tip a bit and add some wiggles, jumps, pops, and flips in order to make a bit of surface noise and attract the attention of nearby fish.

Setting the Hook

how to rig a frog hook up on a frog
ass is known to be active during frog fishing in both open water and thick vegetation areas, and surface bait options are effective with both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

In order to land a fish when frog fishing, you want to view the hollow-body frog like you would a float or bobber. When the soft plastic frog lure disappears, that’s when you want to set your hook. If you can still see the frog, your hook won’t get a good set and will end up injuring the fish or losing it entirely.

Many anglers say that bass is not shy about grabbing a frog lure during frog fishing in both open water and thick vegetation areas. Surface bait options are very effective with both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

In addition, it’s not uncommon for the bass to grab both soft plastic hollow-body frogs as well as hard-body frogs with the same speed and vigor as you would hope. And while the temptation is there, try to resist setting your hook until the frogs are completely gone from your view.

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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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