If I was a bass, the last place I would live is a pond. Not because ponds don’t have all the amenities of a larger reservoir or river. No, the real reason is that I would be caught all the time. Yep, that’s right. If I lived in a pond, I would eat every frog in the pond. I just wouldn’t be able to resist. Although it would be a great source of protein for me as a bass, it’s those fake frogs that would spell my downfall.

Get Froggy

One of the most popular (and exciting) lures for summertime pond fishing is a soft plastic frog-imitator. Soft plastic frog baits come in three basic styles. One style features a hollow body with a double hook that rides right up against the body to allow it to come over surface weeds and slop. Another style features a solid body with a lifelike size and shape. Legs kick and churn water like a buzzbait. Unlike a hollow belly frog, the solid body frog baits slowly sink when paused. The final type is a hard-plastic frog intended for open water.

Hollow body frogs like the Booyah Pad Crasher can be fished through the thickest cover or right on top of the slop. Many anglers see a pond covered in hydrilla or other “slop” vegetation and think there’s no way to catch bass there. But they’re wrong. Often this slop only covers the surface like the roof on your home; underneath it’s open, cool and dark. A hollow body frog retrieved on top will draw surprising strikes as if the weeds just opened up and a bass popped out.

There are two different ways to retrieve a hollow body frog. One is to walk-the-dog, which can only be done in open water or relatively sparse weeds. To walk-the-dog, the angler twitches his rod tip in a rhythmic time while simultaneously reeling in the slack. The other retrieve is to simply reel it in slowly giving it little action. This is extremely productive in ponds that have a lot of angling pressure, especially when working thick weeds. A slow, steady retrieve allows the fish to track and accurately strike the frog.

Solid body frog baits like the YUM Money Frog feature lifelike body shapes with paddle feet on realistic legs. These feet create enough water displacement to produce a buzzing sound when retrieved. The solid body frog baits don’t come with a double hook inserted within the body cavity. Instead, the angler uses a wide gap hook and Texas rigs the frog. There are several different styles of hooks designed just for fishing these frogs, some with weights  molded to the shaft of the hook to allow the frog to run upright and true (like a keel) in addition to increasing the casting distance.

Most anglers simply cast and reel a solid body frog, but pausing it on or near cover and then quickly reeling it away often draws reaction strikes from bass that think it’s getting away. Since this frog sinks when paused, an angler can also swim it under the surface when situations dictate.

A hard-plastic frog like the Rebel Frog-R is intended for open water and can be fantastic in ponds and small lakes that don’t feature aquatic vegetation or cover. In this type of environment, fish have no choice but to suspend in the open water. Fan cast the hard plastic frog and try various retrieves, but the “walk-the-frog” technique in which the bait zig-zags back and forth is often the best and is easily accomplished with downward twitches of the rod.

Where to Fish Your Frog

Ponds often are fished from the bank, often because they’re too small for a boat, although a kayak, johnboat or fishing tube can get anglers in better position to work weedbeds more thoroughly.  Assuming you’re fishing from the bank, take a good look at the pond to identify the most likely places for bass to hang out. Look for weedbeds close to deeper water. This can be near a creek channel where the depth drops from 3-feet on top to 5-feet in the channel or anywhere near the dam – normally the deepest area of any pond.  One often predictable hotspot is at the ends of the dam.

In ponds choked with surface slop, anglers should begin by leaning over the water and paralleling the bank with a hollow body frog, working the weeds right up against the shore – especially when fishing the area by the dam. Then, fan cast the weedbed all the way out past the edge. Ponds are contained environments and bass can be holding anywhere underneath the cover.

After working the deep water areas near the dam, look for weedy points. Stay back and make long casts, this time starting at the outer edges of the weeds and working toward shore.  Finally, fish the weeds choking any creeks or coves, once again starting at with the deepest water and casting closer to the bank each time. If the cove is narrow enough, be sure to fish the opposite bank as well.

Anglers should learn what type of aquatic plants live in the pond they are fishing to help them catch more fish. Certain plants will provide great nursery habitat, shade, oxygen, spawning areas and ambush points for bass; in addition to providing a safe place away from predators. If a pond has aquatic plants you can bet that the bass can always be found in it. Common aquatic plants that anglers will fish in farm ponds include arrowhead, lotus, waterlily, milfoil, pondweed, coon tail and elodea.

If the pond weeds are more sparse, a solid body frog may be a better choice. They fish fast, meaning an angler can cover more water in a shorter time span. Circle the pond quickly, working the frog like a buzzbait, and mentally note the spots where you caught fish or saw a swirl, then give the pond a second fishing focusing on these areas.

Strikes often are vicious, although that doesn’t always equal a hook-up. Wait for the frog to disappear under the water or to feel the rod load up before setting the hook. If a bass strikes and misses, you know there’s a fish there. Let the frog sit a minute before giving it a couple twitches. If the bass doesn’t immediately strike, note the spot to fish again later.

Editor’s note: Game & Fish/Sportsman magazine recently announced the winners of the magazine’s first-ever Readers’ Choice Awards. This nation-wide survey named the Booyah Pad Crasher as the top hollow-body frog on the market. Readers noted its durable construction, value and effectiveness at pulling big bass from the slop as top reasons that the Pad Crasher is the best you can buy. The award was presented at the 2012 ICAST show in Orlando July 10, 2012.