ISH MONROE: Right Now is the Best Time of the Year to Flip, Pitch, Punch and Throw a Frog - Major League Fishing
ISH MONROE: Right Now is the Best Time of the Year to Flip, Pitch, Punch and Throw a Frog
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ISH MONROE: Right Now is the Best Time of the Year to Flip, Pitch, Punch and Throw a Frog

Image for ISH MONROE: Right Now is the Best Time of the Year to Flip, Pitch, Punch and Throw a Frog
The first half of the year has been colder than normal, but that just means a bigger window for Ish Monroe to use his favorite techniques. Photo by Garrick Dixon. Angler: Ish Monroe.
May 11, 2022 • Ish Monroe • Angler Columns

It’s no secret that I love to throw a frog, flip, pitch, and punch. It’s what I do, and I try to make it work everywhere I go. There are times when it’s the only way to go and one of those times is right now, as the bass are done with the spawn in most parts of the country.

A Bonus Shallow Bite This Year

It’s been freezing in most of the country this spring, with guys catching big spawning bass in Texas in May, when usually that’s a February thing. Every one of our Bass Pro Tour stages has been cold and it’s like everything is behind this year. You’re getting bits and pieces of the spawn, with some fish spawning and some not even close. But I’m not complaining – that’s all good for me because I want to flip and frog, which only means I get to do it longer this year.

My strengths and favorite ways to catch bass are perfect for prespawn, spawning fish, and the initial postspawn, before the fish transition to deeper water. In the winter and summer, you’re going to find more groups of fish in deeper water, and between those seasons you’ll find them a little more spread out and mostly shallow, which lines up perfectly for me.

After the bass spawn and the male bass guard the fry, that two- or three-week window is one of the best times to catch the big females. I start to look for shallow transition areas for the big ones before they head out to the points, drop offs, and places like that. But you can still fish shallow when everyone else is fishing out deep, since not all bass spawn at once and you can catch them coming and going to spawning areas.

Froggin’ and Topwater

It can be hard to beat a topwater like a frog, waking bait, or buzzbait this time of year. My favorite frog is the River2Sea Ish Monroe Phat Mat Daddy Frog, and I keep it pretty simple with my colors. I like something that looks like a bluegill when fishing around the bluegill spawn, a bright white or chartreuse for the middle of the day and when fishing clear water. Early in the morning or when fishing dirtier water, I like a black or brown colored frog.

I’ll fish it on my 7-foot, 4-inch Daiwa Tatula Elite Frog rod, a 7.3:1 Daiwa Tatula SV and switch between two different braids. I like the 50-pound J-Braid Grand in open water and go up to 65-pound in the matted stuff.

While frog fishing is my favorite way to fish, I also mix in walking baits like the River2Sea Rover or a buzzbait. There are a lot of good buzzbaits out there and now is a great time to be throwing them.

I fish them on a 7-foot, 4-inch Daiwa Tatula Elite Brent Ehrler crankbait and vibrating jig rod. That’s what it was designed for since it’s fiberglass, but it’s excellent for big walking baits and buzzbaits, too. I like the 7.1.1 Tatula Elite reel for launching the bait and covering water, and the 40-pound Daiwa J-Braid Grand is my go-to line.

Flip, Pitch, and Punch

My favorite bait for these techniques is the Missile Baits D-Bomb, and I’ll be targeting the regular stuff like docks, brush, and laydowns early in the transition to summer. As it gets warmer, a big portion of the big fish will get in the thickest grass. Some bass go to deeper water and some just go to deeper cover, so you don’t always have to fish deep.

I like to fish the D-Bomb on my 8-foot Daiwa Tatula Elite Punch and Flip rod, a 7.1:1 Daiwa Tatula Flip/Pitch reel with the bigger handles and switch between fluorocarbon and braid. The 25-pound Daiwa J-Fluoro Samurai is good for the sparse cover, and the 65-pound J-Braid Grand or 70-pound Daiwa Samurai is good for grass. The Samurai is fused, so it’s slicker, which can be good at times and the J-Braid cuts super thick grass better. All I need to do is adjust my weight size for what I’m fishing; that bait is the perfect way to catch shallow fish, no matter the cover.

This is one of my favorite times of the year when everyone is starting to focus on the offshore bite and there are plenty of big ones still up shallow ready to eat a topwater or D-Bomb.