Keeping it simple is becoming more difficult by the day with many fishing techniques, thanks to an ever-expanding palette of options and advancements in rod, reels, electronics, etc. But Daiwa pro Ish Monroe’s favorite technique harkens back to when fishing was simple and uncomplicated: frogging.
“The whole key to frog fishing is keeping it simple,” Monroe says. “Don’t clutter things up and get too complicated. It’s a simple technique for catching fish when other techniques fail.”
Monroe’s frog-fishing simplicity starts with colors (or shades): in a world of seemingly endless bait colors, he breaks it down into three simple shades first.
“It’s all about picking the right shade and color at the right time,” Monroe advises. “I stick with three shades: dark, light, and a bluegill pattern. When I’m going to a new body of water, I’ll have a black frog, white frog, and if it’s postspawn, a bluegill pattern tied on. That’s it, very simple. Don’t complicate things.”
On bright, sunny days – especially in the middle of the day or when fishing very clean, clear water – Monroe hones in on brighter colors. If the water is dark, it’s a dark, overcast day, or you’re fishing first thing in the morning or later toward the evening, Monroe points to darker colors: black, brown, or blue. The bluegill pattern is for postspawn, matching the hatch when bass are guarding fry.
Monroe doesn’t reserve the frog for just fishing dense grass mats. It’s much more versatile than many anglers think.
“I use a frog quite a bit in water that isn’t grassy,” Monroe admits. “I throw it in open water when bass are on beds, or when they’re under overhanging trees, and the only lure you can get in there is a frog. Just picture mangroves, that type of overhanging stuff.
“Of course, when it comes to fishing thick grass, mats, pads, or whatever dense weeds you have, the frog is the only bait you can fish around and cover a lot of water effectively.”
Monroe suggests starting your frog retrieve with a basic “walk-the-frog” method and then letting the bass dictate what they want. There’s no perfect retrieve in his opinion; it varies based on the mood of the fish on any given day.
As far as the best time of day, Monroe isn’t too picky.
“I don’t think the time of day is important when it comes to frog fishing,” he says. “It’ll work all day. I’ve actually caught some of my biggest bass from between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.”
Monroe uses two rod and reel setups for frogging, one for open water and one for thick grass. His open-water and grass rod and reel are the same: a 7-foot 4-inch Ish Monroe Signature Daiwa Tatula Rod paired with either a 7.1 or a 7.3:1 Tatula SV reel.
The reels are loaded with 55-pound Daiwa Samurai braid for open water and 70-pound braid when fishing grass mats. If you only have one frog rod, Monroe suggests using 65-pound braid to fish both open water and grass.
“The reason I use my frog rod is the action,” Monroe says. “It has a little softer tip to be able to be accurate and work the frog, but extra heavy action to really set the hook and get them out. Speaking of the hookset, when the frog disappears, set the hook and wind them in. There’s no playing around.”