Ribbit: It’s ‘Frog-tober Fest’ on Lake Guntersville - Major League Fishing

Ribbit: It’s ‘Frog-tober Fest’ on Lake Guntersville

Image for Ribbit: It’s ‘Frog-tober Fest’ on Lake Guntersville
Frog fanatic Randall Tharp offers up a sacrificial floating frog that he hopes will end up in the jowls of a big bass at the Stren Series event on Lake Guntersville this week. Photo by Rob Newell. Angler: Randall Tharp.
Frog bite in full swing on nation’s most celebrated frogging lake
October 8, 2009 • Rob Newell • Toyota Series

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – It’s October, and “October Fest” celebrations are going on all across the country.

If the town of Guntersville had such a celebration, they might consider calling it “Frog-tober Fest” to celebrate the annual pilgrimage of thousands of bass anglers who come from all over the country to experience the most thrilling form of bass fishing known to mankind: frog fishing.

Simply put, there is no bite in bass fishing that can quite compare to watching a 5-pound-plus bass blast through a thick mat of layered hydrilla or milfoil to inhale a helpless plastic frog.

Without a doubt, one of the absolute best lakes in the country to fish a floating frog is Lake Guntersville, site of the fourth and final Stren Series event in the Southeast Division this week.

October is the peak months for frog fishing on Guntersville for several reasons. First, the vegetation mats have reached their peak growth before declining in the coming winter’s frigid waters. Second, giant Guntersville bass are on the feed, roaming around up under mats hoping to pin a big bluegill or shad against the “ceiling.” And third, the weather on Guntersville in October is usually stupendous: Cool mornings and pleasantly warm afternoons make a full day of frog fishing even more enjoyable.

Needless to say, as day one of the Stren Series event got under way Thursday morning, anglers were grinning ear to ear in anticipation of what kind of monster frog bites the day would bring.

One of the best froggers on Guntersville, Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., was beside himself with excitement.

“There’s nothing else like it,” grinned Tharp, who is also the points leader in the Stren Series Southeast. “To tease a big bass into biting a frog on a mat is something you have to experience to believe. It’s like watching those amazing videos of giant great white sharks blasting seals on the surface – except it’s all going on on the end of your fishing line. It’s unreal to watch.”Theme from the movie Jaws plays in the background.

The addictive part of frog fishing is watching a bass bump or “hump up” underneath the mat as it tries to locate the frog. The key is to keep quivering the frog on the mat with a lifelike action until the bass can’t stand it anymore and explodes through the mats to engulf the hollow-bodied artificial.

Actually hooking the bass is an art in and of itself. It takes nerves of steel not to jerk too soon as a huge bass is blasting oil-barrel-sized holes in the grass under your frog.

“You have to wait until the bass actually gets it before you set the hook,” Tharp said. “And it’s much easier said than done, because sometimes they’ll blast it three or four times before they actually get it.

“I’m not really sure if that’s good for a man’s heart,” he added with a laugh. “The adrenaline surge you get from that is incomparable.”

Conditions for the Stren Series version of Frog-tober Fest should be ideal today with sunny skies and daytime temperatures reaching the low 80s. The weigh-in will be laden with some big Guntersville limits, so be sure and catch it on FLW Live this afternoon beginning at 3 p.m. CDT.


Anglers will take off from Lake Guntersville State Park located at 7966 Alabama Highway 227 in Guntersville, Ala., at 7 each morning. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Lake Guntersville State Park beginning at 3 p.m.

Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 11697 US Highway 431 in Guntersville, Ala., beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Thursday’s conditions

Boats head out for a perfect day of frog fishing on Lake Guntersville at the Stren Series event.

Sunrise: 7:45 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 60 degrees

Expected high temperature: 74 degrees

Water temperature: 70-75 degrees

Wind: SSE at 10 to 15 mph

Day’s outlook: sunny and warm