There is nothing quite like a frog when it comes to catching Louisiana bass.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Bruhl.
Anglers from the Pearl River across the state to the Red River know that frogs handle a variety of cover, come in assorted shapes and sizes and effectively put bass in the angler’s livewell. Pearl River’s lily pads, Delacroix’s grassbeds and Red River’s standing timbers and laydowns are only a few of the possible targets that hold springtime bass. From one end of Sportsman’s Paradise to the other, guides and professional anglers alike rely on frogs for great springtime action.
Bass anglers refer to anything in the water — timber, grass, docks or rocks — as “cover.” Such items are important for bass because they provide ambush points, protection from other predators and shade. Aquatic vegetation like hydrilla or lily pads and standing timbers have everything needed to hold bass. Cover, in almost any form, provides the foundation of a miniature aquatic ecosystem. Insects, shrimp and other small organisms attract frogs and other creatures, which, in turn, draw bass in for a meal.
Not surprisingly, fishing frog baits in and around all sorts of cover on Louisiana waters is a realistic tactic for attracting the attention of a hungry largemouth bass.
Delacroix is a shallow maze of lakes, bayous and canals just southeast of New Orleans. Leary, Grand, and Little lakes are a few locations around Delacroix where hydrilla, also known as Esthwaite Waterweed, is a prominent form of cover. This aquatic vegetation, which has a high resistance to salinity, ranges from thick, matted beds to sparsely isolated clumps in the brackish water along the coast. Delacroix’s tidal water is a tough code to crack, but grass is a good place to start.
Hydrilla beds with several feet of water may hold bass in the morning but not produce a single fish on a falling tide in the afternoon. Frogs in popping, buzzing and walking styles can be adjusted to optimize performance during different tidal conditions. From the thickest mat to the shallowest isolated clumps, floating, weedless frogs can efficiently hop and pop over the grass. Anglers who crack the code of grass and tide in Delacroix are rewarded with a great fishing trip.
Boler, a touring B.A.S.S. Open pro and former Bassmaster Classic Qualifier, targets the grass on secondary points in the lakes at Delacroix. A junior-size Spro frog is a primary lure for the Slidell angler.
“Isolated patches of grass near secondary points are the first place I stop,” began Boler, who is an All Star Classic Rod pro. “Main-lake points get fished hard, but few anglers continue to the smaller points. The past few years of hurricanes have scarred the marsh, creating many small outflows and indentations.”
On bluebird days, Boler flips the grass. Others days, the frog comes out of the rod box and searching begins in the drains, grass patches and shoreline irregularities. Many waters around Delacroix contain both hydrilla and irregular shoreline features. Artificial frogs handle the shallow water, grass and shoreline features of Louisiana marshes. The body of the bait easily glides over matted surface grass, hops like a frog between isolated patches, and walks through the open drains of the lakes around Delacroix.
Photo by Jeff Bruhl.
“I prefer to work the bait to imitate a frog swimming or hopping in a straight line,” added Boler, who competes in local Media Bass events near Slidell. “The fish will usually dictate the speed of the retrieve. Some days it is a slow steady retrieve and others it is a fast hop with a few pauses mixed in.”
The Pearl River near Slidell breaks into numerous branches as it flows toward its mouth. Middle, eastern and western tributaries are areas with winding curves and lily pad flats. Emerging every spring, the lily pads provide all the properties of good cover. Bouncing a frog through the emerging stalks and pads, the water will explode violently as a frog sneaks from one pad to the other.
Matt McCabe, a Pearl River Media Bass tournament winner, bounces a Bobby’s Perfect Frog around the pads of the Pearl River System. McCabe is another Slidell angler who knows frogs produce big fish in and around pads.
“Pads with long stems in three feet of water or deeper are the best areas on the East and West Pearl rivers,” stated McCabe, who fishes numerous tournament events in Delacroix and Pearl River areas. “Try to target the outer edges of the pads and avoid crawling the lure over the pads.”
Many bends of the lower Pearl have lily pads. McCabe often targets the lower Pearl because the pads extend outward for several hundred yards. This gives McCabe an idea of where the fish will relate to the bend on a given day. Tide and water depth may position the fish on the outside bends on some days or on the points of inside curves on other days. Reading the conditions of the river helps put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
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