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No Dock Bass is Safe When You Learn to Skip a Frog

Once you master it, skipping a hollow-body frog will draw strikes from shadow-loving bass.

No Dock Bass is Safe When You Learn to Skip a Frog

Big bass can seldomly resist a hollow-body frog skipped under or around docks. These lures draw both reaction and feeding strikes. (Photo courtesy of LiveTarget)

There are several reasons why docks are attractive to bass. Mainly, it’s because that’s where their favorite snacks—frogs, crawfish, bluegills and other panfish—reside in hot weather. Shady docks also provide late-summer cover for bass that have moved into the most remote reaches where standard casting methods can’t reach them. However, if you know how to skip a hollow-body frog, you can deliver a tempting treat to these reclusive bass.

DOCK SELECTION

Before skipping a frog under a dock, you need to decide which dock to fish. Not all docks are created equal in terms of their appeal to bass; some hold fish, while others are barren for one reason or another. Here are a few factors that might help you narrow down the possibilities.

skipping a fishing lure
Skipping a frog is a relatively straight-forward proposition. 1: Position your arm and elbow close to your body. With a short length of line out, and the rod tip near the water’s surface, use your wrist to quickly spin the rod tip clockwise. When doing so, the frog should rotate around the tip. 2: While the frog is rotating, move the rod forward in a casting motion toward the intended target. Release the spool when the bait is at the 5 or 6 o’clock position (depending on target distance). The frog should “skip” several times across the water’s surface and under the dock. 3: To slow and stop the frog, feather the spool with your thumb as you raise the rod tip. (Illustration by Peter Sucheski)
  • Topography

The topography under a dock is one of the factors that determine whether a bass hangs out there or not. Even without electronics, it’s relatively easy to figure out the depth by considering the dock layout and surrounding terrain. For instance, a steep shoreline suggests an immediate drop-off into deep water.

If the shoreline is relatively flat, this suggests a sloping bottom. By determining the water depth below various docks, you can eliminate those with water too shallow to accommodate the current holding depth of bass.

  • Food Availability

Some lakes have hundreds of docks. Do they all hold fish? Probably not. Likely fish hotspots can be determined by considering the general locale of a dock. Is it on the main lake where windswept water or current moving into the dock tends to congregate baitfish? Is it next to a creek mouth where quick access to deep water makes it more appealing to bass?

A dock standing in the back of a quiet cove might also harbor bass, especially if there are crawfish and juvenile bream in the neighborhood. Keep in mind: If the spawning season is still on, or just ended, bass will move from dock to dock on their way out of the cove.

  • Dock Density

As is the case with any type of cover, single docks along stretches of open shoreline are bass magnets. Fish them thoroughly. Cast a frog to the outside of a dock first, then move in. Single docks scattered along stretches of shoreline can be covered quicker and more thoroughly than several clustered together.

  • Read the Clues

Some docks have more going for them than others. If night lights, chairs and clamp-on rod holders are present, for instance, it suggests the dock is being used by fishermen.

It’s also likely there are brushpiles or similar bass-attracting cover in front of and under the dock. If there are lily pads or other types of emergent aquatic vegetation under or around a dock, probe them thoroughly. Mixed cover might be the pattern of the day.

SKIP TO IT

Skipping a frog back under a dock is almost second nature for a fisherman adept at pitching jigs or soft plastics under overhanging limbs, fallen trees and other bank cover. If anything, skipping with a frog is easier because the hollow plastic lure is lighter and hydrodynamically superior to soft plastics and jigs. The uniquely shaped belly of these baits allows them to skip across water much like a flat rock. Typically, a rod of about 6 1/2- to 7 1/2-feet long with a crisp tip is used for skipping. Line type and weight is user’s choice; however, heavier poundages help extract fish buried back under the dock structure.

The process of skipping a frog is rather straightforward. It is important to note that a hollow-body frog can be skipped using either a spinning or baitcasting combo, though baitcasting gear allows for precise control of the frog’s cast speed since you can manually feather the spool.

To skip the frog, let out about 10 inches to a foot of line. Hold the rod near the water’s surface and out to the side. With a roll of the wrist, spin the frog in a clockwise motion around the tip of the rod. This motion is much like that of an underhand cast. When the frog is at the 5 or 6 o’clock position, release the spool (on a baitcaster) while casting toward the target.

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The objective is to launch the frog a few inches above the water’s surface. The frog should travel out several feet before contacting the water. The lower the frog’s trajectory, the better. As the frog skips toward the target, slowly raise the rod tip and feather the spool with your thumb to slow the speed of the frog as it approaches the end of the cast.

Practice, of course, is critical to getting the “feel” of skipping a frog. To minimize backlashing, do not overfill the spool, but realize that eventually you will backlash, so it’s best to accept that going in.

  • This feature on bass fishing is featured in the South edition of the August 2023 issue of Game & Fish Magazine, available on newsstands. How to subscribe.



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