Topwater Frog Lures: Irresistible Bass Bait

Fishing has always been about the thrill of the chase, the anticipation of the strike, and the joy of landing a prized catch. 

Among the various techniques anglers employ, topwater frog fishing is one of the most exhilarating and visually captivating methods.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a newcomer, incorporating topwater frogs into your fishing outings can enhance the excitement and productivity of your angling adventures.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of topwater frog fishing and explore how to maximize your chances of success.

Topwater Frog Fishing

The Allure of Topwater Frog Fishing

Topwater frog fishing is a method that mimics the natural behavior of frogs, one of the favorite prey species of many predatory fish, such as bass and pike. 

This technique involves casting frog-shaped lures on the water’s surface and simulating the action of a frog swimming or hopping. 

The results are often explosive strikes and heart-pounding battles.

 A topwater frog is a specialized fishing lure meticulously crafted to replicate a frog’s appearance and lifelike movements as it skims across the water’s surface.

It typically consists of a soft, hollow-bodied body and two hooks, one on the belly and one on the back. 

Anglers use topwater frog lures to target predatory fish like bass and pike, and the technique often involves casting the lure onto the water’s surface and creating enticing movements to trigger explosive strikes.

The topwater frog’s allure lies in its versatility and ability to entice aggressive strikes. 

It can be fished in various water bodies, including ponds, lakes, rivers, and even marshy areas. 

Additionally, the visual spectacle of watching a frog lure dance on the surface before being devoured by a hungry predator is an experience like no other in fishing.

How to fish a topwater frog

Fishing a topwater frog is an exciting technique that can yield explosive strikes from predatory fish like bass, pike, and muskies. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to Topwater frog setup for fishing effectively:

Choose the Right Equipment

  • Rod and Reel: Opt for a medium-heavy to heavy power baitcasting rod paired with a low-profile baitcasting reel. The rod’s stiffness helps with hooksets, and a baitcasting reel provides casting accuracy.
  • Line: Use a braided fishing line with a high pound-test rating (typically 30-50 lbs). The braided line is strong and sensitive and offers excellent hook-setting power.
How to rig a topwater Frog

Select the Right Frog Lure

  • Choose a frog lure that resembles the local population in color and size.
  • Ensure the lure has quality hooks; you’ll need strong, sharp hooks to penetrate the fish’s mouth during the strike.

Choose the Right Fishing Spot: Look for areas with submerged vegetation, lily pads, reeds, grass mats, logs, or any other type of cover where frogs naturally hide or traverse.

Predatory fish often lurk near these areas, waiting to ambush prey.

Casting: Cast your frog to lure near or into your identified cover. Make accurate casts, as precision is crucial in frog fishing.

Let the frog land softly to minimize spooking nearby fish.

Retrieve Techniques

Experiment with different retrieval techniques until you find what works best on a given day. Some effective techniques include:

  • Slow and Steady Retrieve: Retrieve the frog with a consistent, slow pace, creating subtle ripples.
  • Twitch and Pause: Give the frog lure short, sharp twitches followed by brief pauses to imitate a struggling frog.
  • Walking the Dog” involves gently twitching the frog from side to side to create a zigzagging motion on the surface. This can be especially effective in open water areas.

Wait for the Strike: After casting and starting your retrieve, give the fish time to locate and strike the frog lure. 

Often, predatory fish will follow the lure before committing to the strike.

Keep a close eye on the frog lure, as the strike can be explosive and happen at any moment.

Hookset: When you feel a strike or see a fish boil on the surface, resist the urge to set the hook immediately.

Instead, wait a moment to ensure the fish has the lure fully in its mouth, then execute a firm hookset by swiftly and decisively pulling the rod tip upward.

Fight the Fish: Once hooked, be prepared for an intense battle, as topwater frog fishing often results in strong and acrobatic fights.

Keep steady pressure on the fish, and avoid giving it a slack line to prevent it from throwing the hook.

Topwater frog tips

Handling and Release

  • Handle the fish with care to minimize stress and injury.
  • If the fish is undersized or not your target species, release it gently.
  • Always follow local fishing regulations and practice catch and release when necessary to conserve the fishery.

Following these steps and practicing patience and perseverance, you can become a proficient topwater frog angler and enjoy the thrill of landing fish with explosive surface strikes.

How to rig a topwater Frog

Rigging a topwater frog correctly is essential to maximize your chances of success when fishing with this technique.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to rig a topwater frog:

Materials Needed

  • Topwater frog lure
  • Baitcasting rod and reel with braided line
  • Needle-nose pliers (for bending hooks, if necessary)

Check the Frog Lure

  1. Ensure that your topwater frog lure is in good condition before rigging.
  2. Inspect the hooks, legs, and body to ensure everything is intact.
  3. Replace any parts that show signs of damage or wear as necessary.

Choose the Right Hook Size: Frog lures typically come with two sets of hooks: one on the belly and one on the back. The hooks are usually exposed for better hooksets.

 Depending on the size of the frog and the fish you’re targeting, you may need to adjust the hooks. 

Some anglers prefer to upgrade the hooks to improve hooking and holding power.

Bend the Hooks: You can slightly bend the hooks outward to increase your hooking percentage when using frog lures. This is called “tuning” the hooks. 

Use needle-nose pliers to bend the points of the hooks carefully outwards by a few degrees. 

This helps the hooks penetrate the fish’s mouth more effectively during the strike.

 Thread the Line Through the Frog

  • Start by threading your braided fishing line through the eyelet on the top of the frog lure.
  • Pull the line through until the frog sits snugly against the eyelet.

 Position the Hooks

  • With the frog’s back facing upward, position the hooks flat against its body.
  • Ensure the hooks align with the frog’s body, not sticking out to the sides.

Insert Hooks Through the Body: Carefully insert the hooks into the frog’s body. You want the points of the hooks to come out the bottom, belly side of the frog.

Ensure that the hooks are well-centred and positioned near the frog’s rear, close to its legs.

Adjust Hook Exposure: Gently pull the hooks through the body until they are barely exposed. 

You want the points of the hooks to be almost flush with the frog’s surface. Avoid burying the hooks too deeply into the frog, which can hinder hooksets.

Trim Excess Line: Trim any excess braided line, leaving about a 6-8 inch tag end. 

This will allow you to tie your favorite fishing knot to attach the frog to your main fishing line.

Attach the Frog to Your Main Line: Use your preferred fishing knot (common options include the Palomar knot or the improved clinch knot) to tie the frog lure to your main braided line.

Check the Frog’s Action: Before you cast, give it a few gentle tugs to ensure it moves naturally and the hooks are secure.

Now that you’ve successfully rigged your topwater frog, you can hit the water and entice those big bass or other predator fish with explosive topwater strikes.

Remember to keep your rod tip up and be ready for the exhilarating moment when a fish engulfs your frog lure.

Right Frog Lure

Topwater frog tips

Fishing with topwater frogs can be an exhilarating experience, but it requires specific techniques and strategies to maximize your success. 

 Here are some topwater frog fishing tips to help you increase your chances of landing trophy fish:

Choose the Right Time and Place: Fish topwater frogs during the warmer months when the water temperature is higher, as this is when frogs are most active.

Focus on areas with heavy cover, such as lily pads, grass mats, submerged vegetation, docks, fallen trees, and other structures. 

Predatory fish like bass and pike often hide in these areas and ambush prey.

Match the Hatch: Select frog lures that closely resemble the local species in color and size. This can make a big difference in enticing strikes.

Use High-Quality Gear

  • Invest in a medium-heavy to heavy power baitcasting rod and a low-profile baitcasting reel with a strong drag system.
  • Use a braided fishing line with a high pound-test rating (30-50 lbs) for increased sensitivity and hook-setting power.

Practice Accurate Casting: Precision is crucial when casting topwater frogs. Aim for specific spots within the cover and land your lure as softly as possible to avoid spooking fish.

Experiment with Retrieval Speed:  Vary your retrieve speed to determine what triggers the most strikes on a given day.

 Sometimes, a slow, steady retrieve works, while other times, a faster, erratic retrieve may be more effective.

Incorporate pauses and twitches during your retrieve to mimic a struggling or injured frog.

Master the “Walk the Dog” Technique: Learn to “walk the dog” by gently twitching your frog lure from side to side.

 This action creates a zigzagging motion on the surface, which can be irresistible to predatory fish.

Wait for the Second Strike:

Sometimes, a fish will miss the frog on the initial strike but follow it up with a second attempt. 

When you miss a strike, keep the frog in the water and let it sit briefly before resuming your retrieve.

Use Stealthy Approaches: Approach your fishing spot quietly to avoid spooking fish. 

Use a trolling motor or paddle instead of a loud outboard engine when moving through areas with submerged cover.

Keep a High Rod Tip: Maintain a high rod tip position during the retrieve to keep the frog on the surface. 

This encourages fish to strike from below, creating dramatic surface explosions.

Stay Patient and Observant: Be patient when fishing with topwater frogs. Strikes can be sudden and explosive, but they can also be subtle.

 Watch for any movement or ripples near your frog lure, and be ready to set the hook.

Practice Catch and Release:

Stay Safe: Be cautious when walking on uneven surfaces, especially if you’re fishing in and around thick vegetation.

 It’s easy to lose your footing in the excitement of a strike.

By following these topwater frog fishing tips and adapting your techniques to the conditions on the water, you can enjoy the thrill of landing big fish with this exciting and visually captivating method.

 If you’re not keeping the fish, practice catch and release to preserve the fishery.

Handle fish gently, remove the hooks carefully, and release them in good condition.

Best topwater frog color

Topwater frog lures come in various colors to match the local frog populations and water conditions. 

The color of a topwater frog bait can vary, but some common colors and patterns include:

Natural Green and Brown: Many topwater frog lures mimic the natural coloration of frogs in the area. 

These can include shades of green, brown, and olive, often with darker mottling or spots.

Black: Black frog lures are a popular choice, as they create a strong silhouette on the water’s surface, making them highly visible to predatory fish.

White or light-colored frog lures can be effective, especially in low-light conditions or when fish target baitfish near the surface.

Yellow and Chartreuse: These bright colors can be effective in stained or muddy water, increasing the lure’s visibility.

Blue and Purple: Some frog lures incorporate blue or purple accents, which can entice fish in certain situations.

Multi-colored: Many frog lures combine colors, often with contrasting belly and back colors. 

This can create a more realistic and eye-catching appearance.

The choice of color often depends on the specific fishing conditions, water clarity, and the angler’s preferences. 

It can be helpful to have a selection of different-colored frog lures to adapt to changing conditions and experiment with what works best on a given day.

Additionally, matching the color of the local frog population in your fishing area can increase your chances of success.

What fish eat topwater frogs

What fish eat topwater frogs?

Several species of predatory fish are known to feed on topwater frogs actively.

These fish see frogs as a natural and appealing food source due to their availability and the fact that frogs often venture onto or near the water’s surface.

Common fish that eat topwater frogs include:

Largemouth Bass often lurk near vegetation and structures in shallow water, ready to strike frogs that venture too close.

Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth bass also target frogs, particularly around rocky shorelines, clear-water lakes, and rivers.

Northern Pike: Pike are aggressive predators that eagerly go after frogs, especially in weedy areas and during the warmer months.

Muskie (Musky): Muskies, often called the “fish of 10,000 casts,” are known to target frogs when they come into their territory, especially during their feeding periods.

Pickerel: These smaller members of the pike family readily feed on frogs and other surface-dwelling prey.

Panfish: Certain panfish species like bluegill and crappie may also take advantage of an easy meal when frogs are in their habitat.

Snakehead: In some regions, invasive snakehead fish have become voracious frog predators, causing concerns for native ecosystems.

Trout: While not as common as some species, certain trout, especially in lakes and ponds with a good frog population, will strike at frog lures.

It’s essential to note that the effectiveness of using topwater frogs to catch these fish can vary depending on water temperature, time of day, weather conditions, and the local frog population. 

Successful frog fishing often involves adapting your techniques to the specific preferences of the fish and the conditions you’re facing.


Topwater frog fishing is not just a fishing technique; it’s an experience that connects anglers with the wild, mimicking the natural world’s beauty and excitement. 

With the right gear, techniques, and patience, you can harness the power of topwater frog lures to land trophy fish and create lasting memories on the water.

So, gear up, head to your favorite fishing spot, and leap into the thrilling world of topwater frog fishing!

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