In Texas, the month of February usually means big fish, like really big fish. While other parts of the world are still encased in snow and ice, the southern states are seeing slightly warmer temps and fish are thinking about spawning soon.
The best traditional baits for the early spring are lures such as a chatterbait, lipless crankbait, jig and a senko style worm. These lures have accounted for untold numbers of tournament wins and double-digit bass in the month of February. But, what if I told you about a little known and little thrown secret bait for February? That’d be a hollow body frog.
Yup, you heard me, a frog. These baits are usually best when the water temps are above 58 degrees or so. But, before you tune me out, please listen to the method behind the madness.
There are a few things that need to be in place for a frog in this early spring transitional month.
This application is not for the first few hours of daylight. This is a technique for later in the day as the sun rises and so do the air/water temps. By noon, start looking for the frog bite to be cranking up.
If your lake has hydrilla, alligator, lily pads, haygrass, cattails, buggy whips or virtually any kind of grass then pay close attention here. When we see the water temp on our graph, it is showing it at the surface level right where the trolling motor is. If you have a grass line and there is open water behind it, this is the target you are looking for. These hard-to-reach areas behind the grass will warm much, much faster than the water out under your boat. Big females will regularly cruise these flats to feed or simply bask in the sun.
This is when you really don’t want the water to be muddy. You want the water to be fairly clear when fishing the open holes and slashes in the grass. You want the fish to be able to see the frog and react to it. If there has been a lot of rain or runoff, this is not going to be the best presentation.
These fish are still creeping out of winter, so for the most part, keep your frog moving slowly. Think short pops and twitches. I have found that fast erratic actions simply don’t work for me until the water has warmed significantly. Another big mistake is casting the frog right into the open area. Cast it to the bank or surrounding grass and bring it ever so gently into the strike zone.
The first and foremost piece of equipment is quality, polarized glasses. In many instances I can see a fin moving or a faint black line letting me know that there is a bass up there sunning. Get either an amber base with mirror lens (best all around) or a gray base with mirror lens (best for bright blue skies) and you will be glad you did.
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Your rod, reel, line, lure, and other performance fishing gear choices here are at critical.
Rod: I like a mid-length rod for this application. A 7’3-7’7 works best that can get in those tight areas and still have muscle to get the bass out of the slop. My go-to is an iROD Magic Stick.
Reel: This is when a high-speed gear ratio really comes into play. I can get the bait back to me in a hurry when I am out of the strike zone and still have the power to muscle a toad out of the jungle. 7.1- 7.5 are usually what I am reaching for in this application. My go-to is a Shimano 200 HGK.
Line: BRAID. There is no substitute for the low stretch capabilities of braid in this situation. It also cuts the pads and grass when you are setting the hook or horsing a big fish out of cover. I like 50-65 pound braid for just about all of my frogging.
Lure: As with any lure you pick up and decide to tie on, this can really boil down to personal preference. I throw 2 colors for February Froggin: White bottom or Black bottom. Remember, I am throwing a frog on a warm sunny day, so it isn’t traditional light lures on bright days and dark lures on cloudy days I like a 6th Sense Vega frog that can fill the bill for any situation I have in front of me.
When the sun is starting to warm your neck this February or early spring, don’t be afraid to pick up a frog, get in the grass and catch a giant.