Now that the rainy season has come to a close you can be sure the watersheds will be at their fullest. With the pleasant weather coming in the next few months it is the perfect time to get out and do some fishing, particularly lure fishing. Today we are going to look at the techniques used to catch fish on a plastic frog lure. As I said before in my article Beginner’s Guide to Topwater Lures they are my favorite topwater bait to fish. The reason being, they are often the most effective when targeting fish in heavy cover.
First off, the main species of fish that will targeted are Striped Snakehead (Pla Chon in Thai) or Giant Snakead (Pla Chado). These two fish are ambush predators which means that they will sit and wait for prey to come into their territory and strike aggressively at anything that does. These fish are most commonly found in the shallow weeded areas of lakes and ponds or the klongs (canals) throughout Bangkok and its surroundings. This is the perfect area for the plastic frog.
Rod and Reel
Most anglers will you that the only way to fish heavy cover is with a 6’6″ to 7′ medium heavy bait casting rod spooled with 50 lb braided line. I disagree. My favorite setup for fishing frogs is a medium light spinning rod and reel. Spool the reel with 10 lb. test ultra limp line such as Trilene XL or Stren Easy Cast and off you go. Some might say this is nuts. I say fishing with 50 lb. line is nuts. Unless you are chasing Blue Marlin or something of the sort. As a fly fisherman, using 2 lb. tippet is common place and this is done in rivers and streams with a strong current for rainbow trout. The whole concept of lure fishing to me is to challenge oneself to fool the fish into biting. What then, is the point of ripping that fish out of the weeds with aircraft cable? Light tackle and finesse is the only way to go. You may lose some fish but those that you do catch will be that much more rewarding.
By now some of you must think I’m crazy. Fair enough. What I am about to tell you right now will probably not help. Some of the best locations for fishing these frogs are the klongs of Bangkok. That’s right, smack dab in the middle of the street surrounded by traffic. Fish around the covered sections where they pass under the roadway. There are also many smaller klongs that are overgrown with vegetation as well. These can be found along the river flowing slowly beside massive condo buildings. Look for the areas that are difficult to access with almost stagnant water covered in a thin film of vegetation. The reason for this is the lack of fishing pressure. Many times these places are overlooked because it just seems plain mad to go fishing there. One of the advantages of fishing hollow body frogs for Snakehead is that you can do it anywhere. Even in your own backyard.
Ok, so you’ve got your rod, you’ve got plenty of frog baits, and now you’ve just arrived at the scene. How in the world are you supposed to catch a fish with these things? Practice, practice, and more practice. The art of lure fishing, and it is an art, takes time to master. What I can do is give you a few pointers but the rest is up to you.
There are a few different ways the frog can be used. First, cast on or near the edge of the cover and vegetation. Then slowly pull the lure into the edge of the water. This simulates a frog hopping from the bank into the drink. After this you can use a medium speed retrieve with sudden quick movements. This works well when done along the edge of cover as if the frog is just hanging out looking to get something to eat. Give it a few good twitches and then stop it next to some weeds or anywhere a frog may stop and rest.
The second method is a slightly faster retrieve over the tops of floating vegetation or lily pads as if the frog is trying to get away from something and has no concern for its safety apart from whatever is chasing it. This will often send the lure splashing over the den of a hungry predator that will gladly snack on what he thinks is a tasty treat.
Often times these two methods with leave you empty handed. Fear not, what I am about to tell you is top secret. Promise you wont tell anyone? Ok, so maybe its not such a big secret. Stubborn fish often need more time to inspect a bait before they chomp down on their breakfast. This is when some patience and a little finesse come into play. Cast the lure out and just let it sit. Maybe count to five just to be sure. Then give it a few twitches to send out some ripples but don’t let it move very far. Follow it up with a short retrieve, rinse and repeat. Do this until the surface of the water gets nice and frothy and your rod is bent towards the water.
Now that you have a better understanding of what to do with those darn frogs. Get out there and give it a shot. Let me know if you catch anything, and be sure to tweet your pictures to @fishingthai.