Monday, 23 June 2014

Choosing the optimal time

Year by year i seem to slightly adjust my approaches to fit in with the best times of year and the best time to get the most out of each technique i like to fish. For me its trying to match what method is going to be most successful with the right time, this way i get the most out of everything and i get to have a good variety of fishing.

Today I chose to fish frogs for the first time this year, allot of people fish them much earlier and i have done also in the past, but Ive fished frogs allot over the years and now try to match them with the best time to use them. This is basically when you cannot really use any other lure because the weed is that bad. If the conditions still enable me to use other lures that will give me a better hook up rate, allow me to fish subsurface and allow me to enjoy fishing a different style, i might as well make the most of that and save the frogs for when they are needed.

I went to fish a small river that i didn't get to fish allot last year because the mosquitoes where horrendous and you couldn't fish there at all without being plagued, I'm not talking about a few bites, I'm talking about standing still and having just about all of your skin covered with them! they even chase you when you run.
I thought if i got on it early this year the mosquitoes would hopefully not be there in vast numbers. What i didn't account for though was a sign that's becoming all to familiar this year, up to 6ft bank side vegetation. This makes it virtually impossible to get through, and its not the best pushing your way through it when you have hay fever and that results in a fog of pollen blowing in your face.

Anyway i could only fish a limited amount of river as it was just too hard work getting through it all and not enjoyable in the heat. The river itself was pretty think with weed in places then a bit clearer in others, my plan was to fish weedless floating frogs over the dense areas then switch to sinking frogs in the clearer water.

it wasn't long before i was getting takes but the fish were only small and often they would get matted in weed and come off before i dragged it all in. Eventually a small pike stuck though and i was off the mark.

I've not yet got round to re-stocking my frogs as the ones i have are abit trashed now and most sink. The black one above was the only one i had that wasn't chewed up. I'd missed a few takes on it that enabled me to wind down and really lean into the strike but they kept coming off. I didn't realise till later on that at some point id crushed the barbs on this frog and the point wasn't really that long before it was onto the bend which would explain all the lost fish.I routed about in my bag to see if i could switch the hook over from another frog but while doing so i found a small koppers live target frog that wasn't in too bad a shape all though still thrashed!
This did the trick and next fish was on and stayed on. 

I started to get more interest and even tiny pike were being brave and having a go even though they could hardly get the whole frog in there mouths.

I'd now reached one of the clearer areas and thought I'd give the sinking frogs a go, these frogs you can fish your rod nearly vertically and the frogs will still fish along the surface but then you can drop them into holes and clear areas by lowering the rod, i used a single hook on these frogs hoping for a better hook up rate still as i do think the hollow bodied double frog hooks can often work against each other and you get a much better penetration with a single hook. Most brands have a hollow slit in the body to allow you to sink the hook into the lure to make them weedless.

First cast with the yellow frog above and just as i was letting it sink after bringing it over some weeds a shape came from the corner of my vision, in slow motion this decent pike came for the frog and as it neared i twitched it and it bolted for it, brilliant to see. I got a good hook set being able to see that the frog was fully inhaled and the fish was quickly in the net, i had strong gear so didn't much about with it and wanted all fish in as quickly as possible even though the heat had died down abit, it was a case of horsing them in, a quick photo and back they go.
I was chuffed to bits with this fish it was never going to be a PB so in my eyes it didn't need faffing about with weighing it and keeping it out of water longer.

I tried a few different brand frogs and all got interest, i was actually preferring the sinking frogs as they were more versatile being able to fish them on the surface and below it.
I had a little flurry of action towards the end of the session where i was getting a few takes but being able to see what was happening i was unable to strike them. The pike were grabbing the legs and head shaking the frog, it reminded me of what sharks do with prey to cut chunks of meat off. They were trying to rip the legs off by shaking there heads, obviously this meant there was not hooks inhaled so pointless striking. That's it with frogging though its not about banking fish after fish, its all about the takes and watching it all unfold in front of you. I had another decent fish come for the frog before i left but i gather it saw me as it turned away just as it was about to inhale.


  1. Well in mate. Hard work in the grass and heat but you got some fun for your effort.

  2. Cheers Paul, it is fun but im not having fun now, can't even see what im typing for my eyes streaming with water, thats the downfall now for me when the banks are like this, i know whenever i go out im gunna suffer for it. its strange becuase ive not had hayfever for about 15 years then it came back last year all of a sudden and now i have it again this year and i get it quite bad too.