Lily pads, salad bars and scum frogs attract big bass

By By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
June 4, 2004
With the abundant new growth of lily pads and water grass, the old lake had been reborn. It had been literally 17 years since I had ventured out onto the waters of one of our old childhood hotspots. Although many years had passed since we camped and fished on the shores of the old lake, it seemed just like yesterday.
As Bob Smith and I eased the old boat into the water, my mind was flooded with memories of glorious fishing trips in days gone by. People come and go, but true friends remain that way forever, regardless of distance or time.
Surely the lake could not come close to what it had been in the past. On my first cast a bass exploded out of the salad grass, and came up empty, save a mouthful of grass that is. On the next cast, the scum frog wasn't that lucky, as the lunker bass destroyed the lure. Our first bass was landed, admired and released to fight another day.
After catching a couple of bass on the frog, we both rigged up scum frogs, or rats, and the action really heated up. If you have never caught a bass on a topwater frog or rat, then you have truly missed a treat. The explosive action provided by these topwater lures is almost unheard of and rarely seen these days.
It's the timing
There is one thing you have to get right when fishing a frog however; timing. That's right, just like hitting a baseball or softball, an angler's timing must be just right. If you set the hook on the initial strike, you're too early. If you wait too long, then it's just as bad.
During one tournament back in the eighties on Ross Barnett, my partner and I had a fantastic day of frog fishing. The day was overcast and misty, which made for a perfect frog day. The bass were active and smashing the frogs and rats. I probably caught 50 keeper bass that day on my way to a tournament win.
It was a different story for my partner however. After about a half day of setting the hook and coming up empty handed, he finally gave it up. "Mike, I've tried setting the hook every way I know how and I still can't land a bass!" commented the discouraged angler. His timing was off and at best, most people can expect strikes to catch a ratio of about one out of two.
As I poled the boat around our old boyhood lake, Bob began getting strikes on his black rat. At first the fish were just sucking it in and Smith missed a few. As the air began to cool however, the bass became more active and the action became more explosive. Switching to a Venom style senko bait, Smith suddenly bowed up on a nice bass and the action began. After catching several on the venom plastic worm, he went back to the frog just in time.
On one particular cast a bass exploded on the frog and got a little of that natural salad bar as well. With his timing finally down, Smith drove home those steel hooks and turned that hog around towards the boat. After a ferocious fight that included a series of acrobatic leaps skyward, the bass was history. This time however, he got a reprieve and was released, as were all of his cohorts on this day. This was a time of fun, fellowship and turning the clock back. We could catch some to eat on another day.
Devil's Horse anyone?
In the old days, my favorite topwater lure was a white King Snipe Devil's Horse. It was short, fat and was in between the large fat Devil's Horse and the sleeker smaller size. It was truly dynamite in those days. Today however they no longer make that bait, so I used a big white Devil's Horse instead. With the sun disappearing swiftly, the action got even better. On my first cast with the lure another bass nailed it upon impact. It had to have been looking skyward for an unsuspecting victim.
With the sun slowly sinking, Smith and I matched bass cast after cast. The bass were striking the frogs, senkos, and topwater baits unmercifully. As each of us got a bass on we just had to stop fishing to admire the tenacity displayed by these ravenous bass. On a couple of occasions we even had doubles on.
This was where our field of dreams had been while we were growing up, and it had provided us with yet another afternoon of dreams. On this day we renewed our friendship and the years melted by as strike after strike came and bass after bass was landed and released.
Can it get any better than that? I don't think so. If you're looking for some hot topwater action then head to the nearest bait shop, grab a few scum frogs and rats and take a friend fishing. You will be glad you did. I guarantee.

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