Early Season Frog Fishing

I was at the tackle shop over the winter and saw Lunkerhunt’s Pocket Frog for the first time. I had zero hesitation purchasing it; I had been searching for a good small frog for quite a while. This frog had my favorite features: Moving legs, a small profile and double hooks.

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The reason I love small frogs like this is that it gives me the ability to fish them on monofilament line and still have a fairly decent hook up ratio. Since I don’t have any intentions of fishing a small frog on pads or heavy weeds I can get away with using a smaller and lighter line.

The temperatures finally warmed up to the mid 60’s for a few consecutive days and the bass have moved back into the shallows. The lake I planned to fish this in is heavily pressured, so the popular crankbaits and soft plastics are usually a bust. Top water is usually a safe bet in early spring, but the large number of fallen trees make it difficult to fish anything with exposed hooks. I tied on the Pocket Frog and started working the shallows, and it didn’t take more than a minute to have my first strike. I had set my drag too loose and the hook didn’t stick, so I adjusted my drag and kept working around the lake. The bite was consistent after that, reeling in one fish after another. I even managed to tempt fish up out of 10 ft deep pocket. It was clear that the fish had never seen this lure before and had zero hesitation striking at.

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In southern Indiana most people claim that frog season doesn’t start until late May or early June, but they ignore a simple fact: if you can hear frogs croaking, it is already frog season. Most people disregard frogs as a good tactic to fish weedless water, but they are missing a fantastic, underutilized bait. Most fish haven’t had this lure thrown at them, and lures that have very natural action like these entice the most aggressive bites in the spring.

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An average hour session fishing this lake with all the other lures in my tackle bag produces 6 fish, as you can see by the pictures I had no trouble surpassing that number with this lure. This is a new tactic for me, and it is one I will undoubtedly be using much more during the early spring.

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I encourage you to give this a try on pressured lakes, I was amazed with the results it produced for me.

As always, tight lines

-Isaac

Some Fun Little Projects

I will happily fish in the winter, but I have found the line that I will not cross this time of the year: Once it is dark I am done fishing. By the time I finished work and accomplished the errands I needed to run it was pitch black. I was still feeling very fishy, so I settled down to make some fishing gear.

The first project was tying a fly called ‘La Bomba’. Instead of following the suggested materials on the fly pattern, I followed my cheap tendencies and made the materials I currently own work. The beads were from a bracelet making kit I was given, the tails were made from yarn, the legs from silicon bracelet string and the body made from either ostrich herl or some rabbit dubbing. I was proud of how the flies turned out and I can’t wait for the water to be warm enough to get into some bluegill and bass on this pattern.

The next 2 projects brought me over to my 3d printer. I found a design by timebeestudio on thingiverse.com called ‘The Minnow’ that I thought had some fish catching potential. I printed it out and used heavy fishing line to run the hooks through the body of the lure. I haven’t taken this lure on a swimming test yet, but the design does seem to be very sturdy and the body design looks like it should work. I was too lazy to go hunt down treble hooks so I used some size 8 hooks. I then demonstrated my fine art skills and colored in the lure with sharpies.   IMG_9881

The next design was made by lew597 on thingiverse.com called ‘Inline Method Feeder’. I’ve designed and made many method feeders out of wire mesh, wood and plastic over the last year, but this design seemed to be much cleaner than those I have previously made. This design prints fairly well with out support and if printed with PLA it won’t require much weight to settle correctly.  The design has a hollow space on the bottom for you to attach your weight of choice. I coiled up fencing wire and glued it in place, I am assuming that this is a safer alternative than lead, but I haven’t researched to see if that is true yet. I plan to test these out with the carp bait I made recently.

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The final project was inspired by Paul Adams’ videos on youtube. I do not have the materials or the technical ability to create the high quality creations like he does, but his projects always make me want to try for myself. I took the inside container from a kinder egg and sketched out a minion pattern on it. Then I attached a screw eyelet into the bottom and cut craft foam to match the design. The foam was then attached to the container with hot glue and the float tested in a cup of water. I’m happy to report that it floats perfectly and looks just as ridiculous in water as you would expect.

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Bluegill on Jigs and Crappie Bites

Having a bit of cabin fever led me to tying up some jigs. I bought some small 1/64 oz jigs and got to work. The majority of the jigs I tied are what I call a lazy man’s wollybugger jig. These are super easy because they are made only from marabou and only require the feather that you use for the tail. Then a few winged nymph patterns, though I didn’t actually end up using those today.IMG_0080.JPGIt was a little chilly today, 48 degrees F and wind blowing about 7 mph. I set up on the little dock that people feed ducks from and immediately saw a school of bluegill beneath it. The water was clearer than usual so I tied on a white jig and caught a few little bluegil1201151426After quite a few bluegill this size they started to get a little antsy so I tipped the jigs with crappie bites. Being the cheap person I am I bought a can of Magic Bait Crappie Bites to try them out. This seemed to put the bluegill back on the bite and caught one fish after another.1201151436None of the fish were large, but they were all fun to catch and using small jigs is always a fun adventure. The picture below gives some scale to the average size fish I was catching.1201151430I have not tried using these for crappie yet, but for bluegill these crappie bites work just as well as any other crappie nibblers. The advantage of these is the ‘bites’ are a little smaller than Powerbait, so you lose less each time you lose one, have a very pungent smell and stay on a hook well. The disadvantage is the colors, they only come in 5 color options, however Powerbait has a large (possible overkill) color scheme of options. The price comparison of these is the real kicker: a large can of Magic Bait Crappie Bites only costs me $1.96, while a small can of Powerbait Crappie Nibbles costs $4.99. So as far as I’m concerned Magic Bait Crappie Bites has fairly earned my business and I will with out a doubt be purchasing their product again.