HAWG HACKS

four bass pros re­veal their se­cret short­cuts to mas­ter­ing the most tech­ni­cal tac­tics that score pres­sured large­mouths ev­ery­where

Field and Stream - - CONTENTS - By pete rob­bins

Master the tech­ni­cal skills that land pres­sured large­mouths in a flash with short­cuts from four vet­eran bass pros.

THE SCE­NARIO

When bass get un­der a canopy of mat­ted veg­e­ta­tion or in the thick pads, there are few tech­niques that can ef­fec­tively get through or over the salad and gen­er­ate strikes. A weed­less hol­low-body frog is one of them, and it can rep­re­sent all sorts of aquatic and ter­res­trial crea­tures—not just frogs and toads, but shad, bluegills, and ro­dents as well. Fail to know how to work a hol­low body, and you’ll be use­less around the veggies.

THE HACK

°Work on cast­ing and rod ma­nip­u­la­tion. Most of the time, frogging is done in heavy veg­e­ta­tion, but De­Foe says frogs are also deadly un­der over­hang­ing trees and docks. Learn to skip your faux am­phib­ian way up into those dark spa­ces and you have a lure that’s ca­pable of avoid­ing most hangups on un­seen ob­sta­cles. Even in mat­ted grass, where tar­gets abound, you’ll still want to care­fully as­sess cast­ing an­gles to make sure that you cross key am­bush points like ditches and holes at an an­gle that’ll force the fish to look up and still al­low you to ex­tract it. Ran­dom cast­ing scores fewer bites, while tar­get-ori­ented cast­ing di­als in a pat­tern.

De­Foe re­lies on three dif­fer­ent frogs: the Ter­mi­na­tor Walk­ing Frog, the Walk­ing Frog

Jr., and the Pop­ping Frog. All three will walk the dog, but the pop­per also gives him the op­por­tu­nity to chug and blow a lot of wa­ter to call fish from afar, while the Ju­nior of­fers up the most sub­tle ac­tion and the small­est pro­file. He says that di­al­ing in the cadence the fish pre­fer daily or even hourly is crit­i­cal. In many cases, it’s es­pe­cially im­por­tant to make the frogs sashay from side to side with­out a lot of for­ward move­ment. Proper cast­ing and proper walk­ing are eas­ier when you’re not us­ing a rod that’s a broom­stick. “If the rod’s too stiff, you can’t load it up to cast it well,” De­Foe says. “You also can’t im­part ac­tion into the bait with a stiff rod. If you learn to get enough slack in the line, you can make the frog turn around al­most back on it­self. That drives bass in­sane.”

THE GO-TO SETUP

Bass Pro Plat­inum 7'4" medium-heavy bait­cast­ing rod, Bass Pro Car­bon Lite reel (7.5:1), 50-pound-test Bass Pro Hy­per Braid

Crash Pad Get­ting a fro­geat­ing bass out of the lilies takes as much skill as trig­ger­ing the bite.

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