Photo by Phoenix Moore
APRIL 27, 2021 • DAVE LANDAHL • BASS PRO TOUR Keeping it simple is becoming more difficult by the day with many fishing techniques, thanks to an ever-expanding palette of options and advancements in rod, reels, electronics, etc. But Daiwa pro Ish Monroe’s favorite technique harkens back to when fishing was simple and uncomplicated: frogging.
“The whole key to frog fishing is keeping it simple,” Monroe says. “Don’t clutter things up and get too complicated. It’s a simple technique for catching fish when other techniques fail.”
“It’s all about picking the right shade and color at the right time,” Monroe advises. “I stick with three shades: dark, light, and a bluegill pattern. When I’m going to a new body of water, I’ll have a black frog, white frog, and if it’s postspawn, a bluegill pattern tied on. That’s it, very simple. Don’t complicate things.”
On bright, sunny days – especially in the middle of the day or when fishing very clean, clear water – Monroe hones in on brighter colors. If the water is dark, it’s a dark, overcast day, or you’re fishing first thing in the morning or later toward the evening, Monroe points to darker colors: black, brown, or blue. The bluegill pattern is for postspawn, matching the hatch when bass are guarding fry.
Where, When and How
Monroe doesn’t reserve the frog for just fishing dense grass mats. It’s much more versatile than many anglers think.
“I use a frog quite a bit in water that isn’t grassy,” Monroe admits. “I throw it in open water when bass are on beds, or when they’re under overhanging trees, and the only lure you can get in there is a frog. Just picture mangroves, that type of overhanging stuff.
Monroe suggests starting your frog retrieve with a basic “walk-the-frog” method and then letting the bass dictate what they want. There’s no perfect retrieve in his opinion; it varies based on the mood of the fish on any given day.
As far as the best time of day, Monroe isn’t too picky.
“I don’t think the time of day is important when it comes to frog fishing,” he says. “It’ll work all day. I’ve actually caught some of my biggest bass from between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.”
Monroe’s Frog Gear
Monroe uses two rod and reel setups for frogging, one for open water and one for thick grass. His open-water and grass rod and reel are the same: a 7-foot 4-inch Ish Monroe Signature Daiwa Tatula Rod paired with either a 7.1 or a 7.3:1 Tatula SV reel.
The reels are loaded with 55-pound Daiwa Samurai braid for open water and 70-pound braid when fishing grass mats. If you only have one frog rod, Monroe suggests using 65-pound braid to fish both open water and grass.
“The reason I use my frog rod is the action,” Monroe says. “It has a little softer tip to be able to be accurate and work the frog, but extra heavy action to really set the hook and get them out. Speaking of the hookset, when the frog disappears, set the hook and wind them in. There’s no playing around.”
Ish Monroe: 29-12 (7)
Photo by Josh Gassmann - Tacking 29-12 onto his 34 –8 on the first day, Monroe finished the round in fifth place and will advance to the Knockout Round. His weight today was the day’s fourth-best and he did the same thing both days.
“I’m flipping bushes in extremely shallow water,” Monroe said. “The first day, it seemed to be the hardwoods and today, the shadier stuff was better. Even though this lake is at full pool, there still isn’t much in the water, so I am hitting everything in front of me.”
He credited a Missile Baits D Bomb in Super Bug rigged on a 5/0 River2Sea “Ish Monroe” New Jack Flippin’ hook with a 1/4- to 5/8-ounce tungsten weight. Monroe is fishing it on his signature series 8′ heavy Daiwa Tatula Elite flipping rod paired with a 7.1:1 Daiwa Tatula Elite Pitch/Flip reel spooled with 55-pound Daiwa Samurai braided line.
When Ish Monroe started Qualifying Day 2 with the rest of Group A on Tuesday, he knew he had some ground to make up if he was going to make the cut and move on to the Knockout Round of the Toro Stage One Presented by Power-Pole. He started the day very low on SCORETRACKER® after only catching one scorable bass for 2 pounds, 7 ounces during his first day on Sam Rayburn.
But Monroe turned things around on Qualifying Day 2 and made some big moves up SCORETRACKER®, catching a total of 28 pounds, including two 5-pounders, and ended the round in ninth place. Now, Monroe is moving on to the Knockout Round on Thursday, where the 19 pros from Group A will meet the 19 pros from Group B to battle it out for a Top-8 spot in the Championship Round.