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Froggin' the Slop - Embrace the Scum of Summer and Catch Big Bass In Dense Vegetation

Froggin' the Slop - Embrace the Scum of Summer and Catch Big Bass In Dense Vegetation

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Published by Alfonso K. Ajello
Published Article exploring tactics and methods for bass fishing in dense vegetation.
Published Article exploring tactics and methods for bass fishing in dense vegetation.

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Published by: Alfonso K. Ajello on Jan 23, 2013
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02/01/2013

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Froggin’
 
the
Slop
Embracethe scumof summer and catchbig bassin densevegetation.
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BY ALFONSO K. AJELLO
n my way, passed a man and hs son.watched the lttle boy pull n a sunny that wasso small it would fit in a fish bowl.Finally, Igot to the spot I wanted to target and had it allto myse.e entre area was weee overygreensh-brown scumthatextended bank to bank. I notced a an pattern across the scum. Iwondered if somebody had beat me to the spot,were mne rom the day beore.took my first cast,straght out to the mddleof the giant mat of scum. I retrieved my Scumro, hoinitast the occasional floatinfast-food container, soda can, spring water bottle and abandoned bobber. I made my secondcast to the let, parallel to the shore, across theface of some shrubs and an over-hanging tree.y lure landed about 6 yards away from wherethe guy was fishng wth hs son.I took one turno the reel and WHAM! Somethng took myrog and went berserk n the knee-deep scum!Whatever it was, it was big, but the size of thefish was masked by the globs o vegetaton, Ibacked away rom the bank to keep pressureon the fish. At tmes durng the fight, I.nallylanded t,all Icouldsee was a mass o vnes andblack mud – and then I sawthe op o the tal. hen nall cked
 
thh th tat
 
d slt, andlted the bass up, I was seechless.I dnthave a scale or aruler, but the guy whowas shng wth hssonstood n amazement. hats between and pounds, h.The huge mouth was filled with blbsof weeds. I did my best to measurethe length o the fish aganst myfishng rod. The ather took a pcturewith his cell phone, but then complined thathe wasn’t sure if his phone was workin. Thelittle boy asked me if he could kee the fish.I explaned that ths was a “bg breder” and
must 
be released. o ths day, when I backto that spot, I look for that guy, hoping that hefigured out his phone and could e-mailme that picture.
Introduction toScum
I’m lucky enough to have a coupleof ponds within minutes of my 9-to- job – I call them my lunchtme ponds. Though tdoesn’t sound lke much, that 40 mnutes spentby the water on my lunch hour is valuable tome. I use t to experment wth d-erent tactcs, try out new lures,hone my sklls, take a deepbreath, relax a lttle, and mantan my santy ongorgeous summer days when I’d rather be fish-ng than behind a computer .One of the ponds Ifrequent sits below a residential community ina par wt a soccer e, an as eary as pr,theertlzer runocauses prolc weedgrowth and unettered algae blooms.I noticed that as my lunchtime fishing hole----,other fishermen dsappeared, cursng n rustra-ton and leavng n dsgust as ther spnners,crankbaits and spoons all came up draped inreen. B mid-June I had the entire lace to m-self. Rather than give up, I continued pitchingmy wacky-rgged Senko worms nto any patcho open water I could find. As I dragged my batover the solid islands of bubbling scum, I wassurprised by perky bass that would swipe at mylure,sometmes ust beore I pulled t out o thewater. I began to experment wth the wacky-rgged Senko, draggng t over the thck carpetsof vegetation. Bass were coming through thescum and attackng t, many tmes grabbngthe bat and tearng t rght o the hook. I was
 
o ow- o e rogs
These plastic frogs are virtually snagless. Theycast well, and work well in very heavy cover.
ishing was picking up at my lunchtime pond. I had caught two  – write home about ,anything I caught during my lunch hour wasa bonus. I was anxious to see if I could make it three good days in a row.
Original Scum Frogoppers veTarget FrogSproBronzeyerogrue-TungstenMad Maxx
 ..... .  ,,,
 
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On The Water
age 5
drawng strkes, but or the most part, I waslosng bats and not catchng anythng butweeds. I surmised that the Senko was ustnot sutable or these condtons.ater that sprng, a rend returned roma vacaton n Florda and presented mewth a souvenr – a pack o sx black-and-whte Zoom Horny Toads. I must havelooked at t as t was a bag o tny alens.Do you like them? Will you use them?”my friend asked.“Um, yea yea yea,” I answered. I umpedon the computer and, as I oten do, checkedthe customer reviews of the product onthe website of a couple of the nation’smost popular sportng goods stores or an nstant educaton. As t turns out, myfriend had presented me the perfect baitor my scummy lunchtme pond.peced together the advce I came acrossin the customer reviews, but I couldn’t waituntil lunchtime the next day. I headed outth my Horny Toads beore work the nextmornng to a local weeded-over fishnghole. To my surprise, the toads actuallyorked much better than I expected. Bassust launched themselves at the bats – ex-plosve top-water strkes – what could bebetter? A whole new tactc I never knewexsted was opened up to me, and a struc-ure that I had once ound ntmdatng anddiscouraging was now welcomed.
Structure
As bass fishermen we become accustomedo looking for structure, fallen trees, boul-ders, weed lines, drop-offs and more. Oneo the thngs I had to learn was to unlearnmy notons as to where bass hang out whendense carpets of scum are present.henever I try to figure out the rddle oa new fishng spot, my thought process goesunderwater. I wonder what the fish mightbe experiencing. Think of high noon on ablsterng summer day. Instnctvely, I looko get out o the sun, to stand under a treehere I’m in the shade and cool. Bass dohe same. But, the underwater world is veryerent than what I’m experencng as Ifish rom the shore. I see a body o water baking in the sun, but when a body of water s overcome by scum, t s as there s agant umbrella hoverng over the bass’shabitat, creating what I call “all day dusk”n the underwater envronment. At tmeslke mdday, when t s brght and sunnyand oppressvely hot, when you expectbass to be hdden n deep, cooler water or languishing in traditional shady spots,they are nstead, I beleve, qute actve nthe cool dark world, under the “scumumbrella.”I keep ths n mnd as I ap-proach a body o water that hasscummed over, whether n ullor partially. Once, during aweek-long fishing trip to BlackLake n Upstate New York – where Ifished every wakng moment – basswere more active in the early morn-ngs or evenings, leaving shadedareas and venturng out to eed.hereore, we targeted tradtonalstructure with traditional baits. Asthe sun got hgh n the sky and theday heated up, fishng at the tradtonalstructures slowed, and we had successtargeting the largely overlookedscummed-over corners and coves.In act, vrtually the entre oodchain seemed to concentrate inthese areas during the hottest parto the day.I lken the world o a bass nheavy muck to Joe Frazier in the14
th
round o the hrlla n anla,a gruelng boxng match, both men push-ng each other to their physical limits.By the 1
th
, Al had blnded Frazer.Joe was unable to see hs opponent,all he could do was sense that Alwas n the vcnty. He ollowed theshadows, lstenng to the ootsteps andvbratons on the canvas, tryng to dscernhs targets rom cheerng ans and ash-ng camera bulbs. He’d take a stab nthe dark, throw a haymaker at wherehe sensed Al’s aw mght be, hopngto connect. Ths s how I pcture anopportunistic largemouth bass huntinga frog bait that is being dragged across adense matt o scum. The bass s stalkng acreature that is not in the water, but abovet. Therefore, I imagine that under thesecrcumstances, the bass s partally blnded,unable to rely on all o the sensory tools twould normally utilize for hunting.
Scummy Lures
Snce I obtaned my first bag o ZoomHorny Toads, I have watched the number of slop baits dramatically increase. In fact,there are so many out there now that t sdficult to keep track. Bascally the batthat you will have success with will dependon the type of vegetation and slop that youare fishng. I have come across a varety oaquatc vegetaton, rom “snot grass” wtha jelly-like consistency, to a fine green hair that stcks to everythng, to the tentacle-lkehydrlla and mlol. Even more mportantthan the vegetation type is how it relatesto the surface and the availability of openwater. How “dry” are the weeds – do theweeds oat on top o the water’s surace, or are they partially submerged? Do the weedsgo wall to wall, or does thescum appear more like islandsin open water? Is the scum mixedn wth leay vegetaton such as lles owater chestnuts, and are the lilies as big asdinner plates or as small as quarters?As you address the conditions and selecta bat, keep n mnd that bass are opportu-nistic feeders that will strike at anythingthat they suspect might be food. Therefore,when you choose a bat, you should selectthe one that s easest or the bass to detectand locate. At the same time, you must usethe scum as your ally and pick a lure thatlooks the most le-lke n the condtons.
Hollow-Bodied Frogs
A hollow-bodied frog consists of a hollowplastc body ashoned to look lke a rog,mouse or brd, rgged on a double hook na way that makes it virtually snagless. Thekey to these bats s ther buoyancy, whchhelps them cruse over the surace o mostobstacles they encounter.Hollow-bodied frogs usually have tasselsrather than eet, but some o them ncludepaddle eet. Out o the package, the tasselsare a bit long, so you may want to trim
uzz rogs
These baits come unrigged, so you willalso need some weedless hooks.
Zoom Horny ToadStrike King Rage TailYUM BuzzFrogStanley Ribbit FrogZ-Man PopFrogz
Scum Froggin’ Rods
For fishing frog baits in dense veg- etation, you’ll want a heavy-power,fast-action rod to keep the bait on the surface, get a solid hookset, and drag the bass out of the muck.
• Shimano Crucial Bass Casting Frog• Daiwa Light and Tough Frog Rod• St. Croix Mojo Bass Slop-N-Frog• Quantum EXO EXC747XF
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