On The Water
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.
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
round o the hrlla n anla,a gruelng boxng match, both men push-ng each other to their physical limits.By the 1
, 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.
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 or water 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.
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
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
Everything you need for a day of great bass fishing –
a quiet private lake
no large boats
no jet skis
Where the bass call home.