Hollow-bodied frogs are all the rage these days around Florida’s inland waterways. But fishing these lures is quite a bit different than fishing with soft plastic frogs or swimbaits, and it requires a bit more finesse and less of a “cast-out-reel-in” presentation. There’s an art form to hollow bodies and this proves especially true when comparing them to lures that do much of the work for you. The hollow bodies are designed to create a specific disturbance when properly presented. But when you get it down, you’ll find these lures to be irresistible to a variety of target species.
Hollow bodies come in an endless variety of patterns and sizes and the retrieval methods also vary greatly. While the standard procedure is cut-and-dried, the devil is in the details.
For most, the “rip-and-sit” method is by far the most productive way to fish them. This involves casting the lure into the grass, pads or on the bank and then slowly dropping them into the water. Immediately as they land, RIP them with two to five hard cranks to imitate a frog or other creature fleeing from a bird or other land animal. I then will pause and let it sit for a moment to give my target the desired time to locate its “prey.” After the pause, RIP it once or twice more, then pause again, for a shorter period of time, and continue to work the frog, ensuring that the trailing blades are producing an adequate bubble trail and creating an obvious disturbance on the surface.
Another tried-and-true method is to SLOWLY (almost painfully slowly) just twitch the lure out of the cover it’s in. This also triggers massive strikes. The recurring theme here, with these rigs being mostly weedless, is to pitch them on the bank then gently pull and plop them into the water. That’s the ticket for triggering the bite instinct from our targets.
As far as hook sets, it’s best to allow the fish to fully take the frog; while our instinct is to go full Bill Dance and set the hook hard immediately on the strike, you’ll get more hook ups with a quick pause. Think bobber fishing on the initial strike, a “1, 2, 3” count usually takes care of any short-strike situations that may lead to missed hooksets.
It’s worth noting that these baits do sometimes puncture from the hooks. This is due to the hooks purposefully resting against the frog body, which gives the lure its weedless nature. But the latex/rubber bodies crush easily and can sometimes come in contact with the hooks. With this in mind, it’s important to frequently check the lure for water in the body and for hook penetration. If the hook has punctured the frog, you can usually pop the hook out and the soft rubber will generally close the hole back up to some extent; however, some of my anglers like to use super glue or hollow-body mend glue available online.
Bottom line, effectively fishing these lures does take a little practice, but, with time and effort, you’ll get the hang of it. And, when you do, you will most definitely see your catch numbers go up.