[Article and Photography by Ted Fauceglia]
No doubt, pursuing trout in cold, clear streams and rivers is the singular focus of most dedicated fly fishers, yours truly included. However, in my home waters, as the trout season stretches into the summer months, the water levels recede and the temperatures rise to a point that literally puts trout in harm’s way. For me and other local fly fishers, this is the beginning of bass season. And while fly rodding for smallmouth bass gets most of my attention, an occasional trip to one of several local country ponds offers the unique opportunity to hook hefty largemouths on topwater patterns—specifically frog patterns.
Deer Hair Pond Frog
HOOK: TMC 8089, size 2.
THREAD: Olive Danville Flat Waxed Nylon.
WEED GUARD: 30-pound-test monofilament.
TAIL: Two pairs of dyed-yellow grizzly saddle hackle, splayed.
COLLAR: Dyed-yellow grizzly hackle.
BODY: Green deer body hair stacked and trimmed over white and yellow deer hair.
LEGS: Two pairs each of olive and yellow round
EYES: Glued doll eyes.
As is the case with dragonflies and damselflies, where there’s a pond, you’ll likely also find frogs. Most frogs typically measure three to four inches long and are commonly a brown-olive or light-olive mottled color. In the water, frogs hide in and along weedbeds, where they ambush insects and find protection from predatory birds and fish. But bass are aggressive carnivores, and if there’s a frog in sight, they’ll generally take it.
Frog patterns vary from the simple to the sublime and are made of both synthetics and natural materials that gurgle, pop, or wiggle. I use deer hair for most of my topwater patterns simply because I like the availability of colors, and I enjoy tying them. But catching fish using such large topwater patterns requires beefed-up equipment because the patterns are big and usually move a lot of water when stripped.
Seven- and 8-weight rods matched with weight-forward lines and stout leaders are standard. Additionally, accurately casting a water-soaked topwater pattern to a targeted spot in or along pond structure may take some backyard practice.