Thomas Harden is an impressive angler with consistent tournament bass fishing results. One of his favorite bodies of water to fish is the Potomac River. So we decided to talk to Thomas about using frogs for Potomac River largemouth bass. He covers his methods for success when frog fishing on the Potomac.
Reading through your tournament accomplishments, one of the places that you have had consistently impressive finishes is the Potomac River. What about the Potomac suits your fishing style and abilities so well?
I have been fishing the Potomac River since 2004. It fits my style because I like big bass baits such as Rat-L-Traps, Jigs, and Frogs. I enjoy shallow water power fishing.
One bait that I know you love to throw on the Potomac River is a frog. What is it about fishing frogs for Potomac River largemouth bass that gets you excited?
What gets me excited about the frog bite is that it is visual and you catch big ones on it. I remember fishing tournaments in 100 degree heat fishing pressured areas with a frog, only getting 6 to 8 bites a day, but the ones you get are the ones that get you paid.
How early in the season will you start using frogs for Potomac River largemouth bass?
The spawn is the earliest for me but the conditions have to be right. You need clean water, around here the spring rain can muddy the water like it did this year on the Potomac.
If you find one on a bed shallow the frog may get her mad enough to bite. It is not always that they are on a frog bite, you are just trying to make them mad.
Do you need clear water for using frogs for Potomac River largemouth bass?
I definitely want as clear of water I can get. With some areas on the river the hydrilla will make the water crystal clear and that is fine because the fish will be in the heavy cover. I want at least 6 inches of clarity, but I have a buzzbait buzz frog by Snag Proof for dirty water if that counts. Most people would probably go to a buzzbait in that situation, I use both.
If it is summer and hot, I can throw topwater all day no problem. I have confidence in a frog during the summer, if the water is clean. When fun fishing a frog is what I will throw most, I just love the topwater explosions.
How does your frog fishing adjust for the tides of the Potomac?
High tide you can fish right up on the bank. They can be in the same area as low tide, but they just might not bite as good because they move around a lot more and there is more water over their head.
My favorite tide is low tide because it brings the fish to the edge of pads and grass beds and they setup to ambush bait. Just easier to target them. They have less distance to travel to get the easy topwater meal, so they are more likely to bite.
I can catch them on both tides because like on any tidal river there are low tide spots and high tide spots.
What brands and models of frogs for Potomac River largemouth bass do you prefer throwing?
I Pro-staff with Snag Proof Lures. So those are the frogs I use, but years before I sent them my resume I used their frogs. It took me a couple years to get on the team, but that didn’t stop me. I just kept sending my resume every year. I don’t try to team up with companies of products I don’t use because it doesn’t do either party any good. I don’t do it to wear someone else’s logo, I do it because I already use their products and I can help promote their product.
I use a lot of the others, but the features on these 2 make them my favorite. I like Snag Proof because they offer a lot of different colors to help you match the hatch and these frog are the most durable on the market. I can catch a ton of fish on them.
Your frog box on Instagram has a number of different colors. How much does color play a part in your frog selection?
I try to match the hatch or use reaction strike bright colors. Black and white get the call for most people, but I tie on usually three colors so I can work an area with different colors to try and get more bites. Sometimes you find something the big ones will finally react to.
The other day I was fishing a frog and catching nice fish, then I switch to a mouse and caught my biggest of the day. You never know when a slight change in presentation will get that bigger bite. One example on the Potomac River where matching the hatch might get you more bites, is in the creeks using the Snag Proof Chartreuse Moss Master which resembles the tree frogs. Top secret picture on Instagram soon…LOL!
What is your setup for fishing frogs for Potomac River largemouth bass?
I use a 7′ KLX Heavy Kistler rod, LEW’S Custom Pro 7.5:1 reel, and 65 pound Hi-seas braid.
I like a 7′ rod because I can make long cast on main river grass beds and I can still make accurate cast around pads in the creeks. It needs to be heavy so you don’t lose fish in the heavy cover, if you have ever fished in the jungle you know what I’m talking about. This is just a good all around frog rod.
I use the 7.5:1 LEW’S Custom Pro, because they only make the 8.3:1 in right hand, because it allows me to pick up line quick when they bite so I can drive home the hook.
I use 65 pound braid because it allows me not to worry about breaking off a 5 pounder in a thick grass mats or losing them when they wrap around pad steams. You can put all your weight into them when you use heavy line. I play to land fish, not just getting them to bite.
Overall, what are 5 pieces of advice do you have for anglers fishing frogs for Potomac River largemouth bass?
Advice to catch and land more fish.
#1 – Use good equipment such as a stiff enough rod, reel with enough drag, and braided line to get them to the boat.
#2 – Bring different size, color, and styles of frogs, buzz, popping, and regular.
#3 – Be patient. Set the hook when you feel the fish, not when you see the blow up. I see this a lot on my boat. I’m still guilty somedays.
#4 – Fish the frog on both tides, use noisy frogs when the water is high.
#5 Keep the fish up and over the grass mats or pads, totally different from what were are accustom to in bass fishing. But you need to keep them out of the heavy cover where they will shake you off. Don’t get your heart broken!
What is in store in 2018 for ThomasHardenFishing.com and your YouTube channel?
On the ThomasHardenFishing.com official website I have started putting local monthly Potomac River fishing reports from what I have been doing on the water. I use to do this years ago and have started again. I will be posting more gear reviews, fishing 101 video, tournament video, etc. on YouTube.
Awesome information. Thank you Thomas for taking the time to provide such great detail for us and sharing the photos. Will also be following on Instagram @thomashardenfishing.