Surface grass isn’t usually the type of cover you’d expect to fish on a river with the kind of current the Broad River has, but some areas have plenty of it. These are usually shallow pockets of water near the shoreline with deeper water cutting down the middle of the river channel. Smallmouth love to hide out under and around those surface weeds.
You can’t go wrong with hollow-body frogs in these spots, and some anglers will bring one rod just for them. It takes a heavy action rod with strong line to pull fish from these weeds, and even though you may only use that rod in one or two sections while on a trip on the Broad, bringing it along is well worth it.
While many manufacturers make them, Richie Boykin uses LIVETARGET’s hollow-body frog around these weeds, and he also uses their hollow-body mouse, which he said is just as realistic in appearance.
“I hook a higher percentage of fish with the LIVETARGET hollow-body lures,” he said. “They are super-soft, so the body crushes easily, which makes for better penetration by the hooks, which are super sharp and I think positioned at a better angle than most other frogs. The mouse is great, too, and I’ll often have two heavier rods with me. I’ll have the frog on one and the mouse on the other, and I’ll alternate every few casts. Or if I have a fish blow up on one but miss, I’ll immediately cast the other one out. I’ve caught a lot of smallmouth here with that method.”
Boykin uses a 7-foot-6, heavy-action Abu Garcia Veritas rod with a high-speed Abu Garcia Revo baitcaster loaded with 60-pound braided line tied directly to his lure. His No. 1 tip for anglers fishing with hollow-body lures? Don’t set the hook until you feel the fish.
“It’s tempting to set it when you see or hear the fish hit it, but if you wait until you feel the fish moving the frog, you’ll catch far more,” he said. “When you set the hook, you have to set it hard. I mean really hard, then reel as fast as you can to get the fish out of that slop. That’s what the high-speed reel is for, and that’s what the 60-pound braided line is for.”