2 Topwater Fishing Secrets: Dingers vs Frogs?!

Topwater Fishing Secrets Dingers vs Frogs

Good morning brothers.

Today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret for packing light and fishing mucky water. Well, 2 secrets actually… let’s jump right in.

kayak fishing cheese factory muck dinger algae
Lookin’ pretty bassy under that cheese…

1. The “belly” of your topwater lure is more important than the “back.”

Do you know why this is? It’s because bass look up at your lure – not down. Check out this Vicious Pad Runner.

Vicious Fishing Pad Runner
Product Review: Vicious Fishing Pad Runner

Notice the back has a killer design. Dang! That’s SWEET! And as you work it over the muck and the pads… the bass are going to see… the white belly (if anything)…

That’s not bad, but it’s something to be mindful of when you are selecting your topwater. And sure, bass that see the frog at an angle might notice part of the top. If it rolls (not ideal) on the retrieve, they might be able to catch a glimpse… but for the most part if you go with a bait like this you’re simply throwing a white frog.

This Terminator Frog has some accent colors on top, but the entire body is black. Hence, you’re throwing a black frog.

This means you can probably minimize your frog box and focus on quality, not quantity.

2. In mucky water, the bass don’t care what your topwater looks like.

Say again?

If bass are set up below thick mucky algae, they don’t care what your bait looks like, because they can’t see it anyway. This is true when the water below the algae is clear, and even more true if the water is stained, tannic, or straight up pea soup.

They are reacting to the commotion – the movement – the easy meal.

Because of this, one of my favorite ways to target these bass is with a 4″ or 5″ Yum Dinger rigged weedless and weightless on a 3/0 or 4/0 EWG.

aj hauser midwest bass minimalist fishing muck bass largemouth
New honey hole with muck near shore, pea soup for water, and healthy bass.

Here is the gear I use when I’m rigging a Dinger on an EWG, including my mainline (braid floats) and my leader material (fluorocarbon line gets snagged up less than braid and is abrasion resistant).

Yum Dinger Gear (EWG)

As you can see, this is different than the gear that comes into play for throwing straight wacky worms around weeds or sparse cover. When I’m not fishing around muck, I’ll completely skip a weed guard on the hook to stay as invisible as possible, crisscross 2 o-rings to rig perpendicular to the bait which increases hookups, and go with a thinner fluoro with less memory:

Yum Dinger Gear (Wacky)

When you throw a Dinger topwater, it’s essentially a weightless Texas rig. Slow-sinking, yes, but not heavy enough to punch through the mats. However, when you reach the edge of the mat, pull it off and let it slowly sink for a second or two. Often times bass that are watching the movement above will gladly shoot out and smoke the slow-sinking stickbait as it drifts right in front of their face.

That is… if they haven’t already SMACKED it right through the thick of it!

Largemouth Bass Strikes a Topwater Stickbait thru Muck
Quick Trip: Topwater Dingers in the Muck

I keep a selection of both floating and sinking stickbaits in my Base Box for Fishing Muck, but it’s also important to remember as a Minimalist Fisherman our goal is to travel as light as possible. On kayak trips when we can only select a handful of baits, frogs take up a lot more room that stickbaits.

They’re also less versatile.


You can hit every depth with a stickbait, provided you have a few sinker & hook options.

bruiser bass in the muck illinois largemouth fishing
What is the Muck Base Box?

If you keep these tips in mind, you can pack less gear, and head into all sorts of areas with confidence.

Stickbaits work for bass in clear water.

Stickbaits work for bass in mucky water.

Stickbaits work for bass – period!

Top 4 Stickbaits for Largemouth Bass Not a Senko
Top 4 Stickbaits for Largemouth Bass (Not a Senko)

Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.

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