Fishing Shakamak State Park

fishing Shakamak state park

Bass On A Scum Frog

Locating bass can sometimes prove to be a futile endeavor leaving one to wonder where did they all go? During one such outing, fishing at Shakamak State Park, I found myself searching shallow and deep, shade and sun, grass and rock, deadfalls and standing timber for any bass willing to take the bait. I had decided that the bass just were not in a feeding mood, but I was. So, I eased into a cove and pondered my predicament over a cold drink and turkey sandwich. I had searched every possible hiding spots in that lake and wondered what it would take to salvage the day after such a long trip to enjoy some of the great bass fishing Shakamak State Park has to offer.

My boat drifted deeper into the shallow cove and as I approached the shoreline I began to hear a sound I had not heard since I was a boy fishing farm ponds in Tennessee. Even though the sound brought on a wave of memories I had failed to benefit from them until that moment when I realized the bass were in the only cover I hadn’t explored. The scum!

I had the perfect bait for this presentation. I thought about those days long ago, fishing those scum covered ponds as I tied the appropriately named Scum Frog to my line. The sound that jogged my memory so vividly was the shlump sound of a bass attacking a frog as they landed on top of the thick scum along the shoreline. The scum provides a perfect ambush point as well as shade and cover for the bass.


I eased the boat in position and made my first cast with the Scum Frog and landed a nice 14 inch largemouth. It was a great feeling after fishing so long without a strike. I enjoyed several hours catching bass on the scum. The Scum frog is a perfect bait for this type of fishing. It is easy to cast with its weighted body but still easily rides on top of the scum and through thick weeds that grow in the shallows. The double frog hook tucks neatly into the body. This design allows you to throw into the thickest scum and weeds without hanging up or fouling the bait.

On this day I actually threw the scum frog into the grass on shore and eased it out. The bass were tucked tight against the shore beneath the scum. They were in only inches of water. The body of the scum frog is a very soft pliable plastic. It collapses when the bass strikes. This completely exposes the double hook for great hook-sets and fewer misses.

When scum frogging for bass cast your frog as close to shore as possible. Many times the strike will come when it hits the water, so be ready. However, many times you have to work the frog across the scum to get a strike. It’s amazing how well bass can detect the slightest movement. Sometimes a very small twitch is all that’s needed. Other times a more aggressive approach triggers more strikes.

Always pause your frog in the open water next to the scum. Many times a bass will follow your frog out to the open water before smashing it. Many times you see the bass moving underneath the scum following your frog. This can be hard on the nerves so keep your composure when the bass strikes and allow it to take the bait. If you are new to topwater bass fishing you will probably, like we all did, miss a few fish. If you set the hook too soon you can pull the bait from the bass’ mouth. This can be hard to do because when a bass erupts on your frog your reaction is to set the hook.


frogging for bassFrogging for bass, especially in the scum, requires some heavy tackle. A heavy action rod and 65 pound braid works great for pulling bass from the scum. The scum is thick. It often ends up on your line with the bass and a light rod or line just can’t handle the weight. When a small bass is tangled in the scum the fight can be less than spectacular. However, when you hook a good one the scum does little to hamper the fight as the bass frees itself from the scum and heads for deeper domains. The lakes at Shakamak are full of snags and it takes a heavy set-up to keep the bass from finding one.

The lakes at Shakamak is full of lay-downs and standing timber as well as grass. On this trip I found that the bass preferred the scum that covered these lay-downs. Or the scum that was located near this cover. Bass will cruise along under the cover of the scum in search of baitfish. Bass prefers deeper water and cover so they can move into it if danger approaches. The bigger bass came from the narrow stretches of thick scum that lined the deeper banks where the water underneath this scum was two to three feet. Most of the scum was in the shallow coves and that’s where most of the bass were caught. When I came across the occasional deep scum line there was nearly always a good bass lurking beneath.


Skakamak State Park provides great bass fishing with lots of different cover available for the bass. Pack a heavy weight rod and rig it with heavy braid. Get hooked on frogging for bass with the scum frog.

About Ken McBroom 307 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.