Cheese Mat Froggin’

Matted vegetation is the shaded food court of the bass fishing world. When grasses like milfoil and coontail top out, the overlaying canopy covers hollow caverns where bass can rest in cozy lounges and eat when they feel like it. Throughout the summer and into fall, a thick, yellow-green algae forms over the mats and increases the food chain appeal. Known as “cheese” to anglers, this slime coating holds thousands of insects, which attract bluegill. Big bass love eating bluegill, so mats with heavy panfish activity will almost always offer incredible bass fishing opportunities.

Punching the mats with a beaver-style bait on a Mustad Grip Pin Flippin’ Hook will deliver bites, but your best option for covering water to find active fish is casting a topwater frog like the LIVETARGET HOLLOW BODY FROG. Start with long casts deep into the cheese mats and work your frog all the way to the edge. Note where you see boils and bumps, along with actual bites, and you’ll dial in the “zone” for targeted casts.

So prevalent is this panfish feeding that anglers will literally listen to a mat before fishing it. A silent mat offers minimal potential, but whenever you hear the telltale smacks, pops and slurps of feeding bluegill, you know you’re in the right area. When choosing your spots, consider that the bass could be anywhere, but they’re most likely going to cluster in and around specific sections of a grass mat. Points and cuts are high percentage areas, while holes and breaks within a mat indicate solid cover — logs or rocks — that will attract bass.

On the topside of the mat, look for frog tracks — signs of recent activity, especially with “blow-up” holes where a fish blasted a frog — real or artificial — and left a clear disturbance in the surface cover. If that spot was attractive enough to hold a bass, it will eventually reload with more, so pass your frog through the area.

While sunny days find the fish tucking deep into the shadow realm, cloudy skies often prompt them to roam the perimeter. This is a great time to throw a LIVETARGET HOLLOW BODY FROG POPPER or the new LIVETARGET ULTIMATE FROG. The latter features a body molded from ABS plastic, highly elastic and durable TPE legs and a well-positioned Mustad single hook that ensures consistent connections. The ULTIMATE FROG’s unique design allows it to sit like a living frog at rest, with its eyes just above the surface, its body tipped at a 45-degree angle, and its legs contracted beneath its body.

Twitch or tug the ULTIMATE FROG and the body dips beneath the surface as its legs fully extend like a live frog swimming for safety. Pause momentarily and the lure’s legs pull back to the body, as the realistic-looking eye breaks the surface. Repeat this cadence for an incredibly realistic amphibian ruse.


Mustad has led the global hook market since 1877. Mustad’s mission is to create a comprehensive multi-brand company that leads the fishing tackle industry while focusing on innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, and sustainability. With the addition of TUF-Line and LIVETARGET, Mustad continues to solidify its position as a complete sports fishing brand family.