There are lots of new ideas in fishing, right? ICAST tries to prove that every year. But there are probably fewer new ideas than you think. I am an historian. I have the diploma to prove it. My love for history has carried over to our sport. The historians hypothesis is that new technology is nothing more than the technological extension of previously employed concepts. Given that topwater is one of the "go to" summer patterns, this post will extend that theory to hollow-bodied frogs. Who was first? I can tell you it wasn't Booyah, SPRO or any of the other usual suspects.
Let’s jump (pun intended) into the time machine and go back in angling history to when live frogs were used as baits for one basic reason- Bass love frogs! At that time, fishing was less a sport and more about feeding the family. Since frogs were common food for bass, and a lot easier to keep than baitfish, frogs were used for live bait and often times more than one fish would be caught using the same frog. Hooking them so as not to kill them or allow them to easily get free was a challenge that gave rise to the development of a harness that allowed the frog to swim
The trouble came when the frogs got into the vegetation. That led angling innovators to look for weedless solutions- an artificial frog that looked and felt lifelike, and was sufficiently buoyant to move through the slop. Oh yeah, and it had to catch fish. This brings us to 1895 and the Hastings Weedless Casting Frog- that’s 122 years ago- sorry, not a new idea.
The Weedless Casting Frog was introduced by the Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett Company
of Chicago and they employed a rubber molding process that was, at the time, new technology. Hastings frogs came in three sizes designed to catch bass, pike and musky. Each frog was hand-painted in the leopard frog pattern and fitted with hooks and a weed guard. As further evidence of there;s not much new under the sun, the packaging noted that if the frog filled with water, it should be expelled by squeezing.