RIBIT! The Croakings Of A Budget Minded Angler
Some anglers wait all year for the sight of thick slop and vegetation. It gets your blood boiling, your pulse pounding. I admit it, I love fishing the lily pads and methodically dissecting thick patches of vegetation looking for that big bass bite. So charge me with being a frog angler, guilty as charged.
There are a lot of different frogs on the market today. As the summer season winds down, let me look back on my frogging in an attempt to help you wade through the mire of products. I chose four products and spent the summer testing them- the Teckel Sprinker Frog, The Lunkerhunt Lunker Frog, Mann’s Super Frog, and the Booyah Pad Crasher.
I started off my summer season with Teckel Lure’s Sprinker Frog. The Sprinker was
getting a lot of “buzz” on social media so I decided to give it a try. The design comes from famed Japanese lure maker and tournament angler, Hidecki Maeda. I definitely found that it incites aggressive blow-ups. It is a hollow-body that combines the topwater, weedless characteristics expected of a frog with the fish attracting splash of a prop-bait. Although it comes in a variety of colors, I chose to fish the white orange pattern which I find successful for Midwest bass. My method was to bounce it off the bank, burn it over the mossy slop, then pause it in the open spaces. Then I would close the retrieve with slow twitches to complete the return. There were a number of places along that retrieve that I got slammed, but it was particularly effective on the pause. One trick- I modified the tail to make even more noise while on the move.
Next in the lineup was the Booyah Pad Crasher and Pad Crasher Jr. According to my sources, Booyah’s topwater frog line has gained a loyal following with a lot of topwater enthusiasts. There are two models- the bigger body Pad Crasher and its little brother, the Pad Crasher Jr, which is about half the size. I found there to be some interesting differences.
Both the Pad Crasher and Pad Jr. are durable hollow body frogs with excellent hook sharpness. They have a small weighted insert in the belly to help with casting distance, and it allows them to sit a little lower in water. As expected, the large Pad Crasher made a bigger splash on impact compared to Jr. It also casted farther and pulled through the mossy vegetation easier. The Pad Jr’s asset is its versatility. Being smaller, I was able to cast it into tighter areas. Both frogs come in a variety of colors. For this test I chose Ole Smokey for the Pad Crasher and Bullfrog for Pad Jr. Based on blow-ups and hooksets, both Performed well.
When comparing the ability to drive a hookset, I have to say Pad Jr takes the prize. I had nine fish hit the smaller frog and I landed seven. The bigger frog produced 12 blow-ups but only three fish landed. Both frogs definitely triggered bites. In addition, my
observation was that the bigger frog produced bites from better quality fish while the smaller frog allowed the fish to suck in the bait allowing for an easier hookset. Clearly, when it comes to frogging, hooksets are the skill to develop.
Both frogs showed wear after 25 casts, with the smaller frog showing more than its bigger brother- more paint wear, skirt starting to rip, and it seemed to hold more water. The larger Pad Crasher still looked relatively new after the 25 cast test. The Booyah Pad crasher and Pad Jr. are two well designed topwater frogs. When used with the right gear, it was clear they both can produce fish.
My next Summer Slam was a head to head between Mann’s Super Frog and Lunkerhunt’s Lunker Frog. These two baits are ideal for the budget conscious angler so I was anxious to see which would come out on top. I tied on the Mann’s first as the white color really called to me. You may detect some consistency in my color choices.
This bait is designated “Super” for one reason, its super size. Throwing this big white chunk out there on the moss- with its weighted belly- produced a sloshing effect which created a nice wake and a fair amount of noise. The hooks were also bigger. This made it a little tricky when the little guys thought they had big guy appetites. As a result, there were a lot of blowups, but the hookset ratio was down, due in part to the shorts also liking this big bait. Overall quality was very good- just what you would expect from a long time bait company like Mann’s. Given the high blow-ups and quality fish attracting ability, I would definitely recommend putting some Super Frogs in your tackle box.
The Lunkerhunt cost a little more than the Mann’s, possibly due to its wild leg engineering. This frog actually simulates a frog’s leg action in open water- although this action was more sporadic in the grassy patches I happened to be fishing. Overall performance was pretty good, but what I really appreciated was the true match the
hatch design- second to none of the frogs I fished. The Lunker Frog apparently got its name for one reason- it seems to attract the big girls- a fact I had the opportunity to verify while using this frog. Sadly, I lost the biggest at the bank when it spit my frog back at me like it was a goodbye kiss. The plastic quality is good. I threw into some really heavy cover trying to work a small adjacent area of pads and the frog didn’t tear or blemish at all. My conclusion is that this is also a very good bait, and I was able to hook up a few shorts too. It also stacks up well with the other members of the Lunkerhunt frog family- the Prop Frog and Popping Frog. If you are an avid topwater enthusiast, you definitely need to add this to your frog box. My conclusion here was, with the exception of the price difference, too close to call and both a solid 9 out of 10.
All the frogs had a good level of effectiveness, and each was selected for the more
budget minded angler. There are some others I plan to try when funds are available- such as the award winning frogs from LiveTarget and Savage. Meanwhile, here are some tips I use that could enhance your frogging. First, I apply fish attractant to make your frogs a little more slick and allow them to skid across the surface. Second, in dense weeds or when fishing at night, consider removing the plug from the bottom of the frog and inserting rattles. These customizations, just like the tail modification on the Sprinker, could be just the differentiator you need to attract a big blow-up. I carry a small tube of super glue with me which I use to repair any wear and tear on my frogs while fishing. Finally, when choosing a color, I go with the traditional thinking, dark colors under sunny conditions to make a good silhouette, and light colors under cloudy or low light conditions for the same reason- proper contrast. After all this, I just make sure to #LiveThePassion!
Kevin Carwile is one of the up and coming anglers on the iBass360 team. Born in Indiana, he now resides in neighboring Illinois where he fine tunes his Midwest angling know-how. Kevin is pro-staff for Lawdog Lures and he has a definite expertise in bank fishing. Kevin is a frequent contributor to the iBass360 team for which we are grateful.