Frog Fishing - It's Not Your Father's Topwater Any More
It's getting friggin' froggy on the water lately. Well-known grass fisheries like Lake Guntersville in Alabama, the Potomac River or the California Delta are frog fishing meccas but it doesn't end there. Frog fishing is a worldwide craze in bass fishing today. Not just in the USA, Canada and Mexico but anglers in all corners of the world, France, Italy, Spain, Latvia or anywhere there's a knotted tangle of lily pads, water chestnuts, tall reeds, or emergent weed beds, floating frogs and waking surface baits are all the rage today. Several of the best examples of these lure designs stem from Japan.
Compared to your more traditional topwater poppers and stickbaits used to walk the dog, the new breed of frogs and wakebaits are new styles of lures not seen before. They're not your father's topwater any more.
Say Howdy to the Basirisky
The frog legs of the deps Basirisky below are a prime example of one such radical new design. The frog legs look more like the flukes on a pirate ship anchor. What they do is make the frog waddle side-to-side without any rod action required by the angler. Most all other hollow frogs require some skilled rod action on the part of the angler. Not the Basirisky. The advantage of the Basirisky's built-in action is significant. With some of the very first Basirisky to get into US anglers hands not long ago, major tournaments were won by fishermen who had never fished a frog before. Due to the well-thought design, no prior experience nor frog expertise was required by first-timers who beat fleets of tough tournament anglers with the Basirisky. Needless to say, anyone who's been beaten by a Basirisky probably owns one now.
Although made for the Potomac, the bubblegum color Basirisky (shown above) should work well worldwide wherever bass and grass abound. Deps custom-made this bubblegum color based on requests from anglers who fish the Potomac River and the Upper Chesapeake Bay headwaters. These grass-filled waters are a hotbed and testbed of the very latest frog lures from Japan, such as the deps Basirisky.
With success comes a price. The modern frog baits are pricey. but win a tournament with one, and you may feel they're well worth it, eh? Such expensive yet productive grass-fishing topwater lures have come to the forefront in major tournament fishing competitions on the hard-fished Potomac River. The highly-competitive chartered guide services there also rely on the modern frog lures to produce big catches for and equally big tips from well-to-do clients from nearby major cities.
Dep-end on deps Buzzjets
The newer high-end frog lures include not only the deps Basirisky (2 sizes). The Basirisky was just the forerunner of this new generation.
Next came the deps Buzzjets (2 sizes). It wakes and shakes across the surface of grass beds too. It's an odd amalgamation of a crankbait lip, a propbait tail and a half frog / half porkchop body that looks like it shouldn't work. But it does. Big time.
The deps Buzzjet Jr. above breaks away from traditional lure body shapes. It has a crankbait lip, a propbait tail and a chunky frog-shaped body.
Just kidding around, but it isn't too far-fetched to say the big deps Buzzjet 96 (above) has a body shaped like a ham hock.
Enter the Optimums
Next of kin to emerge in terms of modern grass frogs and wake baits were Optimum's Furbit frogs (2 models) which were introduced in July, 2006. The Furbit won the US tackle trade industry's award for best new soft bait of the year.
One of the latest frogs to hop over here from Japan, Optimum's Furbit the Frog (above) has rabbit fur strips for legs and a spinner blade for vibration and flash.
This mouse-colored hollow rubber Optimum Poppin' Furbit above is a new, non-traditional popper than can go through thick grass where no popper has gone before.
Get Ready to Roumba! Ima-gine That
So new it's not released yet is a frog-shaped surface wakebait from Japan. It is named Roumba after pro angler Fred Roumbanis who was instrumental in its design.
An exciting departure from traditional topwater shapes, the Ima Roumba above is so new, it has not been released yet. It's availability is slated for late 2007. The Ima Roumba is shown above (top) with the deps Buzzjet Jr. (bottom). Both are about the same size. Both are topwater wakebaits. Both are high quality products. However they feature their own unique actions.
A surface wakebait, one great way to use the Roumba is to hold your rod tip high so yoor Roumba can't possibly dive under water. When the Roumba gets near floating grass clumps, the rod can be lifted to pull the Roumba onto its side or back, so it throws its hooks on top until it's skated over the grass clump. Once over without grabbing the grass, the retrieve can be resumed. There's a knack to pulling this maneuver, yet it isn't difficult. Astute buzzbait anglers also have a similar knack of pulling a buzzbait over a grass clump in order not to foul the buzzbait propeller or the hook.
However, other more traditional topwater lures like poppers, propbaits or stickbaits used to walk the dog can't really go through grass. As great as older, traditional shapes are in open water, they get stuck in grass. Their hooks are designed to hang down where they'll usually grab grass every time they contact a clump. This illustrates the subtle kinds of differences between older generation topwaters like poppers and cigar-shaped Spook or Sammy styles above versus the newer generation of topwater baits. That's not to say one topwater generation is better than the other because they both have their respective uses, either in open water or in grass. Lures like the three shown above are absolutely as good as they get, just not in heavy grass is all.
The ima Roumba is shown for size comparison with the Super Spook Jr.
Interested? Well, why not try a Basirisky or Buzzjet, Furbit the Frog or Poppin' Furbit? Or maybe try an Ima Roumba which will be out soon.
Try one and you'll see, they're not your father's topwaters any more.