Monday, May 28, 2012

Bass Pro Shop: Kermy Frog Review


Kermy Frog:   Colors: 11     Length: 2 3/8"    Weight: 5/8oz   Pack Count: 1

Intro:

Like many anglers in both Canada and the US, the name Bass Pro Shop is synonamous with quality and selection when it comes to bass fishing gear and equipment. That being said, no company can hit a home run every time they step to the plate, and unfortunately the BPS has only mustered up a  a "fielder's choice single" when it comes to the Kermy Frog. 


Overall Rating: 6.1/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality: 3.0/5

quality is always looked at in a few different lights. There is the overall durability of the product, and then there is the quality of the finish, the hooks and the final product. The Kermy falls somewhere in the middle, with tuff skin and fairly strong hooks the Kermy is a durable frog that will take a beating on the water.. but when it comes to the finish, this frog does not quite deliver.

The paint job does not have that quality look or feel we have grown to expect from Live Target or Spro, and it looks almost unfinished or muted. The legs are extremely long though the material does not seem to hold up as well as that used on other hollow body frogs.

Sure, like most store brand products, this frog was probably made in the same factory or mould used by other hollow body suppliers, I just dont think it has been given all the bells an whistles that make those other frogs shine. It likes like it came down to finish vs price, and like with most store brand items price is the key

Castability: 3.5/5

No real complaints here, the Kermy is weighted well, and  has the same body profile as a Spro. It casts pretty well and you should have no issue with distance or accuracy


Presentation: 3.0/5

If you like your ladies with long slender legs then this is the frog for you. The Kermy really tops the market when it comes to strand length used for the legs. this may add more motion on the pause, but it really effects how well the frog walks, it seems to get tripped up on it's own legs and if you are not careful you may trip over them in the boat as well.


Body profile is fine, as stated many times (above) this frog looks and fishes like a Spro (other then the crazy long legs). If  you like to trim your hollow body frogs, then this is the frog for you, you can pick almost any length and get to cutting


Hook-Up Ratio: 3.0/5


Im not a fan of the body material the Kermy frog is made out of, It feels even firmer then a Spro frog body, and although that may be great for durability, it sucks for your hook-up ratio.



Availability: 2.5/5

I'm sitting on two sides of the fence when it comes to rating the Kermy Frog for it's availability. It is only available at the Bass Pro shop, but that being said.. IT IS AVAILABLE AT THE BASS PRO SHOP!, most major markets have a location, and those that don't still have access to the website. 

When all is said in done, I could not in good conscious give the Kermy any higher of a rating then 2.5, being only available by one retailer would often pull a rating of 2 or less, but being that the retailer is the BPS, I dont think it will be too hard to find.

Options & Price: 3.5/5

with 11 color options and a price point just under $6, the BPS has hit the sweet spot when it comes to Options and Price. Not many other hollow bodies out there offer this much selection at this price point.

Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.

Bass Pro Shop ($5.99)

If you are a fan of the Kermy frog there is also a kit available that includes 6 different colored frogs for only $24.99, that's a savings of about $10 (if you were to buy size separately)



Equipment:

Standard hollow body rules apply here, I personally fish the Kermy on a Dobyns 736c. It is a heavy duty frog meant to be fished in heavy duty cover.. so make sure you use the proper gear to get your
frog back when Largies attack.




Monday, May 21, 2012

Zoom Horny Toad Review

                      
Horny Toad:    Colors: 20     Size: 4.25"    Weight: 1/8oz   Pack Count: 5

Leg Style: Swim            Scent: N/A

Intro:

The Zoom horny toad is one of the most popular soft body frogs on the market today, they have been around for awhile now, yet never seem to go away. This is a go-to frog for many anglers, and I will admit I usually keep at least one pack with me while out on the water


Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality: 4.0/5

Zoom product quality speaks for itself, both the body and the legs of the Horny toad are highly durable and will hold up well for multiple fish. The body is well built and holds up to "hook abuse" when pulled over or around cover.

It has a great overall design and swims with the best of em'... more on that below




Castability: 4.0/5

The slender profile ensures that this frog casts accurately and like a bullet. it has a great round edge body that rolls over easily in the chance that the frog lands "ass up".

You can pretty much place this frog any where you want with ease. I think it is weighted just right and should give you no problems when casting... novice and pro anglers alike


Presentation: 4.0/5

This is a straight up swim frog, it moves extremely well in the water and offers up a soft churn that will draw fish in, without all that commotion caused by heavier buzz frogs. The wider body offers up a decent profile and the narrow legs rarely get caught up when crawling in and around cover.

I have no real complaints on the Horny toads performance. It has some great features including a  deep belly slot that ensures good hook placement so the frog runs true. 


Hook-Up Ratio: 4.0/5

As you will see at the very bottom of this post, there are some complaints from anglers in regards to the hook-up ration of this frog. These complaints are based solely on the thicker body that can get in the way when you set the hook. I have not experienced this issue, and find that although the body of the Horny toad is firm you can easily get good hook penetration.

If you are in the category of angler that has had issues with this frog, check the bottom of this article for a tip on how to alter the frog to improve your hook-up ratio

Availability: 4.5/5
As one of the longest serving soft plastic frogs on the market today the Horny Toad is a breeze to find. It is very common and can usually be found in big box stores and mom & pop shops alike. With 20 color options available don't expect to find them all, but on average I can usually find 5 or more in most retailers

Options & Price: 5/5
As mentioned above, there is no shortage of color options available. Like with most frogs I throw, I like to carry them in natural colors as well as darker (good profile) colors. "Tree Frog" (pictured above) is a personal fav, a great mix of high vis and natural colors.

coming in at an average price of $3.90 a pack, these frogs will cost you on average $0.78 a piece. If you purchase from LBF or TW you will be getting them for a steal at $0.69 a piece


Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.

Land Big Fish ($3.89)



The Hook-Up ($4.79)

You cannot buy directly from Zoom, but if you go to their site (found here) they do list a few options. If you notice the only shop on their list not included here is Simmons, I checked out the site and get a "page not found" message when looking for the horny toad.

Interesting note, LBF has 20 colors listed and shown on their site, but Zoom only shows 18, so Im not sure thats up, but due to selection alone I would check out LBF (it's worth the extra $0.40)

Equipment:

This frog excels on the Dobyns 735c, and I will also be fishing it on the DX744 this season. It moves well in the water, but needs support from the rod, so dont go using a pool cue.  Obviously the hook of choice is the Zoom Horny toad hook, it was made to be used with this frog and is a quality product.

For your line choices, you can get away with as low as 20lb braid if you are fishing this frog in open water area, but I still prefer to stick with the 30 or 40lb versions. Why go lower if you dont have to.

Tip: I have heard some guys complain about the density of the Horny toads body and that they have a hard time getting hooked up because there is too muck rubber in the way. One simple way to get around this is to cut a slit in the back end of the Horny Toad allowing your hook to sit comfortably between the legs of the frog instead of being pierced through the body. This ensures there is less plastic in the way when you set the hook. To keep the bait weedless and to make sure the hook stays put, you will still want to skin hook the point in the frogs back
I have played with this method a few times, and I like the results




Thursday, May 17, 2012

Site News & Changes




Well, as things start to roll around here, I though this was a good a time as any to make some slight changes to the blogs look, feel, layout and content.

The biggest changes have come in the area of product reviews, two new categories have been added, and you will shortly begin to see reviews on frog related products, such as Frog Hooks, and the best  lines for frog fishing. I have also started to add more product photos to each review in order to give you a very hands on feel.

I have been making some minor layout tweaks and have now included  a list of "Frog Friendly" blogs, so be sure to check them out for great content on bass fishing and more importantly frog fishing.

As always, I love the feedback, so if there are products you would like to see reviewed please let me know and I will be sure to add them to the list.

The season is not far off, and like you Im excited to get going.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Heddon Moss Boss Review


                      X0515:   Colors: 4    Size: 3"    Weight: 3/8oz     Hook: 6/0  
                      X0510:   Colors: 4    Size: 2.5"  Weight: 1/4oz    Hook: 4/0  


Intro:

As you can tell I like to throw you the odd curve ball every now and again. The "hard body" frog category is still something new, and a bit of a hodgepodge. So far it contains a top water walking bait and a crazy diving frog, so lets expand the category even further and add a spoon into the mix, yep thats right the Heddon Moss Boss is a frog bait.. well I guess you could say it is half a frog bait.. because if you cut a hollow body frog in half, you would be left with a softer version of the Moss Boss

Overall Rating: 6.8/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price


Quality: 3.5/5


There is no need to debate or argue the fact that Heddon makes a quality bait. They have been making lures since 1894 and although times have changes,  one thing that stayed the same is the fish catching ability of a Heddon made product.

the hard plastic body is very durable, it can be bounces on trees and rocks and still fish true. The hook is durable, sharp and stays in place well.
The baits skirt is fairly tuff and short enough that it does not get hung up on much, but still gives a little motion in the water





Castability: 3.0/5


I find this spoon casts fairly well in most conditions. Because of the body shape and concave back, it can get caught up in the wind and can kind of knuckle ball on you a bit. It has been know to land hook down and when it does your are pretty much screwed. 

Presentation: 3.5/5

Once you get the hang of working this the Heddon Moss Boss you will be very surprised at how well it moves in the water. It has a very erratic yet controlled motion that drives fish crazy. You do need to keep moving as this bait is not a floater and will start to sink on the pause.

sinking is not a bad thing overall, it is a spoon, and gives off a subtle flutter on the fall. When I pause it in pockets I dont let is sink very far prior to starting my retrieve back up. this gives is some flutter, but does not allow that 4/0 or 6/0 hook to get caught up on the pads or weeds

Hook-Up Ratio: 4.0/5

Fish really want this bait and hit it hard. The hook is fully exposed and you wont miss to often. This is a rare frog or top water bait that makes sure the hook is 100% ready to stick it to any fish willing to bite.

If you do miss a fish, watch your heavy hook set does not propel the Moss Boss back at  you, or you may find out all too quickly how good the hook quality really is


Availability: 3.5/5


I find that this is the reverse to most of the frogs I have been reviewing. For the most part you can get almost anything on line if you look for it, but the Moss Boss is not carried by all that many big on-line retailers.. that being said I can find it in almost every local tackle shop I set foot in.. when it comes to on-line stores, other then LBF and Cabelas, most of the others are small mom and pop shop retailers

Options & Price: 3.0/5


The Moss Boss is not exactly loaded with color options, it comes down to 4, but the good thing is that they do cover a nice range.. The White and Chartreuse cover the high vis options, a Bullfrog green covers the natural and the shiner gives you a nice dark option with lots of black. The Moss boss comes in two sizes, so check them out and see what works best in your lakes

Videos:

There are not many videos available for the Moss Boss, but I did find a nice video that really show how well the bait moves once you get you technique down. Check out how these guys work the bait


Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.

Lurenet ($3.99)

Cabela's ($4.49)

Land Big Fish ($4.69)

The Fish'n Hole ($4.79) *

Heddon does not sell direct, their website will take you to the Lurenet site, they have the best prices and a full selection of colors. I use LBF alot and usually recommend them when I can.
* This is a Canadian retailer that has both physical retail stores and an on-line store

Equipment:

This one Im a little on the fence with. I think I would have to recommend using a Dobyns 735c, I like a softer tip when working the Moss Boss, but since it is usually fished in the heaviest nastiest slop, I would also recommend giving the 736c a try. Like anything this comes down to personal preference.

Your line choice does need to be on the higher end of the spectrum, try going with a 50lb braid of your choice paired with a reel that has some muscle to it.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Deps Basiriski - Hard Belly Frog




  Basiriski Hard Belly 60:   Colors: 6     Length: 2.5"    Weight: 1/2oz   Pack Count: 1
Basiriski Hard Belly 70:   Colors: 6     Lenght: 3.0"    Weight: 3/4oz  Pack Count: 1



Intro:

When I did a short review of this frog last season on the BJFA blog, I explained that this was a frog I had ignored for awhile. It came down to how different it is from the standard hollow body frogs that Im use to, as well as the price tag. I got over both of those fears, and have since really fallen in love with the Basiriski.. is it my everyday go to frog.. No.. but it does excel in many situations and is a lot of fun to throw


Overall Rating: 7.2/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price


Quality: 4.5/5

lets face it, in many cases you get what you pay for, so when you are dropping $18 or more on a frog, you are expecting top quality.. and Deps delivers. The body of this bait has the perfect balance between durability and softness, if compresses easily but is very tuff. The Basiriski is equipped with a premium Owner hook and the belly has a solid plate that stands up to the abuse you will put it through while casting.

In my original review the only real concern I had was with the 3 piece hook system. This is still a concern, but I have yet to experience any problems or issues with the internal portion of the hard belly frog


Castability: 4.0/5

This frog is a casting machine, weighing in at 1/2oz and 3/4oz respectively you can launch this frog a mile, and not worry about the landing. The hard belly helps with two areas during the cast, one it keeps the frog up-right to ensure it lands true, and secondly it acts as a great aid if you want to skip the Basiriski under any cover.


Presentation: 4.5/5

I came really close to giving the Deps hard belly a 5/5 when it comes to presentation, and that is based solely on the fact that it does exactly what is has been advertised to do, and more. I love the fact that this hollow belly reacts differently on various types of retrieve, it can be slow crawled, burned, and even "pulled" back to the boat. It is nearly impossible to fish this frog wrong.

Personally I like to use a slow crawl combined with short pulls. This allows the frog to have a soft churn or wake in the water, and then short bursts that cause a great commotion. 

Hook-Up Ratio: 3.0/5

This is another area in which i had a hard time rating the frog. There are pro's and con's involved in the current design, so I'm going to share them with you, and you can decide if I'm being too critical.

lets do this leading with the good news, and that is that the body of this frog is very soft, and collapses easily. The hard plate on the belly of the frog is used to help propel or drive the hook home when a fish bites. The team at Deps believe a hard or firm bottom improves hook sets over standards hollow body frogs that are soft on both sides.. I see the science, but cant comment on if it helps, i just know it doesn't hurt.

now for the bad news.. the Basiriski hard belly frog has some pretty large appendages or legs on the tail end, as you have seen from my past reviews, I do believe the more you have on the back end of a frog the more chances there are for something to go wrong. You will miss fish, how many fish, thats the intangible. Second to the wide leg stance is the single hook. This is very rare in hollow body frogs and one less hook point obviously has to lower the score for a baits possible hook-up ratio

Availability: 3.0/5

Locally this frog was nearly impossible to find, I came across it by accident but was happy I did. On-line many of the big guys carry the Deps line, but if you are a hands on guy and like to check out a $20 frog before making a purchase, you are going to have a hard time finding one.


Options & Price: 2.5/5

With two sizes and 6 colors your choices are not to bad, but the price tag alone drove this rating down. As stated in my original review I bought my first Basirisky with a gift certificate i won at a tournament.. if I did not have that "found money" I dont know if I would have dropped the $20. Again I will state, "I'm glad I did" and I have bought more since, but this price will scare away many first time buyers

 
Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.


Tackle Warehouse ($18.99)

Land Big Fish ($18.99)

The Hook Up ($18.99)


Because there are two sizes there are also two price points. As always I will be listing the entry level price, in this case that means the prices listed are the for size 60 frog. On average you can expect to pay an extra $1 for the 70 series


Equipment:





In my original review of this frog I stated that I would be using my Dobyns DX795 while fishing a Deps hard belly frog, since that time I have changed my mind a bit. Yes this frogs is big and heavy, but due to the various presentation options, it can still be classed in the "finesse" frog category. So by downsizing to a Dobyns 736c you will retain the power and backbone you need and you will get a bit more tip to work the frog

Standard hollow body rules apply here, you will want to use 40lb + line, and a reel that can pull big fish from cover


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Strike King Rage Tail Toad Review


                                 Rage Toad:   Colors: 8    Size: 4"    Pack Count: 5  
                               Leg Style: Buzz          Scent: Coffee Scent

Intro:

It is hard for me to not let my emotions get in the way here, because if im being honest, I dont like this frog.. and I want to say "it's nothing personal" but It is personal.. personal preference. This is a quality bait, I just wish i liked to fish it                    


Overall Rating: 8.1/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality: 4.5/5

This bait is quality made from top to bottom, the body of the bait is solid and holds up well to the abuse taken while battling fish. The legs are thick and chunky and are probably the strongest of any fish in this category for frog.. it is a Rage product. 

The Rage tail toad is also heavily scented with the "coffee" scent that Strike King has started to use across the board in their soft plastic lines. I find the scent fairly subtle, but it seems to work. (earlier generations of this frog were anise scented, I believe)


Castability: 4.0/5

The short compact body of the Rage tail toad makes it a breeze to cast. With shorter legs that hold tight to the body of the frog you get little to no resistance when in the air. The dense body has the right amount of weight and supports both long and short casts

The Rage tail frog lands nice, it hits the water with a nice slap and sits upright and ready for an initial strike


Presentation: 4.0/5

I dont know if there is a better buzzing churning frog on the market today, those rage tail legs kick up a rooster tail that would make some Ranger boat owners jealous.

I do find that this bait is most successful on a medium/fast to fast retrieve, much slower and you will not get the desired effect those legs were created for. Other then the initial landing this frog is not much of a "pause" frog, to be successful you need to keep this guy moving

Hook-Up Ratio: 4.0/5

For a frog known for the commotion it causes, these frogs are not exactly beast size, and actually have a fairly short and narrow body. The only part that is large are the paddle legs, and these are easily collapsible and get out of the way of your hook.

I think you will find that most fish that strike the Rage Tail Toad will get all of it, fish seem to really inhale this bait, so hook-up ratio is not exactly a common issue

Availability: 4.5/5

It's a Strike King product, lets leave it at that, like Berkley and Live Target (nowadays) it can be found almost anywhere you look. Rage products are a fairly popular brand and the Rage Toad is at the top of the list. If you have a hard time finding this one, you need to move.

Options & Price: 3.5/5

Coming in at an average of $5.19 per pack or a $1.03 per bait, this frog is hitting the top of what many anglers like to pay for a bag of plastics. The perk the Rage Tail Toad has going for it is that is it more durable then many other frogs available so your money will go a long way.

Depending on where you look this product is listed as having 7 or 8 color options. My personal favorite is the Okeechobee Craw and the green pumpkin with a chartreuse belly




Videos:
Just some fun videos of the Rage tail toad in action
TackleWarehouse (ICAST 2009)


Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.

Cabela's ($5.99)


Land Big Fish ($4.99)

Bass Pro Shop ($4.79)


As mentioned above you will not have a hard time laying your hands on this frog, but If you like to buy on line, check out the above retailers. I would recommend LBF, as they have all 8 colors and a pretty decent price. Strike King does not sell direct to end used from their website


Equipment:

This is a heavy buzz/churn frog, so you need to pair it with a well matched rod. I previously talked about using the my Dobyns Dx744 with some of my soft plastic frogs this year...this is not one of those frogs, the Rage Tail Toad needs every bit of my Dobyns 735c to contain it's craziness, and I would not recommend going any lower.

When it comes to hooks, Strike King recommends either 4/0, 5/0 or 6/0. I tend to stay away from the 6/0 and mostly find myself use the 4/0 because it is my most common frog hook in my arsenal. I think the 5/0 hook may be the best fit of the 3, but if you don't own one, a 4/0 will do just fine.