Monday, May 26, 2014

El Grande Lures Sapo Frog Review

Sapo :      Colours: 3   Size: 4"     Pack Count:  5     
                            Leg Style: Buzz            Scent: N/A


As a member of the El Grande team I have been fishing with the Sapo frog for a few seasons now. There are many things I like about it, as well as a few things that keep it from being my everyday frog.. I'll put it all out on the table and you be the judge

Overall Rating: 7.0/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality & Durability: 4.0/5

If you have never fished a bait made by El Grande lures, you really should. They make quality baits, that hold up very well fish after fish. The Sapo has great durability while still being flexible and soft enough to impart good action upon the retrieve. It is a chunky bait, and is nice and thick from nose to toes, but does not fish as heavy as you would expect

Castability: 4.0/5

The Sapo's beefy profile makes it very easy to cast, and the flat bottom will allow you to skip it up under various structure. It is not as heavy as it looks and seems to walk that fine line of "just right" when it comes to it's overall weight

Presentation: 3.0/5

The leg profile of the Sapo frog gives it a real nice buzz, gurgle in the water. I like the action it imparts but at times I had a hard time finding the right pace and keeping the frog from spinning.

Im not sure it if is the pointed nose of the bait or how the hook slot lines up, but I found that I was making the bait roll on retrieve. It took a few casts to find just the right retrieve speed to keep the bait moving properly.

Hook-Up Ratio: 3.5/5

The Sapo Frog offers you an average hook-up ratio. The slot in the back holds the hook in place but still leaves it free enough to stick the fish even on a so/so hook set.

If you have been reading my reviews for any length of time now, you will know that I have to dock points from the Sapo due to the thick dense body material. Anytime you have this much plastic on a bait, it will hinder the odd hook-up.

Note: El Grande recommends using a 4/0 or 5/0 hook when fishing the Sapo, and I have to agree with them.

Availability: 3.0/5

Unless you are buying direct from El Grande Lures, then this bait can be hard to find. There are a few other retailers that carry it on-line, but they are small and since I know nothing about them I did not feel comfortable posting a link and sending you there.. buy direct

Options & Price: 3.5/5

The price point on the Sapo is good, you will find is for $3.99 for a 5-pack or $0.79 a bait. I do with they had more then 3 colour options as like with any bait I like a bit of choice

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

El Grande ($3.99)


The Dobyns 735c is the best rod for this frog, and will allow you to cast for distance and hook-up even when Sapo is out of sight. Take your time and learn how to properly fish this frog  you will be happy with your purchase

Monday, May 19, 2014

Berkley Gulp BatWing Frog Review (semi-retired)

BatWing (Gulp)   Semi-Retired 
 Colors: 4   Size: 4"   Style: Swim   Scent: Gulp  Pack Qty: 4


I know of at least one angler that was sad to see these frogs go, but that angler is not me. The Berkley BatWing GULP frog is an oddly designed frog that is super light weight with a flat belly and odd legs. It moves surprisingly well over pads, and fish seem to eat it.. I'm not sure what made Berkley think that a GULP frog was needed but they were very wrong

Overall Rating: 5.6/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality: 2.5/5

Berkley has been making quality baits for years, and when looking at the Gulp BatWing frog it is not so much the quality of the product as it is the quality of the presentation. The material used does not stand up well to the abuse a bait goes through when landing multiple fish, and of course being a GULP product there is also the chance of it drying out on you.. It is the same over simplified body design as the standard Bat-Wing and I'm kinda happy they are both now retired

Castability: 2.5/5

This is a very, very light weigh bait and it takes to getting use to when casting. The aerodynamic design works in it's favour but overall it can be a nightmare to cast in windy conditions or without setting your drag to loose. The flat bottom helps with skipping, but overall the GULP version of this frog is not fun to cast

Presentation: 2.5/5

There may be some that will argue with my review, but I found this Frog lacked presentation altogether. The legs give off a faint soft flutter but the body imparts little action and even less when paused.

The original BatWing frog is a much better pad frog then open water frog, but the stickiness of the Gulp version hinders it here as well.. If you put the BatWing through a bumpy ride it will flip on you, and good luck getting it to turn back over.

Hook-Up Ratio: 3.5/5

The thin body is one of the best things about the BatWing frog, it allows you to use standard and EWG hooks and still have room to slam the hook home. This is the one area in which the GULP version of the BatWing out performs the original version.

Availability: 2.5

Good luck finding a BatWing Gulp nowadays, your local shop may have a few packs laying around, and some smaller out "outlet" style retailers have some stock (limited options)

Options & Price: 2.5

It is hard to judge this product on it's current options since the base is all but discontinued. Most retailers that shill have stock have anywhere between 1-4 colours choices and the price ranges from full pop at $5.99 all the way down to $2.49.. which is still to much in my opinion 

Where to Find:
Anglers World On-Line ($4.99)


This is a light weight frog so you may want to put away those ultra beefy rods. I fish the BatWing with a Dobyns 735c and the 805CBRM. As with other light weight frogs the 805's extra length helps fling the frog over greater distances. You wont need much more then 40lb braid and could get away with lighter if you have casting difficulties.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Big Bite Baits Buzzing Warmouth Review

Buzzing Warmouth:      Colours: 8   Size: 4"     Pack Count:  4     
                            Leg Style: Buzz            Scent: N/A

Big Bite Baits continue in their attempt to expand frog fishing to the flipping and pitching market. First they introduced the Fighting frog (which i loved) and now they have the Buzzing Warmouth, a bait that is much better suited as a flipping bait, but since they insist on marketing it as a frog I was  obliged to  review it

Overall Rating: 6.6/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality & Durability: 4.0/5

The body and legs of the Buzzing Warmouth are tough and should hold up to multiple fish. I pretty was impressed with the leg action, even more so when flipping this bait rather then buzzing it. If you are an angler that likes to use screw in frog hooks I will warn you that the nose of this bait is a bit thinner then most and you may tear up some baits easier then if using a traditional hook.


Castability: 3.5/5

The Buzzing Warmouth is one of the flattest baits I have ever tied on which is one of the reasons it casts and skips like a dream. The only reasons would be its large profile, and the increased body weigh from the traditional warmouth.

Presentation: 3.0/5

This is another one of those baits that does a few things well, but none of those things are what I personally look for in a frog bait. To me, this is a wide body flipping bait with paddle legs instead of arms.. but since Big Bite baits already have a flipping bait that they call a frog (Fighting Frog) I'm not to sure what they were going for here.

Hook-Up Ratio: 3.0/5

Looking at how flat this bait is, you would think that it would give you a very high hook-up ratio, but I have to tell you that it has a lot of features that get in the way rather then help, things like a very wide body, long thick rubber/plastic legs as well as the fact that to keep this bait weedless you will want to bury the hook point in it's side, which is a tougher material then many other frogs on the market today. Sure a flatter bait may look like an anglers dream, but not this angler

I found the Warmouth to be an odd size for hook matching. You are going to want to use an EWG 3/0 or 4/0  hook. The 3/0 is a better fit, but I feel it can be kind of small for some frog fishing (and when flipping)

Availability: 3.5/5

The Buzzing Warmouth is pretty easy to find. I have come across it both locally as well as on various big and small on-line retailers, but if you can't find it, check out the below links

Options & Price: 3.0/5

The price point on this bait is fairly hefty at on average $5.50 for a 4-pack or over $1.35 a bait

The colour and size options won't really blow you away either. The Buzzing Warmouth is only available in one size (4") and 8 colours. I will admit the colors they do have are pretty sweet, but this baits performance does not justify the price

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

Big Bite Baits ($5.99)
Land Big Fish ($5.29)

Gander Mountain ($5.99)


The Buzzing Warmouth requires some dexterity and a good rod tip. It fishes fairly lite and the flat body can easily plane if you your not careful, so I fished this bait on both a Dobyns 735c and a 734c. If Flipping the bait feel free to go heavier.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

EverGreen Darter Frog Review

EverGreen Darter : Colors: Unknown   Length: 2.6 inch Weight: 1/2oz Pack Count: 1


Japanese imports are flooding the North American fishing market, and for good reason, they are high quality baits known for their fish catching ability. The Evergreen Darter frog meets both the above criteria and adds some deeper versatility to your frog arsenal.. deeper being the key word. The Darter frog  is the first frog in my collection that actually walks better under the water then above it.. but is that a good thing? that's your call

Overall Rating: 7.6/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality & Durability: 4.5/5

It there is one thing (other then price) that Evergreen is know for, its the quality and durability of their baits, and the Darter frog is no exception. Not only is it equipped with the quality components I have come to expect from Evergreen but it also has a thicker more durable body then the kicker frog I reviewed last season (HERE)

Castability: 4.0/5

Casting will not be an issues with this bigger, bulkier Evergreen frog. It has a nice long slender stature making for great castability. The 1/2 weight does not hurt this frog either.

I will caution against long casts when you first starting fishing the darter frog. Give is a short flip and check out it's action upon retrieve. You really should see this frogs action up close prior to working it long distance

Presentation: 4.0/5

I had a hard time ranking this frog's overall presentation. It is a darter frog, and the idea behind it is that it darted and slashes just beneath the waters surface.. and believe me, it does this very well.. But I don't want a frog to do this, and that is where my bias comes into play.

So if you are looking for a frog that will slip under the water during your retrieve and that will give you an erratic walk the dog (under water) action, then this frog will blow you mind. But.. if you are looking for a traditional frog to drag over mats or slop then this is not the frog your looking for

Hook-up Ratio: 4.5/5

Although not as impressed with the Darter frog as I was with the Kicker frog, it still has an above average hook-up ratio. The body material is soft but not as collapsible as many other high end frogs (though it would probably be more durable). The hooks are Sharpe and look to be quality, I had no issues hooking-up and staying hooked up

Availability: 3.0/5

I can't find this frog on the shelf of any of the bait/tackle shops in my region. But with some simple searches you will easily find one on-line. E-Bay is your best bet for pricing and selection, but check the shipping rates from the sell prior to making a purchase, that $11.99 frog may quickly become a $25.99 frog if your not careful

Options & Price: 3.0/5

There are some very cool color options available for the Darter frog, but as always the price of this import has brought the O&P rating down to a 3 out of 5. Many guys will find it hard to justify dropping $20 on this frog, and after fishing it, I personally would not spend that much on a second frog. Yes it meets all the same high standards of other Evergreen Japanese import frogs, but the action was just not for me.

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

E-Bay ($11.99 - 16.99)

Light weight and known more for action in open water then in heavy cover you can get away with fishing the Evergreen Darter on lighter gear. I started out using a Dobyns 736c but quickly dropped down to the 735c. This year I plan to give it a go on the all new DX746 a rod Im very excited about fishing in 2014. Daiwa Lexa 100 will get you buy with ease, great casting distance and still all the strength and drag of larger sized reels

Line of choice was Toray Finesse braid from Blackwater fishing line, it is a nice round braid with super thin diameter options

Field Test Report Card:

Open Water (Sparse Pads): A-
Pads (Medium Cover): C
Slop & Grass (Heavy Cover): D

Walk the Dog: B
Popping Action: B
Sit/Pause: B+