Monday, June 16, 2014

Top Shelf Croaker Review

Croaker:      Colours: 10   Size: 4"     Pack Count:  3     
                            Leg Style: Buzz            Scent: N/A


Top Shelf baits may not be on many anglers radars, they are currently not widely available (In Canada or the US), and upon a quick glance they could be considered a tad on the expensive side of things.. That being said they are one of the toughest built buzz frogs on the market today and will last fish after fish, after fish

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 & Durability: 4.5/5

These babies are tough from toes to nose. The dense rubber/plastic body is what gives the croaker it's great buzz, and it also ensures durability. This fort has been often imitated but the knock-offs currently available are not made with the same quality as the Croaker itself.  

Castability: 4.0/5

The Croaker casts and or skips very well. It has a thin/flat aerodynamic body that makes it easy to work in almost all conditions. You will need to be quick on the uptake as it sinks fairly quickly once it hits the water and takes some effort to get it back on top and buzzing

Presentation: 3.5/5

The legs and feet on the Croaker give it a very different presentation then most buzz frogs. On the retrieve it has the look of a scared women running away from a zombie in a B horror movie (picture a women running and screaming with her arms waving frantically int he air)... Note that this is not a bad thing. Instead of kicking behind the frog the legs on the Kroaker kick out to the side and give it a softer churn or buzz then most buzz frogs.

When Paused the Croaker sinks well (though fast) giving off a nice frog profile to any fish paying attention.. actually the majority of my fish on the Kroaker came while the frog sank.

One concern I did have is that I felt I had to really burn this frog back to the boat in order to get the presentation I was looking for. Even a fairly steady retrieve found this frog turning into a wake bait and it swam just below the waters surface.. watch your rod tip, and keep it high if want to to keep the Kroaker up and running

Hook-Up Ratio: 3.5/5

There are some pro's an con's associated with the strength of the material used to build the top shelf Croaker.. pro's are obvious: durability and a strong buzz/churn given off on the retrieve. The main con would have to be how a thicker denser body can and will get in the way of your hook set. Top Shelf does tries to off-set this by giving the back of the croaker a deep well removing the need to bury the hook point, this does help, but as always, the more plastic the  more chances you have of loosing a fish

Availability: 3.0/5

Im fairly surprised how hard it is to get your hands on Top Shelf Products. They are quality made and more importantly they work.. that being said there is limited purchase options for the on-line shopper.. tackle warehouse is probably your best bet since they carry all colours and they have the best price per pack.

If you live in the US I have included a list of tackle shops that carry Top Shelf, check it out below

Options & Price: 3.0/5

The baits themselves come 3 to a pack and on average they will cost your $5.99 a pack or $1.99 a frog, If your thinking "ouch" your right. If you were to ask Top Shelf about it, I think they would quickly counter with a statement to the fact that their product lasts twice as long as most other baits on the market.. and although that may be true, $1.99 a bait is hard to swallow

On the positive side there are 10 colour options currently available, most if not all colors are two toned and pretty cool looking.

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


I completed all my Croaker testing with a Dobyns 735c paired with a Daiwa T3 Ballistic reel. This combo gives me the power and speed to pull fish out of cover quick, but also the ability to skip this frog into tight corners and under trees. The croaker was designed to be used with a 5/0 screw lock hook like the Zoon horny toad hook

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