Monday, July 27, 2015

V&M Cyclone Series Buzz Frog Review

Cyclone Seriers Buzz Frog :      Colours: 4   Size: 8 1/2"     Pack Count: 4     
             Leg Style: Buzz               Weight: 1oz


Intro:

The art of the buzz frog system is still being perfected. Most baits in this series are moderately successful but won't blow anyone away. This is the case with the VM Cyclone Series Buzz Frog, a soft plastic toad that on it's own is average at best, but strap on a buzz blade and the fish come running. 


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 & Durability: 3.5/5


This is the 4th buzz frog I have every purchased, it is only the second soft plastic toad version in my arsenal and in all honesty it does have some pro's and con's associated with it (more on that later). The baits overall construction is average, and the toad itself Im not a huge fan of, but it seems to work well when added to the buzz system. Obviously the weakest link here is the toad and unlike the Stanley ribbit version you don't get any extra bodies with this rig, so be prepared to dip into your soft plastic toad arsenal if you want to keep this bait fishing. 




Castability: 3.0/5

The buzz bait portion of this Cyclone causes some serious resistance in the air and you really need to put your back into it if you want to get that extra distance. The toad it fairly lightweight and even though the hook is belly weighted that's more for keeping the rig running properly then it is for added distance.


Presentation: 4.0/5

This has to be the area I'm happiest with when it comes to the Cyclones performance. I was not exactly sure what to expect, as mentioned numerous times I'm not a fan of the toad by itself but for some reason in buzz form it works. This baits swims very well behind the buzz blades and once your find the sweet spot (speed) you should be very happy with its double buzz performance (the blade and the feet).

The biggest issues in its presentation is the beads added to the buzz set-up, these collect debris on the retrace and will gunk-up up if not properly cleaned. This can and will become a pain in the ass if you don't stay on top of it.



Hook-Up Ratio: 3.5/5

The hook-up ratio of this bait if pretty decent, the body of the frog is soft and flexible making sure your can hammer the hook home each and every time. The overall hook quality does not blow me away, but it's decently sharp and shouldn't hurt you out on the water.



Availability & Price: 3.0/5

Not widely available The Cyclone can be found at a few of the big boys, but good luck finding one at most local shops. The Price is decent at $4.99 but unlike some of its competitors the Cyclone only comes with one frog body, this is not a huge issue as if you are like me you probably have dozens of soft plastic toads in your arsenal and should be able to concoct your own buzz frog creation.


Options: 3.5/5

One size and 4 colour options does not make for a crazy selection, but as mentioned above the main portion of this bait is the buzz blade and weighted hook that give you the ability to switch up your frogs body opting for a larger size, a different foot style and of course colour options. So all in all, its pretty damn versatile.



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


Bass Pro Shop ($5.79)

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Equipment:

I completed frog testing with a Dobyns 734c paired with a Daiwa Tatula.  This frequires a rod rated for spinnerbaits or buzz baits but still needs to beef to hammer away those crazy top water explosions. 



Monday, July 20, 2015

LunkerHunt Combat Frog


Combat Frog : Colors: 11  Length: 2 1/2"  Weight:  3/4  Pack Count: 1

Intro:

Long after the hype around the original Lunker Frog wore off I was still taking flack for my original review. Some believed I was too hard on the frog but many others believed I was too soft. The more I fished the Lunker Frog the more I would have to agree with those calling me soft. The all new Combat frog had my hopes up for improvements, but really all I saw were downgrades.


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 & Durability: 3.0/5

Some will still call this a soft rating as the legs of the Combat frog continue to be an issue, but in defence of LunkerHunt no one has perfected this yet, and the rest of this frog is designed with quality in mind. The body material is top notch as well as the hook quality.. but the legs, oh those legs

Castability: 3.0/5

The Combat frog is bigger and beefier then the original Lunker frog and although it still casts well, I found the landing to be more of an issue.. this fat boy belly flops instead of Olympic diving. Being that it is much larger profile it can and will get caught up in the wind causing the frog to spin or rotate in air. The Legs also do more harm then good when skipping. Not that its not possible, its just a bit of a bitch.




Presentation: 2.5/5

I absolutely hated fishing this frog, the large body and flailing legs made it damn near impossible to properly swim. Even if you slow it down and give the frog erratic jerks it won't walk but instead it usually gives a short dive. If I wasn't reviewing this frog I would have cut it off shortly after I started fishing it.

Hook-up Ratio: 3.0/5

I think I'm being generous by giving this frog a hook-up rating of 3.0/5. Sure the body is very soft and collapses easily, but there are a few flaws, including the possibility of the legs getting in your way, and even more of an issue is the hooks that have slightly been turned upwards to follow the frogs body shape. I have hear this feature discussed as a positive for improved hook-ups, but getting a fish hooked and keeping it hooked are two different things, and I believe the turned up hooks will effect how many of your hooked fish end up back in your boat.




Availability & Price: 3.5

Being a home grown Canadian company Lunkerhunt products are surprisingly easy to find on both sides of the border (that's what a couple ICAST awards will do for you). As for price the frog comes in under $10 at most retailers and to me that's fairly important.


Options: 3.5/5

The Combat frog is only available in size XL, as it is meant to be a larger bodied version of the original Lunkerfrog and even more so to their popular pocket frog. But if colour options are important to you then you will be happy to know that the Combat frog comes in 8 colours, 4 of which are camp variations. I do really like the color selection here and had a hard time choosing just one.



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

American Legacy $7.99

Bass Pro Shop $9.99


Equipment:

All  testing was done on a  Dobyns Champ 736c it is the gold standard of frog rods and handles all size hollow body frogs like a dream. As for reels, the Daiwa Tatual HD is a beast of a frog rod and pairs well with this rod and gives you a nice over sized spool for that added distance and power. Line choice was Daiwa J-Braid.





Field Test Report Card:

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

Walk the Dog: D-
Popping Action: N/A
Sit/Pause: C+



Monday, July 13, 2015

Sebile Action First Pivot Frog Review

Action First Pivot Frog: Colors: 8  Length: 2 1/2"  inch Weight:  N/A  Pack Count: 1

Intro:

One of the most anticipated frogs from last season this frog performed much better then expected during my testing and to my surprise the areas I though would be a concern were not.. and an area I expected the frog to excel was its short coming... read on


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

This frog is one tough son of bitch, if it was not equipped with the loose pivoting hook I would have no idea how you would be able to ever get the hookset on a fish. I was also surprised how well the pivot held up fish after fish not to mention banging the frog off timber (and the odd rock)

Castability: 4.0/5

With a dense highly aerodynamic body this frog casts very well, and skips even better. In windy conditions you will have to watch for it doing a alligator death roll in midair, but for the most times and conditions you should have no issue placing this frog wherever you want.




Presentation: 3.0/5

The "action first" in this frogs name is kind of a misnomer.  The Sebile Pivot frog does not walk as well or as easily as most frogs on the market today, and I wonder if it has to do with the rear waited hook that dangles between it's legs. I found you really have to slow down to work this frog and for the most part I opted to do a pulling motion vs the walking motion.

One question I know you want to ask is how well does this frog perform in thick slop or real messy water and the answer is "surprisingly well" I had to clean the frog off no more or less then I would have with any of my favourites.

Tip: the majority of my fish came on the pause, it was rare to get a strike while moving. but those fish that did bite, were pretty damn mad about it.

Hook-up Ratio: 2.5/5

This is where this frog lost a bit of steam for me. The single swinging/pivoting hook really didn't support the claims of a vastly improved hook-up ratio, and in all honestly it was actually inferior to many frogs I have tested. The biggest area of concern was downward striking fish.. I laid a fat goose egg on hooking any fish that hit this frog from above, and was only slightly better from violent strike from underneath.. really what Im saying is that for this bath to be successful I need a nice soft slurp instead of a blow-up.. and wheres the fun in that?


Availability & Price: 4.0

Seville products are pretty widely available in Canada and the Us, so you should have no concerns finding this frog at your local tackleshop or on-line. Price is also pretty awesome, in todays day and age most frogs come in close to $10 a piece so when you see a frog at $6 each, you can't really  complain


Options: 3.5/5

The Pivot frog is only available in one size, but 8 colour options. I actually had a hard time choosing from a colour and although I wish I hadn't gone with this particular colour there is defiantly somthing for everyone.





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

Sebile  $6.99

Land Big Fish $5.99



Equipment:

All  testing was done on a  Dobyns DX746 it is my go to rod and handles both hollow and soft plastic baits alike. As for reels, the Daiwa Tatual HD is a beast of a frog rod and pairs well with this rod and gives you a nice over sized spool for that added distance and power. Line choice was SunLIne FX2





Field Test Report Card:

Open Water (Sparse Pads): A
Pads (Medium Cover): A
Slop & Grass (Heavy Cover): B

Walk the Dog: B
Popping Action: N/A
Sit/Pause: B-




Monday, July 6, 2015

Daiwa D-Frog Review

D-Frog: Colors: 4  Length: 2 5/8"  inch Weight:  2/3oz  Pack Count: 1

Intro:

One of the rarest frogs Ive reviewed to-date the D-Frog by Daiwa was requested by a reader. I'm not sure why this frog is not more widely available as it fishes extremely well and is built like truck. Como Daiwa get this frog into North America


Overall Rating: 7.3/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price


Quality & Durability: 4.5/5

The body of the D-frog is made of a soft pliable plastic and is equipped with an air chamber that is that is sealed air tight.This frog is nearly unsinkable and in all honesty it is so tight its almost a fault. (it takes forever to fill back up with air).

The hooks are strong and sharp and mold well to the frogs body. The D-Frog has a somewhat strange body shape that can take a little getting use to but after a few casts you will be able to walk the dog or even force it into a popping stance (even though it is not equipped with a mouth)


Castability: 4.0/5

The D-Frog gets decent distance but its light weight balloon of a body does need you to put a little extra muscle in each cast. The best casting feature of this frog is how always (yes always) rolls over onto it's belly. I was blown away by how quickly and easily the D-frog gets into fighting position once it hits the water.




Presentation: 4.0/5

There are two pros and one con to the D-Frog when it comes to presentation. On the pro side it walks the dog well, but better at low speeds or twitches. If you start to speed it up the D-Frog almost begins to pop, even without a mouth it moves water well and gives you an unexpected popping action.

The con here is that the body is too tight, anytime you put pressure on it, it collapses but takes minuted to return to form.. and thats time wasted.

Hook-up Ratio: 3.5/5

The D-Frog provides you with a slightly better then average hook-up ratio. The hoots are sharp, strong and well positioned. The only thing preventing this frog from getting a higher rating is the fact that the body stays collapsed after a strike, thus if you miss the fish on the initial blow-up you don't often get a second chance as the now exposed hooks collect debris on the lake.


Availability: 2.5

This is going to hurt the D-Frogs overall score, with the frog not being available in North America your only real chance at landing one is on E-bay which can come with a hefty shipping charge



Options & Price: 3.0/5

Only available in one size and 4 colours the D-Frog isn't exactly blowing you away with options.But the color selection is good and should have something for everyone. As for price, this is where it gets tricky, the only place I could find the frog was on Ebay which means the price will vary, but you can expect to pay between $12-$16 after shipping





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

Ebay (???)



Equipment:

All  testing was done on a  Dobyns DX746 it is my go to rod and handles both hollow and soft plastic baits alike. As for reels, the Daiwa Tatula HD pairs well with this rod and gives you a nice over sized spool for that added distance and power. Line choice was SunLIne FX2





Field Test Report Card:

Open Water (Sparse Pads): B
Pads (Medium Cover): A
Slop & Grass (Heavy Cover): B

Walk the Dog: B
Popping Action: N/A
Sit/Pause: B