From time to time I get asked the the question made famous by Brad Pitt in the movie Seven.. "What's in the Box!" so before we officially kick off the 2017 review year, I though I would give you a peak into my standard everyday frog box, and maybe, just maybe a little insight into why each frog made the cut.
Gene Larew 3-Legged Toad
The the 3-Legged toad is the only soft plastic toad to make the final frog box cut. Its the ultimate "all situations" frog that offers up a soft churn perfect for early morning and the evening bite.
The body of the frog is made of a nearly marshmallow like foam that floats, and hold up fairly well fish after fish. The third leg works to add to the frogs wake, but also prolongs the frogs life, as even when the bait looses that one inevitable limb, it still has two more to fish with.
This is one of the first frogs I reviewed on the Frog Pond back in 2012 and it is still in my box today.
When to Use: Medium to Sparse cover when trying to cover water quickly. Great to bounce over cover and fish around submerged timber.
Teckel USA - Choker
The Gene Larew 3-Legged Toad may be the longest standing member of my Frog Box, but on the other end of the spectrum the Teckel USA Choker is one of if not thee newest!
The Choker saw some serious time on the water last season and even went a 3 week period as the only frog I tied on. The Choker offers up the classic profile made famous by the Reaction Innovation Swamp Donkey with one major improvement.. flashing for legs. This common fly tying material works incredibly well on the back of a frog, they fan out easily and offer up some crazy flash and shine as they spread out on the pause.
The body of the frog is soft yet durable and it moves well on or around pads and other structure. This is my everyday frog and is a good bet to the my opening day starter.
When to Use: This is an all around frog that can be used in heavy cover to open water. I vary the retrieve to help identify what the fish are looking for on any given day.
SnagProof - GuntersVille Frog
Sometimes less is more, and when I'm reaching for a frog to crash the pads, the Guntersville frog from Snag Proof is at the top of the list. This compact yet beefy frog has rattles for legs and was built to "sit"more then it was built to "swim". So if you are planing to fish medium to sparse cover this may not be the frog to you, but, when fishing a thick mess of pads or slop this frog will call the fish in and make sure it gets noticed and more importantly EATEN!.
Best fished slowly with slight pulls or an intermittent retrieve the Guntersville frog fills a void that not many other frogs can. The only real downfall to this bait is that its easy to loose a rattle. Even more so if you are prone to bouncing it over the various structures you can run into in shallow pad filled water... This reminds me, I need to buy another one.
When to Use: Heavy Cover Period! slow pulls over and around pads.
SPRO - Bronzeye Shad
You can't call it a Frog Box if it doesn't have at least one SPRO frog inside (google it if your dont believe me)... or in this case a SPRO Shad? The Bronzeye Shad offers a great profile, with even better dance moves. Its horse like tails give some sway to the back end and helps this frog/shad walk in and out of tight situations. For a longer bait it really does have some great moves and I often tie one on when fishing sparser cover or even open water (though I tend to throw a popping frog in open water situations)
When the pads start to choke out the water I usually put this guy away. It does not sit well on pads and kinda flops from side to side.
When to Use: Sparse cover to Open Water, when a stealth presentation is called for. Can be used to cover water quickly or times when cover is spread out and your working long distances between.
SnagProof - Popping Phattie
I've fished this frog so long it use to have another name! Remember when these were the Ish Poppin Phatties? well sometimes sponsorships change but one thing is for certain, if Ish still isn't fishing this frog he is seriously missing out!
I actually carry the classic Phat Frog (see below) as well as the Popping Phattie in the #1 Frog box, but of the two the popping phattie sees way more time on the water. It is a great all around frog that fishes best in open water to sparse cover conditions where I can fully take advantage of its popping ability. Not a proper fan? thats ok, slow down and the popping Phattie can also be walked, which is a big plus as it avoids switching back and forth as the conditions and structure changes.
I don't throw a lot of popping frogs, but its important to carry at least one in your box for the times when you really need to let the fish know your there... ring that dinner bell.
When to Use: Sparse cover to Open Water, when a louder presentation is called for. This could also be considered a crossover frog, ease up on the retrieve to walk and no pop this popping frog. Saves your time and line when not having to retie.
SnagProof - Phat Frog
The Phat Frog is definitely a special teams player, and usually only gets the nod to play when the area I'm fishing is loaded with slop!. Its unique body design moves well over the nastiest of slop and rarely if ever comes back with salad. Unlike some of the other "all around" frogs in my box, this one was really designed to fish any situation. It just so happens that it ain't pretty, so it often get the dirty jobs, but hey someone has to do it! This frog has all the same perks as the above Popping Phattie so i won't go into great detail here, just use it!
Slop calls for a nice flat bottomed bait that won't catch or roll as it moves, this is that frog!
When to Use: Heavy to Medium cover and slop!
Deps - Slither K
Although some situations call for noise, other call for stealth, that's where the Deps Slither K comes into the mix. This frog is a high end low profile version of a scum frog, it can be cast (quietly) into any hole or target, and its fur tail will drive the fish crazy even on a prolonged pause.
Don't get me wrong, this bait looks sexy when killed, but moves even better when twitched. I work the Slither K one of two ways depending on the bite. First is a fast erratic walk, with the bait coming slowly to the boat but moving rapidly back and forth. The second is slow twitches, walking the frog home an inch at a time. The fur tail does a lot of the work for you here, so let it!
The Slither K is one of two bite size frogs I carry at all times. I find them best utilized in medium sparse cover or when working the edges. Cast them 1-2 feet in and work it along the edge, I guarantee there will be a bass following.
When to Use: Medium to Sparse Cover and Edges, slower presentation. The ultimate pocket jumper, be sure to let this frog sit in every pocket and let the fish get a look at it.
EverGreen - Kicker Frog
This little guy often finds himself playing second fiddle to the Deps Slither K, they both get used in similar situations but the Slither K takes more patience then I have on some days, so enter the Kicker frog.
EverGreen makes a nice bite sized frog with a seriously sharp single hook. This frog is always swallowed whole and that hook never seems to miss on the hookset. You don't need to work the Kicker frog as much or as slowly,as the Slither K but I often use it to fish the edges of the pads or sparser pockets. This frog is well built and has a very soft flexible body and has held up season after season and fish after fish.
I have a feeling this frog may get bumped from the front lines in the coming seasons, but for now I like to have a variety of sizes available and the Kicker frog suits me just fine. Also being that its an import and $$$$ I like to get my moneys worth.
When to Use: Medium to Sparse Cover and Edges, faster presentation. I use this frog when smaller profiles are needed but also when speed is my friend.
Tru Tungsten - Mad Maxx
Some will consider this a cheat, as the True Tungsten Mad Maxx frog has been discontinued for years . But I loaded up on them prior to TT going under and I'm glad I did. The Mad Maxx frog takes what SPRO started and ups the game, if has a similar body profile and angry look, but the body material is lighter and collapses as quickly and easily as a scum frog.
I call this my "confidence frog" if I'm going through a stretch with limited to no blow-ups or worse if Ive missed repeated fish I will often tie the Mad Maxx on to boost my confidence.
I don't often push replicas but since TruTungsten is no more, I don't feel as bad sending you to the Castaic Boyd Bucket frog or the Blitz Frog both of these frogs use the same mold and if not the same, a nearly identical body material. I own one of each and I just close my eyes and pretend they are Mad Maxx's.
When to Use: This is an All Situations frog that can be used in medium/heavy to sparse cover. It will not see much time in heavy cover or open water due to is light weight frame. These frogs work well when walked and paused in a more continuous retrieve.
Terminator - Walking FrogWith one season under its belt the Terminator Walking frog will start 2017 in the main frog box, but it may see some time in triple-A as some of the newer frogs start to make an appearance. The Terminator Walking frog has a unique body that is built to fish and be seen in any type of situation. It's larger bulkier frame makes it sit well on pads, while its narrower ass-end gives it a nice look when paused over pockets. It also lives up to its name, and walks like a champ over and around cover and even in open water.
I wish I was able to give the Walking frog more time on the water, its nothing personal against the frog as it has been one of my favourite newcomers these past few years, it all comes down to preference and for me the bulkier body and size are not what I'm normally looking for in a frog and I often reach for less hearty frogs.
When to Use: This is an all situations frog that does its best work in heavy to sparse cover. Like the Slither K this is a "pocket-jumper" a frog that I try to place and pause in each and every pocket in a given pad section.
Frog Pond Review: 9.2
There you have it, the secret is out, as an angler that has tried and tested nearly 130 frogs over the past 5 seasons, these 10 are the ones I trust day in and day out when I'm on the water. So, whats in your box!