Thursday, June 22, 2017

Strike King KVD Popping Perch Review

Popping Perch:   Colors: 10     Length: 5.5    Weight: 1/2oz   Pack Count: 1

Its been a few years since we have seen a frog introduced by Strike King, and although this version of the KVD frog has had a serious make-over (shhh... it thinks its a perch) it still has the one flaw that plagued its predecessor... it sinks.

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: 3.5/5

The KVD Perch has a tough rubbery body and tail that so far has held up well. The body material collapses easily without being weak and the 4/0 hooks are strong and sharp, not to mention well placed.

The main area of concern for me was that after a few casts I noticed the frog began to sink. Further testing on longer retrieves with aggressive popping I found that the KVD Perch wouldn't make it all the way back to the boat without sinking on the final few pauses. This is obviously an issue, and as mentioned above those that fished the original KVD Frog will be very familiar with this issue.
An interesting feature on this bait is the small hole below the eye (see above) Strike King says that this is an air vent helping the air escape the body during a strike, I got more use out of it a a blow hole helping remove the water that built up during the retrieve. To each his own. 

Castability: 3.5/5

Pleasantly surprised with how well this frog casts. You can easily get the distance you are looking for, and the bait gives up a nice slap when it lands (just right). It can also be skipped and or pitched, but if you plan on keeping this bait above water, keep it close.

Presentation: 3.5/5

Sinking aside I really loved how this bait performed on the water. Its a combination walking and popping that offers up the first (IMHO) truly wounded bait fish look when paused.

The popping action is loud and erratic, even on long casts I felt I could hear the bait pop followed by the splash made by the spit. Not interested in a popping frog? that's OK, this perch/frog can be walked well at medium to slow speeds or twitched in one spot (try this, you'll love it)

Finally the pause.. that weird looking tail that you have been staring at really does give the fish a different look. instead of spreading out like a traditional tail the Popping Perch's tail wavers while paused looking like a bait fish about to take its final breath.. Fair warning here, this look is performed better on the White Shadow or Shad Spawn version of the KVD Perch, so if you want to take full advantage of what this bait has to offer, go with one of those two models.

You are probably wondering why after spending all this time raving about the baits performance I only gave it a 3.5 on presentation.. did I mention it sinks? 

Hook-Up Ratio: 3.5/5

The KVD Perch offers up an average hook-set ratio, the reason for this is that that long flat tail can act like a matting over the hooks which can and will reduce your ability to get a solid hook-set. Further more a bait full of water is harder to compress again reducing your ability to drive the hooks home.

Innovation & Design: 4.0/5

I really like what Strike King was trying to do here, they changed up the traditional frog profile, its tail design and moved away from traditional tail/leg material. Imagine that a company trying to create something new frog the industry..huh, what a novel idea.

I really hope they are not done tweaking this bait, it seems the norm now a days for a company to release a standard frog only to follow it up a year later with a popping version.. lets hope Strike King bucks tradition and offers us a standard versions of this bait with the same tail but no popping mouth.

Availability, Options & Price: 4.0/5

Available in 10 Colors and 1 size the Popping Perch offers a little something for everyone. In hindsight I would have chosen a different color and still may pick up one of the white version to play around with the pause a bit more.

Watch your pricing, Land Big Fish offers this bait at $7.99 but it can be found as high as $9.99 at the Bass Pro Shop. Im guessing smaller retailers may also boost the price by a dollar or two once its on the shelves.

Situations for Success:

The key to being successful when fishing the KVD Popping Perch is to use a sporadic popping action with a prolonged pause. Move the bait around like a dying bait fish then pause to mimic those moments when an injured bait fish  is catching it breath. Sparse to medium cover is key, you can fish it in heavier situations but all this baits features are designed to be seen (and heard) so let it.

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

Bass Pro Shop ($9.99)

Cabela's ($8.79)


I tend to downsize my rod when using popping frogs and or perch. So in this instance I tested the Popping Perch on a Dobyns Sierra 735c with a Daiwa HD Tatula.

As with any hollow-body bait, this frog should be worked on 40lb-60lb braid line. 

Field Test Report Card:

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

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

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Castaic Boyd Duckett BD Frog Review

BD Frog:   Colors: 8     Length: 2.5"   Weight: 5/8oz   Pack Count: 1
BD Frog:   Colors: 8     Length: 3.0  Weight: 5/8oz   Pack Count: 1
I do my very best to be as unbiased as possible while reviewing each frog that I test, but when it comes to Castaic and Boyd Duckett, they are making it hard for me to be impartial.

It's one thing to flat out rip off your frogs design from another company (Tru Tungsten Mad Maxx) but its a whole other thing to go to great lengths to lie about the work and effort you put into designing the bait (see HERE). Make no mistake about it, Castaic purchased/stole/borrowed the mold used to make the Mad Maxx and Boyd Duckett put his name on it.. shame, shame.. Ok, lets review this thing

Overall Rating: 5.2/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality & Durability: 2.0/5

There was a lot of short cuts made in the build of this frog, the first is the skin/body material. It is crazy thin, which is usually a good thing, but the issue they ran into is that the material is so thin you can easily bury the hooks into the frog just by handling it.

The Rear weight system that also acts as a cap for the internal ball-bearing weights is poorly secured and fell off  both BD frogs that I purchased, (as you can see in my images). This leaves a gaping hole in the ass-end of the frog allowing the internal weights to spill out and allowing water to flow in. It's harder to walk a sinking frog,

Castability: 3.0/5

This is a pretty light frog, even lighter still when the external and internal weights come loose. It's nice and aerodynamic, so it has that going for it, but if you plan on using this as your everyday frog, its faults in quality will spill over into your ability to cast for distance consistently 

Presentation: 3.0/5

This frog walks well, you can thank Tru Tungsten (RIP) for designing a nicely shaped frog that walks and sits well in the water. Out of the package you will be happy with the ease of use and the BD frogs ability to walk. ( I knew I could find something positive to say)


Hook-Up Ratio: 4.0/5

The one and only redeeming quality on this frog is its impressive hook-up ratio. The nearly paper like skin collapses if you breath on it, and the hooks are well placed and sharp. If a fish gets this frog in it's mouth it will be hooked.

The concern I have here, is with the hooks burrowing themselves in the body of the frog, essentially making it a Nerf bait.. once this happens good luck landing a fish, and if you do it will be because the frog became ripped up and is now useless. Check your hooks between casts and after blow-ups or any time you bounce it off structure.

Innovation & Design: 0.0/5

If I'm at all going to try to put a positive spin on this frog, it is that when I first heard of its release I thought.."thank you!, some one is bringing back the Mad Maxx frog" Of course this took a dark turn when Castaic and Boyd decided to not save the Mad Maxx but in turn claim they have this all new frog that they designed. (poorly at that)

If I was being fully honest here, I might have given the BD frog negative marks in Innovation and Design as they actually removed features that made the Mad Maxx what it was. They reduced the body material quality, used cheaper more breakable components as well as removed the venting system that helped drain the Mad Maxx frog if and when it took on water..You can actually see the place where the vent hole should be, Castaic just didnt take the time to punch after the frog came out of the mold.. good job Castaic, you brought a frog back from the dead and proceeded to kill it again.

Availability, Options & Price: 3.5/5

For a hollow body frog this bait is priced well, this is the one area its not trying to be something its not. Combine this with 8 color options and 2 sizes, Castaic has a nice offering on a frog that could have been very good.

Situations for Success:

This is a tough one, in order to be successful with this bait your going to need to do a little prep work prior to hitting the water. First add some super glue to the external weight to ensure it stays put all day long. When on the water take extra time to inspect your frog after each cast, bump and blow-up to ensure the hooks are not embedded in the body.

This is an all around frog, so plan on fishing it in medium to medium/heavy cover. Its a bit to light for the heavy stuff and will spend more time in the air being bumped off the pads then it will in the fished mouth.

The BD frog is a walking frog and when not sinking it does walk well, so work in over areas in which the fish can get a good look at its erratic walking motion.

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

Castaic ($7.99)


Being a lighter weight frog I opted to fish the BD frog on my Dobyns Champion 735c, with a little more tip then the 736 series you will have greater control to place this bait exactly where you want it. As for reels I like the Daiwa Tatula HD for most frog fishing situations.

As with any hollow-body bait, this frog should be worked on 40lb-60lb braid line. 

Field Test Report Card:

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

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

For those interested, check out this video in which Boyd Duckett embarrasses himself by cover all the amazing things he and Castaic did while designing this frog.. you know the frog that was designed years earlier by Tru Tungsten