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Master Bait'r

Finesse Frogging... Going to change the game!

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I've been working on a theory lately.  It's the same school of thought that makes baits like the Ned Rig and Trick Darters extremely fun and productive baits- downsizing.  Now this makes perfect sense in most approaches, but frogging?  Can it be??  YES!!  I've been obsessively testing and experimenting and I'm happy to say I have definitely got some encouraging news to report.  

 

I figured that all things constant, a smaller hollow bodied bait *should* draw more strikes as well as allow more of the bait to be taken into the fish's mouth, which is where a lot of the problems from missed strikes come from on frogs in the first place.  This seems like a given but it raises a few issues.  Namely, how are you going to cast it on your frog setup?  Most people have Heavy rods and 50#ish braid and a 1/4oz frog is going nowhere.  Believe me, I tried.  Not worth anyone's time.  

 

Wanting the same exact effect but smaller, I looked to my Jig & Worm setup.  A stout MXF rod, 20# braid and a light baits reel with a decent drag.  Bingo- it would BOMB the 1/4 oz frog and I could put it on a specific lilly pad with almost no noise even on the longest casts. Casting issues solved and walking abilities retained, I went to work again to see how it changed the bite.

 

Let me tell you...  I've tested this multiple times now because I didn't want to report a fluke-  I'll work an area of a couple hundred feet of weed line with my favorite heavy frog gear, then do it again with the finesse setup.  A few times I even reversed it and went finesse first.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME.  The number of hits was WAY up on the finesse side.  It wasn't even close.  

 

Every fish in the pond hit those little hollow bodies- but it was lacking in terms of hookset percentages.  The fish would inhale it, and from there it was a crap shoot as to whether or not the hooks made it into something or if they were just holding it in their mouth...  Likely a combination of less backbone in the rod and smaller bodies sometimes having tough compressions along with a less than stellar drag on my reel when I started this endeavor.  So I went to work again to figure out how to make it jive and capitalize on the windfall of strikes.  

 

Having a whole stash of tiny frog and hollow bodied creatures at this point, I basically took them all apart and put them back together with bigger salvaged hooks into my favorites.  Pics below to show my top 3 producers and illustrate the hook upsizing I'm referring to.

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3B0CBEB9-6263-44BD-91C2-93C619773D90_zps

Thats a snag proof leech with about half the weight snipped out and glued into the tail, a Live target 45 (iirc) and a LH 1/4oz Lunker frog with skirt legs.  All have hooks that *look* too big and cumbersome to be effective, but the light weight of the baits helps them not get hung up to a surprising degree.

 

As for hooksets, just wow.  I've been testing this out for a while with outstanding results but today was the day the jury delivered a final verdict-  I can't hold this in anymore.  This morning I went from a really tough bite to an absolute nonstop hootin and hollerin slamfest.  I probably boated 25 fish in the final 2 hours with several hat trick back-to-backers once I switched to the finesse frogs.  Just plucking them off the edges of the pads one after another...  I'd say I couldn't believe it but it's been happening every time I use them!  

 

So.  Now you know pretty much what I know.  The quiet, tiny approach flat out boats fish when all factors are properly addressed.  Even when the bass are seemingly tight lipped and it's "too hot"...  Try the little guys and use light pops in the tiny spaces around the edges of the pads to tease them out.  A couple little splashy twitches and a long stall seems to be the dinner bell combination for whatever reason, but results have varied day to day and space to space.

 

If you use it, please report your findings!  I want to compile as much input as possible, but in my studies the results seem undeniable.  I just switched reels to a Pixy R and it made a big difference too, so the same concerns are valid as big frogs, but add lightweight finesse casting in there now.  Big drag, light baits and fast ratio with an extra fast rod, appropriately sized braid with *OVERSIZED FROG HOOKS IN YOUR FROGS* and you're good to go.  

 

Now go forth and pillage!  Be sure to report your findings!!  Cheers and I hope it works out for you as well as it has for me!

 

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How much do the smaller frogs weigh  with over sized hooks & add weight?

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I'm not positive, but there doesn't seem to be a big jump in weight.  Also it seems the lighter weight frogs tend to take on less water fwiw.  

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I am not surprised at your findings at all because i have been fly fishing using smaller frogs for years and have great success.  I am forced to be more finesse like in my approach due to the tackle and it does result in some good fish.  

I guess now I'll have to try it on my conventional gear as well.

Nice write up

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I wanted to try using smaller frogs (</= 1/4 ounce) because I too thought it would probably increase the bites on tougher days, but just haven't done it yet due to what you said, casting that on a frog setup is not happening. But I might try it out a little on another rod.

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43 minutes ago, MassYak85 said:

I wanted to try using smaller frogs (</= 1/4 ounce) because I too thought it would probably increase the bites on tougher days, but just haven't done it yet due to what you said, casting that on a frog setup is not happening. But I might try it out a little on another rod.

 

The biggest piece to the puzzle is probably the hooks though to be honest.  I feel like they build those frogs to have a hookset by a big rod, and I just wasn't getting the purchase with the lighter setup.  Little frogs brought the hits but the hooks put them in the boat.  HUGE difference once those hooks got swapped out.  Everything just clicked!  

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Seriously!

I've filed for copyright infringement!

I've been working on this for 4 or 5 months...well one of sons has been.

After everything I've taught about the effectiveness of Texas Rigs & Jigs he loves top water lures!

Especially small top water lures, when I'll throw a 1/4 oz buzzbait he'll throw an 1/8 oz.

This year I set him up with my frog rod & the next week he had a 4 1/2" H2O Xpress Frog.

His setup is a Shimano CI100DSV 6.2:1, Shimano Crucial 6' 10" medium heavy xtra fast, spooled with 15# Power Pro.

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33 minutes ago, Catt said:

Seriously!

I've filed for copyright infringement!

I've been working on this for 4 or 5 months...well one of sons has been.

After everything I've taught about the effectiveness of Texas Rigs & Jigs he loves top water lures!

Especially small top water lures, when I'll throw a 1/4 oz buzzbait he'll throw an 1/8 oz.

This year I set him up with my frog rod & the next week he had a 4 1/2" H2O Xpress Frog.

His setup is a Shimano CI100DSV 6.2:1, Shimano Crucial 6' 10" medium heavy xtra fast, spooled with 15# Power Pro.

 

Oh man, this is right up his alley!  

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Welcome to the 90's, it's been at least that long since CA Delta river rats have been winning tournaments using 1 1/2"  1/4 oz  to 2" 3/8 oz hollow body Snag Proof frogs with home made over size hooks.

I have been using a small 2" white hollow body frog over a decade when bass are after shad in the brush, works good.

My first Plummer frog was a small 2" frog back in 80's. The hollow body frog evolution has been greeting bigger frogs  The smaller size frogs are very popular in the spring.

Tom

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I'm just curious what's gonna happen when you get a big one hooked up. Can this rig muscle fish through the slop? 

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Hmm, I just bought a 6' 6" MH/F Avid X and put a 70 HG Scorpion with 30lb braid on it. I have a couple small frogs, I might be giving this a shot. 

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what is the thinking behind larger hooks helping you set the hook with a medium rod?

sometimes if i'm out with my toddlers i'll just have my medium rod with me, and like you i've found that the hooksets frequently do not penetrate the bass's mouth. 

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2 hours ago, clh121787 said:

I'm just curious what's gonna happen when you get a big one hooked up. Can this rig muscle fish through the slop? 

The problem with hooks & frogs is well documented!

The first suggested fix for any frog is to bend the hooks outward.

My son Kade fishes the stock H2O hooks but slightly bends them outwards.

@Master Bait'r suggested hooks will handle any size bass in just about any cover.

Below is what Kade has pulled 6# plus bass out of with finesse frogs!

11694753_1650027811875441_4432501560011741115_n.jpg

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I pretty much leave frogs at home and use Ikas or senkos in places I used to throw frogs. People state often to throw a senko as a back up to a missed frog bite well just eliminate the frog to begin with. The smaller form lets the rig get in their mouth easier less missed strikes. Plus if one does miss, the ika will fall in place and bass comes back for it a lot of the time. I for sure hook into many more this way. In the pic this stuff I feel is better suited for lure that will drop in the open spots or a person can drag the ika on top still.

 

390090501.jpg

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10 hours ago, clh121787 said:

I'm just curious what's gonna happen when you get a big one hooked up. Can this rig muscle fish through the slop? 

 

I've not had one break me off, but I also don't throw this rig WAAAAAY back into super heavy pads either.  I will usually use this around the edges, in lighter kinds of pads or grass or if there is a big open space in the heavier pads.  

 

That said, the largest I've pulled is probably around 3# and I didn't experience any problems.  If it doesn't use the pads to twist the frog out you're probably good.  The thinner braid also seems to cut through the veg better.  As long as you're mindful that you won't be able to flip a 5er onto the pads you're pretty good to go IMO.  

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10 hours ago, beardown34 said:

what is the thinking behind larger hooks helping you set the hook with a medium rod?

sometimes if i'm out with my toddlers i'll just have my medium rod with me, and like you i've found that the hooksets frequently do not penetrate the bass's mouth. 

 

Well its a combination of factors really.  

In stock from the hooks are very close to the body to avoid snagging.  It's good for that, but with the smaller bodies that doesn't leave much room or the plastic to get out of the way and let the hook find lip.  It seems as though even the smaller frogs were designed to have the hook set with a dump truck and chain lol...  On the lighter rod it worked occasionally, but I still found that frustrating given the massive uptick in strikes.  In order to get good hooksets on small frogs and lighter gear, you need more hook exposure.

 

In terms of snagging, it seems as though the tiny baits are in a bit of a Goldilocks zone.  They're light enough that their weight alone didn't seem to deform the frog at all, so when you're getting it through stuff, someone with a good "jig hand" will have no problem gently teasing it through without a snag.  Ham fisted people may run into issues at first but they'll learn.  Also it's a bit of finding the right hooks as well.  Too heavy and it'll start to snag or sink.  Too light and it's giving stock hookups.  I wish I had a more definite equation to relay but this is still kind of an experiment for me.  

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7 hours ago, Catt said:

The problem with hooks & frogs is well documented!

The first suggested fix for any frog is to bend the hooks outward.

My son Kade fishes the stock H2O hooks but slightly bends them outwards.

@Master Bait'r suggested hooks will handle any size bass in just about any cover.

Below is what Kade has pulled 6# plus bass out of with finesse frogs!

11694753_1650027811875441_4432501560011741115_n.jpg

 

My friends always laugh when I have a "moment" as we drive by someplace with crazy cover.  I literally yell or scream out loud like there was a 12" spider in the car.  They're all like "OMG WHAT?!?!!" And I'm all "Dude!!  PLANTS!!!!  And...  And water!!"

 

Lol

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@Master Bait'r there is thousands & thousands of acres of marshes all over where I live!

That picture is about a month old, the lily pads are twice that size & it doesn't show the hydrilla, milfoil, & coontail moss under the pads.

It's a frog fishing heaven. ;)

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On 7/10/2016 at 11:48 AM, Master Bait'r said:

Now go forth and pillage!  Be sure to report your findings!!  Cheers and I hope it works out for you as well as it has for me!

Awesome write-up.  We have the Ned Rig, the Rage Rig, etc.  I guess a small frog with big hooks will from now on be referred to as the MB rig?

A few more questions:

I guess I should go downstairs and open up my frog box and try it out, but I think you just upsize by pulling out the old hooks and sliding in ones from a bigger frog?  Or is there a specific double hook you prefer as a replacement?  

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, snake95 said:

Awesome write-up.  We have the Ned Rig, the Rage Rig, etc.  I guess a small frog with big hooks will from now on be referred to as the MB rig?

A few more questions:

I guess I should go downstairs and open up my frog box and try it out, but I think you just upsize by pulling out the old hooks and sliding in ones from a bigger frog?  Or is there a specific double hook you prefer as a replacement?  

 

 

 

 

MB Rig lol...  Fap Rig perhaps?  

 

Well different frogs are put together differently.  I've found the most common "swappable" kinds to be the open double hook style ones and likely a figure right looking connector that pokes out the nose hole and you tie onto.  

 

Like this

56D5E43F-4722-44FA-85A5-0637727EBE94_zps

Once you get a few apart you'll see what I mean.  Mixing and matching is easy with the open spreadable kind of hooks.  Different frogs of different sizes all pretty much have custom sized hooks, ie a booyah and a live target will both be different. When you have a bunch and can mix and match you end up getting some good combos!  The cannibalized frogs make cool XMas ornaments too btw too. :lol: Good luck!

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Caught this MB-inspired fish on a 1/4oz Livetarget this afternoon. Good suggestion!

image.jpeg

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28 minutes ago, MI.Kayaker said:

Caught this MB-inspired fish on a 1/4oz Livetarget this afternoon. Good suggestion!

image.jpeg

 

YES!!!!  Right in the roof of the mouth too!  Nice fish!

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This is very interesting.  I am dipping my toe into frogging, but as most of the spots I have in mind are more full of duckweed then any thicker cover, I have been messing with smaller/lighter frogs.   I also am not super accurate with a casting rig, so being able to use a spinning rig to get baits where I want them has been a big plus.  However, my hook up ratio with hollow body frogs is just awful, maybe 1 in 5 or worse.  I have been messing with solid frogs using large EWG hooks or smaller flipping hooks, but I think your "small frog/big hook" system might be even better.  

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The smallest Koppers frog is a terrible frog. Noone in their right mind would expect to catch fish on it. Please, send them to me and I wI'll dispose of them properly. The hooks can't handle big ones in thick stuff

20150615_082644.jpg

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