Please Visit Source Website, Click here!- 08/02/2005
- Print this Page
Tricks with Toads
Hot new baits for grass-embedded largemouths.
by Mark Hicks
Used to have only two options for catching big summertime bass lounging
beneath lily pads and matted grass: (1) Punch through the vegetation
with heavy jigs and Texas-rigged baits, then horse fish out of that
heavy cover; or (2) Draw them up with snagless frog lures fished on the
surface, and reel in your catch across the tops of the weeds. Both
methods work, but fish caught on jigs get tangled up easily in the
grass, and a floating frog's action is limited to the surface.
The new toad baits provide a third option, and it"s by far the
best. These lifelike lures feature lively legs that gurgle when
retrieved on top and kick vigorously when you let one sink into gaps in
the weeds. You don’t have to wear out your arm retrieving them through
thick cover, as you would when fishing a jig, and toad-hooked bass
cause fewer tangles.
One of the hottest lures in this category is Zoom’s Horny Toad
(706-548-1008), a weedless 41/2-inch frog with a solid, soft-plastic
body and two Ultra-Vibe legs. Other choices include NetBait’s 4-inch
Frog (888-216-4903; netbait.com), Uncle Josh’s Sizmic and Pop’N Toads
(866-244-2277; unclejosh.com), Mister Twister’s 4-inch Hawg Frawg
(318-377-8818; mepps.com), and the 31/2-inch HH Swamp Frog (Bass Pro
Shops, 800-227-7776; basspro.com).
I like to use toads in two-tone natural patterns, such as a
green or black back with a yellow or white belly. White is also a
popular color, but bring a few darks like black or junebug for those
times when bass shy away from something bright.
Rigging one up
Rig your sinking frogs "Tex-posed,” which
differs from the standard Texas rig in that you push the worm hook’s
point completely through the body instead of leaving it buried in the
soft plastic. The exposed portion of the hook lies against the frog’s
back and rarely snags. The Horny Toad has two ridges on its back to
protect the point, and the Sizmic Toad has a slot that keeps it out of
Choose a hook to match the frog. A 3/0 size works well with the
smallish HH Swamp Frog. The wider, thicker Horny Toad requires a 5/0.
Zoom makes a special Horny Toad Hook, featuring a bend near the eye
that curves up in front of the bait’s nose. An Oldham Screw Lock
attached to the hook’s eye keeps the toad in place, preventing its nose
from balling up in the gap of the hook, which would impede the hookset.
The minimum tackle for sinking frogs is a 7-foot medium-heavy
baitcasting outfit with 20-pound-monofilament. Many anglers use 7½-foot
flipping rods and 30- to 50-pound-test braided line. This style of
fishing will have you battling some of the largest bass that live in a
given body of water. It takes stout tackle to horse them out of the
vegetation before they bury up in it.
Swim a sinking frog over openings and off the
edges of weedbeds early and late in the day. A slow, steady retrieve
that makes the legs undulate on the surface usually works best, but up
the pace occasionally in case bass want something faster.
When bright sunlight pushes bass into the shade beneath the
greenery, drag a sinking frog across matted vegetation in the middle of
the day. Alternate between a steady retrieve, a quick pull-pause
cadence, and long pauses with gentle twitches until the fish tell you
which they prefer. Don’t forget to let the frog sink into any dark
Should a bass blast through the mats and miss one of these
baits, which is common, stop retrieving. The frog will drop into the
crater that the striking bass created and is likely to coax a second
A Pro of Our Own
Mark Hicks’ 20-pound 6-ounce stringer on day one of the Wal-Mart FLW
tournament at Wheeler Lake, Alabama, in May helped him clinch the
event’s amateur division—and put $20,000 in prize money in his pocket.
His biggest fish (right) was an 8-pounder that inhaled a 3/8-ounce
tungsten jig tipped with twin chunk trailers. It was the largest bass
he has ever caught in a tournament. Hicks has been contributing to
F&S for more than 25 years. —The Editors