Few things in bass fishing are more exciting than topwater frog blowups. It’s such a fantastic lure around so many types of shallow cover and works all over the country. It often involves throwing at targets and with it being a topwater presentation, it is very visible. But with so many types of frogs out there where do you start?
This is the workhorse of the frog world. They might not always be the perfect frog for every situation but it will get bites in every froggin’ situation you might face. The standard hollow body frog has a fixed double hook, hollow body, a pointed nose, and living rubber legs. Designed primarily to entice blow ups by walking side to side. Tossing it around visible cover, under docks/trees, emergent vegetation, and even open water. They are the best choice when thick cheese mats are the cover of choice. Filling them with BB’s, weights, and trimming the legs are some easy modifications. There are a bunch of decent frogs out there but I always find myself reaching for the standard Bronzeye 65 by SPRO.
While very similar to a hollow body, the popping frog has a cupped mouth designed to chug and spit water. These frogs don’t navigate heavy cover or walk side to side as a traditional hollow body. I really like them when slowing the frog down is what they want. Popping it repeatedly in an open hole within emergent vegetation or using its more noticeable pops to draw fish out of thick cover is where it really shines for me. While maybe not a true “popping frog” Strike King’s Popping Perch quickly has become a favorite for slowing down and calling them out of cover.
Toads are made of soft plastic just like worms, craws, and every other soft bait. You’ll have to keep the toad moving to keep it on the surface as it doesn’t have any buoyancy like its hollow bodied cousins. Instead of individual movements imparted by the rod tip, the toad’s legs create a constant “buzz” on the surface of the water. Because of this, they are ideal for more open water or places where the emergent vegetation creates a lot of open pockets. Because you have to constantly keep them moving they are a super-efficient way to cover a lot of water without expending a bunch of effort. The biggest downside is that many times when the frog contacts emergent vegetation the hooks will cause the bait to roll. So it can have some funky lower jaw hookups or even worse tongue hookups. However, there are times when that buzz will get a ton more bites than a standard floating frog. I utilize a few different kinds of these depending on the type of buzz I want but most often I reach for the original Zoom Horny Toad.
I’m not really sure there is actually a bait category for these yet but I like to refer to them as heavy duty toads. They are a standard hollow body frog with a paddle tail attached with a swivel. It’s the perfect combination of both worlds as it combines the buzz of a toad with the buoyancy and heavy cover capabilities of a hollow body. I really like this frog in a tough emergent blade like vegetation. Think pencil reeds or wild rice; those clumps will often cling onto a toad just enough that time is wasted adjusting the hook in the soft plastic. The HD toad can be ripped out of that stuff with little consequence and no time is wasted between casts. This is a relatively new concept so I will be interested to see how it evolves in the future but for now, the Teckel Sprinker frog is the one I have the most confidence in.
You can run all these frogs on the same setup however I do prefer just a touch softer road for the toads. Always spool up with braided line for its floating and vegetation slicing properties. Keep color selection simple to start light colors for sunny days and dark colors for dark days (there will be exceptions). Whatever you do be sure to grab some frogs/toads and get in on the action. Big and exciting bites are waiting.