Having a big bucketmouth explode on a hollow body topwater frog in thick cover is something every bass nerd lives for. And over the last decade, the frog bait market has expanded into what seems like almost endless choice. In addition to a huge range of size and embellishments, minnows, birds, cicadas, and even turtles have been added to the lineup of realistic lures.
Yet, sometimes, all that’s needed is a slight tweak of a proven bait. Luckily, bringing more magic to your favourite topwater frog isn’t hard.
If you want to give bass something different to look at, or just need to bring an old favourite back to life, give these hollow body modifications a try.
Catching too many bass is never a bad thing, but it will eventually ruin your bait. Over time, the nose of the frog will become so bashed up that water will flood into the body, killing its action. Fixing this problem is a cinch. Using thick braided line, lasso the end of the nose with a series of wraps and knots. This will prevent water from entering the frog while still allowing the hooks to slide along the bait. Trim the knot or leave the tag ends so your frog sports funky whiskers.
Get a leg up
A practical way to breathe new life into a mashed up, bashed-up frog is to give it new legs. Skirted frog legs can gum up or simply fall off, either of which calls for a transplant. First, pull out all the old rubber strands, then thread a thick piece of fishing line up one leg and down the other. Next, loop it back through the way you came, so that you have a loop sticking out of one leg hole and both tag ends coming out the other. Depending on the frog, you might need a large needle. Feed the strands of rubber replacement skirt into the loop and gently pull. The fishing line will snake the skirt up one leg and out the other. Be careful; pulling too powerfully will create badly lop-sided legs. Once the legs are the way you like them, squirt a drop or two of crazy glue to lock them in place.
Replacing damaged tails can be a basic job, but if you want to spice up the traditional skirt with some crystal flash or chenille, you’ll need to visit the fly fishing section of your favourite tackle shop.
Rattling them up
Tracking a frog is challenging for bass hiding in thick cover. Adding a few rattles is a surefire way to attract hits. Gently remove the belly tab of the bait and insert a few plastic worm rattles.
If you want to add more noise and an extra bit of heft, add three to four metal BBs. The ones used for air guns are cheap and clang together nicely. A bonus is that they will cause the frog’s tail to sit deeper in the water while at rest, making it easy for bass to swallow. Don’t overdo it or you’ll sink your frog.
Another radical makeover is to swap out the rubber legs for rabbits trip. Rabbit strips are strands of fur that come alive in water.
Check out Deps Slither K Frog, Optimum’s Furbit or Evergreen’s SS 77 frog, all of which have this modification.
Generally, frog hooks are aligned correctly right out of the package, but check that the hooks face straight forward and that the lure body can collapse without touching either hook point. Don’t bend the hooks too far outward or you’ll catch more weeds than bass; too far upward or downward and you’ll get poor hook penetration.
Adding more splash and thump will set your topwater bait apart. This modification is simple and the results are super.
Using a strand of wire about 2 inches long (a thick paper clip will work), wrap one end a few times around the bend of one of the two frog hooks. Trim the tag end closely. Wrap the other end of the wire around the second hook and trim. Ensure the wire has slight slack in it. Using pliers, grip the middle of the wire and twist to create a small loop.
Attach a small swivel to the wire loop using a split ring. On the other end of the swivel, mount a small Colorado blade. This dropper blade will cause a real ruckus in open water, and will add flash in cover.