B.A.S.S. Insider: Cover Story, Episode 7

  • Editor's note: April through June 2006, B.A.S.S. Insider presented by CITGO airs each BASS Saturday at 8 a.m. ET on ESPN2. Click here for details.

    From the time that early man first attempted to copy nature by carving wooden objects into forms that would fool game fish, fishermen have always had a special affection for frogs.

    Surface-fished frogs have evolved from their earliest and crudest forms — for which collectors now pay top dollar — to today's realistic amphibians, but all have shared a special place among bass fishermen. The allure of using this natural prey to fool largemouth bass has not waned throughout the years.

    The day of the wooden frog is long gone, but it's 21st century offspring has taken the fishing world by storm. The allure of frogs is evident in the role reserved for these lures by fishermen throughout the country. Even at the highest level of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament Trail, frogs have been one of the hottest of all lures the past few seasons.

    Weather you choose to fish the highly evolved hollow-bodied frog that CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Dean Rojas fishes or one of the deadly swimming frogs that fellow CITGO Bassmaster Elite Pro Bradley Stringer is so proficient with the action is heart stopping.

    These baits can be fished in a versatile fashion and at almost any time of the year.

    Both versions look very different but have one thing in common — the tackle that is used to fish them. Long rods with a medium to heavy action, Large sharp hooks and 50 to 65 pound braid is what you will need if you are going throw the frog into big bass waters.

    One of the anglers most responsible for the resurgence of topwater frogs is Dean Rojas, a top CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series pro living in the shadow of the big-bass waters of Texas' Lake Fork. But he cut his teeth on frog fishing in the trophy bass habitat of the San Diego lakes.

    After watching Rojas fish this versatile and explosive bait, it's not hard to see why he has become the top frog fisherman in the country.

    His success with modified surface frogs eventually resulted in the Spro Bronzeye Frog 65, which Rojas designed from scratch. The hollow-bodied bait has skirt-material legs that can be shortened with scissors. Its flat bottom displaces water and helps it land right side up. It also enhances the frog's cast-ability. And, best of all, its weighted body keeps the head of the frog high in the water — just like a real frog. Dean's success with the frog has come in a variety of situations but he sticks to a basic search and destroy method that is not hard for anyone to master.

    When you think of throwing topwater frogs most guy's head for the grass and matted weeds. However, Rojas has taught us some important lessons about frog fishing — "Kermit" can be very versatile.

    Rojas considers frog fishing to be big-bass time. So he gears up appropriately. Line is one of the most important components of the equation. Dean spools up with 65-pound test Izorline braid. Low stretch, durability and strength are the key features that make braid the perfect frog line.

    Dean has not only designed his own frog but he designed Quantum's new 7-foot Dean Rojas Frog Rod that gives him the backbone to get the big ones out of the cover.

    When looking for the perfect reel Dean turned to the new 7 to 1 Quantum PT "Burner". Fishing the frog on a standard 6.3 will work but the 7 to 1 gear ratio reel gives him the advantage of staying up with the hard charging, frog crushing blow-ups!

    The frog can be fished all day, under most circumstances, but as your conditions change you may have to change colors.

    Dean Rojas has won a lot of money and gained considerable fame as the BASS circuit's frogman. But he still contends that frog fishing is not just for the professional. All you have to have is a few simple tools

    While Dean Rojas' success ushered in another chapter in the topwater frog craze, it was the advent of a different kind of frog by the Zoom Bait Co. in Georgia that ignited the hottest of all recent frog trends.

    Zoom's Horny Toad was the forerunner of the swimming frog craze that claimed followers far and wide. Bradley Stringer, a talented pro on the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series circuit, is a big fan of the Stanley Ribbit, which he most often rigs with Stanley's new specially weighted hook that gives him complete versatility.

    Unlike the hollow-bodied floaters, the Ribbit has a solid, compact body shape. But the main attraction is a pair of hyper-action legs that are activated with the slightest movement. The key to fishing the swimming frog is being ready at all times.

    Like any Elite Pro, Stringer has his favorite tools. A good stout seven foot, six inch Shimano rod, 65 pound braided line and a 6 to 1 Shimano chronark reel is at the top of his list. But one of Bradley's keys to catching more fish is a modification that Lonnie Stanley, the manufacturer of the Ribbit, came up with several years ago.

    Professional anglers like Bradley Stringer and Dean Rojas know that when it comes to frog fishing, life can be explosive. So the next time you are out on the lake and hear the low groan of a bullfrog, pick up a floating or swimming frog and experience the versatility of these century-old, baits.