If it walks like a duck, it’s a duck…or maybe a frog, loon, lab rat, blackbird, or baby turtle. At least that’s what the bass say. These dedicated surface smashers don’t discriminate against much of anything struggling or stroking on the surface that represents a square meal.
With topwater mayhem on the mind, Northland Fishing Tackle brings forth the Reed-Runner Walking and Popping Frogs, now available at your favorite tackle outlet or direct from the horse’s mouth. Frequent frogger and member of the fishy Peterson family, Travis Peterson extols the upsides of the new Reed-Runner Walking and Popping Frogs, and what makes this action-packed bait class so special.
“First off, the hookup ratio is incredible,” said Peterson of the Walking and Popping Frog’s high catch-versus-miss rates. “The bodies are both extremely collapsible and durable, which is a perfect combination.” Peterson goes on to tout the quality of the hooks. And, unique to only the finest frogs, the Walking and Popping Frog’s hooks couch tight to the body for supreme weedless operation. “They have the ultimate hook and body combo for weedless fishing,” professes Peterson. Moreover, he says the frogs maintain peak performance regardless of retrieval speed.
In Peterson Country – northern Minnesota – lakes vary from moderately fertile mesotrophic to more lived-in, weedier eutrophic varieties. In both cases, emergent vegetation is infused with largemouth bass. He fishes frogs in conventional lily pad fields, as well as wild rice, bullrushes and reeds. Frogs elicit explosions in shallower coontail and milfoil as well. All told, Peterson frogs vegetated realms in four feet of water and under.
Within these jungles, he focuses energy on “anything different.” In pads, that means pockets and places where submerged vegetation comingles with the surface weeds. He never passes on clumps of mixed weed types. Denser clusters of pads often produce, too.
The Popping version has specific applications, too. Peterson admires the plugging action in sparser weeds to call bass from afar. He prefers the popper in reeds and rushes as well. And, when bass are walled-up in impenetrable cattails, Peterson throws tight to the edge and creates a scene they simply must swim out and investigate.
Northland offers the Reed-Runner Walking and Popping Frogs in an array of patterns, each emulating critters that bass are known to consume. Peterson pairs this information with his personal preferences. “I like the more solid colors like Lab Rat and Loon. They’re the most visible on the top of long casts. I can see the baits disappear when a fish inhales. The glittered bottoms of the Perch and Bluegill flash like a struggling fish and do well in areas where bass are foraging on fish.” And, of course, you can match-the-hatch with Northland’s more traditional, realistic frog patterns.
Green Leopard Frog
Brown Leopard Frog
Effective frogging is much more than chunking it out and giving it the heave-ho on a blow up. Peterson explains: “Don’t be in big hurry to set the hook. You’ll miss a lot of them. I make long casts, keeping the rod tip up at about 11 o’clock once the bait hits the water. This forces you to pause, leaving the fish a little slack line to work with. Then I drop the rod tip, point it at the fish, give the reel two or three cranks, set hard, and lean back and reel.” Done properly, you’ll keep the fish from burrowing in the weeds, and hopefully, popping it to the surface.
Before putting the pins to ‘em, Peterson coaxes bass to participate in the immortal explosion. “In dense vegetation, I use a steady retrieve back to the boat,” he explains. “I’ll slow it down over likely strike zones, like pockets and thick spots, and porpoise the bait in clearings where I’m sure there’s a fish.”
If a fish swirls and shrugs it off or totally misses, Peterson rinses and repeats, throwing right back at it. If he’s convinced the fish is still there but not fully committing to the frog, he goes to a pre-rigged Northland Jungle Jig and plastic as the preferred throwback presentation.
Peterson’s frogging gear is no nonsense. He spools a preferred baitcaster reel with 50-to-65-lb. braid and ties direct. His rods are 7 ½-to-8-foot medium-heavy and heavy.
Surface missiles are striking right now. Peterson contends that when the “dragonflies are buzzing” bass start looking skyward for food.