Some of the most exciting bass fishing of my life has happened around lily pads. I’ve worked a clear Heddon Torpedo into a ferocious leaping strike. I’ve pulled a Zoom Magnum worm across pads and into the water with deadly results. But nothing I’ve tried matched the awesome attraction of a frog or the heart-stopping moment when a monster rushes up to grab it!
Designed to mimic the color and action of the real thing, frog lures are the perfect choice for working heavy vegetation for bass. Armed with two upswept hooks, they’ll slide over stuff that a treble simply won’t, and with two legs twitching as they do, the bass can’t resist.
They’re also magic on hungry pike and muskie, too!
There are plenty of options on the market, and we’d like to help you narrow your choices to a few of the best. Below, we’ll reveal what we look for in a frog lure for bass, offer a few tips, and provide reviews of some of our favorites.
Here's a quick glance at the best topwater frog lures available today:
|Lunkerhunt Lunker Frog|
|Booyah Bait Company Pad Crasher|
|Livetarget Hollow Body Frog|
|Strike King KVD Sexy Frog|
Table of Contents (clickable)
Size: 2.25” ½ oz.
The Lunker is legendary. Designed to mimic the look and motion of a frog, it features perhaps the most realistic color and pattern I’ve seen. In combination with its long, frog-like dangling legs, I can’t think of a more picture-perfect frog to add to your tackle box.
Generally straight-running, the Lunker can be a bit more fragile than tassel-legged alternatives, but its hooks are close and tight. It maintains excellent buoyancy cast after cast, making it clear why it’s a perennial favorite of anglers everywhere.
I particularly like “Bull Frog” and “Green Tea,” but there are fans of “Poison” and “Leopard” as well.
Size: 2.5” ½ oz.
Booyah’s Pad Crasher is a great lure that sometimes demands a tiny modification.
The Pad Crasher is nicely realistic, though I like the Lunker better on that front. In place of plastic legs, it features long frills that create enticing action. That said, because they tend to drag so far rearward, they can elicit short strikes as bass take the leg rather than the body. As a result, I recommend trimming them down a touch if this happens to you.
If you decide to trim them, start with tiny adjustments until you get the right length.
The Pad Crasher has a great body shape, tends to run straight, and packs its 3/0 hooks close to the body. Buoyancy is great, and the legs can take a lot of abuse.
I like “Leopard,” “Bull Frog,” and--surprisingly--“Albino.”
Sizes: 1.75” ¼ oz.; 2.25” ⅝ oz.; 2 ⅝” ¾ oz.
If you like the look of tasseled legs, there may be no better frog than the Livetarget. Like the Pad Crasher, if you suffer short strikes, consider shortening those dangling tassels a touch.
Hyper-realism best describes the body shape and patterns, and the level of detail is impressive. No doubt, bass and pike will confuse this for the real thing. Like all the lures we’re reviewing, expect hooks that are tight and snag-free, and both buoyancy and durability are excellent.
I’m particularly fond of “Emerald Brown,” “Green Yellow,” “Green Brown,” and yes, even “White.”
Size: 2.5” ⅝ oz.
Strike King is a well-respected name in the lure business, and their Sexy Frog doesn’t disappoint.
It features a realistically-shaped body and the popular tassel legs, but breaks with the other products we recommend in that it offers some unusual colors. More on that in a moment.
Durability and buoyancy are first-rate, and you can expect seasons of performance for your money. Its 4/0 hooks are close and tight as they should be, and this little guy tracks well.
If you’re worried that the 3/0 hooks on the Booyah are too small, this might be the better choice for you.
Less photo-realistic than its competitors, this lure nevertheless works well. Popular colors include “Watermelon Green Pumpkin Back,” “Green Pumpkin with Pearl Belly,” and “Spring Frog.”
As simple as this sounds, we’re all habituated to casting away from or near vegetation. But with frogs, the trick is to plop that bad boy right in it, whether that’s thick weeds, lily pads, or alligator grass.
Don’t be afraid of the mean stuff--that’s what this lure is designed to handle!
After you toss your frog lure, don’t start retrieving, let it sit--and get ready!
The largemouth bass you’re after will be ambushing from below, and when they see or feel the frog hit the water, they’ll often hit hard right away. Give them a chance to do that before you begin working your lure, and you’ll be surprised by how often they’ll strike it in the first few seconds after a cast.
When you do start your retrieve, go very, very slow. I like to twitch my frogs a bit, move them a foot or two, and stop, mimicking how frogs actually swim.
Check out this video:
You want to do exactly that.
When a bass does hit your frog, you’ll be tempted to set the hook immediately. But pause for just a second or two, let that fish really get a grip, and then set your hook.
You’ll improve the hook set and land more fish if you do.
For this article, we’re only considering hollow-bodied frogs.
With topwater lures, bass and other fish will see them in full, vivid color.
But you won’t have many bass or muskie hit your lure if it doesn’t really look like a frog in terms of body shape!
It’s also important--I think--to mimic real-world colors. Bass know exactly what they’re looking for when they feel that plop, and I recommend giving it to them! That said, colors like “Albino” and “Poison” can work like magic for some people.
If I only have one color, I’ll go realistic. But if I’m spending the morning throwing frogs, I’ll add a few weird variations for good measure.
Part of what makes a frog so effective is the dangling legs that twitch as you work it.
Two styles are common: the “realistic leg” and the tassel. Hands-down, the tassel is tougher, but it can lead to short strikes. By contrast, the “realistic leg” is a bit more fragile.
Soft-bodied frogs take a beating when they get hit, and you want a durable lure that can last a season or more. We’ll recommend frogs that keep their legs hit after hit, and in this respect, we give the edge to tasseled designs.
Ideally, your topwater frog will sit in the water just like the real thing, neither floating conspicuously high nor sitting too low and sinking.
All of the products we review are excellent in this respect.
If your frog runs in a circle as you retrieve, it’s pretty much useless. Don’t expect it to be laser-line straight, but severe deviations are a serious issue.
To run weedless, you really want those two top-facing hooks to hug the frog’s body. Any gap creates a point for weeds to catch, and given where you’ll be throwing your frogs, that’s just not going to work.
Hook sizes of 3/0 and 4/0 are pretty much standard.
While there are other frogs on the market, many just don’t make the cut. Some fill with water and sink, others disintegrate after a few hits, and still others run in circles or snag weeds like a big treble.
These are our top choices, and we’d throw all of them without a question.
If we’ve left your favorite off our list, let us know. And please leave a comment below!