Monday, January 9, 2017

Review Changes for 2017









































The 2017 review season is fast approaching, and as I finish up some reviews from last season and prepair for the coming season I decided it was time to make a slight change to the review process.

Over the past few seasons I noticed an alarming trend that sees companies blatantly ripping off other manufactures big or small. Bringing frogs to market with little to no innovation or creativity just simply put stealing the mold from a competitor and slapping their logo on it.

In order to penalize these companies while also celebrating those that bring innovation and creativity to the table I will be making the following changes:

Availability rating has now been aligned with the Options and Price rating, these three act as one rating to determine how well a company is able to bring their frog to market. is it easy to get? is it priced competitively, and are their enough options available.


In place of the Availability rating their will now be an Innovation and Design rating, this breaks down what the manufacturer brought to the table, is the bait innovative, will it give anglers the ability to show the fish something new? what makes this frog stand out from the others.

All in all the classic rating system will be in tact, and the final score will still be out of 10. This change I believe presents a better overall view of new baits and penalizes  those creating forgeries


Thanks again for reading, look out for new reviews coming your way soon!




Kahara Rat N Rat 2 Review

Rat'N Rat:   Colors: 8     Length: 2.5" (w/o Tail)    Weight: 7/16oz   Pack Count: 1


Intro:

It's been a few seasons since I reviewed the original Rat N Rat by Kahara, and if you remember I was a pretty big fan. Well version 2.0 is now available and although there has been a hefty price increase I'm not sure what else has changed? 

I'm being only slightly sarcastic here as there is a couple obvious differences, One.. the Rat n Rat 2 has been on a serious diet. This slimmed down version may not have more bells and whistles then it's big brother, but it does fish better (smoother) and walks easier. You might also have noticed that this little guy had his tail amputated. Another improvement meant to ensure the Rat N Rat fishes better in cover situations. Finally there has been a blade change, again Kahara has opted for slimmer willow blades over the Colorado style blades used in the standard Rat N Rat.


Overall Rating: 8.2/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price


Quality: 4.5/5


The Rat N rat 2 is a very well built mouse bait that seems to be fully loaded with all the bells and whistles. A soft tail nearly 2 inches in length puts the Rat N Rats total size at 5.9 inches.  In place of silicone strands the Rat N Rat is equipped with two Colorado blades for legs, which give off great motion, shine and vibration in the water. 

the Rat N Rat has a great "mouse" profile and comes in some crazy color options. Equipped with realistic 3D eyes you are going to have a hard time finding any other frog baits demanding so much attention (from angler and fish)

the belly of the Rat N Rat is lined with some lead along the long and leg area, it really reinforces the area in which the fish will strike and will extend the life of the bait


Castability: 4.0/5

Even with the slimmer changes I couldn't rate the Rat N Rat any hirer in the casting section. It is more streamlined and doesn't land and hard and flat, but the lighter body means less distance and as with all blade blades it will take some getting use to in order to skip it easily and accurately. 

Presentation: 4.5/5

I love fishing with this mouse, it is a breeze a work, and swims, walks and hops with the best of them. The Rat N Rat 2's  long body  really move well  in open water situations and the newly added willow blades give off a more erratic flash then the original model.

Still not the best in heavy cover situations, you will want to hold this bait for use in open to sparse cover. Without the tail it can be dragged easier across pads, but like with any blade the thicker the cover the more slop you will be cleaning off the rat. 


Hook-Up Ratio: 3.5/5

With the new and improved smaller profile the Rat N Rat 2 does offer an increased hook-up ratio, this little guy is like a two-bite brownie, and we all know those things go down without a fight.

As always I will stress that the blade style legs can be an issue, and although it won't happen all the time you can expect them to get in the way every once in awhile.



Availability: 3.0/5

This is the biggest problem with this bait.. it is hard to find, as a Japanese import only select retailers will carry the line and when they do it often comes at a heftier price tag (see below)

Options & Price: 3.5/5

The original Rat N Rat was priced very well for an imported bait. It sat under $8USD even when most other Norther American frogs and rats were demanding $10+. With that said the times they are a changing, the Rat N Rat 2 will run you nearly $11USD which is nearly a 50% price increase from the original model.. interesting enough the changes made where to slim down the bait, less material, smaller blades.. apparently less is more.

the Rat N Rat 2 also comes in 4 fewer colors options (8 in total) then the original version. They are funkier colours for sure, but I'm still disappointed with the drop.  I love the overall look of this frog, it has a Ricky Vaughn Wild thing hair cut and the blades add some serious bling.. so big props on the design.



Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.

Tackle Warehouse ($10.49)

Optimum Baits ($10.99)




Equipment:

The Rat N Rat 2 is a lighter  bait and needs to be handled with some flexible gear. The Dobyns 735c will get the job done and make sure any fish hook make it back to the boat. Reel speed is not as important with this bait so a 6.3:1 Tatula will do

As with any hollow-body bait, this frog should be worked on 40lb-60lb braid line. 


Field Test Report Card:

Open Water (Sparse Pads): A
Pads (Medium Cover): B+
Slop & Grass (Heavy Cover): D

Walk the Dog: A
Popping Action: N/A
Sit/Pause: B

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Culprit Marsh Frog Reivew


Marsh Frog :      Colours: 0 Size: 4"     Pack Count: 5              

Leg Style: Buzz              Weight: N/A


Intro:

Wow, take a few months off from reviewing and I come back to a bunch of my frogs being retired. As the frog market grows it also continues to change as companies switch out their models every couple years, retiring fairly new products. What happened the the days when you could fish the same bait for 10 years!.. anyways, check out the Culprit Marsh Frog 

Overall Rating: 7.0/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality & Durability: 4.0/5

I'm giving the Marsh frog a 4 here due to the thick dense plastic used on the body and the legs. Although it could be a pain to fish at times it definitely held up fish after fish.

Culprit designed a good all around buzz frog that even my 7 year old nephew could catch fish on. If your a stickler for the finer things, this frog may not be for you, but all in all it was a decent frog for its time. (short lived time) 



Castability: 3.5/5

I have mixed emotions when talking about this frogs casting ability. It has a dense body and enough weight that casting should not be an issue. But the slender profile seems to get caught up in the wind causing the frog to juke or cut from time to time.

it's smooth flat belly is ideal for skipping up under cover and may be its saving grace here.

Presentation: 3.55

The Marsh frog was a run of the mill buzz frog, its large kicker legs made it easy to ride and left a nice churn in the water on the retrieve. This frog excelled in getting up in the water column after the cast meaning it worked well when pulled off the shore on in weeds and or pads.

The back slot meant to hide the hook point is nice and deep but I often found myself having to readjust after each cast. The body material does not hold a hook point and just tears up so be warned if this lands  belly up, you will be bringing some salad back with the frog. 

Hook-Up Ratio: 3.0/5

The Marsh frog was built using a very dense soft plastic and  thick kicker legs. As you know this combination can drastically effect your hook-up ratio in a negative way. The legs and the body can eat up the hook point and give the fish a mouth full before you are able to drive the hook home.

The Marsh frog does comes equipped with a deep  back slot to hide the hook point avoiding the need for you to skin hook it. This is a plus (in this category)




Availability & Price: N/A

Good luck getting your hands on one of these. I found mine at the 1000 islands bait shop in NY state, but it's online presence has all but disappeared. Tackle Warehouse and Culprit's site both show this frog as being discontinued aka retired.

Options: N/A

The options were not crazy, one size and a hand full of colours. With that said as always Culprit had their bases covered and you would not have an issue finding a colour that suited your style. 


Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.

Retired.. check your local tackle swaps and of course Ebay


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Equipment:

I completed all my testing with a Dobyns 734c paired with a Daiwa Tatula HD.  This frog fishes heavy and you can easily jump up to a 5 or even 6 power and still fish it well.






Saturday, December 10, 2016

Teckle Choker Review

Choker: Colors: 16 Length: 2. 3/4"  inch Weight: 1/2oz  Pack Count: 1


Intro:

It's a sad day, after taking a few months off from writing, i sat down today to write this review of not just my favourite frog from Teckle USA but one of my favourite frogs I've fished in recent years.. only to find out that it has been discontinued. So i now write this review in protest of the Teckle Chokers way way to early retirement.

Overall Rating: 7.8/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price


Quality & Durability: 4.5/5

If you have read my reviews of the Teckle Whacker and the Teckle Honker then you are already aware that Teckle makes a tough bodied frog that holds up extremely well fish after fish. The one big change made on the Choker is that in place of silicone legs the Choker utilizes flashing similar to that you would see on flies and dressed treble hooks.

Prior to fishing the Choker for the first time I found this change to look a bit gimmicky, but once it hit the water I started to wonder why not every frog company did this?

Cast ability: 4.5/5

All Teckle frogs share the same body design and weight, thus they all cast very well. It's easy to  pitch, flip, skip and cast the Choker meaning it will excel in most frog fishing situations. It lands with a nice flop that should draw fish in. Once paused the shiny legs start to flare and its game on.

Presentation: 4.5/5

As with the other Teckle frogs I was not blown away by the frogs ability to walk, even though its profile and body shape would make you think otherwise. Again I feel most of its struggles come from its downward turned nose that makes it pull forward instead of walking.

Why the 4.5 you ask? that all comes from the frogs newly found legs. These shimmery flashing spreads out in the water and gives the frog a look not often seen by the fish.. which usually results in additional success.


Hook-up Ratio: 3.5/5

The use of flashing over silicone offers up an improved  hook-up ratio over its older bothers,  not only do i think the strands offer a more targeted strike zone to fish, but the thin material also ensures there is less to get in the way and thus the hooks find their home with ease.

Availability: 2.5

This is the shitty part, previously the Choker was hard to find with its only availability being Tackle Warehouse, but now that its been discontinued its going to be even harder to find. I suggest you stock up if and when you find them, (i just checked Ebay with no luck) 

Options & Price: 4.0/5

Teckle has always offered up an incredible assortment of colours. From the traditional to the funky colors you expect to see on poisonous frogs from around the world. Don't tell anyone but this white version is truly a thing of beauty and Id buy 10 more if I could.



Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.



Equipment:

All  testing was done on a  Dobyns DX746 it is my go to rod and handles both hollow and soft plastic baits alike. As for reels, the Daiwa Tatula HD pairs well with this rod and gives you a nice over sized spool for that added distance and power. Line choice was SunLine FX2



Field Test Report Card:

Open Water (Sparse Pads): A+
Pads (Medium Cover): A
Slop & Grass (Heavy Cover): C

Walk the Dog: B+
Popping Action: N/A
Sit/Pause: A+






Monday, August 22, 2016

Scum Frog Pro Series Frog Review


Pro Series : Colors: 7 Length: 2.5"  inch Weight: 1/2oz  Pack Count: 1


Intro:

One thing you should know about me, is that Im a Scum Frog guy, I started frog fishing with a scum frog and to this day I always have a few of them in the boat with me. Im not it would seem a "pro series scum frog guy". Fishing with this frog kind of felt like they were trying to take my favourite bait and change all the things I love about it so others will love it too, all the while turning it into somthing that is not a scum frog? make sense?

Overall Rating: 7.0/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price


Quality & Durability: 3.5/5

When it comes to quality and durability this is still a good ol' scum frog, same durable skin with just a few new bells and whistles. This frog holds up well to the abuse frog fishing put a bait through and will last fish after fish without sinking. (But it's not a scum frog)

Cast ability: 3.5/5

The Pro Series is beefier then standard Scum frogs and and will give you some added distance you dont usually attribute to scum frog fishing. A rattle has been attached to the shank of the hook helping sit the bait down a bit better and ensuing it usually (not always) lands belly side down. (But its not a scum frog)

Presentation: 3.0/5

The Pro Series is a walking frog, it has long silicone legs and a split ring added to the nose for a little extra freedom on the retrieve. I did have some issues with this frog cover situations but for the most part it walks as expected. (but its not a scum frog)


Hook-up Ratio: 3.0/5

This is one area that the improvements made to the Pro Series Scum Frog effect the baits overall ability. The Addition of the rattle along with the change in body style decrease its hook-up ratio. I know they claim the rattle is "out of the way" and maybe this was all in the my head, but the hooks dont expose as easily and the hard rattle/plate seems to be the cause. I think I would have preferred loose rattles to this secured option.


Availability: 4.0

It's scum frog, and no matter the size of your local bait shop the stock this line of baits. Decent price points combined with a good reputation make this one a no brainer. With that said if you live in an area and can't get scum frogs.. time to move.

Options & Price: 3.5/5

Adding the word "Pro" to the title lets you know that this bait will be more expensive then the standard Scum frog, and I do understand the price jump. I just dont understand the need for the frog. Scum frogs work under a certain set of scenarios, and when those are not present I won't jump to this bait but instead of one the many other hollow bodies that do what the Pro Series claims to do.



Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.



Sportsman Warehouse ($6.99)

Northern Lure Company ($7.00)


Equipment:

All  testing was done on a  Dobyns DX746 it is my go to rod and handles both hollow and soft plastic baits alike. As for reels, the Daiwa Tatula HD pairs well with this rod and gives you a nice over sized spool for that added distance and power. Line choice was SunLine FX2



Field Test Report Card:

Open Water (Sparse Pads): B
Pads (Medium Cover): B
Slop & Grass (Heavy Cover): C-

Walk the Dog: B+
Popping Action: N/A
Sit/Pause: B-


Monday, August 15, 2016

NetBait Kickin B Review


Kickin B Standard:      Colours:10   Size: 4"     Pack Count: 5
Kickin B Mini      :      Colours:10   Size: 3.5"     Pack Count: 5               

Leg Style: Buzz              Weight: N/A


Intro:

This is NetBaits first time in the frog pond, and so far its made a pretty decent splash. The Kickin B is the second frog this year that fits into both the soft plastic toad as well as the "cross over bait" categories, meaning its the perfect combination of flipping bait and toad. 

Overall Rating: 7.0/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price

Quality & Durability: 3.5/5

The Kickin B has a rockin body, nice and thick with plenty of ribs to churn the hell out of the water. As the legs taper down they start to thin out in order to give the bait its presentation, unfortunately this is also the baits weakest link (see the last photo). It will hold up for a few fish, but tail grabbers and toothy critters will be the death of the Kickin B


Castability: 3.5/5

The Kickin B has a thin slender body that casts fairly well. It could use a bit more weight if you are looking for serious distance or of course you could also added a belly weighted hook (but that makes the retrieve that much harder). Flipping is what this cross over bait does best so keep this frog in your bag for shorter targeted casts to structure or around docks.

Presentation: 4.05

I'm a big fan of the way this frog swims. Its the perfect mix between a buzz frog and a swim frog. The legs are swim style legs giving a nice churn behind the bait, while the ribbed body offers extra bubbles around the bait as it moves through the water. I can hear Jaws music in my head on each and every retrieve. 

Hook-Up Ratio: 3.5/5

The frogs Slim body and tucked in legs make for an above average hook-up ratio. The only areas in need of improvement would be that there is no easy way to skin hook this bait, the bodies material is a bit tougher than most and doesn't easily hide a hook point. Its also too slender for a double hook, which when Im fishing open water is my preferred hook (at this moment in time)




Availability & Price:3.0/5

NetBait products are hit and miss in Ontario, I have no dealers close to me so refilling my arsenal will become a chore. On-line they are fairly common so add a pack to your next tackle warehouse order. The price is great at under $0.80 a piece.

Options: 3.5/5

Available in two sizes and 10 colours Netbait would seem to have your options covered. But because this is a crossover bait and not a standard frog I think they are missing some key colours when it comes to toad fishing.. white being one of them. 


Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.

.
Equipment:

I completed all my testing with a Dobyns 734c paired with a Daiwa Tatula HD.  This frog is needs a rod that will allow you to manoeuvre it around cover while still hauling big bass out of the grass..



Monday, August 8, 2016

Reaction Strike Revolution Rat Review

Revolution Rat : Colors:  Length: 3"  inch Weight: N/A Pack Count: 1


Intro:

I have to be honest here, the revolution rat is a better bait then it looks. And lets be doubly honest, that ain't a hard accomplishment since this bait is uuuggllyy! But, if you're in the market for a decent swimming hollow body rat, you've come to the right place (just be sure to put a bag over its head)

Overall Rating: 6.7/10
Each frog is rated on the following criteria: Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-up Ratio Available Options, Product Availability & Price


Quality & Durability: 3.0/5

If we continue on this honestly train, then you and I both know that Reaction Strike is not exactly known for building quality baits. Hell I'm not sure they could patten a single bait design since most look awfully familiar. With all that said they have made a rat that's more durable then Live Targets prices mouse.




Cast ability: 3.5/5

Not exactly built with flying in mind, this bait casts average at best but lands fairly well due mostly to its bulbous balloon like body. The thick tail and plump body shape can make it awkward to skip but don't give up, it can be done,

Presentation: 3.5/5

The Revolution Rat offers up a mixed bag when it comes to on water performance. It;s at its best in open water to medium/sparse cover. It walks very well and the tail acts like a stabilizer allowing you to retrieve at high speeds without blowing a tire. As the pads and slop get thicker the Revolution Rat starts to lose its luster. The round body shape begins to roll as you try to slide it over any type of cover and you will quickly become frustrated.

Hook-up Ratio: 3.5/5

Here again the Rats body shape and long thick tail can be a hindrance. As you know I'm looking for baits with little to no interference and the Rat comes closer to protecting the hooks then it does hiding them. The body of the Rat is nice a flexible and will collapse on contact just watch out for that tail.




Availability: 3.0

Reaction Strike is not exactly common in most parts of Ontario, and I'm somewhat surprised. No based based on quality but based on pricing. Many stores now focus on moving more and more low end baits to weekend warriors and stick only a few for the guys willing to spend serious money on baits. I expect to see more reaction strike on retailers shelves soon (sigh)

Options & Price: 3.5/5

Only offering up 3 colour choices and 1 size option the Revolution Rat is not exactly blowing you away with its selection. But prices at under $7 a bait its worth the initial purchase just to say you've tried it.



Where to Find:
In case you are having a hard time finding these locally, here are some reliable options for you.



Sportsman Warehouse ($7.99)

Reaction Strike ($8.99)


Equipment:

All  testing was done on a  Dobyns DX746 it is my go to rod and handles both hollow and soft plastic baits alike. As for reels, the Daiwa Tatula HD pairs well with this rod and gives you a nice over sized spool for that added distance and power. Line choice was SunLine FX2





Field Test Report Card:

Open Water (Sparse Pads): B
Pads (Medium Cover): B
Slop & Grass (Heavy Cover): D

Walk the Dog: A+
Popping Action: N/A
Sit/Pause: C+