To amplify the fun factor when fishing amphibians, fling the right frog for the conditions. A Terminator® Popping Frog is a fine choice in most cases, but a Terminator® Walking Frog will often out-fish it in clear, calm water and above matted vegetation.
Terminator’s Walking Frog and Popping Frog both feature lifelike detail from nose to skirt. They’re both tail-weighted to increase casting distance and stability on the retrieve, and each features a custom VMC® frog-gap hook, lifelike round-rubber legs and heavy-duty welded line ties. The bodies of both are extra-soft, easily compressing when bass bite, increasing your hook-up ratio.
So with so much in common, what determines when to throw a walker or a popper?
Vegetation abundance is a key indicator for Ott DeFoe, a 6-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier and two-time Bassmaster Elite Series tournament winner.
“Around scattered grass – stuff with a lot of holes in it, I’m going with the Popping Frog,” he says. “I like the added action and sound it offers.”
But for fishing really thick matted vegetation, DeFoe goes with a Walking Frog. “It’s totally weedless, so you can fish it across the surface of grass that’s totally topped out,” he explains. “Those are going to be places where you can’t really fish any other topwater kind of bait.” The Walking Frog’s pointed nose slides better over the top of a grass mat than a Popping Frog’s cupped face can.
“I don’t care if it’s duckweed, hydrilla, milfoil, grass, whatever it is – any type of vegetation that’s up on the surface, you’re going to be able to fish a Walking Frog in it, around it and through it, and not stay hung up,” DeFoe says.
That being said, DeFoe cautions, “don’t fool yourself into believing that a frog has to be fished only around grass.” Frogs can be fantastic baits all over a lake.
“One of the situations people overlook is skipping a frog under overhanging trees,” DeFoe explains, noting that summertime bass often frequent such spots, seeking the solace of shade. “There’s a lot cooler water under those overhanging trees, but it’s very difficult to get a bait in there to them if you can’t skip it. But a Terminator Frog, you can skip really well.”
Another plus? Frogs are easy to retrieve from such tight spots as well.
“You’re not going to catch a fish on every cast,” DeFoe notes. “So you’ve got to be able to get that bait back out on those casts that you don’t catch a fish. And a frog, it’s not going to get hung up – you can get it back.”
Water clarity generally determines if DeFoe will throw a Walking Frog or Popping Frog in such places.
“I’m never going to throw a Walking Frog in water that’s got a lot of color in it,” he says. “But In really clear, really still water, a Popping Frog might have just a little too much action. In those situations, where there’s kind of shy fish, I’m going to go with a Walking Frog.”
That being said, “clear” is a relative term, as is “shy,” so trial and error often tells DeFoe which frog is best in the situation. “I’ll often start with a Popping Frog, even in clear water, but if they’re shying off it then I’m going to switch to the Walking Frog,” he says.
Terminator Walking Frogs weigh 11/16th oz. and measure 3 inches. Popping Frogs weigh 9/16 oz. and measure 2 ½ inches. Both are available in 16 color patterns: Hot Shad, Bluegill, White Camo, Black Camo, Cocoa Camo, Hot Mud Camo, Brown Camo, Yellow Leopard, Lime Leopard, Green Leopard, Hot Chartreuse Shad, Smoke Silver Shad, Bull Frog, Ghost Pearl, Ghost and Black Chartreuse Leopard.