For many of us across the country, spring has finally sprung. The bass are somewhere in the spawning process, either on the bed or in the immediate pre- or post-spawn. One thing this indicates to me is that it’s almost topwater time.
Though you can get a few bites on a topwater before the spawn, after the spawn is when it really comes alive. So today, in preparation for that bite, we’re going to look at two popular topwaters that have a little bit of overlap and can often get confused with one another. We’re talking frogs and toads today.
Frogs vs. Toads: Understanding the Differences and Similarities
When you hear ‘fishing a frog’, it could bring to mind a handful of different things. For fishing terminology’s sake though, a frog refers to a hollow body bait with skirted legs. As opposed to a soft plastic bait with two kicking legs, which is referred to as a toad.
Both are topwaters, both catch monster bass and both are weedless, so they make for great baits to fish around cover. But the way you fish each bast is totally different. You fish a frog more like a traditional topwater, with a pump, pause, pump cadence, twitching your rod tip to start and stop the bait. In this way, you’re able to walk or pop a frog along. With a toad though, you’re simply reeling the bait in more like a buzzbait, with the continuous motion causing the legs to kick and churn water behind the bait.
There are lots of different hollow body frogs out there. Almost all of them have a few things in common: they’ll have skirted legs, some amount of weight added for casting and the most notable similarity, a double hook. A double frog hook is one of the most effective hooks ever invented at pegging fish and getting them out of cover and into your hand.
There are two main categories of hollow body frogs: popping and walking. Walking frogs have a pointed nose and a v-hull to their bellies. This helps them walk back and forth left and right and creates a finessier approach opposed to their counterpart. A popping frog has a cupped mouth and typically a flatter bottom. And though most of these baits can be walked left to right as well, they’re more intended to be popped along in a straight line.
A toad is a soft plastic lure meant to be continuously reeled along the surface in a straight line. Toads have two feet that kick along as the bait is reeled and churn up water to create a gurgling sound that helps the bass locate the bait. Some toads have flatter feet with a V-shape cut in them, like the Zoom Horny Toad.
While others, like a Stanley Ribbit, have paddle tail shaped feet at the ends of the legs that stick down and catch more water. You’ll find the feet with the V-shape cutout can be reeled faster and have a crisper sound, while the baits with paddle-tail shaped feet can be reeled slower and have a deeper chug to them.
Though most toads are rigged weedless using an Extra Wide Gap (EWG) hook, it has also become really popular over the last few years to rig a toad on the back of a skirtless buzzbait. This creates an entirely new buzzbait that can be skipped really well under docks and around other cover.
If the water is getting right in your neck of the woods, try rigging up a frog or a toad yourself to see if you can’t catch a monster bass on one. It’s best to wait until the water temps are at least in the 60s and remember that these baits work exceptionally well around cover— vegetation in particular. Both make great baits whether you’re fishing a pond from the bank or in a big boat out on the lake. So get out there and give one a shot the next chance you get!