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FrogZtomp - Surface FrogZin'

Robbie Wells

Warning: After Reading this article you may suffer from CFD - Compulsive Frog Disorder, with your first explosive frog surface encounter having you frothing for more. You will reach the stage where you always take an extra setup with you, rigged with either a 2.5" or 4" ZMan Hard Leg FrogZ at the ready... probably for your first cast. Hmmm... 2.5" Hard Leg FrogZ you ask, they don't make those, but more on that later.

FrogZ in the sweet water... there wouldn't be too many Australian natives in the fresh that wouldn't or don't eat succulent frog morsels in their natural habitat. The sheer commotion alone, with all that leg action, is enough to entice the primitive urges in any of our predatory surface feeders and most if not all of our freshwater sport fish. So, how many times have you been fishing the fresh and seen an actual frog swimming? Probably not often really, so I always treat them as a real delicacy and in the right environmental conditions and time of day I expect fish to go crazy over them.

One of my favorite types of freshwater fishing is just that, fast burning ZMan 4" Hard Leg FrogZ. You've probably seen them used extensively on barra in the impoundments, rigged weedless over the lily pads. I don't really fish impoundments, so I've been using them in the skinny water chasing anything from bass, sooties, cod, toga, tarpon, JPs and of course barra, they can't resist going for a sensory overload reaction bite!

At first the fast burn technique seems like there is no way that anything would attack something skimming across the water that fast, especially our smaller species like bass, JPs and sooty grunter. In our opportunistic native world of eat or be eaten though and because of what this plastic represents food wise in its natural environment, to me it reminds me of a small water dragon scurrying across the surface from lilies to logs, the FrogZ make for easy feed for an awaiting predator. Here's some food for thought, perhaps the water dragon is the native's delicacy, as 90% of the hook ups are on the fast burn not on the pause. Whatever they think it is, it works and with a little bit of ingenuity the 4" frog imitation can be customized to suit all native freshwater fish.

What's a 'fast burn' technique some of you might ask? Basically, when surface fishing FrogZ, it's a high rod tip and a fast enough speed to get the poor old ZMan up on the plane with the legs frantically popping along the surface in an almost frenzied motion. I use a 6'6" - 7' rod and like a big long cast. Depending on species and the bite for the day, I will vary my distance of fast burn, before stopping the plastic for small pauses.

When fishing for Aussie bass for instance I will fast burn my first cast all the way. I then cast to the same spot and burn for 8-10 metres before the pause, or pause where I think fish are located. If you are fortunate enough to be in a kayak, you can line yourself along the lilies or a timber run for surprising results. I use the same technique within the thick timber snags and lily or weed beds - the FrogZ rigged weedless on a TT Lures 4/0 ChinlockZ jighead means you can get it right into the strike zone and entice the fish out. It's really surprising how far out of their timber comfort zone they will travel to engulf your frog offering.

As with a lot of surface artificials, especially single hook plastics, your hook up rate can be compromised, depending on species targeted. If you think outside the square your hook up rate can be dramatically increased though. For instance, when it comes to Aussie bass, sooty grunter and jungle perch a 4" Hard Leg FrogZ is quite a mouthful. The hook needs to be sitting as far back in the frog rigging slot as possible and ideally a 6/0 sits back enough... but with the mouth size of target species mentioned it takes a perfect strike to engulf both the frog and the hook. I have solved this problem, when chasing these particular natives over the last 12 months, by using a cut-down 4" FrogZ. Trimming and re-shaping the front of the ZMan Hard Leg FrogZ by about 15mm, coupled with the TT 4/0 ChinlockZ is the perfect recipe. Your hook up rate will be dramatically increased and eventually, once your confidence grows in the technique and presentation, you will wonder how and why you didn't get the hook up initially.

When chasing barramundi, cod and saratoga I normally run the standard 6/0 ChinlockZ and the stock version ZMan 4" Hard Leg FrogZ. As you can imagine the larger mouth size poses no problem when it comes to engulfing the larger size lure. Technique wise I have personally also been experiencing some Mary River cod by-catch when using a short burn of 3-5 metres and longer pauses.

Once you have the fast burn down pat you don't even have be looking at the lure. You can hear when you hit the sweet spot as the burbling and popping sounds are emitted from the crazy paddle legs. If you're stuck you can also use the ZMan 4" Pop FrogZ for this technique but they just don't give out the same commotion or burble, so I prefer to keep those just for popping.

One of the other benefits with the ZMan FrogZ is that being 10X Tough, super-soft Elaztech, your target species will often come back for more strikes at your presentation. The plastic feels more life-like and doesn't spook the fish. So when you're on your next native mission, be sure to pack that extra Frog Stomp rod and rattle a few from the surface, you'll be hooked!

How Goods Australia [slogan copywrite 2009]

Cheers Robbie Wells

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2017
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