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Thursday, September 17, 2009

• Dean Rojas Fighting Frog

Big Bite Baits products have earned a respectable position in my tackle box. Their Trick Stick and Craw are excellent alternatives to more costly options. So while wandering around on the showroom floor at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic here in Shreveport, it was no surprise that the Big Bite Baits booth caught my eye. One of the new lures they were showcasing at the time was the Dean Rojas Fighting Frog. They were even giving away free t-shirts to people who bought packs of them. Since the company was already on my good side, I decided to stock up on a few lures I was unable to find locally, namely their topwater frogs, but picked up a ten pack of Fighting Frogs in black neon while I was at it.

I do have a few things to say about this lure, but let me introduce you to the Fighting Frog first. Then I'll follow up with my own thoughts.

The Fighting Frog is a beaver-type flipping bait with craw-like legs, curled side appendages, short antennae, ribbed underbelly, and flat back with a midline hook recess and molded ridges. Big Bite Baits calls the hook recess a "Hook Pocket." The body itself is on the narrow side. It is available in 3.5" and 4" versions and comes in 14 different colors.



So what might be your first question? I know. Is it a frog or a beaver bait?

Although marketed as a frog, the only section that resembles a frog in my opinion is the head. There are two eyes and a blunt nose similar to soft plastic frogs on the market today. The rest of the lure looks more like a crawfish similar to the popular beaver-type baits I'm familiar with. Even though BBB claims they're taking frogging to a whole new level, a beaver type bait used as a flipping and pitching bait, jig trailer, or on a Carolina rig is certainly no new concept.

The Fighting Frog was briefly featured in the July/August Inside The Box section of Bassmaster Magazine. It's one of the lures Dean Rojas throws in July. Rojas rigs it with a 1/2 or 1oz weight for flipping into the slop. For Rojas, it works as a follow up bait for when bass miss a topwater lure.1 Of course, one would expect Dean Rojas to throw a lure which bears his own name.

So how was my experience with this new lure?

My first problem with the Fighting Frog had to do with weight. Keep in mind, however, that I bought the 3.5" version, not the slightly larger 4-incher. When rigged weightless, it took some serious tinkering on my part to cast the lure with my baitcasters. If you plan on using this lure rigged weightless, you might want to try it on a spinning outfit or a finesse baitcasting rig. I ended up rigging my Fighting Frogs with a 1/4oz bullet weight and a 3/0 EWG hook, but I also tried rigging it on a 1/8oz Gamakatsu Jobee Pro hook. I predominantly fished it by pitching at cypress trees and other cover and structure over the course of the spring spawn on through summer in depths ranging from 4 feet down to 10. Didn't catch a single fish on it. Didn't even get a bump.

As for the structure/function relationship, I felt that the small legs did not spring to life as much as I had expected. In fact, the flimsy legs on the side were barely noticeable and only seemed to affect how the lure glided on the fall. The craw-like appendages waved around when shaken and drifted upward while stationary, but there really was nothing special about the action. The antennae were fairly motionless. The ribbed belly allowed the lure to gradually descend as it glided to the bottom. These same ridges should also produce small amounts of vibration detectable by any nearby fish. On a positive note, I found the lure to be fairly durable compared to other beaver-type baits, so it scored points in that regard.

Alternatively, as suggested by one of my Facebook friends, the Fighting Frog can be fished in a more horizontal fashion. By swimming the lure, either weightless or weighted, the legs end up creating enough action to make using the bait worthwhile. Apparently swimming the Fighting Frog makes those legs flap quite a bit. Instead of fishing the bottom with this lure as a beaver-type bait, aim higher and work the mid-range bass that may be a little more active and ready to chase.

Packages of Big Bite Baits plastics often have a yellow label on the front telling you they are "Fortified with Bite Juice." Instead of being filled with the special anise-like "Bite Juice," the Fighting Frog smelled more like something Berkley would throw at us. The scent was not all that pleasant. I expected to get a good whiff of anise when I opened the package, but I was hit with a fishy salty smell with only a hint of anise. I would not go as far as to say they were fortified with the classic "Bite Juice." Fighting Frogs seem to be fortified with something different. On top of that, over time, the lure lost its scent. As with most baits, that was to be expected.

The Final Say
The Fighting Frog might be put to better use as a jig trailer. It definitely requires some extra weight to be fished with any effort on your part. Split shotting is another option, but I have not tried it that way yet. The name could be slightly misleading for first time buyers. Don't plan on using it as a topwater lure. It wasn't designed for that sort of thing. If you want to fish a frog, buy a frog. If you want to fish a beaver bait, my suggestion would be to buy something else, even if it means buying one of the Big Bite Baits Yo Mamas. The small profile might make for a slower fall rate compared to heavier alternatives, so this lure may have a place in your lineup. I'll keep pitching this bait until I finish off what I have, but I don't plan on buying more unless it produces.


http://bigbitebaits.com/DeanRojasSignSeries.htm
YouTube: Dean Rojas at ICAST 2009



Related Posts:
Big Bite Baits Review
Big Bite Baits Yo Mama

References
1. Jones, David Hunter. "Inside The Box." BASSMaster Magazine. July/August 2009. p. 25.

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