Frog fishing is the pinnacle of bass fishing in my personal opinion. I've expressed my love for fishing topwaters before when reviewing other subsets of the genre. But of all the baits out there, a frog is what I would pick up and throw forevermore if I was only allowed to fish one bait the rest of my life. I would throw a frog without a single bite for months in 40-degree water temps if it just meant I got to see one more blowup come spring or summer time.
I say all this to say, I've enjoyed reviewing the 13 Fishing Trash Panda Poppin' Frog immensely. It's still odd for me to believe at times I get to fish with baits and then talk about the experiences, but pinch myself-moment aside, it's time to get to work. So here are my thoughts on 13 Fishing's offering to the popping frog world.
First things first, I want to be able to fish a frog with little effort. For a popping frog, that is twofold. Obviously, it has to have a good spitting action when you pop the bait. And the 13 Fishing Trash Panda Poppin' Frog does, giving off a good little chug to a pretty big splash depending on how hard you twitch the bait. But a popping frog needs to be able to do more than pop in my opinion.
I also want to be able to walk a popping frog pretty easily. There are walking-style hollow body frogs with a pointed nose that are meant just for that style of fishing. But sometimes I like to walk a popping frog too, here's why. I tend to use a popping frog when I'm either wanting to cover more water since the popping sound draws fish in from farther away. Or I'll use it almost exclusively once the water gets above 72 degrees since the fish are fairly aggressive at that point.
But still, there are times when the fish will blow up on a popping frog and not get it right away. That's when I like to be able to walk the bait... or when I'm coming up to a particularly juicy piece of cover where I want the bait to linger a little longer. The 13 Fishing Trash Panda Poppin' Frog is a great frog in my book because it's extremely easy to walk and therefore lends itself well to my style of fishing.
Though the most important characteristic of a frog is the action, the second most is really equally important; that being the hookup ratio. If a frog can get bit but not hook the fish and keep it pinned, what's the point? I'm happy to report that this is another area where the Trash Panda Poppin' Frog excels. It has a bold 4/0 hook that does a great job sticking the fish.
Also worth pointing out about the hook is that I didn't bend it up when I first tied it on. With most, perhaps even all the hollow body frogs I've ever fished, I've always bent the shaft of both hooks slightly so that the hook point's trajectory doesn't run parallel to the back of the bait but instead points slightly upward. But as you can see here, this is how the Trash Panda's hook came stock, already at that slight upward trajectory. So I was really I pressed by that and the hookup ratio was on par with the other frogs I fish which I do bend the hook up on.
Every effort to keep water out
I commend 13 Fishing on making every effort to keep water out of the bait. With hollow body baits like this, it's inevitable that some water will get inside the body, at which point the angler will have to give the bait a quick squeeze or two to evacuate the water and then go back to fishing. This frog is different from any other I've ever fished with in that 13 Fishing incorporated a rubber collar around the shaft of the hook to help seal the hole where the hook enters the frogs.
In addition to this, 13 Fishing added a little blowhole in the top of the frog so that air could still escape and the frog could collapse on the strike. This system works well, but I will say the efforts to keep water out do make it a little harder to empty the frog once a little water inevitably gets in. Really though, it's no big deal since a couple more squeezes and you're ready to go again.
Tinsel in the tail
Another thing, to my knowledge, that is unique to the Trash Panda, is 13 Fishing's use of a shiny tinsel-like material in the legs mixed in with the typical strands of rubber. Now this may be one of those little things that does more to catch the eye of the fisherman than the fish, but I like it. And anything that gives you confidence in a bait is an effective addition in my opinion.
I like the idea of this tinsel in muddy water situations and just in general for one particular reason. Rarely when I fish with a frog do I think the fish actually believe its a frog. I believe they see something struggling on the surface and attack but more often than not it's more likely they believe it is a small bait fish, like a bluegill. Especially considering that 9 times out of 10 when I'm throwing a frog, I'm targeting fish relating to bluegill beds or mayfly hatches where the bream are eating the bugs. So having a little tinsel in there to mimic the shine of a little fish's scales is cool with me.
I like the 13 Fishing Trash Panda Poppin' Frog. It fishes well, whether I'm wanting to pop it or walk it periodically. It gets bit and when it does get bit, it hooks the fish well and gets them to the boat. I could have really summed up the whole review in those two sentences, because that's 99 percent of what I'm looking for in a frog.