Frog fishing is one of my all-time favorite ways to catch bass. I assume I’m not alone in this, and I wager that’s a safe assumption to make. There’s just something about a bucket-mouth bass flushing a toilet on a frog that really gets the blood pumping. So I was excited to test the 13 Fishing Trash Panda.
I come close to pinching myself every time I “have to” review a frog for “work”. I know, it’s not fair. But this is my lot. This frog is a winner and a lot of thought was put into the design and build of this frog to overcome a lot of the common problems with frog fishing hollow bodied frogs. We’ll talk about the following aspects in reviewing this frog:
- First impressions
- The hook design
- Water prevention
- Custom leg design
- Keeled body
Let us take a look at the unique 13 Fishing Trash Panda hollow bodied frog.
First impressions of the Trash Panda
When I first pulled the Trash Panda out of the pack, I immediately noticed the slick and soft material it’s made from. A soft body is very important when fishing with a hollow-body bait. The material has to collapse when the bass bites down on the lure to allow for a good hookset. Stiff material makes for poorer hookup ratios. This is such a problem with some baits that anglers actually result to boiling the lures, to soften up the material.
Slickness and sleekness are also important, as these baits need to be able to come through and over heavy cover. You don’t want a lot of ridges and rough edges on a frog. You don’t want the hooks to stick way out to the sides. All these things, though seemingly insignificant, add to the friction and resistance of a bait when you go to pull it across a mat or through grass, weeds and reeds. And this can cause a bait to catch and jerk and jump more than you want it to on the retrieve.
Trash Panda Hook
Though these subtleties are important, the most important feature of any frog is the hook. The custom 4/0 dual frog hook used in the Trash Panda is stout. It also comes ready to go right out of the box. One of the most common frog tweaks has to do with bending the hooks up a little to increase hookup ratio.
Most frog hook points run parallel to the back of the frog, to decrease the chances of the frog snagging cover. But this makes it harder to hook a fish as well, so almost all anglers bend the hook points up a little and accept any increased snags that may come. The 13 Fishing Trash Panda was designed specifically for fishing through “trash” like this however, and it comes equipped with upward hook points at the same time.
Using two slightly concave recesses in the sides of the back of the top of the frog, 13 Fishing gave the hooks somewhere to tuck away from the cover while also granting them the upward angle needed to turn a bite into a bass in hand. This works to perfection, and most importantly eliminates the guess work and precision needed to bend both hooks up evenly, enough and not too much.
Water prevention was well thought out
Water entering the hollow body of a frog is a common nuisance and simply an annoyance we’ve all come to expect and accept when fishing a frog. Well, 13 Fishing didn’t want to settle for status quo here, and they made every effort to keep the water out of the Trash Panda.
One tweak, they moved the drain hole on their frog from the bottom of the bait to the back. Their intent here was to allow the bait to collapse when a bass bites it or it bangs off cover, and then when the material relaxes, the frog would suck in air instead of water.
The lure designers at 13 Fishing also incorporated and internal weight system into the belly of the frog, as opposed to plugging the hole in the bottom of their frog with a weight like many of their competitors. This eliminates one more area where water often enters baits like this. To cap off their water intrusion prevention efforts, they used heat shrink wrap around the shaft of the hook to plug the hole where the hook exits the body of the frog.
All these efforts are commendable, but full disclaimer, water still does enter this frog at some point. But it does as good or better of a job compared to any other at keeping the water out, and a quick squeeze every now and then empties the bilge for a while.
Keeled body and unique legs
The keel design of the Trash Panda makes it a great selection for an all-around frog. Some baits have a sharp V-shaped hull, which helps the lure walk really easily but makes for tough skipping. Others have a flatter belly which skips well, but makes for tougher walking. The rounded keel of the Trash Panda makes both tasks fairly easy and this frog more versatile
There’s a unique combination of material used for the legs on this frog. Strands of round, living rubber fan out across the water’s surface, while bright and stiff tensile (flashabou) glimmers and reflects light. Not sure if it’s more effective at catching the fish, but I like it. It does give a new look to bass that are seeing more and more frogs every day.
Final thoughts on Trash Panda
Available in 9 colors at price point of $12.99, the 13 Fishing Trash Panda is in the top tier price wise, but I’d say it’s right up there with those baits in quality as well. Several well throughout design elements come together to create a hollow body bait that is ready to fish right out of the pack and capable of traversing the densest cover you can find.
A strong hook, an above average effort to keep water out and a great selection of materials used make this an exceptional frog. The price point is worth stomaching to give one of these a try in my opinion. A good frog lasts a long time and can boat multiple trophy bass. Who knows, you might find your new favorite in the 13 Fishing Trash Panda.