I try to keep my fishing gear as simple as possible. In regards to frog fishing, however, I’ve become a big believer in specialty fishing rods. I’ve gone through countless frog rods and have found very few worth mentioning. It seems as if they’re either too stiff or too flimsy; finding a balance between the two has been really difficult.
I’ve been testing the 7-foot, 2-inch medium-heavy+ “Toadface” ALX ZOLO Series Casting Rod for several months and it is one of the best frog fishing rods I’ve ever had an opportunity to use. I evaluate and help develop a lot of gear over the course of a year—it takes a lot to excite me these days—but I’ve been telling all of my fishing buddies about this rod.
What you’ll like about it
Most anglers use one of two rods for their frog fishing; either a heavy-action flipping rod or a medium-heavy action all-purpose rod. Flipping rods severely inhibit your ability to walk your frog in small areas and most medium-heavy rods lack the backbone to winch a 5-pound bass from the thick stuff.
So we’re often left in a conundrum; sacrifice power or sacrifice technique.
The ALX ZOLO Series “Toadface” strikes an intriguing balance that gives you an excellent blend of finesse and power. The tip of the rod is very fast—similar to that of a medium-heavy action rod—but quickly transfers to a super-strong Hydra NG blank. Essentially, this rod allows you to intricately work your frog in very small strike zones and when you get a bite, you have plenty of muscle to drive the hook and get the fish away from cover.
You’ll also notice the excellent castability of this rod. Soft plastic toads and hollow-bodied frogs aren’t always easy to cast due to their weightlessness, but the fast taper of the Toadface facilitates some pretty amazing casts—in terms of both distance and accuracy. Quick roll casts and skips are very simple and big, overhead bomb casts are impressive as well. I can easily cast a hollow-bodied frog 50 or 60 yards with this rod, and that might be a bit conservative.
While sensitivity isn’t a huge factor for me when I’m choosing a frogging rod, it’s worth noting that this rod is quite sensitive. I say that because it would also make a very good pitching and flipping rod, especially if you like to skip jigs underneath docks. I’ve spent a little time skipping a 1/2-ounce jig and I’ve been impressed. The fast tip allows for a crisp, accurate skip and of course the backbone of the rod is hugely useful when it comes time to set the hook.
This is also a very lightweight rod for being so powerful. Twitching and walking a frog all day can wear you out in a hurry, but I haven’t had any fatigue issues throughout my testing. It’s balanced nicely and feels “right”. I know that sounds strange to some, but most of you will know what I’m talking about.
My experiences with it
I have caught some big fish with this rod. I’ve used it in my boat and also at a personal pond and it has been nothing short of impressive.
Casting is a big deal for me when I’m frogging because I’m a very target-oriented angler. I don’t have big grass mats to fish in my area—I’m always casting to a specific piece of cover. I’ve used the Toadface to skip my frogs under docks, overhangs and laydowns and I can say without question that my casting accuracy has improved.
When it comes to walking a frog, this rod is difficult to beat. I can twitch my hollow-bellied frog 5 or 6 times and it will only move forward an inch or two. So when I skip a frog to those specific pieces of cover I mentioned, I can keep it in the strike zone for a really long time.
I have purposely tried to break this rod on each and every hookset thus far; I’m fishing with 65-pound braid and I’ve kept my drag cinched all the way down. A few nights ago, I caught an 8-pounder with this rod and it completely manhandled her. She was trying to jump and throw the frog but I was able to keep her down and heading towards me without any issues at all. She tried to wrap me around a laydown and the Toadface kept her under control the entire time.
Like I mentioned, I’m a simple angler. I don’t get caught up in all of the aesthetics and bells and whistles—this rod fishes a frog excellently. That’s really all I can say. If you like to fish a frog, put this rod on your wish list. You’re going to love it.