With the very large number of plastic frogs on the racks and shelves for bass fishermen to choose from, who would’ve thunk to add another one to the mix?
Many of those bogus hoppers have made their marks and stood the test of time, trial and tribulation by producing strike after strike for many different reasons.
And a Louisiana outdoorsman who got into the artificial lure manufacturing business nearly three years ago said he realized those plastic frogs were highly capable of fooling bass.
Frankly, Ragley’s Mike "Redbone" Holland believed he could make a better plastic frog. The 43-year-old superintendent of Specialized Welding Services had a gut feeling that a plastic frog with a different sound and subtle changes in the body would jump to the forefront of the bass-fishing scene.
As a result, the Bass Kandi Croaker, a 3.75-inch-long bait, was born to ripple across the surface, in and around lily pads, duckweed and underwater vegetation.
"So far, it’s been a killer little bait. It’s a phenomenal bait," Holland said about the plastic frog that first appeared in tackle shops and other outlets in March. "The Croaker’s been doing well. I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback."
Holland, whose artificial lure manufacturing business mushroomed from a small hand-injected company that expanded to full automation approximately 1 ½ years ago at a site in North Carolina, explained his reasons for introducing yet another plastic frog.
"What I wanted to design it for was a different sound than was on the market," he explained. "I was looking for a different sound. Bass will get used to a certain sound."
He believed some established plastic frogs were too noisy when retrieved. So he toned his creation down with his specific design.
Holland said that when he started designing it his intentions were threefold: Different sound, different look and minimum rollover.
Mission accomplished on all three fronts.
A few of the obvious characteristics that separate the Croaker from other plastic frogs are the webbed feet that are splayed wide to give it more action and a channel down the middle of the underside that leaves a bubble trail behind the lure.
The webbed feet were the idea of the man who makes the custom molds, Holland said.
What he likes most about the Croaker is the fact that it rarely, if ever, goes upside down — the bane of many a plastic frog on the market. There’s nothing more frustrating than a belly-up hopper, which means the hook’s barb is pointed up, also.
"It rarely rolls upside down," Holland said. "Another feature we wanted was to have minimal roll on it. If it does flip upside down when it comes over something, just pause it.
"It’ll automatically flip back on its belly."
To ensure even fewer rollovers, he shared a tip: Slip a round glass bead on the line before tying on the Croaker. That bead helps keep vegetation and such off the nose of the plastic frog.
Available in eight colors, the Croaker quickly became a favorite of Walker angler Chad Ruiz, who relied on it to win the co-angler division of a Bassmaster Weekend Series event June 1 out of Bayou Segnette State Park in Louisiana.
The 22-year veteran of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputy had three bass going 8.48 pounds, with two of them weighing more than 3 pounds and the biggest of those tipping the scale at 3.45 pounds.
Those two biggest bass were caught on the watermelon apple Croaker, which Ruiz said he worked around grassy points to trigger the bites that helped him qualify for regionals.
"I like it," he said. "It’s a completely different sound, a more subtle sound. When it’s hot like it is and the fish are slowed down, you’re not going to scare them.
"The webbed feet — that’s what initially attracted me to it. I said, ‘That can’t hurt.’"
He has been preaching its virtues ever since, including getting Chuck Foster of Walker, a buddy of his who fished the Bassmaster Weekend Series, hooked on the Croaker.
To make sure it doesn’t roll over, Ruiz fishes with a weighted hook. At first, though, he used one that was too heavy, he admitted. But he adjusted and went to a hook with a lighter weight.
Holland recommended fishing the Croaker on a 4/0 wide gap hook tied to either monofilament line or braided line.
Bass Kandi owner Holland’s favorite colors for his Croakers are white on a cloudless day and black/neon on a cloudy day. He also favors bullfrog and Houdini.
For more information on the Croaker and other Bass Kandi artificial lures, like the new T-Craw, call 337-725-3474 or go to firstname.lastname@example.org.