Two things come to mind when choosing a top water frog combo; strength and castability.
Fishing top water baits such as the frog require slow twitching retrieves. When I fish these types of baits I like my rod tip to be between ten and twelve o’clock. That is my comfort area and as far as rod length goes, length helps getting that light weight plastic frog out there. And with that said, a good lengthy 6’8” to 7’2” rod is best. The taller one is the longer the rod, so a 7’6” rod is not uncommon. The length also helps get that Bass out of its thick cover pronto as well as give us good solid hook sets.
Here, strength is essential and more so than other techniques. Top water fishing isn’t always close proximity fishing so a good strong rod is paramount to success. You also want a good balanced rod because hours of top water frog fishing without a balanced rod can, believe it or not, play havoc on the back. Light and strong are excellent combo characteristics to strive for.
Because strength is key here, a heavy action rod would suite best. Quantum makes quite a few good rods for top water ‘froging’. The 6’10” heavy Tour Edition PT rod makes a great rod of choice for my size. Taller anglers who love ‘froging’ can be quite comfortable using the Tommy Biffle 7’6” heavy action rod. I use it for pitching and flipping all day without breaking my back so it could sure suffice for a taller top water angler. Shimanos 7’2” heavy extra fast Cumara makes a good choice. The same length and action in fast will work as well with that added hinged tip for good lengthy casts. Crucial rods from Shimano in 6’8” and up in extra fast heavy action are another excellent choice. G-Loomis frog rods specially designated for top water fishing are good choices, but for me they are just a little too heavy. They do have an excellent back bone and good castability. It would be a great choice for a taller angler; taller than me, that is! All these rods mentioned have light weight characteristics in common and are well balanced for the task at hand.
Top water frog fishing requires workhorse reels so that is a job for bait casting reels. They are the way to go because when using 30lb braided line and up, they are a ‘no brainer!’
The Shimano Calcutta GT TE is a good choice. Strong and durable is what we need and the Calcutta GT TE has it. Unlike its counter part, the Calcutta, the GT TE has a 6.2:1 gear ratio. It has enough speed to catch up to the moving Bass. A reel with 7.0:1 ratio is really not necessary. The rod is used to twitch the bait so taking up slack line fast is not so important. The 6 ratios will force us to work the bait slower, where as taking up slack fast with the 7 ratios will have shorter intervals between twitches. So it will subconsciously make us twitch faster. Slow is the key when top frog fishing so to help slow it down I use the slower ratios.
Another good reel is the Core from Shimano in 6.2:1 ratio. It’s a lightweight reel to go with your lightweight rod. It too has a good strong drag which is needed. Speaking of drag, Quantum’s Accurist in the right speed is a good strong candidate and casts like a dream. Abu Garcia’s Revo in 6.4:1 is quite a treat. Don’t let its size fool you because it gets the job done. Shimanos work horse, the Castaic, is superb. It will bring virtually anything to the boat or shore!
My ultimate top water frog combo that fits me comfortably for all day ‘froging’ is the Shimano 50 GT TE Calcutta teamed up with the 6’10” heavy action PT Tour Edition rod from Quantum. All the memories of Bass after Bass slamming my plastic rat and frog over the years will be etched in my brain forever! By using this combo, confidence is definitely high for me!
Frog top water fishing is fun fishing and in order to keep it that way the right combo is needed. Believe me when I tell you; there is not better way to catch a Bass. Watching your frog or rat getting pounded from a force beneath is like no other!