Legendary lure designer and angler Lonnie Stanley and his buddy John Hale continue to innovate with fishing lures like their new Top Toad. They started a market in jigs that featured the first colored weed guards. They grew their brand with some of the best spinnerbaits made with their Wedge and Vibra-Shaft series. Their Ribbit attracted a strong following all across the country, and their new Top Toad has been getting rave reviews already.
I have been testing the Top Toad for a couple of weeks and have already had a 5 1/2-pound bass and a 40-inch musky as two of my biggest on the bait. I caught numerous 1 and 2-pound bass, before finally retiring the first frog I took out of the package.
Not all frogs are created equal
There are many toads on the market today that are proven fish catchers. The Zoom Horny Toad, the Gambler Cane Toad, the Stanley Ribbit, and the Strike King Rage Toad are all solid body toads, great for smooth water and subtle action.
The Top Toad offers a hollow belly toad that sits high in the water and can remain on the surface motionless like a live frog. It is a combination of the solid-bodied toad and a hollow-bodied frog.
It floats a bit lower in the water than other hollow body frogs, but I believe that adds to the bite-to-hook-up ratio. Because it is hollow, the points of the hooks expose quickly when the frog is compressed. The paddle legs kick like mad buzzed across the water with a plopping sound and engage with the slightest twitch. The 3D embedded eyes add appeal and sit out of the water when motionless.
I have been fishing it in slop and around wood cover. You can buzz it like a buzzbait and twitch it like a topwater frog. When twitched, the legs engage and then seductively settle on top just like a live frog. The thin legs hold up well and allow for better action of the kicking feet.
I have been fishing it on their Double Take Hook and skin hook the points into the back hips of the frog. It remains weedless in both slop and wood and the screw lock keeper holds well and doesn’t tear due to its conical design. I use a small drop of super glue on the nose of the bait after the keeper is in position to keep from tearing on hooksets. It seems that also helps keeping snot moss and duck weed from gathering on the nose too.
Casts like a bullet
The Top Toad casts a mile even in a heavy wind. It weighs 3/4 ounce, and I like the fact it hits the water with a splash. In heavy cover, it does a great job of calling the fish to its location, and once engaged, I have had fish wake to hit it.
I fish a frog until the water gets into the low 50s, and it’s a great bait for fall fishing in creeks and pockets. I have fallen in love with this frog and recommend you get a package or two to try out.
You can fish it on a single hook made for frogs too, but the Double Take Hook is hard to beat. I have been fishing it on a 7-foot, 3-inch Fitzgerald MH all-purpose rod teamed with an Abu Garcia Elite 7.1:1 reel and the new 65-pound Daiwa J Braid.
The Top Toad is available at Tackle Warehouse and they stock 6 colors. I like Catalpa and Baby Bass for my water color. I also tested two new colors. One called Wood Frog, a green peppered bellow and brown/gold back with gliiter and the other called Cricket Frog, that is a glittered blue back and a shad belly. I tipped the feet of the Cricket Frog with chartreuse dye to add to the appeal in stained water.
The Top Toad comes in a 2 and 3 pack and retail for $4.89 and $5.99 respectively. The new colors will be available soon. You can find them on Tackle Warehouse and other retailers who carry Stanley fishing products.