After several years on the professional tournament trail as being called the "secret killer" bait, the toad is finally out in the open. This secret bait eventually made it into the hands of other bass fishermen who let the secret out by the slip of the tongue while bragging to their buddies. Before long the word was out and the "toad" was in the stores so everyone could buy this great new killer bait.
It didn't take long for the news of the toad to spread like wildfire either. If you were lucky enough you might be able to find a bag or two of them in some tackle shops, that is if someone hadn't beat you to the draw. Once the word spread and fishermen starting buying them by the bags, the Horny Toad craze began. With all the news & excitement from the pros on down to the local weekend warrior, the toad rose to the top of the bait market were it has become a great all-around bait. To some, including myself, it has worked magic for our top water bite and has become part of our go-to bait selections. As with all good things, the demands were high and so were the empty shelves where the toads were placed. With the horny toad being in such short supply and high demand, over night there seemed to be a whole new series of horny toads to hit the market. There were many similar plastic bodied toads/frogs introduced to the fishing world. In just a matter of weeks, you had a large choice of companies offering toads with your choice of style & color.
Pro fisherman & guide Lonnie Stanley from Texas was so impressed with the toad bait that he bought the entire line from Reaction Lures, which is known by the name of the "Ribbit". How's that for believing in a bait & trusting your instincts! Besides the Ribbit, there were many more companies making the toads come to life. With Zoom & Ribbit in the lead, companies like Sizmic, V&M, Yum, Venom, H&H, Mann's, Culprit, Gambler, and Berkley, (who added a toad in their "Gulp" series), went to work over night tooling up to make the toad for their company. Now it seems everywhere you look there is some type of toad bait available in every store. I feel that the toad has been one of the most innovational baits to hit the bass market in a long while. It also reminds me of the great Gary Yamamoto's Senko Stick bait era that has been so successful through the years.
The toad has been a lot of fun for me & has surely helped my top water bite. It has added another weapon in my tackle bag for top water besides the buzz bait. I have also found out that you can fish the toad in just about any condition, no matter where you live. You can work this bait no matter how thick the vegetation is or how much wood/trash you are fishing around. You can buzz it on top, swim it through holes in the grass or timber, or pop it through the lily pads. It can also be flipped & pitched around boat docks with its flat bottom, or let flutter to the bottom around brush piles. I also like using it like a spinner bait, working the shallow water around cover. Now let me be the first to tell you that this bait isn't for the weak of heart or for a short tempered person. This bait combines the heart throbbing excitement of top water with the fish finding abilities of a spinner or buzz bait. It can also give you that weedless advantage of fishing it Texas rig style or C-rig. Another important fact is that the toad is one of the primary forage foods for Mr. Bass besides the crawfish. Which of coarse we love down here in Cajun land too! I truly think that I have had some of the best top water action since using the toad because there is nothing more exciting than working that little toad along the grass line and having it disappear into a giant splash of water. Talk about heart pounding excitement as you try to compose yourself into setting the hook the proper way before the hole fills back up with water! The hook set can be a little tricky too; those first few trips were tough on me as I missed more bass than I caught. I would get so excited with the blow up of water that I would just jerk the toad away from the bass before he was fully hooked. Trust me, it's easier said than done for sure! The first train of thought is to set the hook fast & hard so he doesn't get away, which sometimes leads to poor hook sets and Mr. Bass swimming away laughing at us. I have found that by allowing my rod tip to drop a little from 1 o'clock to maybe 3 or 4 o'clock, it gives me time to compose myself and get my wits together for a better hook set. This is still tough to do, no matter how easy they say it is.
After fishing the toad for a few weeks and getting use to it I went and fished with a good friend of mine. He had just purchased a very nice house on Lake Cotile. Boy was I jealous of him, in fact, I'm still jealous! Ken Mac had not bass fished that much and wanted to try it on his new home lake. I had told him that we would try a few different baits that morning to see just what his bass liked the best. I wanted to help him with his baits so that he wouldn't break his bank account the first few weeks of his new bass life, plus his wife agreed with me on this one too. You got to keep those girlfriends & wives happy, you know!
That morning we threw a few spinner-baits, some Texas rigged worms and a few crank-baits. About mid-morning with only a few bites & no fish in the boat, I decided to tie on some horny toads for both of us to try. Sure enough, we had a field day with the bass as they killed our horny toads one after another. Now we missed more than we caught, but that didn't matter as my dear ole friend Ken was hooked on bass fishing for life. Before I left that day going home I had to give up what few toads I had left so that he could take his wife out the next day and show her what we had done. Well guess what, they caught bass and both of them were hooked. The next weekend was the same thing; they caught bass with the old toad. Ken called me to tell all about their toad fishing and that he was heading up to his local tackle store to pick up some more of them. The funny thing about this was that he bought every bag the tackle shop had in every color they had. Now this must have cost him a pile of money, something that I was trying to keep from happening. When I asked him why on earth did he buy so many of them, his answer was quite simple to me. He didn't want no one else to have any of them, that way he could keep them a "secret." Now, does this sound familiar or what? That good old secret killer bait once again is hidden away from the rest of the local guys until it slips out again.
I'm just glad that someone let it slip out so that we could enjoy all this great top water action. Thanks to the Horny Toad & all the other companies that are involved in making these great baits, frog fishing may never be the same for us! I think that it may still be a secret bait in some areas because my old buddy still hasn't given me back my toads that he borrowed from me!
Until next time, "fish hard, have fun & stay safe"! Please remember to take a child fishing when you can: it just might make you a star in their little eyes! Also please remember our Troops, who are fighting for our "Freedom", it is because of them that we have this great nation of ours!
May God bless & keep you safe!