FLW pro Todd Castledine trusts his frogging to a 7-foot, 3-inch Falcon Cara swimbait rod with an 8:1 Lew’s Super Duty reel carrying 65-pound braided line. This outfit, he said, affords him the elements essential to effective frogging.

The rod is Castledine’s top priority because he needs plenty of backbone and just enough tip to allow a fish to “get” the frog. In heavy cover, weeds put a lot of pressure on the line and the bait — often to the hook set’s detriment. Braided line’s unyielding nature helps, but Castledine knows that success depends on the source of the force.

“You’re making a long cast and you have to create a lot of energy to drive those hooks home,” he explained. “You can’t just self-hook a fish on a frog like you can on a worm where you just hold on tight when a fish bites.

“Once you get one hooked (on those strong frog hooks), it doesn’t matter; you won’t lose it. If you hook one and it jumps off halfway to the boat, you never really had her hooked right. If you get a fish hooked right from the get go is the most important thing.”

As for reel speed, Castledine finds that 8:1 gives him enough speed to quickly bring in a cast and fire off another (if he sees a fish blow up in the mat) without losing too much power. Above that speed, he’s no longer confident with the reel’s ability to complement the rod with sturdy winching power.

Worth a note: Del Rio, Texas-based Power Tackle makes stout rods with palm grips built to anchor your entire hand against the trigger, rather than just a couple of fingers. This extra leverage can be helpful for heaving frogs and battling toads.