Award-winning soft lure in a league of its own
There is a soft-plastic frog so lifelike in detail that the legs possess a kicking motion no self-respecting bass can resist, a soft-plastic frog that captures the confidence of bass anglers everywhere and also reigns supreme as the ICAST Best Soft Lure of 2013.
Lunkerhunt Premium Fishing Products, a Canadian artificial lure manufacturing company with Dave MacDonald at the helm, introduced the Lunker Frog to North America in April.
Pocket Frog, the Lunker Frog’s little brother, is scheduled to be on the market this month but was showcased at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show last summer in Las Vegas.
Lunker Frog (2 ½ inches long, ½ ounce) looked great in the showroom and even better on the water, which is where it counts. Still, Toronto-based Lunkerhunt officials savored the ICAST Best Soft Lure award that gave them back-to-back ICAST Best Soft Lure honors after winning it with the Bento line in 2012.
Lunkerhunt president John Goldfarb called the latest award a humbling experience. MacDonald, Lunkerhunt founder and director, said it was all about making quality artificial lures at affordable prices to bass anglers.
“Each guy here works hard on product development. Internally, we’re proud of (the back-to-back awards). More importantly, it shows the public that we’re dedicated to quality products,” Goldfarb said. “From the consumer perspective, we’ve heard nothing but great things (about the Lunker Frog). I think this will be a successful product for retailers and consumers.”
“That’s humbling,” he said of the ICAST awards. “We definitely don’t go into it thinking ‘awards.’ We just try to focus on the next lure. What can we do to make something the best we can and make it for the most-affordable price?”
Lunker Frog’s notoriety mushroomed with a video last summer of a bass fisherman setting the hook and catching a 9-pound, 3-ounce fish on a short strike while retrieving a Lunker Frog. In fact, the bogus bullfrog was about to be lifted off the water for the next cast when the brute hit. It isn’t for the weak of heart.
MacDonald said the angler was Stephen Russell, who operates the website bassfishingalabama.com. That heart-stopping sequence went viral on YouTube.
Since then, MacDonald said, Russell introduced five other videos of that realistic plastic frog catching big bass. Other videos, including presentations by MacDonald, can be seen at www.lunkerhunt.com.
“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback, great feedback on the (Lunker) Frog,” MacDonald said.
So, what makes the Lunker Frog such a hot commodity?
It starts with the body itself, the mold, that Goldfarb said is “our creation,” although some similarities in shape are seen in other soft-plastic frogs on the market.
Then there is the texture of the soft plastic, the durability and the intricate painting in 10 colors for both models, according to MacDonald and Goldfarb. Those color combinations for the Lunker Frog and Pocket Frog (1 ½ inches long and ¼-ounce) are green tea (PF or LF 01), rocky toad (PF or LF 02), leopard (PF or LF 03), croaker (PF or LF 04), pearl (PF or LF 05), Texas toad (PF or LF 06), poison (PF or LF 07), fire belly (PF or LF 08), bullfrog (PF or LF 09) and king toad (PF or LF 10).
Goldfarb credits MacDonald with the realistic look on all of them.
“David has a lot to do with the engineering and paint job,” he said. “Plus, we have an inhouse team of designers, and their goal is to develop and design David’s concepts and bring the product to life.”
A custom hook ensures that it sits on the water a la natural and has the bite to perform on the hookset. The two-pronged hook is “completely weedless,” MacDonald said. Also, it isn’t chemically sharpened, which means it can be sharpened with a file.
The Pocket Frog’s hook is heavier, so even the Lunker Frog’s little brother can handle “hawgs,” MacDonald said, but a plastic weight is used instead of a metal weight to offset the difference. As a result, it’s recommended to set the hook with a sweeping method to the side.
The Lunker Frog and Pocket Frog’s most-appealing characteristic appears to be the legs: They extend on the retrieve and retract on the pause. Naturally, MacDonald and Goldfarb are proud of that feature of their creation.
“The legs working is one of the things that makes it unique. The legs do all the work themselves. It’s really, really a simple bait to fish,” MacDonald said. “It makes it easy for someone just learning to fish a frog. Other frogs don’t have the toes and feet that catch the water.”
A small percentage of pre-ICAST Best Soft Lure award Lunker Frogs apparently took on water on the retrieve, MacDonald said, noting that about 5 percent of the original, massive run might have been affected. He turned his attention to that issue immediately, he said, noting modifications to post-ICAST production runs leave the plastic frog floating high and dry and about as watertight as a soft-plastic topwater bait can be.
Of course, repeated tangles with bass big eventually might take their toll on the watertightness. MacDonald said a sealant such as Crazy Glue or similar adherent can help seal around the eye and the hole where the hook comes out.
For more information on the Lunker Frog, Pocket Frog and other Lunkerhunt products, go to www.lunkerhunt.com.