Fishing lure review: Tightlines UV Whiskers series crawdad performs well despite bad conditions

Columnist Josh Rouse caught this bass almost instantly after the lure hit the water while fishing with a Tightlines UV Whiskers crawdad bait. (JOSH ROUSE/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL)

During a tough day of fishing recently in some heavily weeded waters, I tried out a few new lures with varied results.

 

One of the better plastic baits I tried out was a Tightlines UV Whisker series crawdad in blue with purple tip. I used a Texas rig hook and hid the tip of the hook in the plastic body of the crawdad. I used a bullet weight near the hook to sink the butt end of the crawdad, leaving the head of the crawdad floating a bit.

You can jerk the bait along the bottom or even do a slow, straight retrieve. On one cast, I saw the line tighten almost instantly after it hit the water and jerked the rod back to hook a small largemouth bass. I had a few more fish that I hooked that came off in the weeds on the bottom, which became an aggravation after a while, so I switched to a topwater bait to see if that would help.

I had a Booyah Pad Crasher in Bull Frog coloring in my tackle box that I thought might be successful on top of the hydrilla and pond scum. The frog bait is made up of a soft body with two hooks coming out of the back of the lure and wrapping around the top, with long, plastic stringers to replicate frog legs.

Tossing it into open spots in the muck, as well as walking it along the edges of the scum, produced a lot of reaction strikes from bass, but they just weren’t getting hooked. I’m not sure if it was the small size of the bass in the area I was fishing or that they just weren’t particularly hungry that day, but for whatever reason they weren’t devouring the lure well enough to set the hook.

When the fish do strike on a frog lure, you typically want to wait about two seconds before setting the hook. This isn’t easy, as your reflexes naturally want to jerk the rod back as soon as you hear a splash, but the bass has to have a good bite on the lure to set the hook properly. Even if you do it right, sometimes the frog will just pop out. It’s an imperfect lure, but it does illicit a response from bass.

Frog lures can work in open water, too, but I would suggest using a popping frog over a walking frog in open water as it generates more noise.

Frog fishing aficionado Sam Heaton suggests switching out the heavier stock hooks on most soft-body frog lures with a thinner wire Mustad double hook and using a stiff flipping rod with 50-pound, no-stretch braided line to improve your hook-up ratio.

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