Fishermen the world over use frogs as bait, be it dead, alive, or fake. Obviously it started off as using real frogs and in the recent years artificial frogs came into the picture, at least those that works in a regular fashion. Lots of fish just snatches them off the water surface especially Bass and in Asia, Snakeheads. But many cringe at the thought of having to kill/bash/maim/pierce a living frog.
So how do people rig their frogs? One of the strangest method I’ve seen is by using a Frog Harness. This method doesn’t kill the frog but it certainly looks strange. Actually getting a living frog into a harness may proved to be “interesting” in itself. In fact it kind of look like a torture machine of some sort (source Diamond Braid Lure Co). There are, of course other frog harnesses which could be classics by now. I really don’t know if anyone has ever caught fish with these!
Using real frogs as bait, the frog should be small. A large frog is next to worthless. They can be hooked through the lips, from the bottom up, avoiding the artery in the center of the top of their heads, which will keep the frog active in the water through its efforts to right itself from a slightly overbalanced position. Other than lip-hooking, is putting the point through the heavy muscle of the hind leg. This does little injury to the frog, holds it securely, and yet allows it freedom of movement. Another is simply a piece of string tied firmly around the forepart of the frog’s body. The hook is slipped under the skin.
In many parts of Asia, frogs can be easily purchased from either a tackle or aquarium shop. There seem to be a debate as to where the businesses acquire their stocks from. If you want to catch your own frogs, the only practical way is to sneak up on them and snatch at them with bare hands or landing net, which can result in quite a workout for the angler. Don’t try to find any on a windy day, however, because there won’t be any around. Amphibian skin needs moisture, and a high wind dries them too much, so they go under.
Small toads in many ways are better than frogs as bait. Toads like moisture, too, but only that of a rain or heavy dew. When cast on water as bait, they always keep struggling to reach the bank and are active bait, whereas a frog may just float without moving. Tadpoles, which are the young of both toads and frogs, are used as bait; but aren’t as effective as fishing frogs.
The related newts and salamanders, usually called “lizards” by fishermen are also excellent baits for trout, bass and other game fish. Look for them in tiny feeder brooks, usually in the shallows and up under rocks.
These days, fishers prefer to use artificial frogs to catch fish. It’s much less grotesque and I suppose more humane depending who you’re talking to. After all frogs are important to the environment which I will discuss later in this article. Artificial has come a long way since. Some lures now look so real and comes in various sizes not to mention colors and some, scented. You can find many examples by just looking in the net. The beauty of it is they work. I’ve had success with a variety of lures for example the GULP! Bat Wing Frog. These lures absolutely catch fish. The question is which catches more fish? The artificial or the real thing? I’ve been conducting an unofficial “test” lately between friends and the score to-date is artificial 6 vs real 10. How it’s done so far is we must be fishing the same time and at the same place for the same catch. Is that conclusive? No, it definitely is not. More fishing will have to be done. I will write about this later. I for one is a believer of lures and have been using them whenever suitable and as long as I can remember. I always find the real-bait “worshippers” are almost always fascinated when a lure catches a fish and I also find the satisfaction much more when you successfully fool a fish to biting a piece of plastic or rubber! It is because the lure fisher has to be the one that gives the lure action or life if you will, that makes a fish bite. And that feeling of accomplishment is great. But of course the tackle manufacturers has been working hard to to make better lures. But lets write about that another day. Let us go back to why are frogs important in the first place.
Frogs are important for many reasons. They control populations of insects and other invertibrates. Frogs are also an indicator species. This means that if the air, water, or food source in a frog’s environment is poluted, the frogs will have symptoms, including being prone to diseases and abnormalties in offspring that let people know that something is wrong. They are sort of a belle weather for the environment. If there is a strong Frog population without defects, than most likely the ecology in that area is healthy.
In many areas Frogs are dying off and/or being found with high numbers of deformities (i.e. 5th leg, no back legs, growths on body) These deformities have been linked to pollution in their environment. If you have ever heard the phrase “Canary in the Coal Mine” that is sort of the role frogs play. If the coal mine has dangerous levels of poison gasses, the canary will be effected before the people will be. So a dead canary would be sort of an alarm to the miners. Whereas dying or deformed frogs is sort of a warning for us. Read the following to understand more…
Frog Extinctions Linked to Global Warming: National Geographic