Barra Frog Rigging
  |  First Published: December 2008

During test trials in Australia, I undertook some refinement studies on frog techniques using movie cameras so I could slow down the footage and observe more closely the performance of frogs when eaten by fish. I was particularly interested in fish greater than 5lb, and of course Australia was the ideal location for such fish sizes.

We used barramundi in salt and freshwater as test pilots. I wanted to get up close to the strikes in the weed so that I could film them at point blank range; and walking the banks of small NSW cod creeks was perfect for this.

As a result of these trials I found the secret to successful weedless frog rigging is the screwed-up bullet nose. The screwed-up bullet from Reaction Innovations is a clear plastic corkscrew bullet designed to be used in front of all soft plastics for unweighted weedless (Texas) rigging.

The beauty of the screwed-up bullet is that it keeps the lure in the correct position on the hook, especially when a fish short strikes and only hits the legs (or tails) of the frog. This situation causes the soft plastic to get pulled down into the gape of the hook so that on the follow up strike the hook can’t snare the fish. Darn frustrating actually, especially if a fish of a lifetime is on the line.

The screwed-up bullet is the solution to getting short changed on a strike that is designed for use with unweighted baits that you might use for surface pelagics or in the freshwater when pulling frogs across the top of weed beds for barra, saratoga, or cod.

The shape of the bullet also deflects weed from the front of the lure even when the lure is being pulled through or across weed. Furthermore, using Spike-It scented dye you can dye the plastic bullet to match a redhead that you’ve dyed into your pearl Trixie Shark frog. Or you can use chartreuse dye to marry up the screwed-up bullet with, for example, a limetreuse soft plastic.

Frogs are hot in Australia right now, especially for barramundi in Queensland and for Murray cod in NSW. But barra frogs have been around for eons in the tropical north. I believe that the old inner tube cut outs did the trick pretty well in their day.

The Trixie Shark is a great barra frog lure for throwing across weed and flooded grass, and it matches perfectly with screwed-up bullet. It also works at a variety of speeds, making it a very versatile lure.

The legs will bubble at quite a slow speed and often a straight retrieve across the top of the weeds is all that is required. Other times you may wish to pause the retrieve just after the lure has passed the weed bed, this allows the lure to freefall into a suspended strike zone and the legs on a Trixie will keep kicking just enough to mimic a dying frog.

For me, the Trixie Shark rigged unweighted with a heavy-duty 5/0 to 6/0 worm hook, is a go-to lure when aggressive big mouthed fish are active in amongst the vegetation.

One modification that you may consider with the screwed-up bullet is to use a small drill bit to drill out the leader tube a smidgen so that you can run heavy stiff large diameter big barra leaders. The design of this bullet needed the diameter to be kept small for saratoga type applications, but there’s plenty enough meat there to drill out for barra leaders.

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