Team takes top honors in late September event with Northland’s Reed-Runner Walking Frog.

Fall Frogging
Team takes top honors in late September event with Northland’s Reed-Runner Walking Frog.
BEMIDJI, Minn. (October 4, 2023) – Yankee, or shall we say “up north” bass often go underappreciated. Sure, it’s the land of walleyes, muskies, pike, and ice fishing, but if you’re a student of the sport, it’s impossible that the Midwest’s massive fish have gone unnoticed.The north’s bass bounty was evidenced again in the Battle of the Bassheads tournament on Minnesota’s Cass Lake Chain in late September. Northland Fishing Tackle’s Sam Larsen and Joey Ohman teamed up to take the crown with a humungous catch of largemouth bass – the majority caught on Northland’s Reed-Runner Walking Frog. During the one day event, the duo focused on out-of-the-way areas where they found tight groups of fish. “With a tough bite and up against 50 other boats, we centered on unpressured wild rice beds and worked them thoroughly,” said Northland Visual Marketing Coordinator and Product Development Manager, Larsen.Larsen and Ohman built up most of their poundage on Reed-Runner Walking Frogs in thick cover. “The Reed Runner Frog came in clutch in these areas because the hook sits tight to the body making it super weedless,” said Larsen. “If the hook doesn’t stay close to the body it makes fishing wild rice almost impossible. The key was working the bait somewhat slow through the weeds with occasional pauses.”Both competitors favored dark patterns: Ohman threw Loon and Larsen Blackbird. “Additionally, we give a lot of credit to the softness of the body and the strength and sharpness of the hooks. We only dumped one fish all day, which is good when fishing heavy cover,” said Larsen. 
REED-RUNNER WALKING and POPPING FROGSWith topwater mayhem on the mind, we talked to frequent frogger and member of the fishy Peterson family, Travis Peterson, to tout the merits of the Reed-Runner Walking and Popping Frogs, and what makes this action-packed bait class so special.“First off, the hookup ratio is incredible,” said Peterson of the Walking and Popping Frog’s high catch-versus-miss rates. “The bodies are both extremely collapsible and durable, which is a perfect combination.” Peterson goes on to tout the quality of the hooks. And, unique to only the finest frogs, the Walking and Popping Frog’s hooks couch tight to the body for supreme weedless operation. “They have the ultimate hook and body combo for weedless fishing,” professes Peterson. Moreover, he says the frogs maintain peak performance regardless of retrieval speed. 
In Peterson Country – northern Minnesota – lakes vary from moderately fertile mesotrophic to more lived-in, weedier eutrophic varieties. In both cases, emergent vegetation is infused with largemouth bass. He fishes frogs in conventional lily pad fields, as well as wild rice, bullrushes and reeds. Frogs elicit explosions in shallower coontail and milfoil as well. All told, Peterson frogs vegetated realms in four feet of water and under. Within these jungles, he focuses energy on “anything different.” In pads, that means pockets and places where submerged vegetation comingles with the surface weeds. He never passes on clumps of mixed weed types. Denser clusters of pads often produce, too. The Popping version has specific applications, too. Peterson admires the plugging action in sparser weeds to call bass from afar. He prefers the popper in reeds and rushes as well. And, when bass are walled-up in impenetrable cattails, Peterson throws tight to the edge and creates a scene they simply must swim out and investigate. Northland offers the Reed-Runner Walking and Popping Frogs in an array of patterns, each emulating critters that bass are known to consume. Peterson pairs this information with his personal preferences. “I like the more solid colors like Lab Rat and Loon. They’re the most visible on the top of long casts. I can see the baits disappear when a fish inhales. The glittered bottoms of the Perch and Bluegill flash like a struggling fish and do well in areas where bass are foraging on fish.” And, of course, you can match-the-hatch with Northland’s more traditional, realistic frog patterns.
Effective frogging is much more than chunking it out and giving it the heave-ho on a blow up. Peterson explains: “Don’t be in big hurry to set the hook. You’ll miss a lot of them. I make long casts, keeping the rod tip up at about 11 o’clock once the bait hits the water. This forces you to pause, leaving the fish a little slack line to work with. Then I drop the rod tip, point it at the fish, give the reel two or three cranks, set hard, and lean back and reel.” Done properly, you’ll keep the fish from burrowing in the weeds, and hopefully, popping it to the surface. Before putting the pins to ‘em, Peterson coaxes bass to participate in the immortal explosion. “In dense vegetation, I use a steady retrieve back to the boat,” he explains. “I’ll slow it down over likely strike zones, like pockets and thick spots, and porpoise the bait in clearings where I’m sure there’s a fish.”If a fish swirls and shrugs it off or totally misses, Peterson rinses and repeats, throwing right back at it. If he’s convinced the fish is still there but not fully committing to the frog, he goes to a pre-rigged Northland Jungle Jig and plastic as the preferred throwback presentation. Peterson’s frogging gear is no nonsense. He spools a preferred baitcaster reel with 50-to-65-lb. braid and ties direct. His rods are 7 ½-to-8-foot medium-heavy and heavy. 
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