Early Season Froggin’ with Kenta Kimura

Kenta Kimura B.A.S.S. Bassmaster Open Top-10 Lures at Smith Lake Photo: B.A.S.S./Andy Crawford


Many anglers associate frog fishing with hot summer days and thick matted vegetation, and that is fair. That is one of the best times to use them, but they work in many other situations including the pre-spawn all the way until summer sets in.

Osaka, Japan’s Kenta Kimura is following a long line of bass anglers traveling to the United States to fish competitively, and he has four Top-10 finishes in the Bassmaster Opens over the past few years. He’s also a guide and lure designer, having designed two frogs for Deps, a lure brand most often associated with giant swimbaits.

His designs include the Slither K and Buster K, two baits that work great throughout the year and give the bass a different look than what is on the mainstream market here in America. They offer a one-two-punch for Kimura who fishes the Buster K in traditional frog areas and the Slither K in more open water situations.

The Slither K

Kimura designed this lure several years ago to fish much like he does a walking topwater bait. He fishes it fast and mainly in open water.

“You don’t need a mat to fish the Slither K, and it is great around bushes, rocks, and docks,” he says. These are high percentage areas that hold bass everywhere early in the season.

“I like to fish it with fast twitches like a walking topwater, but do not pause the bait at all. That gives them too much time to look at the bait,” he says. “I would rather make repeated casts to the same target to try to agitate the bass.”

The key to the bait, according to Kimura, is how easily the bait walks side to side. He likened it to the design of a bass boat turning corners, and the sides of the bait do have a unique look that pushes water as it moves side-to-side.

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The bait is slightly smaller than many frogs on the market. The body is 2 ¼-inches and it weighs 3/8-ounces, but the addition of rabbit fur instead of skirted material holds water and thus the added weight aids in casting.

Kimura likes fishing this bait in clear to muddy water and is most often trying to imitate small baitfish or shad with this frog.

“It is almost a finesse fishing approach, but you are trying to get the fish to chase and eat it. Fishing a frog fast like this also helps your hookup percentage because the strikes are much bigger when they are chasing it down,” adds the Japanese pro. “I think many of the fish that we lose on frogs are because we are fishing it too slow and the fish get too good of a look at the bait.”

The Buster K

Unlike the Slither K, this bait is something that Kimura fishes more like any other frog. The lure features a unique cupped mouth that splashes and spits on the retrieve.

Early in the year, Kimura is looking for bluegill when he throws it and references his 7th place finish at the April 2019 Smith Lake Bassmaster Central Open. Some of his crucial bass were landed with this bait skipped under docks around bluegill that were suspended high in the water column.

“Vegetation is always the first thing I look for with the Buster K, but early in the year docks and shady spots are great,” he adds. As spring turns into summer, he also searches for spawning bluegill and the bass that are feeding on them when he is fishing this bait.

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While this is a true popping frog, he also likes to walk it.

“I walk it about half of the time, but fish it much slower than I do with the Slither K. It also has a weight transfer system inside which is made of stainless steel. This helps to cast it further, and the sound is loud. The extra sound helps when fishing it over vegetation because they often have a hard time locating it.”

When popping the Buster K, he likes to look for targets and fish it slowly as he imitates bluegill or frogs.  The bait also features rabbit fur, and Kimura says this adds to the attraction as the lure is paused. The fur slowly moves and appears more natural than standard rubber skirt material.

As frog fishing continues to evolve, anglers are finding more and more uses for these lures. The Japanese designed Buster K, and Slither K are two examples of this, and they have proven themselves as lures you can use just about any time and anywhere.