3F Frogs

(fast, fun, foam frog)

by Elliott Deighton

Elliott frogs

Thread: Yellow 6/0 for tying & clear mono thread for the weed guard                           

Hook: Mustad bass stinger #37187 size 6

Weed Guard: 20lb. mono Back Legs: 4 strands of round yellow rubber hackle 8” long

Front Legs: 4 strands of round yellow rubber hackle 4” long

Body: ¼” diameter closed cell foam cylinder (red),  ½” wide strip of yellow or white sheet closed cell foam 

Eyes: Yellow or white hollow doll’s eyes 1/4” dia.

Glue & cement:  5 minute epoxy (syringe type not tubes), head cement, Locktite super glue (comes in a small bottle with a brush) and Goop

Markers: Chartreuse, black & dark olive permanent markers  



This is a new pattern for me although we did get to fish it briefly towards the end of the season last year.

It was featured in the Summer 2003 Fly Tyer and floats just like a real frog with its back end hanging down in the water and just the top of its head and eyes showing above. It has the look of a killer. The legs move and twitch like the real thing, it is cheap to tie and is made exclusively from synthetics.

In the true sense of the term fly tying, this pattern is not, as there is very little tying involved. I have managed to refine and tweak the original design considerably to make it even quicker and easier to “build”.


Weed Guard:

Attach a 4-inch length of 20 lb.mono just behind the hook eye with clear tying thread and spiral wrap the mono down the shank to just above the hook point. This gives the foam something to grip onto when gluing.

Tie the mono down at this point tying it down on top of the hook shank and around the outside of the hook bend. The mono should be tied down for two thirds of the hook bend. This makes the weed guard loop stiffer and more effective. I usually prepare several hooks to this point then mix up a batch of 5-minute epoxy and coat the rear part of the windings all at once.

I find that with practise and working quickly, I can usually coat 10 to 12 flies in this fashion before the batch of glue becomes too hard to work with.  



The rubber hackle I use for the legs comes from a crank bait and jig parts supplier and comes in bulk spools.

After splitting into 4 strands per leg (do not separate the 4 rubber hackle strands before tying the knots), tie an overhand knot in each end of the front and rear legs and position the knot about ¼ inch from the ends before tightening.

The legs will be glued in place as the frog is built. The long ones, of course, are the rear legs.  



The head is formed with a ¼ inch diameter cylinder of red foam cut to the width of the body.

Poke a hole in this piece of foam cross ways, in the middle and a little below centre. Slip it over the hook eye with the majority of the foam above the hook.

The body is made with a 3/8” wide strip of sheet foam, tapered at each end.

Start with a longer piece than required and poke a hole in it in the middle. Slip it over the hook eye and with a pen mark the length of the body on the bottom side. Roll the foam around the head tightly and while holding it in place mark the topside of the body. Top and bottom should be marked in the same location at the rear of the hook.

Take the body foam off the hook and by matching up the two marks, cut the piece to length and taper both sides at once. This ensures that the two sides will match reasonably well when glued. You will notice that the hole in the foam is now off centre lengthways. This is because the topside goes around the head. Once you have gone through all this trial and error, save the first piece as a template and mark and cut bodies to tie with from it. 

With the tying thread attached at the rear of the hook you assemble the fly.

Slip the piece of yellow foam back over the hook eye with the shorter end on the bottom.

Run a layer of super glue on the underside of the hook shank and hold in place until it sets.

Tie down the tapered end of the foam with a few turns of thread.

Place a little glue inside the bottom part of the body right behind the head and at the rear where the hind legs go.

Centre the short legs behind the head and the long legs at the rear.

Run more glue between the inside face of the body foam, roll it around the head pushing it into the crease behind the head and hold in place until set.

Tie down the tapered end of the topside of the body and tie off the thread.

Attach the thread behind the hook eye (in front of the body) and thread the mono weed guard through the eye.

Adjust the loop to about ½ the hook gape larger and tie down securely. Pull the mono back over the body and tie down again.

Whip finish and remove the surplus mono and thread.

This doubling over of the weed guard ensures that it will not pull out if you get it snagged when fishing.

The eyes are applied on each end of the red cylinder with Goop.

As this fly does sit lower in the water enabling the fish to get a better look at it, the “fly” benefits from a frog pattern colouring job, done with permanent markers. As with all frog patterns, this fly is best fished in cover such as lily pad beds and around shoreline cover.

Cast over logs, stumps, rocks etc and mimic a frog swimming through the water. Having said that, I have also caught bass in the middle of lakes and ponds just by trolling a bass bug. It seems that a tasty meal passing overhead is just too much for an opportunistic bass to refuse.

Elliott Deighton