Buckeye Baits - Gold Standard Of Creek And
River Soft Plastics
Joe Cornwall Interviews Matt Frondorf
When did you start fishing? What is your angling earliest
I started fishing local farm ponds and neighborhood
lakes when I was about five. I fished with my older brothers. My earliest
fishing memory is one of catching bluegill on wax worms under a small cork
bobber. It was on Mr. Beringer's property. I thought it was the
greatest thing in the world. To this day, I think there is something satisfying
about watching a bobber dance and then dive under.
I'm 39 years old and I'm married to Kimberly.
My wife and I have two boys; Braden, age 5 and Cole, age 3. I currently live in
Cincinnati. When I'm not working as a supervisor for Cincinnati Bell I make
jigs and spinnerbaits, and I hand-pour special soft-plastic baits designed with
regional conditions and species in mind. Of course I also
flies and build rods. I fish from my Poke Boat, which I've had for a dozen years.
You're known as, shall we
say, a "committed" angler. When did the bug really bite you?
I became an avid angler as I entered seventh grade. By high
school I was fully engaged. I used
to Caddy at Western Hills Country club in the summer, and as I earned some money
I upgraded my
equipment, and started collecting lures for all types of fishing. I began to get
species-specific as my knowledge increased. I compiled tackle and rods for bass,
river fishing, and rough fishing. I bought my first fly rod during my freshmen
year of high school-- it was a
Martin 6wt that I purchased from Swallen's Department Store. I still have that rod and use it today for Float and
fishing! I used that rod to pester Bream in ponds and rock bass in some local
I think that is when I really developed the passion.
How often are you on the water? What fish do you chase the most?
With work and family obligations I don't get out as much as I used to. I once
states in one year, but now I get out around 75 days a year. I am lucky that my
from the Virginia and her family lives smack-dab in an area that has
fisheries for everything from trout to smallmouth to musky. I incorporate fishing with
It's hard for me to pick a favorite fish. I really like so many
techniques. Locally I fish smallmouth the most, but the Ohio river fishery is
growing on me! White Bass and bad-arse Hybrids RULE!! I recently caught my first Mad
River trout. It's not a stretch to say I'll be doing more of that. I dream about pig-beast
smallies from the
New in VA,
but I also love to take my two weight fly rod to harass the local panfish
consider myself to be a versatile angler and am well-versed in most fresh water
Buckeye Baits get
Baits started out of necessity. I was young and short of funds. I
baits for fishing some creeks. The local stores had limited selections and I
afford to do a ton of mail orders, so I started making my own. My first Buzzbait
made was when I was 15. I ordered the parts from Jann's Netcraft out of Toledo, Ohio.
My home-made lures
fish, and I started getting requests from my brothers and friends to make some
Word of mouth spread and I now have baits in the tackle boxes of folks all over the
country. It's a labor of love.
As with most of us, you are
as quick to grab a spinning or casting rod as you are a fly rod when the
conditions demand. Do you have a favorite technique?
My favorite technique is top-water. Whether it's the sound of a gurgling
Buzzbait on a stream, or tossing a
Para-Adams to a current seam on a Mountain Trout stream; I love the visual
consider myself to be a jig expert as well.
Buckeye Baits is known for
spinner baits, buzz baits, jigs and soft plastics geared towards the stream
fisherman. Does your intimate knowledge of hardware design influence how you fly
fish and which flies you use?
I do take components of spin lure design and incorporate them into my pattern
For example, I tie a fly rod jig-n-pig that suggests a bottom critter much better
wooly bugger or Clouser. Those are both top-shelf patterns, but they are not as strong
pre-spawn when the big females start to stage and a bigger, slower, deeper
required. My familiarity with the rivers and creeks helps me select the best and most efficient
pattern for any
given day. Another example is when I'm targeting panfish. I love to take an
toss tiny tube jigs. I tie up an imitation that matches that local bait and it is a
Both Tom Nixon and Jack Ellis espouse the use of soft plastics with a fly rod
for a true "finesse" presentation. Have you fished your soft plastics using a
fly rod? Is this something you're interested in?
I am starting to experiment more with soft plastics on the long rod, but I'm
novice. I think it's a super idea and worthy of experimentation. To me, I can't
see why it's such a "problem" for purists. If the object is to enjoy your
time on the
water and catch fish, it's just the logical progression of the sport. I'll
it out on panfish and bass trips this spring. Pouring my own plastic allows me
opportunity to try some unconventional baits. I'm looking forward to pushing
What emerging trends do you see occurring in the bass
fishing community. What's the hot technique?
I think more
future specialization will be seen in the fly fishing community. This trend is
by the explosion in species specific fly lines. There's a true niche market
out there into which
companies can expand. Pushing this envelope will continue as more fly anglers pursue carp
on the fly. And the steelhead crowd writes new chapters on the sport every
manufactures realize that the "cookie cutter approach" of their core selection can be
effectively augmented with more specialized rods. For example; on the spinning
rod side there is an
float&fly rods. The same thing is evident with the G. Loomis Bronzeback series.
The companies realize that
there are new
markets out there. There are new revenue streams and new businesses being
associated with this metamorphosis of fishing technology. This technology will
charge into the future starting with new rods, reels, lines, and tippet
Another important trend is outreach to non-conventional
population segments. We are seeing more women, more diversity, more new
cultures assimilating the ethos and the lifestyle of outdoor sports. As the sport
of angling ages,
will be introduced to the "quiet sport." And that's a good thing!
Of course, the downside is that may start a trend where there will be more pay-to-play
water. We're seeing that all over the
country, and that alarms me a bit.
The hot bait in fly fishing right now the gummy minnow. It's popping fish
everywhere! Kreel Tackle's
Spoon and Baitfish are also making names for themselves. Soft hackles are
comeback. The hot technique most applicable to fly rodders is float&fly. It's
"en fuego" all over.
What fish does Matt Frondorf chase in his dreams?
The fishing vision that helps me get through some rough days is popping a state
smallie on a buzzbait! I'd love to measure and weigh her for posterity, then slip
her back in the water to fight another day. It's just a dream, but one
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