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ICAST 2019 Update Coverage

One for the Enthusiasts: The Shimnao Antares A70 Baitcaster with MGIII


Small but Mighty, the Megabass Dark Sleeper Swimbait
SOLID! The Shimano Bantam MGL Baitcaster

Selecting the right Rod, Reel, and Line for Your Walking Bait Arsenal


Lure Review

Mimic injured baitfish with the innovative Daiwa "Dead or Alive" (continued)

Casting cont'd: Many swimbait fanatics rely on round reels like the Shimano Calcutta or Daiwa Luna, which have plenty of line capacity, a muscular drag, and full-bodied gearing. We found the GLoomis Muskie MUR844C we used in the majority of our tests to be a little overkill, but it casted the DOA effortlessly. We cast this lure parallel to or right on top of submerged structure when targeting bass, and into more open water when pursing stripers. You can try and match the hatch with the DOA, but with only four patterns your choices are somewhat limited. If you want to go for quality over quantity the 6 inch DOA is your best bet.


The Ayu model in the lab


Retrieving: Once you have the lure out in the water the real fun begins. The DOA rests at an arc with the head and spinner tail downwards when at rest. With just a slight twitch of the rod the lure comes to life, and really looks like a flailing injured fish. The lip makes the DOA’s head move to the side with short jerks. The blade tail doesn’t really spin unless the lure is retrieved or jerked aggressively forward. The lure doesn’t put a lot of noise in the water like some plugs which may even feature an internal knocker, instead the DOA relies on flash and side to side splashing in the water to attract fish.


A closer look at the joints


When retrieved briskly the DOA will drop right under the surface and the tail will move side to side convincingly wit the blade tail spinning like an inline buzzblade. We got almost all our strikes when the bait was moving, this doesn’t mean a standard retrieve, just that we had by far more success when the lure was twitched on the surface rather than at complete rest. 


The DOA features a realistic gill pattern


The DOA can be fished with either the rod tip up at a slight angle or pointed down while jerking. Unlike most topwater plugs that I retrieve back to the boat in bursts we found that effectively fishing the DOA was more about positioning and twitching. By being patient and really working the surface of the water between your initial splashdown and the boat or shore you will maximize the chances that a fish will view the DOA as easy prey.


Each DOA comes with a oversized snap


Our theory is that unlike some other louder baits that incite reaction strikes, the DOA can attract fish that may not be as aggressive. Fish may take more time to observe the DOA splashing about on the surface, before they commit to a strike. Because we observed this behavior we would move the bait forward 10 feet at a time back to the boat, then patiently jerk the rod tip ever so slightly to bring the bait to life in a near stationary position on the surface. The technique proved effective for both largemouth and stripers.


The buzzblade tail attachment is reinforced with a screwed in plate


When fish do commit they did so aggressively, especially stripers. During our tests stripers slammed the lure causing big splashes, sometimes rolling over on the lure as they shot up at it. The strikes we witnessed had the fish coming in at the lure at a 40 degree angle rather than straight up from underneath the lure. When the stripers are very aggressive and there is some wind breaking the surface of the water we also found shifting to a more aggressive constant jerk-jerk retrieve drew even more strikes.   


The DOA on our G.Loomis Muskie test rod in the Delta


When both largemouth and stripers hit the DOA you will know it. The large hooks on the lure do a good job hanging on to fish, but you will get the occasional short strike. With the DOA we did not find a violent hookset effective at landing any more fish, in fact we found just the opposite. By being overzealous with the set we found we actually dislodged fish that hadn’t got their mouths around the center of the bait. When a fish hits the DOA simply retrieve on your reel to maintain resistance and bear down on the fish, once the fish reacts you can give the rod a quick jerk to ensure the fish is pinned on.


The lip is extra thick for durability


Next Section: Durability, Price, and Ratings









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