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Lure Review

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

Durability: The lure’s construction is quite good, and steel hardware is used on all moving parts. The stress points are all reinforced with screw in rather than riveted construction, and the blade tail is bolted in with a plate and two screws of its own. If you look closely at the surface of the lure you will notice that regardless of the pattern the lure all of them exhibit a cross hatched scale design. While you can see the lines you cannot feel them because the entire lure’s finish is protected beneath a generous layer of clear epoxy.


The inside of the hinged body is painted so that when moving side to side the fish looks more realistic


The DOA is as good as or better than just about any plug we have ever tested in terms of finish durability. Many of the painted lures we fish will lose paint as a result of strikes and contact with their own hooks. The DOA’s epoxy shield resists both types of assaults like a champ, and looked almost as good as new 30 stripers and bass later.


A closer look at the hook split ring attachment


Price & Applications: One of the reasons so many oversized surface plugs are so expensive is because they are hand carved and/or hand painted. The DOA is a mass produced lure, and each of the lures we inspected was virtually identical in build quality and finish. The larger 6 inch size retails for 39.99 and the 5 inch model retails for 5 dollars less.


Twitch the DOA just slightly and it comes to life


While 40 dollars for a lure certainly isn’t cheap, everything is relative, and in terms of high quality surface swimbaits and plugs the DOA is in fact on the more affordable side.  The trout pattern may not appeal to swimbait enthusiasts that demand absolute realism, but the lure may still be sought-after by swimbait collectors simply because of its unique upturned layout.


The lure is labeled right above the tail


The only thing we would have loved to see is an interchangeable tail design. While we liked the buzzblade tail, we found it best for faster retrieves.


A macro of the lure's texture. The DOA has a thick layer of epoxy protecting the finish. Notice the waterspots on top of the finish


When the bait is twitched on the surface the buzztail does move and create flash, but it does little to create more splash in the water. A interchangeable more traditional fan shaped tail would give anglers the best of both worlds for various techniques.  


The tail of the DOA consists of a modified gold buzzbait blade


The lure can be used to target a variety of species including bass, striped bass, muskie, pike, and even some saltwater species. If I could only choose one color it would be the Ayu, followed by the Rainbow Trout, as both appealed to largemouth and stripers. There may be some difficulty finding all the patterns at the current time. While there have been some reports at local tackle shops, it is still a bit challenging to get the DOA from e-tailers at this time.


Fishing the DOA for stripers was great fun...and an effective way to target the fish on the surface


Daiwa Dead or Alive Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The DOA doesn't have the detail in design as some handmade swimbaits but in terms of mass produced lures the DOA is right on par.  8
Performance It takes a little practice to impart lifelike action to the DOA, but once you have it down you can have a blast fishing this lure with various retrieves 8
Price At 40 dollars each this lure may seem expensive but when you compare apples to apples the DOA is actually priced below custom made swimbaits and inline with other similarly sized swimbaits and plugs 8.5
Features Packed full of features for a lure of this class. The body is curved to look more like a real injured fish, the on the side layout is clever, and the buzzbait tail is a change from the common swimbait soft tail. If this lure had an interchangeable tail it would have received a 10 in this category 9
Design (Ergonomics) Easy to fish, the lure is large in size but actually lighter than most baits of the same size which help reduce the rod and line requirements necessary to properly cast and retrieve this bait 9
Application While it is a surface lure it can be retrieved right below the surface and is effective at targeting a wide range of different species 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Innovative design that is quite unlike any other high quality surface swimbait/plug L Not really a minus, but would have loved an interchangeable tail design
J Durable finish L Availability online
J Exciting to fish  
J Reasonable price  

Reels, rods, and now lures…the team at Daiwa continues to expand their total offering. With the recent introduction of their branded Steez lines it is actually possible to fish a 100% Daiwa setup. The Dead or Alive is an inventive new surface bait that we would more likely expect to see from a brand like Megabass, and in the world of lure originality that is a compliment. The Dead or Alive proved to be effective at targeting both bass and stripers once we figured out how to properly bring the DOA to life. It doesn’t take a forceful retrieve to fish the DOA, in fact the lure can be particularly effective when twitched patiently.  The DOA is very entertaining to fish, and I still have memorable visions of stripers breaking the surface as they blew up fiercely on the lure during our tests on the Delta. The DOA is an original surface lure, one that puts a new spin on topwater fishing. The lure’s unique layout does a good job mimicking a wounded baitfish, this combined with the lures ability to be retrieved like a subsurface swimbait and inline buzztail make this lure a worthy recipient of our Innovation Award.  










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