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Lure Review

Deadly Deep Diver...Norman Deep Little "N"

Date: 12/8/01
Tackle type: Lure
Manufacturer: Norman Lures
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 9.16

Introduction: Crankbaits are one of the best lures to use when trying to cover a lot of area quickly to locate hot spots and eliminate dead water. Norman Lures produces a complete range of cranks and the Deep Little "N" is one of their most well known and widely used. The DLN is a quick diving crank with a reputation for attracting fish in a wide range of conditions.

Norman DLN Specifications

Material Plastic
Weight 3/8 oz
Length 2 1/2"
Colors/Patterns 90 Available
Diving Depth 10-12'
MSRP $3.50 - 4.75ea

Impressions: Examining the Norman DLN proved it is a well made crank with many colors and patterns to choose from. The DLN features gel coating on many of the lures, which increases durability and flash in the water. In addition when I first picked up the lure I noticed how loud of a rattle the DLN can produce. The rattle comes from two bearings locking into a pair of separate chambers in the belly of the lure. The diving capability of the lure comes from a large plastic lip that is actually quite thick and durable. (I couldn't bend or flex the lip at all!)


The #142 Rainbow Trout Pattern DLN shines in the sun thanks to a thick gel coat


In addition to a well made body the DLN also makes use of Gamakatsu hooks that are razor sharp and very durable. But perhaps most attractive is the fact that the DLN costs less then 5 dollars, and the originals can be bought for 3.50! Outside the water the DLN looked great, but could a lure this cheap really perform in the field?

Tests: The DLN looked great outside the water but I wanted to see just how durable and effective this lure was in the water. To test for durability I found a rock bed in shallow water and trolled the DLN #141 over the floor at as fast as my trolling motor could go. I could feel the lip of the lure hitting, bumping, and even digging the bottom. After 10 minutes I retrieved the lure to find the lip scratched but still very usable, and the hooks and body of the DLN to be in perfect condition! This is one durable lure, and the diving speed of the lure is impressive. The DLN is able to reach a depth of 10 feet in just a few seconds of cranking. 

For the tests I used:

Complete Rig for fishing with the DLN

Rod Gloomis MBR783C (6'6)
Reel Shimano Chronarch
Line 10lb Trilene XL

When using the DLN I used a thick and stiff GLoomis MBR783C casting rod. I recommend a stiff rod when fishing the DLN so that you can get long distance casts and still set if a fish decides to take the crank while it is in its initial dive, which happens often. This will also allow you to pull out of snags and thick cover. One of the real advantages of the DLN is the ability to cover large areas of water as well as varying depths very quickly, and a powerful rod will allow you to do this easier.

Caught on the DLN's rear treble hook this Bass is coming in!

Because the DLN dives deeper then the average crank it requires a sensitive rod and line to distinguish hits from fish and contact with structure. With the 10lb Trilene XL mono I used the DLN runs well but because it swims violently in a back and forth motion the line was noticeably stretched. Fishing with a fluorocarbon line with this lure will allow anglers to detect more hits but also more quickly set on fish with the more responsive and tight line.

Hooking bass right on the lip is common with the DLN


The Gamakatsu treble hooks are very sharp and if you run one across the top of your fingernail you can see just how razor sharp they are. After a day of use it is still necessary to check all the hooks and sharpen them if necessary. One thing I did notice was that the DLN does need to be tuned on a regular basis. Since it is such a active and deep diving lure it often comes in contact with structure and the front line tie needs to be adjusted to make sure the DLN continues to run true. This is easily done with a pair of pliers. Simply hold the DLN with the lip facing you and bend the line tie left to make the lure run more to the right, and right if you want to make it run to the left.


DLN Tactics: My 3 favorite and most successful DLN fishing methods are:

  1. Tossing the DLN long distances and retrieving with a smooth medium speed to allow the crank to dive to full depth and cover a large area. This is perfect for finding fish in new areas

  2. Aggressive cranking into and around structures. I often cast and deliberately run the DLN into large structures that I believe are Bass magnets. This tactic has produced strikes from aggressive bass as the DLN invades their territory. Interestingly the Bass often take the DLN right after the bump while it is motionless.

  3. Though I hate to admit it....I do troll for Bass. The DLN is my favorite lure to troll in deep water and with the trolling motor at full blast has been a consistent producer of fish. The trick for me is to let out a lot of line (and fluorocarbon works great as I can still feel the strikes and set over long distances) and cruise over structure. The loud rattle of the DLN and violent swimming motion attracts fish from afar, and I have landed all sizes of Bass and Crappie this way.

The Details: Throughout the tests I was constantly surprised not just that the DLN does everything it is supposed to but does them better then Crankbaits costing twice as much!

The Gel Coated DLN lures are more durable and able to resist scratching. In addition these lures tend to reflect more light and are flashier, especially in clear water.


Norman also produces a limited line of DLN lures that come in tournament favorite colors and proven performers. These are definitely must try lures, and I have had some of my best days using the NDC9 brown/chart color.

In general I have found that the lighter DLN's work better in clear water while the darker colors have performed better in cloudy and stained water. In addition the DLN's have been far more productive in warm water then in cold water, probably because the nature of the lure attracts aggressive bass that are more dormant in the winter.


Tuning the lure and sharpening the hooks on a regular basis is a must, as this lure is often used in conditions that put it in direct contact with structure.



Norman DLN Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great materials and coatings and good choice of hooks 9
Performance Works well at finding fish and eliminating dead water quickly. Ability to dive deeper then most lures makes the DLN useful in cooler water conditions as well 9
Price A very affordable crankbait and performs the same as lures costing 25-40% more! 10
Features The DLN does everything it is supposed to and a enlarged lip make it a quick and capable diver 9
Design (Ergonomics) Great design and a full range of colors make the DLN line complete 9
Application Good for clear and muddy water conditions, the DLN is great as long as there isn't too much cover 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Great construction L Need to be constantly tuned
J Aggressive Price  
J Many colors/combos  
J Gamakatsu Hooks  

Conclusion: This is one great family of lures! Norman produces a real winner in the DLN, and the DLN not only lives up to my expectations in terms of construction, design, and durability, but leaves me wondering why other lures with the same characteristics are priced 20 to 40% more! The DLN is a real bargain for 3 to 5 dollars and will land a lot of fish while keeping your budget in check. The DLN without a doubt has become one of my top producing lures year-round and definitely one of my confidence lures. Based on price versus performance this is definitely a TackleTour recommended "Best Value!"

Until next time....Tight Lines!









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