|Ken Taylor of North Port, Fla., perhaps D.O.A.'s biggest fan, lands one of many spotted seatrout on D.O.A. CAL Jig.|
Few things are free and D.O.A. Lures are not free. I get them at a reduced price because I’m on the water 200 days a year.
It’s nice to get them for a good price. I go through quite a few because I use them when my clients are spin anglers. The D.O.A. CAL Jig is simply the best on the market. The jig head is quality, from the paint to the eyes to the ultra-sharp hook.
Most often, I use the 1/16-ounce jig head. I like it because it doesn’t bomb to the bottom. So, we’re not always tangle up in the grass and other debris. I’ve found that it makes a lot of sense to go as light as I can in most fishing situations.
I like to couple the jig with D.O.A.’s paddle tails. I prefer the paddle tails because they’re tough, appeal to the fish and vibrate nicely through the water. My colors choices (in order of preference) include: gold glitter (313 on the D.O.A. color chart), night glow (305), copper crush (321), root beer/gold tail (411) and avocado/red tail (412). I use gold glitter at least 80 percent of the time – especially in clear water.
If the water is deep and/or the current strong, I’ll switch to a 1/8-ounce jig. It gets down just a little better.
The jigs have been awesome over the last six weeks. My clients and I have been averaging 100 spotted seatrout per trip – most on the CAL Jig.
I also like D.O.A.’s 3-inch shrimp in night glow, gold glitter, glow/goldrush belly (309) and stark naked (420). This size is perfect for the bay and for sight-fishing snook in the surf during the warmer months.
What works best for me is to fish the D.O.A. Shrimp the same way you’d fish a live shrimp. I cast it out, allow it to sink to whatever depth I want, then SLOWLY work it back. I’ll simply raise my rod tip to slowly move the shrimp along, then lower it and reel in the slack.
As Mark Nichols, originator of the D.O.A. line, has often said, “When you think you’re fishing it slow enough, then slow down some more.”
The hit often feels like a “thump.” It’s akin to a bass taking a plastic worm. When you feel the hit, make sure there’s no slack in your line, then set the hook.
The D.O.A. Shrimp is magical when fished under a cork. D.O.A. packages the duo and calls it the Deadly Combination. And it is deadly.
A few years back, I had Chad Pennington, now a quarterback with the Miami Dolphins out in Sarasota Bay. We were fishing the deep grass off Stephens Point and using Deadly Combinations. The two of us caught 80 spotted seatrout and 16 Spanish mackerel.
It was a wonderful day and a testament to the effectiveness of the Deadly Combination.
The beauty of the combo is that you won’t spend time getting your lure out of the grass. In fact, you don’t even have to worry about it.
Here’s how you fish it: Cast it out, allow the shrimp to sink, reel in slack and “pop” the cork once or twice. The cork creates a disturbance on the surface and the beads on it click and clack. Fish in the neighbor hear the commotion and swim up to investigates.
That’s where they see the shrimp. And they usually inhale it.
When the cork goes under, reel up and slack and set the hook.
Years ago, I work in a local tackle shop. We sold live shrimp, but there were times when we would run out or could get any. Anglers would walk into the shop with their bait buckets in hand only to be told we had no shrimp.
“Damn, now I’ll have to go home and mow the lawn.”
Most would shrug, turn around and walk out.
That’s when the proverbial lightbulb in my head was lit.
I walked over to the tackle aisle and grabbed a bunch of D.O.A. Shrimp. I arranged the packages on the counter. When a disgruntled shrimp angler would discover we had no live shrimp, I’d point to the D.O.A.’s.
“You don’t need live shrimp,” I’d say. “You can use these.”
I’d explain how to use them, and at least half the people walked out with one or more D.O.A.’s to try.
I sold 96 D.O.A. Shrimp that day.
D.O.A. Shrimp are great for sight-fishing. I love to toss one in front of a snook or redfish. They’re also wonderful when fishing around and under docks. You can actually “skip” them deep under docks. The shrimp are effective for fishing potholes and deep grass.
The Baitbuster is an interesting lure. It’s a mullet or large baitfish imitation that comes in three models: shallow runner, deep runner and trolling.
Capt. Rick Grassett of the Snook Fin-Addict Guides Services in Sarasota and I visited Nichols in Stuart a few years ago and did quite well on the Baitbuster. Fishing the St. Lucie Inlet, we totaled a dozen snook from 5 to 17 pounds.
Nichols was disappointed and apologetic.
“What’s the problem?” Grassett asked.
“Well, you guys didn’t get a 20-pounder,” Nichols replied.