or call Toll Free
The Bait Buster comes in three models: Shallow Runner, Deep Runner and Trolling. Worked at the proper speed, each model precisely imitates a finger mullet.
As with other lures, tie the Bait Buster to the leader with a loop knot. The loop connection allows much more freedom of movement and generates greater life-like action in any lure. After you catch a fish, check the leader near the lure to see if it is frayed. If it is, cut off the frayed end and retie. Frayed leader obviously breaks more easily, but is also more visible to fish, and will deter bites. We also recommend that you carry a small hook file to make sure the hook stays sharp. A sharp hook is absolutely critical, especially when targeting tarpon.
The Shallow Runner Bait Buster can be used to imitate a topwater lure, but is much more versatile. With a single upright hook and hook eye at the front of the lure, it can run snag free in foot-deep water, ideal for shallow grass flats at first light.
Although it is a slow-sinking lure, you can walk the dog, twitch it, or wake it along the surface by raising the rod tip. However, it also excels when retrieved just beneath the surface. Cast it upstream of the target area, allow it to sink for a couple of seconds, and retrieve it slowly and steadily or with a slight twitching motion. The key is to retrieve it at the right speed; too slow, and the tail doesn’t wiggle. Too fast, it breaks the surface. When that happens, hesitate the retrieve a couple of seconds, letting it sink. That hesitation often triggers a strike. Otherwise, continue the retrieve.
At just the right speed, the tail wiggles enticingly as the lure runs just beneath the surface—shallow enough that you can watch fish strike. It’s perfect for those days when fish refuse to break the surface to eat a lure. And if you miss a strike at the surface, the Shallow Runner Bait Buster gives you the option of letting it sink like a stunned bait fish. This frequently entices a second strike deeper in the water column. The sharp, thin-wire hook makes setting the hook on giant spotted seatrout and snook easy, but is less damaging to fish than lures with multiple treble hooks.
The 5/8-ounce Deep Runner Bait Buster is more versatile for casting in deeper water. With the hook eye positioned on top of the lure, it dives quickly and can be retrieved at a variety of speeds and depths. A simple, steady retrieve is very effective. Both the Deep Runner and Trolling models feature heavier hooks to stand up to bigger fish. This model excels for catching rolling inshore tarpon. Cast in front of the fish and allow the Bait Buster to sink. If the fish doesn’t strike on the drop, begin a slow retrieve. Experiment with various drop counts until you discover the depth at which the fish are feeding.
Trolling Bait Buster
Similar to the Deep Runner (the two are somewhat interchangeable), the 1-ounce Trolling Bait Buster was designed for catching tarpon, grouper, cobia, dolphin, bonito and other offshore fish. The heavier weight makes it dive faster, and allows the lure to track and swim well at higher speeds and greater depths. It is an outstanding lure to throw in front of rolling tarpon along the beach and offshore. Simply allow it to sink, and retrieve it slowly and steadily if the tarpon doesn’t strike on the drop. Again, make certain the hook is sharp.
As the name implies, the Trolling Bait Buster is excellent for trolling both inshore and offshore. It also makes a superb pitch bait for dolphin or cobia which appear around the boat or under floating debris. Inshore, it excels for casting in deep, fast current—such as around bridge structure and passes—for tarpon, striped bass and snook. Even giant tripletail have been known to inhale it.
Interested in learning how to tie a Canoeman Loop Knot or a Surgeons Knot? Download the tip sheet for step-by-step directions.
Let’s be honest: The D.O.A. TerrorEyz is a strange-looking lure.
Maybe that’s why the TerrorEyz is so effective–fish have never seen anything quite like it. There may be no lure that catches such a wide variety of saltwater fish. Snook, seatrout, redfish, tarpon, flounder, pompano, tripletail, grouper, snapper, amberjacks, tuna, dolphin, cobia, Spanish mackerel, sailfish, ladyfish, roosterfish, bonito and bluefish–you name it, this lure has caught it in salt water. Freshwater species, such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, white bass and crappie, are equally receptive.
Other jigging lures hop predictably in a straight line from one point to another. The TerrorEyz leaps, darts and scoots nervously, like a vulnerable baitfish in a hostile environment, its holographic eyes flashing panic–all clear invitations to predator fish. Hook design assures easy hooksets and an outstanding landing ratio.
The TerrorEyz is currently available in three sizes and 49 colors, from the 1-inch Tiny TerrorEyz to the 4-inch Big One. Far and away, the 2-inch Regular model accounts for the most catches. Each of the sizes can be further customized with different weights and colors of interchangeable eyes, from 1/32 to 1¼ ounce. The TerrorEyz incorporates special holographic eyes which reflect fish-attracting light in all directions.
Rigging the TerrorEyz
1. Poke a hole in the top of the lure (the flat side is the top) in the middle toward the rear of the eye socket. This hole is where the eye of the hook will come out.
2. You will see there is a ¼-inch channel that runs inside the lure from the opening on top of the lure to the back of the eye socket. Push the round bend of the hook into the channel at the back of the eye socket. Keep pushing until the point of the hook comes out the opening on the top of the lure.
3. Hold the hook between your thumb and forefinger and rotate the lead head into the eye socket allowing the eye on the hook to come out the hole you made in step one.
4 & 5. Stretch the front of the lure out over the small pin (gently, don’t tear the lure) in the front of the lead head. Center the pin.
6. Push the lure on the pin. That’s it. You’re ready to start fishing.
As with all D.O.A. lures, the TerrorEyz is most effective if tied on with a loop knot. This connection guarantees the maximum freedom of movement and the most life-like action.
Its underwater versatility permits three distinct methods of retrieval, either serially or on the same cast. TerrorEyz can be:
1) Lifted and dropped, the most common jigging technique.
2) Retrieved “straight,” either by reeling or by the action of the boat; also “jerked” horizontally, by alternate cranking and jigging. TerrorEyz design prevents broaching and line twist.
3) Jigged vertically, for fish as diverse as bass, walleye, crappie, deep-lying trout, stripers and salmon. TerrorEyz move in wide, enticing circles, thanks to a hydrodynamic design as effective as the metal gliding planes on hard-body lures. It’s a necessity for ice fishing!
This is an extremely effective lure for fishing around bridge pilings. The Regular size with the 3/8-ounce head inserted is most effective for this mission. Cast the TerrorEyz upstream or across the current. Its weight-forward design lets it reach bottom quickly. Allow the current to do most of the work; simply bounce it gently as it drifts downstream. The TerrorEyz provides an excellent hookup ratio while rarely snagging–the plastic-covered nose of the lure bounces off rocks and other structure, while the single upright hook stays out of harm’s way. Anglers can also vertically jig the TerrorEyz while maneuvering around pilings with a trolling motor. Either method is very effective for catching snook, tarpon, striped bass, flounder and any other predator that gravitates to bridges.
This is a terrific lure for bouncing over deeper grass flats and pot holes, especially along troughs, channels and dropoffs that cut through or border grassy areas. Depending on the color and retrieve, the TerrorEyz replicates a small baitfish or crustacean. The heavy jig head creates a puff of sand that emulates a burrowing crab or sand flea—perfect for attracting bottom feeders such as redfish, pompano and flounder.
For rolling tarpon, the key is to cast the TerrorEyz just in front of surfacing fish and let the lure fall as the fish dives back toward the bottom. The lure can then be retrieved slowly with slight twitches, or bounced along the bottom. This method of tarpon fishing works with all of our lures, but the TerrorEyz is especially effective in fast and/or deep water.
Offshore Reefs and Wrecks
The D.O.A. TerrorEyz is equally at home offshore for vertical jigging over reefs and wrecks for cobia, snapper, grouper, tuna and amberjacks. Over shallow reefs with light current, stick to the Regular size with the 3/8-ounce jig head. Deeper reefs or stronger currents call for the Big One rigged with heavier jig heads to reach fish suspended near bottom. They can even be rigged in tandem for additional weight. On the drop or when reeled upward, the tail emits fish-enticing vibrations. When drifting, let it drop deep behind the boat. Twitch it occasionally, or simply put it in a rod holder. The rocking motion of the drifting boat will cause it to dart and drop enticingly with no input at all from the angler.
The C.A.L. (Catch Anything Lure, more affectionately referred to as Cheap Ass Lure around the office) jigs are a versatile series of jigheads and soft-plastic tails that can be adapted to virtually any fishing situation and species. If you lack the patience to let the D.O.A. shrimp settle to the bottom, tie on a CAL. They’re also easier to throw and retrieve properly under windy conditions or in swift current.
Jig heads in the series are available in six different colors--white, chartreuse, glow, red, natural and black. Weights range from 1/16 to 1 ounce, in short and long shank models. Don’t ask which one is best. We just held our annual D.O.A. Outdoor Writers Event, and among the 24 guides from around Florida who helped us take the 50 writers and sponsors fishing, each one had his own preference, even though many of them fish the same waters for the same fish.
The general rule is to fish dark lures in dark water, light-colored lures in clear water. A dark lure presents a silhouette that fish see more easily. We also recommend using contrasting colors in turbid conditions—light head/dark body, or a plastic body with a contrasting tail. The Shad Tail, Curl Tail, and Paddle Tail models also create a vibration that fish can locate under any water conditions.
Of course, the most important rule is to fish the color you have faith in.
Like the shrimp, CAL tails are available in lots of options--47 colors currently and a variety of models and sizes.
The most popular model to fish is probably the 3-inch Shad Tail. Simply impale it with an appropriate-size jig head to match wind, current and depth conditions (increase the weight as wind, current and depth increase) and throw it out. Although most fishermen employ some type of twitch/drop retrieve, beginners can simply let it sink and reel it in. The vibrating tail attracts fish with virtually no input from the angler. Some days, especially in the winter when the water is cold and fish metabolisms are slow, fish display a preference for a slow, subtle retrieve and a lure that requires minimal energy to chase down. Which brings up another general rule: The colder the water, the slower the retrieve.
Shad and Curl Tail
The CAL Shad Tail is also an extremely effective weapon for trolling, especially behind a kayak. Simply stick it on a 1/4-ounce head, throw it behind the kayak, and start paddling. It’s a great way to locate schoolie trout, but it also catches 50-inch snook.
For the ultimate in action even at a very slow retrieve, tie on a CAL Curl Tail. These are virtually foolproof lures. Even resting on the bottom, the tail wiggles. They’re very effective barely crawled along the bottom.
To fish either of these 3-inch baits weedless over shallow grass, Mark’s specially designed 3.5 D.O.A. Long Neck gets a better bite on the lure than standard worm hooks. A 1/8-ounce D.O.A. Pinch Weight, or even a portion of one, attached to the hook provides additional casting distance, but more importantly acts as a keel to keep the lure from spinning.
CAL Series tails can also be rigged on weedless, screw-in hooks such as the Owner Weighted Twistlock CPS model. The Shad Tail works well for shallow-water use with a 3/0, 1/16-ounce weighted hook. These hooks also make it easy to add fish-attracting eyes and color contrast to any of the CAL soft-plastic tails with Chug Heads or Hot Heads.
D.O.A. Lures also makes a 3-inch Paddle Tail. Paired with a jig head, this lure looks great bouncing along the bottom. In addition to the beaver-type tail flipping up and down, the ribbed body produces pressure waves which make it easy for fish to locate. Bottom hugging species--flounder, pompano, trout, snook, redfish--love it. Another attribute is that it is a very tough bait, standing up to much more abuse than typical soft-plastic tails. It’s not uncommon to catch several dozen fish on the same tail, and find it’s not the least bit mutilated at the end of the day. That makes it a very inexpensive lure to use—a dozen tails last a long time.
In addition to shad tails and paddle tails, Mark makes CAL jerk baits in 4- and 5½-inch models. They offer the most rigging options.
Rig the 4-inch models on a short-shank CAL head, or weedless with the 3.5 Long Neck worm hook. The long-shank CAL jig heads enhance the chances of a solid hookup with the longer jerk baits, or use the 5.0 D.O.A. Long Neck worm hook.
Especially early in the morning, add a D.O.A. Chug Head to these jerk baits and fish them as a topwater plug, either walking the dog or popping them. The concave head can be rigged to keep the lure at or near the surface, or turn it into a lipped diver by twisting the lip to the bottom. Rigging it as a topwater has several advantages over traditional plugs.
First, the single hook can be rigged weedless. That lone hook also makes it a lot easier on both the fish and angler to remove; for kayakers especially, the idea of a snook, tarpon or ladyfish jumping around the boat with multiple treble hooks can be somewhat disconcerting, especially if fishing in the dark. And there are days when fish won’t commit to striking a lure on the surface. They’ll boil beneath it without grabbing a hook. With a soft-plastic CAL rigged with a Chug Head or Hot Head, an angler can simply stop the lure and let it sink slowly, which leaves it in the strike zone like a wounded bait; the fish will often strike as it sinks. By slowing the retrieve, the jerk bait becomes a subsurface weedless twitch bait. A fish nervous about whacking a surface bait may, on the other hand, hammer a lure a foot deep. The CAL/Chug Head combination gives you the option of covering whatever portion of the water column you choose.
Mark Nichols cranked out the first fake shrimp in 1988. Many of us have heard the story of how he established the plastic shrimp industry, one lure at a time, on his kitchen table. Today Mark offers 54 colors in a wide variety of sizes from two to six inches.
Fishing the Shrimp
When a lure’s been around for over 20 years and been used by hundreds of thousands of anglers, various fishing techniques naturally evolve. Here are half a dozen effective ways to fish it.
Mark grew up in the shrimp business, and spent his youth studying their movement in the family’s live shrimp tank. He designed the D.O.A. Shrimp to emulate that natural motion in the way they swim and dive. One easy way to take advantage of this naturally balanced lure is to simply throw it upstream, let it sink, and then reel in line just fast enough to swim it with the current. This is especially effective at night around dock lights and bridge shadow lines.
Shrimp moving over long distances often swim at the surface during low-light periods, riding the tide. Over shallow flats, it’s easy to copy this pattern: Cast upcurrent, and simply raise your rod tip while reeling slowly and steadily to wake the shrimp along the surface. There’s nothing cooler than watching the giant wake of a 20-pound snook closing in on the little V-wake of the shrimp in a foot of water. This technique is more subtle than walking the dog with a topwater plug, but creates enough surface disturbance for fish to locate the lure silhouetted against the surface. If a fish strikes but misses it on the surface, let it drop, then begin a twitching retrieve beneath the surface. Very effective at first light.
Mark makes fun of one of the simplest techniques, but anytime you fish on his boat, you’ll see a plastic shrimp rigged beneath a rattling cork (Mark’s pre-rigged version is called the Deadly Combo). It’s virtually foolproof--cast it or throw it behind the boat and pop it occasionally. That’s it. Perfect for kids or novices, but it’s also won the redfish tour championship.
The concept behind the Deadly Combo is that the rattling cork--Mark uses brass clackers on oval and cigar shaped corks--creates a noise that simulates predators feeding, which in turn attracts other predators to the frenzy. When they arrive, the only thing they find that looks edible is a plastic shrimp dangling 18 to 24 inches beneath the noisemaker. When the cork goes under, you have a fish. Kids of all ages like that. One advantage to using the shrimp rigged this way is that it forces the angler to slow down the retrieve, keeping the lure in the strike zone longer and giving fish time to find it. The cork also effectively keeps the lure above thick grass. Want a lure to drag behind a kayak over grassy bottom? Replace the shrimp with a ¼-ounce CAL jig head and 3-inch soft-plastic shad tail beneath the cork and start paddling.
One rigging tip is to tie a short length of fairly stiff mono or fluorocarbon between the braided line and the cork. Braided line is so limp it can become entangled on the cork stem between snaps of the rod tip. The stiffer fluoro or mono provides a buffer to keep the braid a safe distance from the cork.
Another of Mark’s techniques is rigging the shrimp weedless for use in thick-grass venues such as Mosquito Lagoon. Start by trimming the tail flukes off. Remove the original hook, and thread a D.O.A. 3.5 Long Neck worm hook Texas-style through the tail, out the bottom, and up through the shrimp. The result is a weedless shrimp that swims backward. In murky water, help fish find the lure by inserting a small rattle in the original hook hole. An added advantage of the backward bait is that it creates a weight-forward setup that casts much farther than the original.
Another approach to fishing the D.O.A. Shrimp weedless is to remove the original hook and replace it with an Owner weighted or unweighted weedless hook. Insert the attachment screw into the original hook hole in the shrimp’s nose, and impale the hook through the belly of the shrimp so the hook exits through the original hook hole in the back. The shrimp’s original weight can be left in or removed as conditions dictate. A 3/0 works well with the ¼-ounce 3-inch shrimp; use a 5/0 with the 4-inch, ½-ounce model.
Tarpon? Throw the shrimp right on top or in front of fish rolling at the surface for air, and let it sink as they descend. Off the beach, toss the 4-inch, half-ounce model ahead of moving fish (works great for cobia also) and simply let it drop in front of them. When it reaches the depth you suspect the tarpon are suspended, begin a slow retrieve with minimal twitching. Of course, getting the tarpon to eat isn’t always the hard task--it’s staying attached after the strike. To greatly enhance the hookup/landing ratio, there are two options: Insert the larger hook from the half-ounce model into the smaller 3-inch shrimp to get a bigger bite in the tarpon’s bony jaw, or replace the original hook with an appropriate-size circle hook through the nose of the shrimp. When using the circle hook, avoid a hard hook set and simply reel up tight when you get a strike. The circle hook is designed to lodge in the corner of the fish’s mouth, and even tarpon have a tough time dislodging it.
Snap It Up
Mark makes fun of the way Jerry McBride fishes the shrimp, but it gets results. Mark and Jerry filmed a dozen short instructive flats fishing videos for the D.O.A. Lures website during the long, cold 2010 winter. In it, you’ll see Jerry snapping the shrimp hard along pothole and channel edges for pompano and trout with excellent results, despite Mark’s withering comments in the background. Jerry has caught more giant trout and snook using this technique with a 3-inch D.O.A. shrimp than with all the other lures in his garage combined.
The key is to give it plenty of time to fall to or near the bottom on the initial drop. Jerry doesn’t worry about fishing it in grass because he snaps it hard enough to knock the weeds off--as well as the puffers and pinfish. Throw it upstream and across the current above a pothole, dropoff or structure. Let it drop near the bottom. A short snap of the rod tip planes it up in the water column. If you tie it on with a loop knot--highly recommended for all techniques--it pops up, does a hard twist (usually to the left), suspends briefly, then dives back toward the bottom as you slowly reel up the slack. Twitch and repeat. You’ve just created a brief window of opportunity for the fish to grab what appears to be an easy meal before it escapes.
Oppose the Proposed Federal Ban on Lead in Fishing Tackle
The Situation It is important that anglers send your comments now! Let your voice be heard! On August 27, 2010, the EPA denied the petition for ammunition but maintained the petition to ban lead fishing tackle. Supporters of hunting and the shooting sports have been successful in having ammunition excluded from this ban. The petition was presented with the aim of reducing bird deaths caused by the ingestion of lead sinkers and jigheads; however, a study conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that less than one percent of all waterfowl and other birds such as eagles are killed by lead sinker ingestion. The reasons for opposing the ban are: Anglers are encouraged to support voluntary angler education programs for the use of lead sinkers and should urge state and federal fish and wildlife agencies to do the same. How You Can Help Template Message The petitioners’ document is replete with commentary unsupported by scientific data and rife with misunderstandings about the use of lead sinkers. Although the petition is aimed at reducing waterfowl death from lead sinker ingestion, a study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has shown that less than one percent of birds die from ingested sinkers. Lead fishing tackle does not present a population level problem to any bird species. In fact, loon populations are increasing throughout their breeding range. If a particular body of water is of concern, the issue is most effectively addressed by a local science-driven process, not a national ban. Fisheries and recreational fishing methods are best managed by state agencies. While supporters of this ban claim that there are many comparable alternatives to lead sinkers and jigs, this is not the case. Depending on the alternative metal and current prevailing raw material costs, non-lead fishing tackle products can cost from six to 15 times more than lead products. Non-lead products may not be as available and most do not perform as well. Mandatory transitioning to non-lead fishing tackle would require significant – and costly - changes from both the industry and anglers. The resultant decrease of fishing tackle purchases will diminish the dollars for fisheries conservation through fishing license sales and the federal manufacturers’ excise tax on fishing equipment. Something our country can ill afford. I urge you to deny the lead ban petition, because it will have a significant negative impact on the recreational fishing community and only a negligible impact on waterfowl populations. Thank you for your consideration.
On August 23, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was petitioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and four other organizations to ban all lead in fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act. This includes sinkers, jigs, weighted fly line, and components that contain lead such as brass and ballast in a wide variety of lures, including spinners, stick baits and more.
The EPA has opened the petition for public comments. Please take the following two simple steps to oppose this ban.
I am writing to oppose the proposed EPA ban on lead in fishing tackle. This ban would have a significant impact on the recreational fishing community with minimal benefit for the referenced waterfowl. Lead is used not only in sinkers but in a wide variety of fishing lures and other tackle components.
It is important that anglers send your comments now! Let your voice be heard!
On August 27, 2010, the EPA denied the petition for ammunition but maintained the petition to ban lead fishing tackle. Supporters of hunting and the shooting sports have been successful in having ammunition excluded from this ban.
The petition was presented with the aim of reducing bird deaths caused by the ingestion of lead sinkers and jigheads; however, a study conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that less than one percent of all waterfowl and other birds such as eagles are killed by lead sinker ingestion.
The reasons for opposing the ban are:
Anglers are encouraged to support voluntary angler education programs for the use of lead sinkers and should urge state and federal fish and wildlife agencies to do the same.
How You Can Help
The petitioners’ document is replete with commentary unsupported by scientific data and rife with misunderstandings about the use of lead sinkers. Although the petition is aimed at reducing waterfowl death from lead sinker ingestion, a study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has shown that less than one percent of birds die from ingested sinkers. Lead fishing tackle does not present a population level problem to any bird species. In fact, loon populations are increasing throughout their breeding range.
If a particular body of water is of concern, the issue is most effectively addressed by a local science-driven process, not a national ban. Fisheries and recreational fishing methods are best managed by state agencies.
While supporters of this ban claim that there are many comparable alternatives to lead sinkers and jigs, this is not the case. Depending on the alternative metal and current prevailing raw material costs, non-lead fishing tackle products can cost from six to 15 times more than lead products. Non-lead products may not be as available and most do not perform as well. Mandatory transitioning to non-lead fishing tackle would require significant – and costly - changes from both the industry and anglers.
The resultant decrease of fishing tackle purchases will diminish the dollars for fisheries conservation through fishing license sales and the federal manufacturers’ excise tax on fishing equipment. Something our country can ill afford.
I urge you to deny the lead ban petition, because it will have a significant negative impact on the recreational fishing community and only a negligible impact on waterfowl populations.
Thank you for your consideration.
INTRODUCING THE AIRHEAD!
The newest product in the DOA Family. Watch the link on How To Rig The Airhead!