Ask any angler across the Carolinas to name a top selling soft plastic lure for saltwater, and you’d be hard-pressed to find one that wouldn’t mention D.O.A. Lures. This Florida-based company has been making lures for the saltwater market for many years, and is widely known as the first company to successfully make a soft plastic shrimp, which many other companies have tried to reproduce.
But the D.O.A. Shrimp isn’t the only lure made by D.O.A. And while they have focused on the saltwater market for most of their lifespan, D.O.A. does sell a freshwater lures kit, and is ready to make a bigger push into the freshwater market.
“Fish are going to eat whatever looks like food to them. I’ve caught plenty of largemouth bass on D.O.A. Shrimp, and plenty of crappie on our small TerrorEyz lures, but we have a few offerings now that we plan to market pretty heavily to the freshwater anglers,” said Mark Nichols, founder, owner, and chief lure designer of D.O.A.
Two of these lures include the P.T. 7 and the Sna-Koil. And while Nichols and his team of lure testers have been putting these lures through the freshwater ringer, don’t think for a minute that he hasn’t dropped them in the saltwater as well.
The P.T. 7 is one of the more unique lures to hit the market in quite some time. It’s a hollow-body lure, somewhat similar to hollow-body frogs that are popular with bass anglers who fish in lily pads or other surface weeds. But the P.T. has a slender body with a single hook that can be buried just inside the skin of the lure. To call it weedless is an understatement.
Fishing on Lake Okeechobee with the P.T. 7 this past fall, we were bass fishing in what can only be described as stalks. These thick weeds extended up to 4 feet out of the surface, but we didn’t hesitate to cast the P.T. as deep into them as our casting ability would allow. They slid through the weeds with ease. And because the hook is buried, a good “1, 2, 3” count after getting a bite, and before setting the hook, was the way to get a good hookset.
The next day we were casting the same lures in the open water of the St. Lucie River, without a surface weed in sight. Using a pattern similar to walking the dog, but much faster, we hooked up on numerous saltwater fish, including tarpon.
The secret to working this lure, according to Nichols, is to work it fast. Keep it moving.
The Sna-Koil, upon first glance, looks just like a longer-than-normal plastic worm. That is, if you see someone already fishing with it. If you see it just coming out of the package though, you’ll notice something very different about it.
The lure is coiled around itself, with plastic tabs to keep it in a circular shape. Anglers break these tabs when they are ready to fish. And as the lure is worked through the water, it slides along nicely with a pulsating rhythm, much like a snake swims. But it’s what happens when the angler lets the lure stop that is really unique.
Instead of lying on the bottom in a straight line, this lure coils back up, just like it was in the package. Give it a twitch with the crank of the reel handle and it straightens up and swims again. Pause, and it coils up. And over and over. It’s a look that many fish haven’t seen from an artificial lure.
Bass tournament angler and fishing guide Marc Deschenes of V.I.P Adventures in Summerville, SC used it recently in one of his many fishing ponds.
“It’s a great lure, and I think it appeals to big fish. The lure is big, and creates a lot of movement in the water. And the way it coils up when you pause just makes it irresistible to fish,” he said.