I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

• The Rapala DT-6

Crankbait discussions can wind up turning into very passionate debates. There are some die hard brand loyal fishermen out there. Two very popular brands include Bandit and Norman Lures. Rapala is no slouch either, but a lot of anglers see Rapala as an infomercial lure, yet just as many if not more are amazed at the success the DT (Dives To) series has brought them.

The DT series is still relativley basic in its design. The body is contoured to provide a wide wobble. The front is bulky and the back tapers into a narrow tail making the lure swim with the nose angled down and the tail pointed up. The DT comes rigged with two treble hooks attached with split rings. The DT Sure Set series comes with VMC Sure Set treble hooks. The lip design on the DT-6 has a round front edge with a very slight concave curve to aid in digging down to the desired swimming depth. The split ring is mounted on the lip about 1/4 of an inch from the nose of the lure. In addition to various color patterns, the DT's also feature a pair of flat eyes and a shad spot on each side. It's your basic crankbait design. What more can I say?

The plain DT's come with regular size 5 and 6 trebles and the newer DT Sure Sets come with VMC Sure Set hooks. Both come in a variety of colors, the most popular being Parrot and Silver from what I've read and heard. One thing you'll always hear from me is that confidence is more important than color in most cases, so don't get too hung up on colors. They are made of balsa wood and contain a rattle for added attention in low-vis conditions. DT's also seem to suspend longer in the strike zone. On In-Fisherman, the host described how the lure was designed so that it turns around facing the other way when brought to a dead stop and then backtracks when you begin reeling again. Strange, but that sort of innovative result of design is supposed to draw a strike.

The DT-6 as you can probably tell from the naming scheme dives to six feet. At least that's the claim. Comparisons have shown some crankbaits do not dive to the advertised depth. The most recent article I've read on the subject put the Rapala DT's at a fairly accurate depth, if I remember correctly. These lures are supposed to get to the strike zone/advertised depth sooner and stay there longer. Many crankbaits float so well that as soon as you stop cranking, they quickly begin to rise.

Put one in my hands and here's what happens. I replace the standard hooks with size six or size four Sure Set hooks in the front and leave the regular hooks in the rear, which is contrary to the instructions that are included with Sure Set hooks. Make sure the larger hook of the treble is down and the two smaller hooks are close to the body of the lure. Either red or black will work. I'm not 100 percent sold on this red hook fad yet. I will say on a red crawdad colored DT and a chrome rattle trap, red hooks look awesome, but I'm not a fish. Some hooks come feathered and people like to put those at the rear. Most of my good hook sets have come on the Sure Set hook at the front. Putting one on the rear made little difference and actually caused more problems with injury to the fish.

Another thing people do with cranks is attach suspending weights. I haven't tried that yet either as I feel a slow rising crankbait can draw strikes better than one that suspends for a long time. A little bit of float can sometimes get you out of a snag in the weeds. In fact, that's where many anglers find lures like this shine. As soon as the crankbait breaks free of the grass, a bass hits it.

I've read complaints about the lips of DT's breaking off on the least little thing. The lips on my DT's are still solid, but the paint jobs are beginning to dull. These lures are not immune from chips and scratches. That's balsa wood for you. It's great stuff, but not as durable as some alternatives.

As I mentioned before, DT's are rigged with a split ring on the lip. I do stick with the factory split ring, however if you want to change the wobble, you can put on a different size split ring or even a different shape like an oval split ring. A snap swivel can change the wobble as well. Whether or not it's more natural one can argue. One of my split rings started to show signs of rust just days after use.

Crankbait techniques are numerous, so do what you know or do what feels comfortable. I could write a whole new blog post on ways to retrieve crankbaits and I'd still have more to learn on the subject. With the DT-6, I do a few things. The most fun technique has been a fast retrieve with a repeated upward jerking motion with the rod. This method has caught a lot of yellow white bass, but so has a steady retrieve. Also casting and letting it sit for a second followed by a quick jerk and slow pick up with the reel gets a few reaction strikes going. There are also times when I hang up on hydrilla. One technique to draw out a strike when that happens is to come to a dead stop and let the lure rise on its own. Then jerk it free. There have been times where I hung the lure up in submerged timber and broke off only to recover the lure moments later as it floated to the surface. Slow and steady works after catching a few the fast way. Cranking fast to get to the desired depth hasn't done much for me. I suspect I need to add a 5:1 baitcaster to my lineup.

Moments ago, I mentioned some problems with the DT-6. Although people say they've broken lips, I can't complain. Whether or not this lure actually dives to six feet varies in my experience. I've fished five to six feet of water plenty of times and never felt the lure drag bottom, but that can depend on the type and diameter of line. Still, it catches plenty of bass and even a few channel cats. I would love to practice working this lure in a clear deep tank to see what rod movements do to the lure action. I've banged a few up against the side of the boat and a few other things, but aside from a few chips and scratches, my DT's are still going strong.

Related Posts:
Rigging Crankbaits
Review: VMC Sure Set Hooks
Rapala JSR
Rapala SSR
Rapala Original Floating Minnow

Related Links:
FLW Magazine Blog:
A Crankbait "Dives-To" New Depths


Anonymous said...

I love the DT Series and have caught Northern Pike and Musky on them and have never had a problem with anything on the DT.
I have also put a larger split ring on them but I don't know how that alters the action of the lure but it must be doing something good because this lure is hammering Bass, Pike and Musky for me.

Michael Shane said...

I went out & purchased one of these & used it yesterday. I went with the chrt/brown color...To my suprise! I landed a 5lb 4 ounce, 4lb 1 ounce, & several 2 pounders all in one day...All of them good tournament largemouth bass. I found cranking slow to a medium speed was the ticket...Needless to say I will be adding about 3 more colors to my collection & also I fished this in some shallow water to see if it was going six feet & I was ripping the dirt up on the bottom....I highly recommend this lure to all serious bass anglers out there....I am a huge fan of Balsa Wood anyways..All my biggest bass caught on a crankbait have been on balsa wood crankbaits versus the others....