Mark Nichols, who manufactures D.O.A. soft plastic lures in Palm City, Florida, says catching fish on soft plastics is simple if you remember one thing: Less is more. "Don't jerk it around," he says. "The less you work the bait, the better."
D.O.A.'s mullet, shrimp and small baitfish imitations have earned a reputation for fooling fish as they simply sink in the water or hold in current. Tarpon are one of many species that eat "injured" baits as they fall.
Capt. Rodney Martin of Tampa uses the mullet imitation (called a Bait Buster) with success on the flats of Tampa Bay. He likes the pearl/black back or silver side/black back in clear conditions and gold glitter in murky water. The 3/4-ounce trolling model works best. It casts farther and comes with a bigger, stronger hook.
Martin's technique is simple: "Once I see a pack of four or five tarpon, I'll cast just ahead of the pod, twitch once and let it fall," says Martin. "Most of the time If you get it in their face, one will hit it." He suggests sharpening the hooks, then pinching the barb down for easy removal and release of the tarpon.
The 3-inch D.O.A. Shrimp offers an effective alternative when cast and allowed to sink slowly, especially in bright, clear conditions. Martin prefers both the glow and translucent colors. His modifications include replacing the hook with an Owner No. 3 and adding the belly weight from the Bait Buster for easier casting.