Lots of discussion recently about a new bait from DOA Lures, the Airhead. In fact, the lures have been so popular that they’ve been hard to keep in stock in many stores. On a recent trip to Stuart with Captain Tommy Thompson, we stopped off at headquarters to pick up a few, only to find there weren’t even any there! However, they did have a few laying around that Mark Nichols, the owner/inventor of DOA Lures, rigged for me to try. The Airhead is a unique lure in that it’s essentially a soft bait, Texas-rigged like other soft jerk baits (see my blog post about rigging these useful lures) but it is made to function as a topwater lure, a suspending lure, or a sinking lure. And by splitting the tail, you can actually use it much like a buzzbait. Watch this clip for rigging hints, and also to see the lure in action:
There are number of other videos that show how to use small pieces of foam or pinch weights to customize it in terms of depth. This is an Airhead rigged with pinch weights to provide a little more suspending action, which also increases the weight for longer casts.
While many bass fishermen have found the lifelike tail action in a weedless lure to be just the thing for bass fishing in heavy cover (which is why the lures are hard to find at times), in the salt marshes we fish in cover and floating grass as well. I’ve used the Airhead on a number of trips since returning from Stuart, rigged with a wide-gap 5/0 hook as shown (these are also available from the DOA website at http://www.doalures.com), with and without the pinch weight, and also with a less extreme gap offset worm hook. Having the extreme wide gap provides a keel to keep the bait more upright, but I’ve also had great luck using the more standard hook. I’ve caught several trout over 4 pounds, fishing in water less than 2 feet deep, and a few days ago used it as a back-up lure. Several years ago Tommy and I fished with Roland Martin at the Mel Tillis tournament and Roland always had a follow-up rod at this feet when fishing topwater plugs. When a fish would blow up on his topwater plug and miss it, he would throw a spinner bait at the spot. It was remarkably successful. When fishing very shallow, we need to make very long casts and heavy plugs can provide extra distance, but since that day with Roland I always have a back-up rod I can grab within seconds. Last Sunday I was fishing by myself and had a great morning, catching 4 reds and a five pound trout in about an hour and a half. The big trout and several other smaller specks were taken on the Airhead. The first three redfish hit topwater plugs casted long distances away from the boat, but as I was retrieving the plug, a huge redfish blew up behind it and missed. I immediately threw the Airhead in the area, felt a thump, and nailed this beautiful 26 inch 7 pounder.
I’ve found the Airhead to be a very useful soft bait which can be easily customized. Whether used as a primary lure, or in this case as a follow-up lure, keep some available and rigged on one of your inshore rods. Work them with a variety of retrieve rates, both on the surface and just under it. You won’t be disappointed. For more information about my favorite DOA lure, the shrimp, here is a link to an old post about how I customize them for my specific uses.